Thecus has several NAS in its catalog. Some are designed for large companies, others are more specifically aimed at the general public and small work groups. The N2310 is part of the latter category, with a major advantage over its competitors: it is offered at less than 150 euros . Yes, and rightly so, if you are wondering what it is worth in the field, then this article should grab your attention.
As everyone knows, or should know, there are many ways to back up data. Some are content with simple drives, while others prefer to use external hard drives or even rely on cloud storage services.
But the best thing, in the end, is not to put all your eggs in one basket. A CD / DVD can give up the ghost for a few months, a hard drive can break down, a box specializing in the “cloud” can file for bankruptcy, but there is little chance that these three cases will happen. at the same time.
Unless, of course, you are irreparably cursed.
Anyway, aside from these different solutions, it is also possible to rely on NAS, which ultimately have two notable advantages: their autonomy and their functionalities .
A NAS works like a small stand-alone server. It also means that it has components similar to those found in our computers. With a little less power, of course, since they have a very targeted use.
Before going any further, we must therefore start by looking at the technical sheet of the N2310.
First and not least, it is powered by an AMCC APM 86491 processor clocked at 800 MHz , a processor coupled to 512 MB of RAM in DDR3. It consists of two bays with a SATA connection.
With three RAID modes available: RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD.
Késako? If you are not familiar with the thing, well you just have to know that RAID 0 allows you to work several hard disks in parallel, to increase their performance. The downside to this setup is that if one of the drives is gunned down, then all the data on it is lost. The other downside is that the volume's storage capacity is aligned with the smallest of its drives.
The RAID 1 , it plays the security card since all the data of the first disk will be automatically replicated on the second. So, if you lose one of your discs, well you can still find your documents, your music library, your movies, your series and all those little things that are very important to you.
There remains the JBOD . There, it is much less funny. It just combines several hard drives to form a single volume. The difference with RAID 1? There are a few, but the most obvious is storage capacity. This time, well the JBOD will add up the space of each disk.
Each solution therefore has its advantage. The great strength of RAID 0 is its responsiveness. RAID 1 has the merit of being the most secure while JBOD is particularly suitable for those who need a lot of storage.
As far as I am concerned, it is RAID 1 that has retained my preference. I bought two Western Digital RED 3TB SATA 6Gb / s hard drives in parallel. They are on sale at LDLC for € 111.95 per unit.
What about the connection of the N2310? It gets straight to the point with an RJ-45, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. No HDMI output, therefore. If you were going to connect it directly to your television, you will have to iron or set up a roundabout solution by relying on that good old Plex.
We will talk about this a little later.
The device is quite compact (135 x 97 x 207 mm), for a weight not exceeding 0.8 kg without the discs.
So much for the outline. If you want to know a little more on the subject, I refer you to the manufacturer's sheet, available at this address .
Packaging, Design & Ergonomics
First good surprise, the Thecus N2310 is sold with all the accessories essential for its proper functioning. Either with an AC adapter and the usual documentation, of course, but also with an ethernet cable and fixing screws for our disks. The only thing you will need, ultimately, is a screwdriver.
As far as I'm concerned, and in order to stop worrying about it , I opted for a kit offered by Novodio . At less than fifteen euros, it's really a bargain.
Aesthetically, the N2310 is doing quite well. It is not a canon of beauty either, but you can show it off without shame. For my part, it sits proudly on my sideboard, alongside my old Freebox (V5) and no one has given me any particular thought. My daughters-in-law hadn't even noticed his presence, that is to say.
Note all the same that Thecus has opted for a clever mix of matte plastics and shiny plastics in order to stand out from its competitors. After all, why not, eh.
Otherwise, well we will find a lot of things on the front of the NAS. Its two bays, of course, but also LEDs that will allow us to know if everything is going well. With two bonus buttons. The first to start an automatic copy of a key, the second to start or stop the device.
The various ports are located on the other side of the box, alongside the fan of its power supply. With USB 3.0, USB 2.0, RJ-45, Kensington port, RESET button and power plug.
The mounting of the discs is quite simple and accessible to anyone. To begin with, you have to pull the racks towards you and remove them from their housing. Then, well we will have to place our discs in it and screw them (six fixing points in total) before replacing everything in the box.
Nothing very complicated, in short. If you want to see more, here is a small video covering each step of the installation of the N2310. With incredible special effects in it.
The performance of a NAS in writing and reading depends on several very distinct criteria . The processor and the amount of on-board RAM have a role to play, but the same goes for the disks, the type of RAID set up or the quality of the network.
It is precisely for this reason that it is not easy to accurately assess the flow rates of a device of this type.
In theory and according to the manufacturer, the N2310 is supposed to reach 100 MB / s in reading , and 80 MB / s in writing . In the reality of the facts, this is not really the case.
To carry out these tests, I went on three different configurations.
Configuration # 1: iMac> NAS (in ethernet)
This is the least realistic configuration. Few people enjoy connecting their NAS directly to their computer, let alone ethernet. However, it is also a good way to determine the raw performance of this type of equipment.
- With a 2.21 GB file: 82 MB / s.
- With multiple files of 400 MB: 69 MB / s.
- With multiple 1MB files: 32MB / s.
- With a 2.21 GB file: 64 MB / s.
- With multiple files of 400MB: 57MB / s.
- With multiple 1MB files: 42MB / s.
Unsurprisingly, the N2310 is more comfortable with large files. Like most NAS. In terms of performance, it is doing quite well and it would be even faster in RAID0.
Configuration # 2: iMac> Freebox> NAS (in ethernet)
Second scenario, the iMac is directly connected to a Freebox in ethernet. The NAS undergoes exactly the same treatment, and the same tests are then performed.
