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Thecus N2200XXX Dual-Bay NAS

The Thecus N2200XXX NAS is a great network attached storage system for home and small businesses. Keep reading to find out how well this versatile NAS system performs.

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Introduction

Today’s high demand for computer storage has led to the rise of network attached storage systems, more commonly referred to as NAS. These devices attach to any network, usually via ethernet cable, and offer all the users access to the storage, making it an easy way for families and small offices to easily store and share important files and media with each other. NAS systems are also an excellent way to back up computers. One of the best features of NAS systems is that the amount of storage is determined by the customer, because everyone has different storage needs.

Today we will be taking a look at the Thecus N2200XXX NAS. This is a dual bay NAS that was designed for use mainly in homes and small offices. This particular NAS is listed on Newegg for $449.

Features

  • Extreme Speed
    With a power-house of a processor in the Intel Atom D525 running at 1.8GHz, the N2200XXX runs circles around the competition. Combined with 1GB of super fast DDR3 RAM, that means incredible transfer speeds and less time spent waiting.
  • Bad Block Scan Support
    Scan your disks to catch problems before they occur. Using detailed disk status updates, give your disks the perfect settings and environment to maintain data integrity and uninterrupted access.
  • Extreme Protection 
    Put safety first with AES256bit RAID volume encryption and USB Key functionality. An impenetrable wall of protection is at your disposal to make sure only those you want can access your data, and no one else. Simply set up a USB flash drive key that unlocks your data with no hassle and maximum protection.
  • Extreme Flexibility 
    Simplify your access to digital cameras, smart phones, electronic dictionaries, and much more. The N2200XXX supports SD/SDHC/MMC card readers for easy access to multimedia data.
  • Cutting-Edge Displays
    Monitor your Thecus N2200XXX Home NAS with a state-of-the-art LED screen. This keeps important system and disk activity information right where you need it with display technology that’s ahead of its time.
  • iSCSI Thin Provisioning Support
    Get the most out of your storage space with the extreme speed of iSCSI and the efficiency of iSCSI thin provisioning. Connect through iSCSI for the fastest data transfer speeds available and make wasted disk space a thing of the past with thin provisioning’s flexible storage functionality.

 

Specifications

Packaging & included items

 

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The Thecus N2200XXX NAS comes in a box with a dark, eye catching design. The front of the box displays a bunch of the system’s features such as the Intel Atom processor, 1GB DDR RAM, 2x SATA bays which support 6TB of storage, RAID features, and VMWARE support. The back of the box doesn’t have much on it, but the sides offer a pretty good overview of the product.

 

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Inside the box, we can see that Thecus made sure the dual bay NAS was secured very well with two large styrofoam pieces and protective plastic to ensure the device had no wiggle room to prevent damage during shipping. The N2200XXX ships with an external power supply and power cord, an Acronis True Image DVD, a Thecus setup CD, a Twonky Media Server CD, an ethernet cable, warranty card, a bag containing screws for drive installation and two keys to lock the drives in, and a quick installation guide that is written in five different languages.

exterior

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The first look at the Thecus N2200XXX dual bay NAS is rather impressive. The front panel is a professional looking plastic material with a reflective black finish; the single panel used for the sides and top is made of a smooth metal with a black finish. The front of the NAS has two expansion ports, a USB 2.0 port and a SD/MMC slot, along with the power and USB copy buttons, HDD1 & 2 LED’s, WAN and LAN LED’s, USB Copy LED, and the card reader LED. On the back side of the N2200XXX are the cooling fan, reset button, two more USB 2.0 ports, WAN/LAN port 1 and LAN port 2, an eSATA port, power connection port and the PCI-E x1 expansion slot.

 

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The two hard drive bays are located behind the door on the front of the Thecus N2200XXX. As we can see in the pictures, there are two hard drive caddies that have locks to secure hard drives used in this NAS. The two caddies are easily removed by simply pulling down and back on the top of the silver levers.

 

interior

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Here we have a glimpse at the interior of the N2200XXX NAS. As we can see in the first picture, Thecus planned this out fairly well as there is practically no clutter inside the case. We can see the 1GB stick of DDR3 RAM on the back of the case where that cut is in the motherboard cover. The last picture is looking down into the dual bays at the PCB the hard drives slide into.

Drive installation

 

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Once removed from the bays, we can see that the caddies are labeled for the installation of both 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA hard drives making the drive installation process that much easier.

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For this review, we will be installing two Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB hard drives. The drives are easily mounted on the included caddies with four screws. Once attached to the caddies, the drives easily slide into the N2200′s bays.

Setup

The following image shows how simple and quick the setup process is for the Thecus N2200XXX NAS!

Now let’s take a look at the Browser User Interface.

User interface

Next, we’re taking a look at the system’s browser user interface, which can be accessed by entering 192.168.1.100 into a web browser. This address can also be changed by users during and after setup.

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Updating the N2200XXX’s firmware is extremely easy, as shown in the screenshot on the left. It took no more than 10 minutes to find firmware on the Thecus website and update the device. The second screenshot shows the status of the system and all it’s available services.

