Published on Thursday, 31 July 2014 22:54
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Network attached storage devices/servers (NAS) keep gaining ground over mini PC systems build solely for non-gaming purposes and no matter how one sees it this was a long time coming since their advantages simply can't be ignored. NAS devices/servers are smaller in size, consume much less electrical power, work right out of the box with pretty much every application you'll ever need (and for free), allow the end user to install multiple drives in RAID effortlessly and are far easier to setup compared to normal PC systems. According to some people the largest drawback NAS servers have is their graphical user interface (GUI) or web interface as others call it but right now there are several high-end Intel based NAS servers in the market that support multiple OS installation (yes including Windows) via virtualization so there's always a solution for the more demanding users. In order however to do everything you'd ever want with a NAS server you need high/ultra-high end hardware and although a couple of years ago choices were quite limited today in the market one can find powerful such devices that even support 10GbE for extremely I/O intensive workloads. One such NAS Server is the N7710-G by Thecus so after equipping it with a total of 6 Seagate Enterprise Capacity V3 3.5 4TB SATA III drives (unfortunately we don't have 7) and using it for roughly a week we can now share our findings with all of you.
In 2004, Thecus Technology was founded to design, manufacture, and market digital storage products. Now, 10 products and over 100 awards later, Thecus is recognized as a global leader of digital storage solutions. With decades of R&D experience, the Thecus team has developed an entire range of state-of-the-art storage products for consumers and enterprises alike. With its global sales channel development, quality Thecus products are now distributed in over 30 countries and territories across the globe. Thecus products are designed not only to be powerful and flexible, but easy-to-use. Users have increasingly growing digital libraries, and they need to access their digital media as quickly as possible Thecus storage solutions consistently deliver top-notch performance, able to deliver digital media at an impressive clip. To keep data completely safe, Thecus products are designed with data security in mind, each coming with numerous security options for the user to select. Thecus storage products also have the unique ability to support third-party software modules, making Thecus products infinitely customizable. And to make sure our products are accessible to both novices and experts alike, Thecus makes sure that each of its products can be easily installed and used. Secure and flexible storage products that simply work. That is the Thecus guarantee.
Although rackmount NAS servers are the ones mostly aimed for enterprise use the tower N7710-G is a real "beast" when it comes to its hardware specifications and so aside the powerful Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual Core CPU it also comes ready with 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz ECC RAM (upgradeable to 32GB) , two 1GbE ports, one 10GbE port (which if you happen to own an 10G switch can boost network performance over 10 times compared to 1GbE), 6 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI v1.3 port, VGA port and 7 SATA ports (two of which are SATA III compatible while the rest follow the SATA II standard) all powered by an 300W power supply unit. The N7710-G can has room for up to 7 disk drives inside each up to 6TB in size (although i expect no issues with larger models when they become available) and allows the end user to configure them in Single Disk, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and JBOD modes (Hot spare and Hot-swap supported). Unlike the N5550 which we had here roughly half a year ago the N7710-G is almost entirely made by aluminum and steel thus making it extremely sturdy although that also means that it's quite heavy even without any of the drives installed (10.42kg). Thecus still uses the same ThecusOS which we've seen in the past but i have a feeling that because this is a newer version we may not fall into the same issues we did in the past (the increased performance of this NAS should help as well). In the end whether or not the N7710-G is enough for Thecus to win the performance crown in our charts is up to us to find out and that's exactly what we're going to do.