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::>Storage devices > 2014 > 04 > Thecus N2310

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14-04-2014


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Thecus N2310 NAS Review

Everybody knows the saying: “Information is power and those that have access to it are powerful”. This review is devoted to storage and remote access to the information. Today quite popular are cloud online services for data storage. Many of them provide free gigabytes of footprint which is enough for various text documents. But for private multimedia library it could not be enough, to say nothing of documents for small companies. At the same time you should pay for additional content. And how do you regard to the possibility of creating of personal cloud without any restrictions by the service provider and with a range of additional features?

Thecus N2310

Today under testing there is Thecus N2310 Network Attached Storage. It will allow to create personal online disk using easy and intuitive WEB-interface. Instead of home usage, this product will be suitable for small companies. Allows to create data access for users, to setup quotas and limits, control information access as well. More detailed information about device functionality is given below.     

The specs:

Producer and model

Thecus N2310

Hardware configuration

CPU

AMCC APM 86491 800 МГц

RAM

512 МБ DDR3

Pperating system

Microsoft Windows XP and more
Microsoft Server 2003 and more
Mac OS X
Linux

Buttons

Power, USB copy, system reloading 

Indication

Power on, status, LAN, USB, 2 x HDD

HDD

2 x 2,5" or 3,5" HDD, SATA interface (are not included in delivery set)

Read speed, Mb/s

~100

Write speed, Mb/s

~80

RAID Levels

Single Disk, JBOD, RAID 0,
RAID 1

HDD

EXT4

Interfaces

1 х RJ45 (10/100/1000 Mb/s BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X)
1 х USB 3.0

1 х USB 2.0

Inner ports

2 x SATA

Supported protocol

File

SMB / CIFS, HTTP / HTTPS, FTP, AFP, NFS

Transport

TCP / IP / AppleTalk

TCP/IP

IPv6 & IPv4, fixed or dynamic IP-address

Additional functions

Automatic switching and hot RAID swapping

Scanning for damaged blocks availability

FTP/Secure FTP-server with carrying capacity control

Download Manager BT Transmission

print server: USB-printer support, IPP-printer support, control of print queue via Web-interface

Thecus Backup Utility

File record on the disk

ISO samples

Reading from optical disk to NAS

Mac OS X Time Machine support

Remote backup/ home backup

Switch on/off according to schedule

iTunes server

Piczza! Web Server (via module)

Multimedia server (uPnP protocol support)

Support of on-board user and group accounts

Sending of system messages to system administrator via e-mail

One free DDNS login is supported (For example: xxx.Thecuslink.com)

Intranet autotuning is supported

Log

Portable software for Android/iOS

 

T-Dashboard – mobile monitoring and control

T-OnTheGo – downloading, loading  and overview

Power supply

Outside PSU capacity 40W

Power consumption (without HDD), W

5

Operating-temperature range

5…40°С

Humidity

0…80%

Dimensions

135x97x207 mm

Weight

790 g (excluding hard disks)

Certificate

CE, FCC, C-Tick, VCCI, BSMI, RoHS, WEEE

Warranty

2 year

Producer’s website

Thecus

Страница продукта

As it can be seen hardware base is presented by SoC-processor AMCC APM 86491 with capacity 800MHz and 512Mb of standard DDR3. This configuration should be enough for service of system consisting of 2 disks. Also we would like to specify the availability of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 sockets for connection of various external devices, for example portable hard disks. This device can combine storages into JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1 levels as well as support the work in Single Disk mode. This will allow to pick up more proper mode according to the requirements: obtain higher speed or fault tolerance.

Package and Contents

Thecus N2310

A new product is shipped in cardboard box of by black and white colors. It has a comfortable handle used for transportation. The first thing that attracts attention is the picture of NAS. Due to this you can estimate product’s design without unpacking the box. The front side contains the main features of the device: name, easy and rapid installation, ability to easily connect to it through T-OnTheGo application and comfortable connection via DDNS.

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

Side faces have additional information about the device describing its basic functions and features. Several icons depict some of the NAS's features, like mobile access, cloud backup, photo and download servers, multimedia playback as well. On the reverse side you will find the specification: hardware, external/internal interfaces, form-factors, operation rates (about 100MB/s while reading and 80MB/s when writing), additional software and bundle. Each of these features will be describe in more details. 

