The world of the home server and the home based NAS really hasn’t changed drastically over the last couple of years. Most of the changes we have seen are related to speeds and basic firmware enhancements. Recently, Thecus has announced its N5550 NAS and plans to shake things up by bringing the NAS out of the home office and into the living room. The N5550, by day, is your mild-mannered NAS. However, by night, the N5550 is more… much more!
When we look at a NAS we do more than just benchmark it. We look at every feature of the product in a real world environment. The NAS becomes our main file server, media server, or whatever other functions it can perform. Each aspect of the product is examined, from software to hardware to performance. The NAS is connected to our network just as it would be to yours, the network comprises of wired and wireless devices.
Thecus packs all you would expect into this NAS. It sports 2GB of DDR3 RAM, an Intel D2550 Atom Processor @ 1.86GHz, dual 10/100/1000 ports (supports teaming), USB 2.0 & 3.0, a 200W Power supply, Cooling fans, and 5 bays for SATA HDD storage goodness. Among some of the finer details are support for RAID 0,1,5,6, 10, and JBOD, RAID Level Migration, 256 bit volume encryption, EXT3/EXT4/XFS filesystems (ZFS is available on other Thecus Models, but not this one), and a slew of other features including one that I am saving for later… engage salivation.
When it comes down to the physical NAS there isn’t much to it, it measures 230 x 190 x 240 (mm). The front looks similar to the N5200xxx, they did change the logo, and is home to a push to release door that protects your drives from prying fingers (should you choose to leave the individual drive caddies unlocked). It has that same bland 70’s diner style jukebox look to it. I feel like at any moment the Fonz is going to walk through the door, bang his fist on it, then walk into his “office”. The front is also home to the System, WAN, USB, and Warning LEDs. There is also a power button, a reset button, USB 3.0 port, the LCD information panel (that displays system status and warning messages), up and down arrow button, an enter button, and an escape button.
The N5550 is a 5 bay NAS that can accommodate either 3.5in or 2.5in SATA drives (up to 3TB in capacity) giving you up to 15TB of space, depending on your file system and RAID level, handled by a Silicon Image SiI 3132 RAID Controller. Each of these bays features a key lock to prevent accidental removal and are also interchangeable between Thecus models. Construction of the drive caddies is solid.
The sides of the NAS are nothing special, they are just there because cubes require them…