Hardware Reviews

Thecus N2310 NAS Review

Lets face it, loosing data due to hard drive failure flat out sucks. We’ve all been there, and how we wished we took the time to back everything up before the disaster struck. But how? Well, that’s where a good NAS (Network Attached Storage) system comes into play. The N2310 by Thecus is the perfect solution for home or small businesses users who want greater peace of mine when it comes to data integrity. A NAS storage solution is perfect because it provides a centralized backup location for all computers on the network.

Currently NAS drives range in features so it’s important to choose the configuration and features you want before purchasing. If you are looking for features, you’ll find them on the N2310. Most of them I will be going in depth later on in the review, but some of the main features include RAID support, a web-based GUI interface, FTP and SSH connectivity, a built in BitTorrent client, and Android and IOS app support. Our first thoughts… impressive! Time to put the N2310 through the ringer and see how it does during our tests.

 

Features and Specifications

As I mentioned on the previous page, the Thecus N2310 comes with a boat-load of features which will appeal to a rather large range of users. Whether you are looking for a backup solution, or a convenient way to access your files, you might be surprised at how well a NAS solution will work for you.

At a glance, the N2310 features two removable drive 3.5″ drive bays. As with any NAS solution, be sure to note that hard drives are not included and will need to be purchased separately.

Below are a list of the N2310’s features found on the Thecus website:

Hardware:

ItemSpec
ProcessorAMCC APM 86491 800Mhz
System Memory512MB DDR3
LAN Interface (PCI-e)RJ-45×1: 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
USB InterfaceUSB 2.0 host port x1 (back x1)
USB 3.0 host port x1 (back x1)
Disk Interface2 x SATA for internal
Power Supply40W external power adaptor
ButtonsPower button
USB copy button
Reset button
EnvironmentTemperature: 5°C to 40°C
Humidity: 0 ~ 80 % R.H. (Non-condensing)
Chassis2bays Tower
Dimensions (HxW)135 x 97 x 207 (mm)
Weight0.79(Kgs) / 1.74(lb)
CertificatesCE/FCC/C-Tick/VCCI/BSMI
RoHS
WEEE

Software Capabilities

RAID
RAID ModesRAID 0, 1 and JBOD
Auto-rebuildSupported
Hot-swapSupported
Disk
Bad Block ScanningSupported
SMART InfoSupported
SMART TestSupported
Disk RoamingSupports volume-based roaming to other N2310
Network
ConfigurationFixed IP address, dynamic IP address
Transport ProtocolsTCP/IP, AppleTalk
File ProtocolsSMB/CIFS, HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, AFP, NFS
TCP/IPIPV6 & IPV4
System status
Syslog ManagementSend syslog to assigned location
Act as syslog server to receive log info from other systems
Data Access
Client OS SupportWindows XP and after
Windows Server 2003 and after
Mac OS X
Linux
FTPBuilt-in FTP server with bandwidth control
Secure FTPBuilt-in secure FTP server with bandwidth control
Download ManagerBT Transmission
Printer Server (IPP)Supports USB printers
Supports a wide range of IPP printers
Client can manage print tasks (list/delete) via web user interface
Data Backup
Client Incremental Data BackupThecus Backup Utility
Data BurnCreate files to ISO image and burn to optical disc
Create files to ISO image
Read ISO image from optical disc and write to NAS
Mac OS X Time MachineSupported
Data GuardRemote Backup/Local Backup
Power Management
Scheduled Power On/OffSupported
Volume Management
File SystemEXT4
Multimedia Support
iTunes ServerSupports AAC, MP3 w/ID3 tag and WAV
Piczza!™ Photo Server (via module)Supports GIF, JPG (JPEG), BMP and PNG
Supports EXIF display
Supports slide shows
Media ServerSupports uPnP AV streaming protocol
User Authentication
Local UserSupports built-in user accounts
Local GroupSupports built-in user groups
File System
TypeJournaling File System
Language SupportUnicode Support
Authorization (ACL)“Read”, “write”, or “deny” privileges to individual users or groups in folders and sub-folders
User QuotaSupported
Administration
User InterfaceWeb-based user interface supports English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Portuguese.
Utility Program (Intelligent NAS)MS Windows Setup Wizard
Supports Windows XP and after
Windows Server 2003 and after
Mac OS X Setup Wizard
Email NotificationsSends system messages via email to the system administrator
DDNS**Support one free DDNS registration (ex. xxx.thecuslink.com) (How-to)
UPnP and Port forwardingSupport auto setting in Intranet environment
Intelligent NASGo through defined URL for auto install (install.thecus.com)
Mobile Applications (iOS/Android)
T-Dashboard™Mobile monitoring and administration
T-OnTheGo™Upload, download and stream multimedia
Others
Recycle BinSupported
Web DiskSupported

So as you can see, the N2310 has features. Lots of them. I am particularly impressed with the hardware the unit is equipped with. For a NAS system which supports just two single drives, you shouldn’t have any performance issues.

