Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks

Before proceeding to the business end of the review, we take a small detour to analyze the miscellaneous aspects of the Thecus N2310. The unit comes along with a backup software on the CD that simplifies setting up periodical backup tasks to the NAS for Windows users. The NAS has Apple Time Machine support for users with Mac systems. The other praiseworthy aspect is the T-OnTheGo mobile app (for both iOS and Android). With WebDAV enabled in the NAS, it makes it easy to have access to the NAS files through either the local network or the Internet. We already gave it lot of praise in our review of the N2560, and the behaviour with the N2310 is no different. As already mentioned, the Plex app also enables media server features. Adding to the positive aspects is the excellent performance in terms of data transfer rates (given the price and the platform).

The power consumption of the unit under various scenarios and the RAID rebuild time (for the one applicable case - RAID 1 reconstruction) are provided in the table below. These numbers were obtained while using the 4 TB WD Re disks.

Thecus N2310 RAID Rebuild / Power Consumption
Activity Duration Avg. Power Consumption
Idle (Disks Spun Down)   5.02 W
4TB JBOD Initialization (Single Disk)   14.14 W
4TB RAID-1 Rebuild (Replace 1 of 2 Disks) 12h 41m 25s 25.80 W

The unit has a MSRP of $150. At that price point, the main competitor is the Synology DS214se. The latter has only 256 MB of RAM (compared to the 512 MB in the N2310). So, on the whole, Thecus is really targeting this unit at the entry level folks by pushing down the price quite a bit while providing better specifications on paper. Though we haven't reviewed the DS214se, we have enough faith in Synology's OS and efforts to believe that the unit would have completed our benchmarking suite without any problems. Our issue with the N2310 lies in that aspect.

We found the street price to be much lower ($134 on Amazon and $126 on Newegg as of review date). At that price point, readers may also begin to consider the sub-$100 2-bay offerings (such as those from ZyXEL) that appear regularly on the deal sites.

The consumer NAS segment is growing at a fast clip, and vendors such as Synology and QNAP have a very attractive and stable user interface / user experience. If Thecus wants to stay relevant in this market segment, they should concentrate more on just price alone. The entire firmware (starting with the kernel version - even Western Digital, a relative newcomer to this market segment, uses a more recent version) needs overhauling to improve stability and performance. The lesser said about the UI, the better. The Thecus N2310 will probably work well as a basic entry-level or backup NAS. However, given our benchmarking travails, we will let our readers be the judge on applicability under other scenarios.

Multi-Client Performance - CIFS
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  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Thanks! 'Convenience' exactly what I thought, just wanting to make sure I am not crazy/stupid :D

    I used to have an FTP server with public access on the router, but have since moved to Dropbox-Sky/OneDrive-Gdrive combo. Small files and slow upload speed drives me into these guys:
    - Dropbox with truecrypt files for sesitive files (Dropbox supports segmented uploads, i.e. only changed portion of a large file is uploaded).
    - Grandfathered skydrive for huge files.
    - Gdrive for sharing with people.

    For now these guys works very well for my cloud access needs... I use symlinks to change the windows default mapping to the above folders, and it's fire and forget to the whole family :D.
  • Phasenoise - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    The answer is simple: opportunity cost. It's not a question of cash alone.

    Why don't I just mow my lawn? Why don't I just clean the house myself?

    As an "Elder Geek" - I can make a lot of money in that time I'd spend setting up a file server. It's a solved problem with a commodity solution.
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I haven't personally looked at the recovery reliability on a failed drive on these things recently. but few years back it was quite a nightmare.

    Botched rebuild/recovery on one of these things could really wipe any opportunity cost you might have saved initially. Go ahead, ask me how I know.... :P

    I make my money by geeking out on things that burn dead dinosaurs, when I geek out on electrons and silicons, it's meant as a hobby :D
  • Beany2013 - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    Didn't see the further posts :-$

    I'm pretty sure the Syno RAID1 and RAID10-esque solutions are literally just EXT3/4 mdadm with some performance tweeks in the OS, so file recoverability in the event of a crash = Ubuntu bootable USB drive a machine with a few spare SATA slots:

    Others - not so sure. I'm not a fan of 'flex RAID' type affairs either.
  • wintermute000 - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    I've had a series of QNAPs and they've all recovered a RAID-5 failure at least once, zero issues, just took ages to rebuild compared to a 'real' CPU in a 'real' server.

    Mind you QNAP / Synology is the gold standard for these home/SMB appliances. I wouldn't trust a Thecus myself.
  • jabber - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Maybe they just don't have the time? It's just storage. Storage is a commodity item. How amazing or convoluted to do you need to get to have a place to dump some data?
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I also have a home-build whs server with 5 storage drives. It generally works fine, but can also annoying at times, especially with windows rebooting itself after updates, and lots of general Windows "issues" that have driven me nuts over the last few years. I would love to have something simple like this, but the expandability isn't there . You can't beat having 6-8 SATA ports on a motherboard, and then the ability to easily expand. I would really like to be able to buy something like an 8-bay NAS, and expand as I need it, but the price of that is ridiculous, so for now I'm just going the computer route (so I agree with you, but wish I didn't have to...).
  • jabber - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    You can have 8TB in a dual bay NAS, more soon. A couple of those isnt going to break the bank.

    Thats 16TB....
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    if you have 8TB with Raid 0, it will break the bank when one of the 8TB fails.
    JBOD is better for single gigabit + home use.
  • tuxRoller - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    What windows only features are you making use of that prevents you from changing the os?
    Assuming that it's mostly a file server the only thing that comes to mind is windows media center's ability to record arbitrary TV shows.

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