- With a 2.21 GB file: 69 MB / s.
- With several files of 400 MB: 71 MB / s.
- With multiple 1MB files: 65MB / s.
- With a 2.21 GB file: 31 MB / s.
- With multiple files of 400 MB: 43 MB / s.
- With multiple 1MB files: 42MB / s.
This time, there are fewer differences and this is not surprising since it is not the NAS that limits us, but the quality of the home network. And the Freebox.
Configuration # 3: iMac> Freebox> NAS (WiFi + Ethernet)
Third and last scenario … and also the most common among individuals. This is the least obvious configuration, especially at home since my office is placed on a mezzanine.
- With a 2.21 GB file: 32 MB / s.
- With multiple files of 400 MB: 29 MB / s.
- With multiple 1MB files: 26MB / s.
- With a 2.21 GB file: 17 MB / s.
- With several files of 400 MB: 12 MB / s.
- With multiple 1MB files: 13MB / s.
Pathetic? Certainly, but these results did not surprise me. My network frankly leaves something to be desired.
Note, however, that these tests were conducted via Filezilla three or four times at different times of the day, and while no other workstation was connected to the network. Then, well I took my calculator to calculate the average duration for each transfer.
The N2310, like any self-respecting NAS, comes with a tool to manage it. A visual tool, accessible from any web browser on the market since it suffices to enter the IP address of the server in the address bar to open it in a tab.
This tool is rather well thought out. The interface is reminiscent of Plesk (and not Plex, eh) in some ways, but you don't need a long period of adaptation to find your feet.
The dashboard displays a series of separate modules. In a few moments, you can check the status of the RAID, or even restart the device . To access the advanced options, just click on a single icon. There, well we will be faced with a control panel centralizing all the tools delivered natively. It will obviously be possible to install others, via the store set up by Thecus.
I can't go through every tool, every application, but here is a rundown on some of them.
Nothing revolutionary here, the N2310 can perfectly serve as an FTP server and you will be free to create as many users as you want. With groups, to make it even more fun. Better, to avoid abuses, you can even define quotas for each user.
But the really cool thing is the built-in batch tool. Thanks to it, you will have the possibility to create several accounts and several groups without taking your head, and without having to deal with them individually. It doesn't seem like much but it is very practical when the N2310 is placed within a small corporate network.
On the other hand, rather than creating several different tools, I think Thecus maybe should have regrouped all these options in one and the same module. It's actually quite annoying to have to switch from one to the other to get your hands on what you need.
He works extremely well. Really, and it's super easy to set up.
Once again, everything happens through the administration interface. By bringing up the panel containing all the tools, and going down in the list, you will find a module called iTunes. You will need to click on it to display the server settings. There, well you can decide to activate the function, but also configure the name of the server , indicate a password and choose an interval between two scans . The routine, in short.
Once everything is ready, well all you have to do is transfer our music, and start iTunes on the client workstations. There, in the list of libraries, you will see your server appear. All you have to do is select it and enter the correct password to access your collection.
On paper, the N2310 is said to be able to run a Plex server without batting an eyelid.
In fact, everything will obviously depend on your content, and the quality of your network.
If you have a great collection of 1080p movies, and a network that doesn't really follow behind, then you're bound to face nasty latencies when launching your favorite movies and series. That being said, it seems that the guys at Thecus are on the spot since the latest version of Plex Media Server fixes quite a few bugs affecting the player.
At home, in any case, it has considerably improved the situation, but I still chose to go through my iMac, the NAS simply acting as a storage server.
This is also part of the services natively integrated into the NAS. The latter effectively integrates a Bittorrent client and it will therefore be able to download any file of this type.
And there, you have to write it in black on white, it works very well.
All you have to do is connect to the administration interface and launch the module named “Transmission-Kit”. The NAS will open a new tab in your browser, listing all of the options available. You are free to modify them as you see fit. If you want to access your downloads then you will need to click on the link listed at the very top.
You will then find yourself in front of a familiar interface. All you have to do is load your torrents, and let the magic happen.
Apache + MySQL
Basically, the N2310 does not include an Apache server, and no MySQL server either.
However, you just have to take a quick tour of the Thecus application store to pick up the tools, and to install them on the NAS in the process. The procedure is completely transparent, but you will then have to go hack into the httpd.conf to manage its files and aliases. This may pose certain problems for neophytes, and for people who are not particularly comfortable with this kind of hacking.
Thecus, like many manufacturers, has set up an application store to bring together all the utilities developed by itself, or by third-party users. Thanks to it, everyone has the possibility of very easily personalizing their NAS and thus add functionalities to it on the fly.
In all, the store indexes no less than 695 applications, but these are unfortunately not compatible with all models. Afterwards, there are still some pretty nuggets in the lot. Thanks to these, it will be possible to quickly set up a Nagios server, or even install an OwnCloud in a few clicks. A VPN client is also there, and the same goes for RoundCube or even for Google Drive.
In short, you will understand, there is something for everyone and it's really nice.
So much for the outline. I'm probably forgetting a lot of things, and I apologize in advance. If you have any questions or if there are any points you want to clarify, the comments are there for that anyway.
The time has come to deliver my verdict to you. And as much to say it clearly, it is rather good. Admittedly, the N2310 is not necessarily perfect, but it has a hell of a trump up its sleeve: it is very cheap, and it will therefore cost you no more than 150 € . So it's true, behind, you'll have to buy two more discs, but it's still very reasonable given the many services it will provide you.
Especially since it will not be limited to the simple storage of your data. As we have just seen, it is extremely flexible and it can ultimately be used for a lot of things.
If you want to crack and buy it, this is where it happens: