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Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS review

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Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS
  • Thecus N3200 - 3TB NAS

Summary

Our Score:

8

Thecus has been busy expanding its already extensive range of desktop NAS appliances and its latest N3200 aims to deliver RAID-5 data protection to home users at an affordable price. We were supplied with a review unit by Boston Limited and it went one step beyond by delivering it with three 1TB enterprise-level Hitachi UltraStar SATA hard disks but keeping the asking price just on the right side of four figures.

The N3200 is nicely put together with a solid aluminium chassis and a large external power supply with enough juice to handle the larger hard disk models. As with most of Thecus' appliances the N3200 can be purchased diskless with prices for this around the £300 mark. The drive bays are accessed by slipping the top part of the front cover off where you'll find three hot-swap carriers behind. The carriers are a bit flimsy as they consist of two guide rails each with tabs that slot into the hard disk screw holes but cannot be fixed in place. Below the bay is Thecus' standard blue LCD panel which provides a complete status report on the RAID array, both Gigabit Ethernet ports and their IP addresses, the internal temperature and fan speed. Buttons are provided alongside for manually configuring network addresses if required.

Plenty of connection options are available as you have USB 2.0 ports fore and aft and even an eSATA port at the back. We did notice that on removing the rear cover there is a third USB port hidden away but this is obscured by the cover so can't be used. An unusual feature is the expansion card slot at the back but this should be completely ignored as although it's touted as a feature it is not actually supported on this particular model. We discussed this with Thecus and it stated that it will not be used on the N3200 but that it plans to release an N3200M version which will have an AV card fitted with a range of outputs including optical and HDMI.

Installation is helped along with the bundled Setup Wizard which locates the appliance on the network and enables you to set up the Ethernet ports and RAID array. Naturally, we went for a RAID-5 array but you can go for mirrors, stripes or separate JBODs if you wish. Thecus has been sloppy with the user manual as it makes a reference to iSCSI targets but these are most definitely not supported.

davea0511

August 4, 2008, 6:40 am

>whether home users really need RAID-5 is debatable.





Poppy****. Other than that completely defenseless statement the rest of this review was good. You just go ahead try and debate it ...





Saying it's debatable whether home users need RAID 5 is like saying it's debatable whether home users really need computers. As if the computer is more important that the data it contains. In fact, the opposite is true. You can replace computers, but once the data is lost it's lost forever. You think home users don't mind missing movies of their kids as babies? You don't think that's far more precious to them than boring data at work? Think again, buddy.





Every reason that you would want RAID 5 for business also applies to home use but even more so:


1) Raid 5 gives redundant data for safety. You think home users don't care about data persistence?


2) Raid 5 interleaves for better for better speed. You think home users want to wait for RAID 1 speeds when copying a huge movie file?


3) Raid 5 maximizes utilization of the drive space. You think home users want to buy 2X their usable storage they need in order for 100% backup safety, when Raid 5 allows them to do it with only 1.5X of their usable storage?





You can only get those advantages all on RAID 5, and why wouldn't you use it if it's sitting right there in the machine? Media files (the kind home users have on their PVR) take up huge amounts of space. If you have a PC-based PVR you're going to eventually want well over a TB of space if you like to rewatch shows, or if you have kids who love to rewatch all their favorite episodes from dozens different TV series. In just a year we've amassed 300 GB after I stripped out all the commercials ... you think I want to loose all that?! Think again buddy.





Why wouldn't anyone use RAID 1 or RAID 2 when a NAS is RAID 5 capable, regardless how the machine was used? Speed? You'd risk complete annihilation of your data for a speed improvement that will be barely noticeable in 90% of cases in a home environment? That's ridiculous.

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