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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  • roman.md - Sunday, July 6, 2014 - link

    imho, The average user will be happier with a 100$ cubietruck, with dual-core 1 Ghz ARM (vs single-core 800 Mhz PowerPC), 2 GB RAM (vs 512 MB).
  • Impulses - Sunday, July 6, 2014 - link

    Average user or average enthusiast? The latter - maybe, the former - not even.
  • nvalhalla - Sunday, July 6, 2014 - link

    cubietruck is a bare MB for $100. You still need a case. And it only has 1 SATA2 and USB 2.0. So there goes RAID.

    I'll take a dedicated device over a hacked together mess.
  • jabber - Sunday, July 6, 2014 - link

    Meanwhile back in the real world...

    Some people (read most) just want something that works out of the box. I dont blame them in this instance.
  • DanNeely - Sunday, July 6, 2014 - link

    thank you for making the obligatory "I could build something myself for less money and can't understand why anyone would want a prebuild NAS as a result" comment.

  • Guspaz - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I did build my file server myself for less money than what was commercial available... but only because what was commercially available was enterprise-grade stuff that cost a small fortune.

    If there had been any prosumer-grade prebuilt appliance-type stuff that could have held 15 drives, I would have bought it instead of doing it myself. The problem is the only things that can do 15 drives are big, expensive, and very loud stuff meant to go in a datacenter. My home-built solution fits in a mid-tower ATX case, but building it was a huge pain, pain that I would have liked to avoid.

    I understand perfectly well why somebody wants something that just works out of the box. Such a thing just doesn't exist for more than a handful of drives at once.
  • Samus - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    cubie, seriously, has the worst IO performance of anything I've ever seen. I think the [single] SATA 2.0 connection is actually a bridged via USB, because I've never seen transfers over ~25MB/sec. You'd be just as bad off with a $35 RaPI as a NAS. The CPU and memory means very little if they are that IO limited.
  • betam4x - Sunday, July 6, 2014 - link

    I'm going to be honest here, you should stay FAR away from Thecus as a company. We made the dire mistake of buying a Windows based NAS from them. The NAS didn't come with a full version of Windows (despite practically all the resellers claiming it did). In addition, getting a copy of Windows Storage Server 2008 is impossible due to it being discontinued and they refuse to certify Storage Server 2012 for use with their products DESPITE the fact they still sell the NAS hardware itself. To top it all, the RAID is software only. It has a RAID card, but reads something like prototype or beta only (can't remember which), do not distribute. After contacting Thecus we were told that their windows storage solutions are meant for software RAID only. Our purchase led to a major retailer pulling the Windows based NAS completely from it's website due to our issues and offering us a considerably large gift card for the trouble.
  • Samus - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I've had iffy luck with Thecus (honestly, I've not used one of their NAS) but by no means are they as bad as, say, Norco, Sans Digital, or as Ganesh stated, D-Link/Netgear/WD.
  • Samus - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Even though this runs a standard linux kernel, Synology is hard to ignore in the consumer (and even SMB) NAS market simply because the OS is so flexible. I've set them up to run everything from remote access servers to MySQL (which can host a Quickbooks database, website CMS, etc.)

    Synology offers dozens of free apps for their OS, such as uTorrent, cloud replication\remote backup services, AirTunes server, XBMC portal, VPN, database hosting, even WINE emulation. Then there are the paid apps that bring in the big dogs like mail services (hosting, ie Exchange, SPAM filtering, domain management,) RAS, and recently, virtualization. The hardware isn't really powerful enough to do this stuff on a corporate scale, but the point is it can be done for light loads, making the death of the small business server even more obvious in the near-term as these network appliances offer nearly all the services servers do.

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