Hardware Platform and Usage Impressions

The N2310 package promotes the ease of setup, remote access and value propositions as key points of the unit. In addition to the main chassis (which is surprisingly well constructed for a budget unit), we have a 6 ft. RJ-45 cable, hard drive mounting screws, a quick setup guide, a 40 W (12V DC @ 3.33 A) adapter and a power cord customized to the country of sale.

The front face of the unit has two physical buttons (one for power control and one for USB copy) and a host of LEDs for power, disk and network status. On the rear side, we have a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port, a RJ-45 port, a recessed reset button and a power inlet. A Kensington security slot is also available.

The N2310 is based on the Applied Micro's APM 86491 SoC. We covered the launch of the 'Catalina' platform based on this SoC back in January 2012. With a PowerPC 465 core running at 800 MHz, the SoC boasts of a host of accelerators aimed at reducing the CPU load for NAS applications.

From the block diagram above, it is clear that we don't need any bridge chips to enable the various ports of the N2310. The USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports are directly off the SoC, and SERDES1 can be used as the second SATA port. There are two RGMII ports available, and only one of them is used for providing network connectivity.

In terms of setup, Thecus targets the entry-level consumers by guiding them through a desktop program (Intelligent NAS) which determines the IP address of the N2310 (assuming a DHCP server is available). The program allows for either manual or automatic RAID creation (sensible choices of RAID 1 for 2 disks and JBOD for 1 disk). In case of existing partitions, the program helpfully indicates the issue to the user before allowing for format of the disks. As a final step, the program also provides a facility to associate / create a Thecus ID to use in conjunction with the N2310. This ID enables the creation of a DDNS address and use of the T-OnTheGo mobile apps.

The web user interface has not really changed much since we reviewed the Thecus N2560 last year. A walk-through of the available features in the web UI is provided in the gallery below.

One of the most important apps available for the N2310 is Plex Media Server. In our limited testing, it works pretty well, as long as there aren't any transcoding requirements. One of the major drawbacks of the Thecus OS is the fact that RAID migration from JBOD to RAID-1 is not available. So, we started our evaluation with two disks in RAID-1. Fortunately, hot-swap and RAID recovery worked very well (in fact, this is the first Thecus NAS that we have reviewed where the rebuild process worked without a hitch). However, other professional reviewers online don't seem to have had the same luck.

Considering the target market, Thecus removed the iSCSI functionality as well as encryption capabilities from the OS. Given the price point, we believe Thecus is justified in doing so.

Introduction Single Client Benchmarks
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  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Thanks! 'Convenience' exactly what I thought, just wanting to make sure I am not crazy/stupid :D

    I used to have an FTP server with public access on the router, but have since moved to Dropbox-Sky/OneDrive-Gdrive combo. Small files and slow upload speed drives me into these guys:
    - Dropbox with truecrypt files for sesitive files (Dropbox supports segmented uploads, i.e. only changed portion of a large file is uploaded).
    - Grandfathered skydrive for huge files.
    - Gdrive for sharing with people.

    For now these guys works very well for my cloud access needs... I use symlinks to change the windows default mapping to the above folders, and it's fire and forget to the whole family :D.
  • Phasenoise - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    The answer is simple: opportunity cost. It's not a question of cash alone.

    Why don't I just mow my lawn? Why don't I just clean the house myself?

    As an "Elder Geek" - I can make a lot of money in that time I'd spend setting up a file server. It's a solved problem with a commodity solution.
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I haven't personally looked at the recovery reliability on a failed drive on these things recently. but few years back it was quite a nightmare.

    Botched rebuild/recovery on one of these things could really wipe any opportunity cost you might have saved initially. Go ahead, ask me how I know.... :P

    I make my money by geeking out on things that burn dead dinosaurs, when I geek out on electrons and silicons, it's meant as a hobby :D
  • Beany2013 - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    Didn't see the further posts :-$

    I'm pretty sure the Syno RAID1 and RAID10-esque solutions are literally just EXT3/4 mdadm with some performance tweeks in the OS, so file recoverability in the event of a crash = Ubuntu bootable USB drive a machine with a few spare SATA slots:

    Others - not so sure. I'm not a fan of 'flex RAID' type affairs either.
  • wintermute000 - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    I've had a series of QNAPs and they've all recovered a RAID-5 failure at least once, zero issues, just took ages to rebuild compared to a 'real' CPU in a 'real' server.

    Mind you QNAP / Synology is the gold standard for these home/SMB appliances. I wouldn't trust a Thecus myself.
  • jabber - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Maybe they just don't have the time? It's just storage. Storage is a commodity item. How amazing or convoluted to do you need to get to have a place to dump some data?
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I also have a home-build whs server with 5 storage drives. It generally works fine, but can also annoying at times, especially with windows rebooting itself after updates, and lots of general Windows "issues" that have driven me nuts over the last few years. I would love to have something simple like this, but the expandability isn't there . You can't beat having 6-8 SATA ports on a motherboard, and then the ability to easily expand. I would really like to be able to buy something like an 8-bay NAS, and expand as I need it, but the price of that is ridiculous, so for now I'm just going the computer route (so I agree with you, but wish I didn't have to...).
  • jabber - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    You can have 8TB in a dual bay NAS, more soon. A couple of those isnt going to break the bank.

    Thats 16TB....
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    if you have 8TB with Raid 0, it will break the bank when one of the 8TB fails.
    JBOD is better for single gigabit + home use.
  • tuxRoller - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    What windows only features are you making use of that prevents you from changing the os?
    Assuming that it's mostly a file server the only thing that comes to mind is windows media center's ability to record arbitrary TV shows.

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