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Thecus N4100 NAS
By CPU-zilla
Category : Storage
Published by Vijay Anand on Wednesday, 2nd November, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

Terabyte Level Storage

In the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) environment, an effective central storage system is important to ensure round-the-clock availability of data. Besides that, users also want a cost effective solution which enables them to store large amounts of data in a safe, secured and redundant system. Building large bulky file server boxes to house arrays of hard drives for shared storage is probably not the trend these days as the investment into the hardware and operating system alone can set the business back by a rather hefty amount.

Dedicated network storage appliances such as the Thecus N4100 will make an attractive solution for SOHO and even SMB environments. The design itself is straightforward and it's just a simple black box with four hard disk drive removable trays supporting the latest Serial ATA (SATA) drives. The beauty with SATA is its inherent hot swap feature which makes it the perfect candidate for low-cost critical storage systems as this. Couple that with Seagate's aggressive five-year warranty coverage, you're possibly looking at a five-year storage investment, which in our opinion, is a really small price to pay.

The Thecus N4100 will support most of the latest SATA drives and it has been tested to work with Hitachi's latest 500GB behemoth. Install four of Hitachi's Deskstar 7K500, set them into RAID 5, and you'll easily have yourself a large 1.5TB storage array that should allow one to store as many as 300,000 MP3 tracks (considering each track is averaged at about 5MB). Of course, we're just comparing that in terms of MP3 storage but really in terms of serious usage, one should be able to get quite a lot of mileage out of a four-drive array these days.

The Thecus N4100 IP Storage Appliance.

According to Thecus' hard drive compatibility list, it doesn't seem to have a wide range of drives validated for the device. This is one area where users would need to be extra cautious when selecting the type of hard drives for the Thecus N4100. Other than installing the drives and configuring the storage system, the Thecus N4100 is really built for quick deployment and simple file sharing needs.

Let's look at the technical specifications of the storage system below:-

Thecus N4100 Technical Specifications
CPU Intel 80219 XScale processor @600MHz
Network Interface
  • First interface : Intel Gigabit controller (82541) 
  • Second (optional) : Intel Gigabit controller (82541) or Wireless 802.11b/g
SATA Controller Intel SATA controller supporting four SATA hard disk drives
  • Flash : 16MB (upgradable firmware)
  • System : DDR 256MB
HDD Storage
  • 4x hot swappable 3.5-inch SATA HDD bays
  • Support single capacity drives (80/120/160/200/250/300/400/500GB)
System Status LED
  • 1x power LED
  • 1x system busy LED (booting, upgrade, shutdown)
  • 2x network link + activity LED
  • 4x hard drive power LED
  • 4x hard drive activity LED
  • Supports RAID level 0, 1, 5 and JBOD
  • Auto rebuild
  • Hot swap supported
Client Support
  • Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP
  • UNIX / Linux / BSD (by CIFS)
  • Mac OS X (by CIFS)
  • 167mm(W) x 199mm(H) x 223mm(D)

The Thecus N4100 package includes :-
  • one power cord
  • two two meter length RJ45 network cable
  • one accessory bag containing two keys and 18 disk tray screws
  • one front panel screw
  • one CD with user manual and related documents
  • one quick installation guide
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