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

The contents of Network Attached Storage Thecus N2310 includes the following basic set:

  • Patch cord;
  • Cables;
  • Power unit;
  • 2 sets of screws;
  • Installation manual;
  • Warranty brochure;
  • Software disc.

Only storage device is absent for installation and connection. We regard this step as very thoughtful because in this case the user can choose and install suitable for him solutions.

The supplied disk includes: programs Intelligent NAS and Thecus Backup Utility, guide for rapid start up and detailed user’s manual. This features will be describes little bit letter.   

Thecus N2310

Supplied power unit is presented by Channel Well Technology KPL-040F. It is designed for operation within system voltage range 110-240V. This gap allows to use the device even at connection to unstable network. Output direct voltage with parameter 12 V/ 3,33 А are formed. It means that output power of power unit is 40W. Taking into account that the device requires about 5W that remaining 35W will be more than enough for two storage devices. And if choose power-efficient model it is possible to get the whole construction power consumption up to 10W.

Design

Thecus N2310

As you can see the Network Attached Storage is securely fixed inside the box and protected against external influence.  

Thecus N2310

Tested Thecus N2310 is remarkable for small dimensions (135 x 97 x 207 mm) and weight (790g). “Tower” case is made of black plastic and has pleasant design due to combination of matt and glossy elements, straight and truncated corners as well.

Thecus N2310

The front face contains: two disc trays, USB copy button, switch on/off buttons and six indicators (power, status, first and second storage, network connection and USB). The first has blue color, the other – white and red. Light indication of the last one indicates about the presence of problem in a component.

Thecus N2310

Backwards there are: USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, sockets RJ45 (LAN), reset button, power socket, fan and Kensington lock. The presence of USB 3.0 port will influence on data copying speed.

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

On the bottom side there are vents and sticker with model, power parameters and serial number information. For firm fixation there are four square rubber legs, and their height will be enough for cooled air blow in.    

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

In addition for more efficient cooling air is taken from top cover and face side due to presence of trays with proper holes. Active air circulation is provided by 60mm fan ADDA AG06012DB159000 (12 V/0,07 А). The capacity will be more than enough

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

Trays have standard fixation system and can be extracted by finger push. Storages are fixed using supplied screws. We would like to specify the availability to install either 3.5 inches or more compact 2.5 inches models, but the only SATA interface should be used.   

Thecus N2310

Standoff is bent metallic plate. Circuit boards are fixed over them. Also here are slides for correct positioning of trays with disks.  

Thecus N2310

There are 2 circuit boards inside: small with two SATA sockets and bigger taking all side space (it contains other sockets and hardware base).

Thecus N2310In addition to interface panel sockets also there are:

  • 3-pin socket for fan connection;
  • System speaker;
  • PCIExpress х1 socket for connection of SATA interface boards.

Thecus N2310

  • 2 memory chips Samsung K4B2G1646E-BCK0 of DDR3 standard with capacity 256 Mb for each;

Thecus N2310

  • NAND flash memory Micron NW264 (apparently for setting storage);

Thecus N2310

  • SoC-processor AMCC APM86491-SKB800T operating at reduced frequency 800MHz, that contains controllers of two USB 3.0 ports, two  SATA 3 Gb/s sockets and two Gb Ethernet-ports;

Thecus N2310

  • Realtek RTL8211E chip responsible for LAn-port operation.

We want to note that although AMCC APM 86491 supports two Ethernet ports, the additional Realtek chip was chosen as the producer. Also in spite of ability of processor operation with two USB 3.0 ports, one of them is USB 2.0.

Thecus N2310

The reverse side of circuit board has many SMD elements and batteries. 

As an intermediate result it is important to specify high efficient cooling of internal components. Also we want to pay your attention to the usage of high efficient SoC-processor AMCC APM 86491 that performs a number of functions and consumes only 2.5W. In general the acquaintance with design and hardware had provided only positive impressions. The following steps of our search are software, usability and speed characteristics.

