Home » Computing » Peripheral » Thecus N0204 miniNAS

Thecus N0204 miniNAS review



Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

Thecus doesn't mince its words with its latest N0204 miniNAS as it claims it is the world's smallest NAS appliance. We certainly won't disagree as its compact dimensions of only 132 x 88 x 63mm means it'll fit in your palm, your bag and even your pocket.

The N0204 takes advantage of the latest 2.5in SFF (small form factor) SATA hard disks and can handle a pair of them where they are fitted in removable carriers that slot in at the rear. The appliance supports JBODs, stripes and mirrors and for the latter you can hot-swap out a failed drive.

There are mixed views on the use of SFF drives as when we reviewed Synology's miniscule four bay DS409slim comments were posted on the forum where one reader thought they were 'stupid and expensive'. True, there is always a price to pay for miniaturisation but SFF drives do have distinct advantages over 3.5in drives.

For starters, they run a lot cooler allowing the N0204 to be fanless and virtually silent. They also consume a lot less power. With a pair of 250GB WD Scorpio Black drives installed we measured the N0204 sucking up no more than 11W. So, if you have no desire to wave your storage capacity around in public and only buy what you reasonably need then SFF drives have a lot to offer.

The chassis has vents all round to aid cooling and during testing we found that although it became warm to the touch, the appliance never got hot. We checked the web interface regularly over a one-day period and it showed the drive temperatures never going above 43 degrees celcius. Power management is also available so you can spin the drives down after periods of between 30 minutes and two hours and with this in action we saw consumption drop to 6W.

Considering its size, the N0204 offers a reasonable specification with an Oxford 810 DSE SoC (system on chip) in the driving seat, accompanied by 128MB of memory. A Gigabit network port sits at the rear and you have USB ports fore and aft. The front one ties in with the backup button above and pressing it copies the contents of the attached device to a predefined folder on the appliance.

Thecus has installation down to a fine art as the bundled Setup Wizard offers a one-click setup. For the test system, it created a mirrored array, automatically installed the operating system and created a bunch of predefined service folders ready for use.

Next page


August 29, 2009, 3:38 pm

It's not the price of the disks that would worry me, but the capacity. The biggest 2.5" drives are 500 GB (right?), so that means this NAS will have a maximum of 1 TB -- pretty small for a device dedicated to storage. That said, it is a cute little device, and storage density is only going to go up.

Tony Walker

August 29, 2009, 8:12 pm

The highest capacity 2.5" drives are now 1TB. Made by Western Digital. They also do a 750GB version. However, the 1TB drive (not sure about the 750Gb) is 12.7mm deep. Whether it fits is another matter. Thecus's specs also say support up to only 500GB though that could be based on available drives at the time.


August 30, 2009, 10:30 pm

I bet those drives cost a bomb!

I'm beginning to get to the point where a NAS box just isn't fast enough and doesn't have enough features. Getting very tempted by a Windows Home Server system, struggling to find what kind of specs would be suitable if I wanted to have say 2 HD video streams going at once and a few torrents and a backup job? Anybody got any recommendations, power consumption and price are very important! :-)


October 11, 2009, 8:05 am

this is one nice and small storage box in my home. i have 2 500 GB hard drive disks and measured the whole unit is just a little 10W. i download a lot and it is a good replacement for PC in turns of downloading. with my desktop, i need to worry about power consumption and it is sometimes unstable. it is quite energy saving and stable. just bought and will do more exploration.

Doc. Caliban

February 2, 2010, 10:18 pm

Has anyone tried the newer 12.5mm drives in this to see if they fit? Ready to order one today if they do.

comments powered by Disqus