Review Price free/subscription
Although Thecus has launched its new Ajax-based web interface this isn't yet ready for the N0204 so we had to make do with the older version. Thecus advised us it expects a free firmware upgrade to be made available for the N0204 by mid-September.
Client support extends to Windows, Linux and Macintosh users and the N0204 will also function as an FTP server where you can apply bandwidth limits to uploads and downloads. Share security is managed only by a local user and group database as the N0204 doesn't support AD authentication.
For multimedia you have a Mediabolic media server that lets you choose which folders to publish for streaming content from. An iTunes server is on the list and this service allows you to password protect your music folder. When a user logs into the appliance they are presented with the Web Server interface that allows them to access their own personal music, videos, photos and files and also the contents of connected USB storage devices.
Surveillance functions are provided as you can connect a USB webcam, capture images from it at selected intervals and store them on the appliance. IP cameras are also supported once the IP Cam module has been downloaded and installed but features aren't as good as those offered by Synology's DS409slim.
You can't view live feeds and can only take scheduled snapshots from multiple cameras and store them on the appliance. We tested this with an Axis PTZ network camera and were able to take snapshots from its live feed at intervals of between a half second and sixty seconds.
Backup tools are thin on the ground as Thecus doesn't include the FarStone DriveClone Pro software bundled with most of its larger NAS appliances. All you get is the Thecus Backup utility which is very basic. You can create scheduled full and incremental jobs to secure your workstation data to the appliance but its crude interface doesn't offer anything in the way of reporting.
The N0204 put in a reasonable showing in our performance tests with copies of a 2.52GB video to and from a Broadberry dual 2.8GHz Xeon X5560 server returning average read and write speeds of 28MB/sec and 15.5MB/sec. We found FTP speeds to be better with the FileZilla client utility reporting speeds of 42MB/sec and 19MB/sec with the same file.
This pocket-sized package looks a good candidate as a portable NAS appliance. Performance is good enough for a general purpose storage device, the features belie its size and power consumption is extremely low.
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