 Connection and  setup of NAS

The process of connection, first launch and setup of tested device is detailed described in instructions available on официальном сайте as well as on software CD.  Below you will find our personal empirical approach of work with tested device.

First of all you need to insert one or two storages into NAS server, connect NAS to Internet via LAN interface and switch it on. The next steps are performed from computer connected to Internet network.

Thecus N2310

Using Internet go to http://install.Thecus.com website. Here you will be offered operating system and type of device. After choice you need to load the necessary software (Intelligent NAS) and provide perform its installation. Also this program is available on CD.

Thecus N2310

After first launch you will get message window containing IP- and MAC address, its name and weaving version. If the list does not contain the NAS, press the button “Rescan”.

Thecus N2310

The next step will ask you to pick a RAID mode: automatic or manual.

Thecus N2310

In case if your disk contains any data, the program will offer you two options: continue to install with further data deletion or shutdown the installation. 

Thecus N2310

Setup process will take you several minutes. After installation you will hear tone signal.

Thecus N2310

The next step is to create Thecus ID account or enter the system if it is already installed.

Thecus N2310

Here we are offered to type ID (e-mail), password and name. You will get a letter on your e-mail with link to activate the account. Pressing it you can use data of Thecus ID.

Thecus N2310

In the next window you need to repeat login, password insert, as well as DDNS-name which will be used for remote connection to your NAS.

Thecus N2310

If everything is done correctly you will see a window and can use the capabilities of NAS. After device connection the launch preparation takes about 3 minutes.

NAS management

The following control is realized via WEB-interface or additional utility programs. The first refers you to ThecusOS.

Thecus N2310

The producer recommends the use of IE7 +, Firefox, Safari, or Google Chrome to get access to WEB-media. After entering to ThecusOS “Shared Folder” and “RAID Manager” appear on the desktop.

Thecus N2310

Menu of “Shared Folder” allows searching folders and providing their control. Pay your attention for presence of folder _P2P_DownLoad responsible for torrent and other files storage at the usage of “BT Download” function.

After copying from USB storage devices the data will be transferred to USBCopy folder. To organize this possibility you should perform the following steps: 

  • Attach the device to USB interface;
  • Press “USB COPY” button;
  • Blinking of the indicator specifies to copying to NAS server;
  • When LED stops its blinking it means that you can remove the USB storage device. 

Thecus N2310

It is important to note the availability of different languages including the Russian.

Thecus N2310

“RAID Manager” section allows to create RAID arrays. As we can see in this case RAID1 was created. Let’s come down to details the whole process.

Thecus N2310

After pressing the button “Create” you’ll get six items for RAID setup. The first step is to choose the disk used to create the array. The users need to check off each of available disk. There are available and spare disks. This step is more suitable for 5-disk systems because here you can create only JBOD mode. So we have checked both storage devices as available.

Thecus N2310

The next step is to choose array level. The following configurations are available for double-disk systems: JBOD, RAID 0 и RAID1. At the same time the producer had provided the features of each of them. JBOD storage devices operate as single disks or one volume mode. RAID 0 (interleaved mode) – one part of information is saved on first storage, the other one – for another, but in case of breakdown the whole information will be lost. RAID 1 (Mirrored Arrays mode) – the system saves the data only on one storage using the second one as replica.

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

Then you need to enter array ID. In addition the producer offers to use encryption with password help. Using “Rapid RAID” you can speed up the process, but it should be used only if there are not sections of the disks. 

Thecus N2310

The following item is to choose interleave size (only for RAID 0 mode). And file system has only EXT4.

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

This stage sums up the selected settings and allows to return to the previous steps if required.

Thecus N2310

The last item informs you that all settings of RAID array are finished and the creation of the array is the following step of installation. Creation process takes about 5 minutes for JBOD, about 8 minutes for RAID 0 and approx 10 minutes for RAID 1 modes (if “RAPID RAID is activated”). At normal mode the creation of RAID1 array takes around 5-6 hours.

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

After process finished we come to known section where the current operation mode of storage is described.    

All NAS features and functions are part of the Control Panel and are categorized into “System Management”, “Storage”, “File Sharing/Privilege”, “Network Sharing”, “Application Sharing”, “Backup” and “External Devices” options. We will examine all of them in the following paragraphs.