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The ‘System Management’ tab has a bunch of different things including: Date and Time settings, Notification setup, Firmware Upgrade, On/Off Scheduling, Administrator Password, Configuration Management, Factory Default settings, soft Reboot & Shutdown, File System Checking, Wake-On-Lan features, SNMP configuration settings, and UI Login Confirmation settings. The next screen shot shows the ‘System Network’ tab. This is where the user can change up how the NAS is attached to the network.

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Under the ‘Storage’ tab we find the sub-catagories of Disks, RAID, Space Allocation, Stackable, ISO Mount, and Share Folder. RAID is where the user sets up how the disks are configured.

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The next tab is ‘Network Service’ where the user can setup many of the different services that come included with the N2200XXX. After that we can see the ‘Application Server’ tab where the user can install Thecus-supported and 3rd party modules.

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The ‘Backup’ tab gives the user quite a few options for backing files up to and from the NAS. The last tab on the list is the ‘External Devices’ tab. Here users can attach and configure printers and uninterrupted power sources, which are more commonly referred to as ‘UPS’ units.

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The ‘User and Group Authentication’ tab is where user and password combinations are maintained for access to the NAS on a network. Users can add and delete single or multiple accounts with ease.

test methodology

In today’s review of the Thecus N2200XXX dual bay NAS, we will be using Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit v1.7.1 to test the performance of this setup. The N2200XXX supports JBOD, RAID 0, and RAID 1 so we will be testing each of these setups. Once we’ve finished with the Intel program, we will get some simple Windows screenshots of file transfer speeds to and from the NAS.

Test rig

Test Rig

Case Open air, desk
CPU

Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz

Motherboard ASUS P6T7 WS SuperComputer

Ram

Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 12GB

CPU Cooler

Cooler Master Vortex Plus w/Noctua 140mm

Fans 2x 230mm Cooler Master case fans
Hard Drives

1TB Seagate 7200.12

2TB Seagate 5400RPM

2x 1TB Seagate ST31000524AS

Optical Super WriteMaster DVD-Burner
GPU

MSI GTX550 Ti Cyclone II OC

Additional Cards
N/A
PSU

Cooler Master SilentPro Gold 1200W

Mouse Cooler Master Storm Sentinel
Keyboard Logitech G15

In order to properly test the N2200XXX, we went out and bought two 7200RPM 1TB Seagate SATA III 6.0GB/s 3.5″ internal hard drives. We picked these drives because they were on sale and they are known to perform very well in RAID setups. The router we used in this review was an overclocked Linksys E3000, or WRT610N with DD-WRT firmware and had two ethernet cables going to the NAS.

test results

Intel NAS Performance Toolkit Benchmarks

Here we can see that RAID1 has a huge advantage over the other two RAID modes when copying files to the NAS. It’s almost 2x faster than RAID0 and 2.5x faster than JBOD.

When it came to moving directories, the three RAID solutions were much closer in performance. RAID1 still had a slight advantage over the other two by a mere 1-2MB/s.

In the HD Playback testing portion on the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit Benchmark, RAID 1 once again came out a little on top of the other setups, but all three performed very well.

The Office Productivity part of the benchmark is a real world simulation of applications used at the office. In this test RAID1 once again came out on top, closely followed by RAID0 then JBOD.

Windows File Transfer Results

These screenshots were taken once the files dropped to the average speed of transfer. The file we used to transfer was a Star Wars .MKV movie file that was renamed to 7.94GB file due to it’s size.

 

The first screenshot in the top left is based off the RAID0 test, the second is the RAID1 test, and the final one was taken with the NAS running the JBOD RAID setup. Overall, there really isn’t much difference in speed between the three RAID modes, but once again, RAID1 performed the fastest.

conclusion

The Thecus N2200XXX boasts an Intel D525 Atom dual core, four thread processor to ensure that any and all tasks performed with the NAS are done in a quick and accurate manner. The processor is paired with 1GB of DDR3 memory to make things snappy. Overall, this combination made for an extremely snappy NAS setup.

The installation and setup of the N2200XXX was extremely easy and took about 10 minutes from opening the box to having our two 1TB drives screwed in and setup in RAID1. The included setup disk worked flawlessly with our copy of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

The browser user interface has tons of options, as seen on the 5th page of this review. At times, however, the user interface did seem to be a little laggy. After noticing the slight sluggishness of the UI, we decided to check if Thecus had possibly released a newer firmware to fix the issue. There was a new firmware, but after the simple 5 minute update process, we still noticed the lag. After a bit of research we concluded it wasn’t just our device because other users have noticed the same issue.

The N2200XXX is and has been completely silent throughout out our entire testing period. The only noise coming from it is the hard drives spinning up which is barely noticeable. We actually had to look to make sure the systems cooling fan was running because it wasn’t making any noise and at the same time cooling the components nicely.

OUR VERDICT: Thecus N2200XXX Dual Bay NAS
Performance 9
Value 8
Quality 10
Features 8
Innovation 8
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 8
Pros Cons

Good performance

Low power requirements

Easy to setup

Looks good

Build quality

Simple to use web UI

Many options

Up to 6TB storage capacity

External power supply

Web UI is rather slow

 

 

 

Summary: Overall, the Thecus N2200XXX is a well performing NAS that has tons of features. It has a small and professional design that is very functional, along with an easy to use browser user interface. For its excellent quality, the Thecus N2200XXX earns the Bjorn3D Silver Bear Award.

 

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