If you are in need of an enterprise-level network storage drive for a small office or a large networked home, the Thecus N5200XXX should be on your list. The NAS is a powerful device for a secure and centralized data storage solution. The Thecus N5200XXX was in our labs and here’s what we have to say about it.
Design and build quality
The Thecus N5200XXX looks like a mini tower cabinet, which is half the size (in height) of a regular PC or gaming case. The exterior is an all-black, powder finished metal shell, which is rugged and robust. The front bezel features a plastic flimsy door, which opens up to the storage bay. The storage bay consists of five hard drive bays, which can accommodate up to five 3.5-inch hard SATA drives and are also hot-swappable. Each bay has a lever for ejecting the drive, which is also secured by using a physical lock and key mechanism to prevent accidental removal or theft. The drive bays do not feature a screw-less design for installing the hard drives. Each bay has two LED indicators, one for drive power and the other for drive data activity.
The Thecus N5200XXX NAS
Towards the left of the drive bays are five status LEDS—NAS data transfer/activity, two for network activity and connectivity status for the two Ethernet ports, one for error status and one for USB data copy status. Below the LED indicators is a USB 2.0 port for plugging in a pen drive or an external storage drive for data backup or syncing. Below is the control panel, which comprises of a power switch, a reset switch, an LCD display for status and minimum configuration (which is password protected) and four buttons for controlling the display features. The LCD displays the status of the NAS in terms of hostname, Ethernet link, cooling fans, date and time, disk info, RAID status and WAN and LAN IP addresses. The main door comprises of a mesh grill, which enables air intake for cooling of the drives behind it. Sadly, the door does not have a physical lock, which can prevent anyone from powering off the device which can cause data loss.
The rear panel of the N5200XXX has three thumb screws which helps internal component maintenance such as fan cleaning, motherboard replacement and RAM installation. The rear panel comprises of two Ethernet ports, a serial port, four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port and power. An 80 mm exhaust fan is provided on the rear panel, which helps cool the entire NAS internals. Additionally a cooling fan is also mounted on the processor for CPU cooling.
Front panel when open
The Thecus N5200XXX runs on an Intel Atom D525 processor and has a 1GB DDR3 SODIMM RAM. It can support up to five SATA hard drives with RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and JBOD support. The top two bays are meant for RAID 0 and 1, while the bottom three bays are for RAID 5 and above. Each drive bay can support up to 3TB hard drives, which can combine the five bays to create a total 15TB of storage on your network. You can stack up to five of these units together and create up to 75TB of storage on your network. You can install even a single drive for storage and house extra hard drives as spare disks, which can be configured to automatically be activated as soon as they are needed. Hot swab, auto rebuild, hot spare, online raid expansion and migration are all possible including 56-bit encryption for additional data security. Additionally, each drive can be scanned for bad blocks, SMART info and SMART test and also data roaming to another N5200XXX is possible.
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