Features

5 Minute Complete Installation
The N2310 is designed with ease in mind; it is easy enough for anyone to set up. Overlook the several steps which usually are associated with setting up NAS appliances. Simply plug the power supply, insert the Ethernet cable, boot up the N2310 and set up will be completed within 5 minutes. This breakthrough feature truly makes this a plug-and-play NAS.

T-OnTheGo™ Mobile App
We’re a mobile society, and our NAS solutions are keeping up! Incorporated into the N2310 is support for Thecus’s® T-OnTheGo™ smartphone app. Now supporting both iOS and Android, this NAS management software enables users to access, copy, stream, and edit any data between their NAS and mobile device. Your own personal cloud, from anywhere with internet access.

DDNS
Have easy access to your NAS via Dynamic DNS (DDNS), this allows users to allocate and access their NAS files via the internet remotely. Since IP digits are often difficult to remember, domain names are utilized to make NAS management much more convenient. When the IP address is changed, the DDNS server will automatically adjust the IP address to make sure that remote access is always available. In short, DDNS provides convenient remote internet access to your Thecus® N2310 by utilizing domain names instead of IP digits.

PLEX Media Center
The Plex Media Server is both the heart and brains for any digital media system. The free server is a module available on the Thecus® App Center that allows you to set up and manage your media. With the Plex Media Server installed on your Thecus® NAS, various devices on your network (such as your Xbox 360 and mobile devices) can connect to and stream your local and online media.

Native BitTorrent Support
Included in ThecusOS™ 6 is Transmission, a powerful BitTorrent client. Easily add torrent seed files to Transmission and sit back and relax as your NAS does the rest, independent of your computer. Once downloaded, your files will be automatically stored in your NAS P2P folder where you’ll be able to access them across your network or through the internet. Set and forget torrenting that’s accessible anywhere, that’s the N2310’s native BitTorrent support.

Data Guard
Data Guard backup solution is the ultimate software as it provides both local and remote parts. Currently, data is backed up across RAID volumes, external USB drives, and eSATA. In addition, Data Guard uses innovative technology to sync data across the network to other NAS and servers. More importantly, Thecus® Data Guard is the total backup solution which makes managing NAS user-friendly and convenient.

Data Burn
NAS data can now be burned directly to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray discs with Data Burn, this hassle-free module makes burning data to a disk effortless. In addition, burning ISO image file is also supported. Whether you’re managing audio, media or essential files; Data Burn copies information fast while significantly reducing waiting time. The process of burning file to disk is now easy and smooth with Data Burn module.

USB 3.0 Connectivity
The next generation of connectivity is here with speeds 10x faster than USB 2.0. Whether connecting digital cameras and smart phones, backing up large external hard drives, or extending the capacity of your NAS, USB 3.0 will make sure it’s done in no time at up to 5 Gbit/s. Backwards compatibility adds the connectivity of a world full of USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices to get the best combination of speed and universal access.

User Quota
Divide the massive storage of a Thecus NAS among multiple users. Whether there are two users or 100, User Quota make it easy to divvy up and manage disk space.

Hardware Install & Packaging

Packaging

The Thecus N2310 arrived in great condition. It was packaged nicely in custom foam molds which should keep it nice in safe during shipping. Included in the package is the N2310, hardware mounting screws, an ethernet cable, and power cable.


Installation

When installing the hard drives into the NAS system, it would be best to glance over the manual first although the installation process is all pretty straightforward. The front loaded HDD trays slide out when the bottom tab on each tray is lifted and pulled at the same time.

Mounting the hard drives onto the removable trays is also easy. Thecus included mounting screws which screw through the side of the hard drive tray into the hard drive. Be sure that when installing the hard drive, the SATA and power ports are pointed away from the front of the NAS system, or away from the latches on the HDD tray.

Once you’ve installed the hard drives onto the removable hard drive tray’s, simply slide them back into the N23120 drive, latch them shut, and you’re good to go!

A Closer Look…

The overall quality of the Thecus N2310 NAS system is overall very good. The exterior feels durable and very well made. The plastic used in the construction doesn’t feel thin and fragile. Rather, it feels solid and gives off a sense of hardiness.

On the front side of the drive there are the two removable drive bays. Along the right side there are your activity lights which indicate (from the top) activity for power, system status, HDD1 activity, HDD2 activity, LAN, and USB. Below that there’s a handy little button that copies the contents of an external storage device such as a USB flash drive, onto the N2310. Finally, just below the USB copy button is the power button which function should be obvious.

