NAS Guide

Thecus N5200 PRO review

Thecus N5200 PRO

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Introducing the Thecus N5200 PRO

Introducing the Thecus N5200 PRO

The Thecus N5200 PRO is a five-bay hot swappable RAID network attached storage device that features a low voltage Intel Celeron M processor running at 1.5GHz. It comes with its own set of storage management software that either gives you the controls you need to fine tune the device in your networked environment or simply just set it up as a plug-and-play type of device. Just like a PC, the software is based on Linux and it comes with 512MB of DDR333 memory.

The Thecus N5200 PRO allows one to set up its storage in various modes, namely RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD. Similar to most high-end RAID storage devices, the N5200 also features RAID Auto Rebuild, Hot Spare, Disk Roaming, RAID Level Migration and RAID Expansion. And what's more, with support for hard drives of up to 1TB in capacity, you can tell that the N5200 really means business.

Inside the N5200 PRO, you'll find a Marvell 88SX6081 controller which is an eight-port 3Gbps SATA II controller. Typically used in enterprise class storage systems, the controller is connected to the system through its 133MHz/64-bit PCI-X interface. Such a chip is rare especially in compact NAS devices like this. Still, its higher throughput will be beneficial to its overall performance, as we shall see later in the results. Besides its interface, the software API for this controller will allow it to appear as SCSI subsystem interface to the system application, and this would have a direct effect in minimizing the host processor loading. Although transparent to users, this would directly translate into higher performance.

Finally, unlike most NAS devices we've seen in the market so far, the Thecus N5200 PRO features the iSCSI protocol. Essentially, iSCSI is a protocol that allows clients to send SCSI commands via TCP/IP, which is your typical network infrastructure. Although not typically used at home or in small organizations, iSCSI can be extended over to wide-area networks and creating what is known as storage area network or SAN. It doesn't really matter to home users, but for organizations that is considering an alternative solution for devices that is iSCSI capable, the Thecus N5200 PRO would make possible candidate.