Thecus N4100 PRO NAS device

By on September 17, 2009
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Not so long ago, NAS devices were only used at the offices but with the explosion of user generated digital content such as your pictures and home videos, NAS devices have started making their ways into homes.Today, we take a look at Thecus’ N4100PRO NAS device which is equally well suited at home as it [...]

Not so long ago, NAS devices were only used at the offices but with the explosion of user generated digital content such as your pictures and home videos, NAS devices have started making their ways into homes.Today, we take a look at Thecus’ N4100PRO NAS device which is equally well suited at home as it is in your office.

n4100_pack

The packaging for the N4100PRO includes all the screws to plug in your drives along with a quick guide, a CD with the applications and a Network cable. The N4100PRO is based on the AMD Geode LX800 Processor with 256MB memory which should make it reasonably fast. The drives easily screw in the bay and then simply slide into the SATA/POWER connector built on the logic board of the N4100PRO- no messy cables.

n4100_allopen

The front of the N4100PRO features two USB ports and a small LCD screen along with buttons for accessing and navigating menus. It provides all the information such as fan speed and temperature along with RAID status and uptime. The back features one more USB port and two Gigabit Ethernet ports that come with network bonding in fail over mode to automatically switch between portvs if either one fails.

n4100_back

The N4100PRO has a total of four 3.5″ bays and offers a pretty impressive set of functionality. Starting off, you can select between different types of RAID such as RAID0 for speed or RAID1 for mirror along with RAID5, RAID6 and RAID10 that offer a mix of speed and protection. With a maximum of four drives, I would recommend you setup RAID5 which will give you the highest storage along with failure against one of the drives.

All the options on the Tehcus can be accessed through its web interface which is functional but not as slick as some of the other NAS devices. You start out by setting up your RAID- which can take a while. The 4100PRO is also capable of RAID volume expansion and RAID migration meaning you could add drives to your RAID and even switch to another type of RAID without losing data.

Once your drives are set, you can create users and folders and provide access accordingly to keep secure data secure. For multimedia enthusiasts, Thecus includes an iTunes Server, a DLNA server and a uPnP server for streaming your content. For file transferring a Download manager in included with support for torrent files along with an FTP server.Backing up can also be performed from Thecus and while I did not personally test this feature, you should be able to make PC and Mac backups.

n4100_web

If you’re looking for a little bit more out of it, you can even install a Web Server and a MySQL server on the Thecus 4100PRO, effectively running your dynamic website out of the little box. I couldn’t figure out a way to allow access to the unit remotely through a DSL connection but I was informed by Thecus that this works if you have a fixed IP which is probably something you’ll also need if you plan to set it up as a Web Server.

We’ve compares the N4100PRO to the Buffalo Linkstation iSCSI that was sitting with us and noticed the following results.

thecus N4100PRO Buffalo Linkstation
700MB (1 File) 42s 52s
1.4GB (1 File) 88s 216s
2.5GB (1 File) 154s 263s
750MB (Multiple files) 49s 38s
1.2GB (50MB files) 72s 27s

As you can see, for smaller files, the Buffalo with iSCSI turned out to be the better choice but for bigger files sizes, Thecus’ performance was much better. If you’re looking for a unit that stores videos and such along with offering downloading capabilities, then the Thecus N4100PRO is certainly a great choice.

Overall, I must say that I am quite impressed with the N4100PRO. Its quite small in size for a NAS device that offers this amount of functionality.Priced roughly $400, the N4100PRO is a bit cheaper than other NAS devices of somewhat similar capabilities making it a great buy.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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