SOHO or SMB NAS devices have become quite popular these days, with their rich feature set, low cost, and ease of adding large amounts of storage to your network. There are many companies that vie in this market segment, such as QNAP, Synology, LaCie, Infortrend, as well as Thecus. With Thecus specifically, they have been releasing NAS devices since they were established in 2004. Since that time, their product portfolio has grown to include options for just about any configuration. Also with every product iteration, they continue to improve and expand on the previous generation. All of this has led to Thecus being widely known and one of the more popular choices when it comes to NAS devices.
While Thecus offers products for large business to home use, today we will be taking a look at the N5550, which is targeted for SMB (Small/Medium Business). In the Tower (as opposed to rackmount) SMB product category, Thecus has NAS devices with 2 to 7 drive bay configurations, and these units will also differ in CPU speed and pre-installed memory. Also, since this is targeted for the SMB market, the N5550 has features such as iSCSI Thin-Provisioning, RSync Backup, and User quotas.
Before getting to the review, let’s take a peek at the Thecus N5550 hardware specifications:
- Intel Atom Dual-Core 1.86GHz CPU
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 5 x 3.5” SATA hard disk drive bays
- LAN ports:
- 2 x 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
- USB ports:
- 1 x USB 3.0; 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA port
- 1 x HDMI port
- 1 x VGA port
- Audio: 1 x MIC input, 1 x Line input, 1 x Audio output
- LCD panel
- Dimensions: 230 x 190 x 240 (mm)/ 9.06 x7.48 x 9.45 (in)
- Weight: 4.38(Kgs)/9.66(lb)(NAS only)
- 200W AC power supply
- System fan: 1 x SmartFan
With the hardware specifications, I was immediately surprised to see that Thecus went with a lower clock Atom process, in comparison to other 5-bay offerings from other vendors. It will be interesting to see if this has any impact on performance. Also, with the prevalence of USB 3.0 devices these days, it would have been nice to have more than a single USB 3.0 port on the N5550. The availability of an HDMI, VGA, and Audio ports, this is not something we see on some competing offerings from other vendors, especially products offerings targeting the SMB market. Having the ability to directly attached a monitor, keyboard, and mouse is a nice option.
Unboxing the Thecus N5550, the packing is quite sturdy and does a great job of ensuring that the N5550 should arrive to you damage free (baring any extreme shipping conditions). With everything unpacked, here are the contents:
- 1 x Thecus N5550 NAS unit
- 5 x Drive Carriers
- 1 x Power Cable
- 2 x Cat 5e Ethernet Cables
- 1 x Installation CD
- 1 x Arconis True Image DVD
- 1 x Accessory Bag (Screws and Key)
- 1 x Quick Installation Guide
- 1 x Warranty Card
- 1 x HDD Compatibility Guide
For the most part, the included items are pretty standard fare for products in this category, however Arconis True Image and an HDD compatibility guide are welcome additions. Aside from that, you should have everything you need to get the Thecus n5550 up and running right out of the box.