Thecus N2310

“System Management”

  • “General” provides the information about producer, storage model, firmware version and up-time;
  • “Status” – is used to check the state of system and services (AFP, SMB/CIFS, FTP, UPnP, Rsync);

Thecus N2310

  • “System log” keeps the list of important actions (state of storage, network and system load information);
  • “Syslog Management” menu will generate a system log that can be stored locally or on a remote server.
  • “Date and time” are the settings of date, time, time zone and synchronization of time with NTP (Network Time Protocol) server;
  • “Notification” is case of a system malfunction  you will get notifying;

Thecus N2310

  • “Scheduled on/off” is a detailed setting of turn on/off schedule of file storage according day of week;
  • “Administrator  password ”- option for changing the admin password;
  • “Config mgmt” -  creation and loading of system configuration;
  • “Factory default”  - return to factory settings;
  • “Power management” – reboot and shutdown action can be performed here.
  • “File system check” is used for checking of file system for next device loading; after checking the producer recommends to reboot the NAS;

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

  • “Networking” is the setting of storage network options;
  • “UI Login functions” Enable or disable Web Disk, photo server and additional modules functions;
  • “Hardware information” depicts hardware component data;
  • “User Access log” is the log of users’ actions.

“Storage”     

  • “Disk information”. This option provides the list of used disks, allows to see their S.M.A.R.T information, and perform a Bad Block scan.
  • “RAID Management” contains the information about RAID-array as well as you can create/delete/change its ID.

Thecus N2310

File Sharing/Privilege

  • “Local user configuration” allows you to add, edit, and remove local users.
  • “Local group configuration” does the same for local groups.
  • “Batch input”. This option allows you to add users or groups in batches by the following way: [User Name], [Password], [Group name], and each line corresponds one user;
  • “Shared Folder” are folders with common access and ability to share the users’ options.
  • “User quota”. You can set the storage quota limitations per user.
  • “Users group backup” is the option of backup creation with further restore.

Network Services

  • “Samba/CIFS” is a service used for common access to files and folders from Windows, Linux and Mac OS; here you can create a bin for storage of remote files;

Thecus N2310

  • “AFP” is a setting of network protocol for work in Mac OS;

Thecus N2310

  • “FTP” is the usage of storage as FTP server;

Thecus N2310

  • “Webservice” depicts and allows you to change the parameters of web services in the system;

Thecus N2310

  • “UPnP Service”. The usage of Universal Plug and Play protocol allows to play media files via UPnP client (for example, DMA device);
  • “Bonjour” – protocol of device auto detection in Mac OS X (for example: printers, other computers);

Thecus N2310

  • “SSH”. The work with system console is provided.

Thecus N2310

  • “DDNS” allows to assign the storage name (URL) which will be constant even in case of IP-address changing.

Thecus N2310

Thecus N2310

  • “UPnP port management” allows to get the access to required services (FTP, SSH, etc) from Internet. 

Thecus N2310

  • “WebDAV” are the settings of secure web-protocol.
  • “Auto-Thumbnail” allows to get rapid and easy access to file via T-OnTheGo application (or other compatible applications).

“Application Services”

Thecus N2310

  • “iTines configuration” – presence of integrated iTunes server allow you to play multimedia files stored on the NAS over your iTunes client.
  • “App management ” allows to install additional modules;

Thecus N2310

  • “NAS Application” – provides the list of installed software and official applications;
  • “Transmission-kit” is a bittorrent-client setting.

Thecus N2310

“Backup” 

  • “Rsync Target Settings” is a first step of backup.
  • “ACL Backup/Restore” provides backup and restore for Access Control List to RAID array.
  • “Data Burn” includes three functions: folder/file writing to disk, write images to disk and ISO images creation.
  • “Data Guard” allows you to create backup tasks for easy and automatic data backup.

External Devices

  • “Printer” provides the information about USB-printers;
  • “UPS” provides the settings of UPS parameters.

As we can see the producer took care about providing of Thecus N2310 with proper functional. First of all we want to specify the availability of user and group creation, definition of their quotas and options as well. This feature indicates about device usage in small offices among a great number of colleagues.  


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