Thecus has a reputation for delivering innovative NAS appliances with its RouStor N5200 garnering a well-deserved Recommended award for its extensive range of features and storage potential. With the N1200 Thecus has focused on home users looking for a repository for their multimedia content and its claim to fame is being the first desktop appliance to support both 3.5in. and 2.5in hard disks.
There are a number of similarities with the N5200 as the N1200 also uses Thecus’ RouStor technology. Essentially, you get five Ethernet ports with four presented as a switch for LAN users with the fifth set aside as a WAN port. The latter is the Gigabit variety whilst the LAN ports are Fast Ethernet – surely it would have made sense to have these speeds the other way round so LAN users can get the speed benefits? Nevertheless, the appliance can perform routing between the LAN and WAN ports and you can also stop your local users from accessing the WAN port.
There’s much more to this extremely well constructed box as you get USB 2.0 ports fore and aft with the former linked up to a Backup button that copies the entire contents of the inserted device to a predefined folder on the appliance. The process automatically creates a sub-folder using the appliance’s time and date settings. The rear USB port can be used to attach a printer for sharing over the network and you also get an eSATA port at the back for connecting external hard disks over a high-speed 3Gbps link.
Hard disk installation is simple enough as you remove a couple of small screws on the chassis and slide the top panel back. The drive needs to be fitted on the supplied aluminium tray and slid into place on top of the motherboard so it mates with the surface mounted SATA interface. The tray has three extra screw holes on its base to enable smaller 2.5in drives to be fitted. Appliance installation kicks off by connecting its WAN port to the network and loading the bundled Setup Wizard. This locates it on the network and steps through initializing a new hard disk with Thecus’ Linux based OS, configuring network parameters and securing administrative access. Then it’s over to the appliance’s browser management interface, which is pretty much the same as Thecus’ other NAS appliances but with a new coat of green paint.