The reverse side as seen in the image below offers several connection options. First the two USB ports for external storage, and the LAN port which you’ll want to use to connect the N2310 onto your home network. Below that is the reset button and power-in plug for the included external power adapter.

I was very happy to see a cooling fan on the rear side. This will greatly improve drive lifespan by keeping all the internals nice and cool. When I first powered up the N2310 I was concerned that the fan would create an issue with noise, however during the entire testing phase, the fan was completely silent while moving just the right amount of air to keep the drives cool.

Software Setup & Interface

With the drives installed, the network cable attached, press the power button on the NAS. At this point no further hands-on action is required. Head over to another computer which is on the same network as the N2310 and download the Setup Utility from the Thecus website. This small utility will aid you through the setup process for getting your brand new N2310 onto your network.

When you first run the utility you will come across a screen like this. What it’s doing is scanning your network for the N2310. When it finds it, it will display it as shown. Click “Next” when you see it listed.

The next screen presents you with options as to how you would like your disks configured. If you’ve installed two disks, “Self-Raid Creation” will setup a RAID 1 configuration, which means each drive will be mirrored for stronger data integrity. If you’ve installed a single drive, JBOD will be your only option and no RAID will be created. “Manual RAID Creation” gives the user several more options such as setting up a RAID 0 or “striped” configuration. Choosing this method doubles your drive’s capacity but at the risk of a greater chance of data loss.

Once you’ve selected the install mode, the N2310 will initialize the disks and setup the RAID if applicable. For testing purposes I opted to use the RAID 1 mode. The overall process took about 7 minutes to complete.

At this point, log in with your Thecus ID. If you don’t have one, create one before you proceed. Registration is done within the application and is quick and painless.

Once you’ve registered, the setup is complete! You can now access the N2310’s web interface by using the shortcut which was placed on your desktop, or by typing in the router-assigned local IP into your browser window.

For security purposes, you will be requested to login. Note that this is NOT your Thectus ID which was setup earlier. The default username is admin and the password is also admin. I recommend that you change the password after logging in. Below are some screenshots of the web interface.

The login screen

The main page for the web interface

NAS Application screen

RAID Management screen

The Control Panel. Lots of fun options here!

The control panel has tons of options. Our advice is to simply play around with it! There’s a lot of features which control a wide range of features which will be best learned by simply browsing around, and learning as you go!

Overall the interface is intuitive, and very feature-packed. The light-blue color scheme wouldn’t be my first choice, but to each his own when it comes to style I suppose.

Mobile Apps

Thecus has developed two unique mobile apps to assist users with accessing, change administrative tasks, or backup phone contents directly to their NAS.

T-Dashboard allows users to login directly to their N2310 through remote or local network. Once logged in, users can check the status of the drive, as well as change settings.

T-OnTheGo boasts some pretty cool features including Photo Sync. This feature automatically backups the user’s photos directly onto the NAS.

Unfortunately, at least for me, I was unable to get either of these apps working correctly on my Galaxy Note II. Either I’d get random error messages, or the app would completely crash without warning. User reviews for both report users having similar problems. Thankfully, the mobile apps were the only real negative experience I had during the entire testing process.

Conclusion and Final Score

The Thecus N2310 is the perfect solution for the average home user or small business owner. If you plan on using it as a backup drive, it is a very easy and cost effective backup solution compared to online backup companies. If you’re looking for a simple file storage solution for managing network shares across many computers, this NAS system will handle the task perfectly. Our overall experience was quite good to say the least. The hardware and software setup was simple and well laid out. The web interface was also a favorite; there were many options and settings to explore which added greatly to the NAS drive’s functionality.

However, as I expressed on the previous page, the only pitfall I had with the N2310 were the mobile apps. Neither would play nice which is too bad since I wasn’t able to test any of its features.

The Breakdown:

  • Appearance/Construction – Without question the Thecus N2310 is a fantastic looking NAS drive. The nice sleek, black look, with it’s sturdy construction gave this a perfect score of: 25/25!
  • Features/Testing – This was another area where the N2310 shined. Not only are there tons of hardware expansion options, but software options as well. Just take a look at the Control Panel in the web interface! The only draw back were the mobile apps not functioning properly. 22/25
  • Performance – And again No issues here. The drive was able to write to and from the RAID 1 disks with no problems at all. Speeds were good and we had no issues with connectivity. The included hardware specs are also pretty good for this size NAS. 25/25
  • Value – Currently at the time of writing this review, the N2310 sells for approx $150-165 which is about what you would expect for a two drive bay NAS. Considering the amount of features you’ll get, along with everything else we’ve talked about thus far, I believe the price is justified. 24/25

Overall: 96/100

The Thecus N2310 is the perfect solution for the average home user or small business owner.

9.6
Diamond Award:
9.6

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