Thecus N4310 ReviewManufacturer: Thecus
UK Price (as reviewed): £218.88 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $229.00 (ex Tax)
It's been a while since we've looked at a Thecus NAS enclosure, but the company has come up with some very interesting ideas when it comes to network attached storage. It was one of the first to offer dual Ethernet ports that supported link aggregation and some models have even included HDMI ports to allow you to output video and audio to your TV directly from the NAS. The N4310 is slightly less ambitious, at least concerning the previously mentioned features, but its main focus is value for money.
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This is a four-bay enclosure, yet it costs just £218. This is certainly very competitive compared to the likes of Synology and QNAP, each of which has similar models for around the same price. The NAS itself uses an AMCC APM86491RDK 1GHz SoC, which is actually only a single-core CPU, with this being backed up by 1GB DDR3. The lack of an additional CPU core could well hold the N4130 back in demanding tests, especially as many other NAS enclosures such as Synology's DiskStation DS414j sport dual core CPUs, although a lot will depend on IPC; just as in in the desktop PC processor market, more cores and indeed higher frequencies don't always result in better performance.
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The enclosure is extremely compact and both in terms of height and width it's barely any bigger than the four hard disks it can squeeze inside. The drive mounts are your standard 3.5in affairs, although, unlike Synology's recent efforts, they're not tool-free and lack any anti-vibration mounts. Thankfully, what the N4310 lacks here it makes up for with a large 92mm fan at the rear, which proved to be practically silent throughout testing.
As there's no link aggregation support, there's little need for more than one Ethernet port, but the N4310 does sport two DC inputs. Should one power adaptor fail, the other one can kick in. That's some pretty paranoid thinking as far as redundancy is concerned and Thecus doesn't include a second adaptor in the box either, but if you're operating in mission-critical mode with your data, it may well come in useful.
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As you'd expect in a modern NAS, it's all about USB 3 and there two such ports on the rear of the N4310 - we'd like to have seen one on the front but if you're desperate for front-USB access, then you could just run a hub round instead. Being a four-bay device, there are plenty of RAID options, with the default being RAID 5, with auto-rebuild, hot-swap and hot-spare functions supported too.
There's a greater array of features on offer over and above your average external hard disk, such as a USB print server, dedicated Bit-Torrent and NZB clients and even Plex Media Server support. With our four 4TB WD Red hard disks installed, the RAID 5 total data capacity was just over 11TB
- Local connections Front: None Rear: 2 x USB 3, 1 x LAN
- Network connections 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- Storage Up to 4 x 3.5in/2.5in hard disks
- Cables 1.5m Cat 5 Ethernet,
- Cooling 1 x 92mm fan
- Features FTP server, webserver, independent download (via HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent), iTunes and UPnP media sever, DLNA, storage server for external USB hard disks, Plex server support, dual DC input.
- Dimensions (W x D x H) 170mm x 217mm x 135mm
- Accessories/Extras USB copy button