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Thecus N4200ECO 4 Bay NAS Enclosure Review

The Thecus N4200ECO NAS system is a very high performing NAS system. It blitzed through our data bandwidth tests, peaking around 93 MB/s when dealing with large single files. Not only is it powerful enough to be used in a small office environment, but it can handle reasonably intensive demands before waving the white flag.

The build quality is without reproach, the chassis is crafted almost completely from metal and each of the drive bays are strong enough to withstand long term abuse. The fact these have individual key locks is the icing on the cake. The front fascia has two individual colour panels which report back copious detail on N4200ECO activity, as well as network and drive status.

As we mentioned earlier in the review, we were able to see immediately that one of our 500 GB drives had failed. The fact that the third drive light disappeared was a clear indication that we had to replace the third disk. These are hot swappable, which is a significant bonus.

If data is important then an IT manager should feel happy enough be able to lock the drives away from prying hands. That said, it is clearly not targeting the high end business audience and a more expensive, capable model should be considered for a larger corporate environment.

Sadly there are some rather noticeable problems, which are based around the software and literature supplied with the product. The N4200ECO NAS defaults to a 192.168.1.100 IP and if you happen to have a network based around a 0.xxx IP range then the device is inaccessible until manually intervening with the supplied software.

It was certainly not a complex procedure to rectify this problem, but the multiple optical discs are poorly labelled and the setup software is far from ideal for an inexperienced user. Synology and QNAP are literally light years ahead in regards to software development.

To be fair, once the device is correctly configured for the partnering network, the browser software is straightforward enough to use, although it was rather sluggish. Setting up a 2TB Raid 1 configuration (4x500GB) required a four hour format, which seems positively lethargic. Competing products are significantly faster.

If we can look past the messy configuration then the NAS itself is worthy of commendation. It performs exceptionally well, generates very little noise under load and doesn’t demand lot of power from the socket. These three combined are key elements for rating a NAS system in my opinion.

In closing, the Thecus N4200ECO has been a slightly bewildering experience for me. The NAS itself is fantastic and the end user is presented with a capricious expanse of detail from the dual display panels. It seems incredibly well thought out, until the setup and configuration state initiates.

Overall I have no hesitation recommending the Thecus N4200ECO, however I feel it is geared towards slightly more experienced users.

You can buy this direct from ARIA in a bare bones configuration for £318.06 inc vat.

Pros:

  • Fantastic performance.
  • powerful processor.
  • 1GB of memory.
  • built like a tank.
  • supports up to 12TB of storage.
  • lockable.
  • external backup options.
  • quiet.
  • efficient.

Cons:

  • The default configuration won’t suit some networks.
  • Reasonable experience may be needed.
  • Software can be sluggish.

Kitguru says: A great NAS system let down by slightly slow running software and a poor initial setup system.

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Rating: 8.0.

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