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Thecus N7510 Review
Thecus is no slouch when it comes to producing affordable NAS solutions. They have been producing some of the best performing NAS at an unbeatable price for as long as I can remember. With the introduction of their Vision Series, Thecus has put the pressure on. Their N7510 NAS brings some interesting things to the table, 7 bays of storage loving goodness, great looks, and a fantastic price. Let’s see if it delivers more than just an odd number of drive bays.
The N7510 follows in the footsteps of some of their other recent releases, and this changes the game for Thecus. First, this NAS is absolutely beautiful to look at. The black steel and brushed aluminum construction stands out from the competition. The aluminum is thick and gives the NAS a polished appearance. The N7510 completes their Vision Series lineup of Atom powered NAS (2-bay N2800, 4-bay N4800 and N4510U and the 5-bay N5550) and with 7 bays, it is the king of its classroom.
The Thecus N7510 is a 7 bay tower style NAS powered by an 2.13 GHz Dual Core Intel Atom Processor that is partnered with 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The NAS features two Ethernet ports for connectivity with Link Aggregation, an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, supports a ton of RAID configurations (RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD), measures it at (HxWxD) 320mm x 210mm x 270mm, and weighs a hefty 10.42Kgs.
Thecus brings the same technology they packed into their N5550 into a larger and far better looking package. The N7510 brings everything you are looking for in a Network Attached Storage device together into one easy to manage package. Things like sharing files, website features, iSCSI support, cloud features, and home theater functionality are all available in Thecus NAS OS5. Administration is flexible and easy enough for a novice with enough features for enterprise.
Visually, the N7510 is a towering brushed aluminum spectacle. On the surface, Thecus had ditched the yellow elements we found on the N4200 PRO for a more soothing blue. The black case and the brushed aluminum enhancements make for an attractive, and heavy, NAS.
There are 6 different LED indicators up front of Power, System, WAN/LAN1, LAN2, USB Copy indicator, and eSATA Link. Below the LED information strip are two USB 3.0 Ports, a power button, an LCD information panel and some menu function buttons. The on-screen menu will typically be in “Display” mode, which will provide you with relevant information such as Hostname, IP address, Aggregation Settings, System time, etc. Additionally, there are USB Copy and Management Modes. Management Mode will allow you to change IP settings, reset, reboot, etc.
Open the thick aluminum push-to-release door and you are presented with the 7 drive bays that make this NAS unique stacked neatly on top of one another. Each drive caddy is interchangeable with the other Thecus NAS we have tested and includes the same key locking mechanism and key. There is no lock for the door… just the drive trays. The door sports a slew of ventilation holes for the two rear cooling fans to pull air through and are dual purposed to allow you to see the HDD status light on each of the drive trays.
Around back you will find an expansion slot, two system exhaust fans, a pair of Ethernet Ports, VGA, HDMI, eSATA, USB Ports, Power, and Audio connections. The HDMI port allows you to connect your NAS directly to your TV and run the popular XBMC front end.
Unlike the N2560 we looked at last month, the N7510 ships with Thecus NAS OS5; the same version of NAS OS that can be found on all other variants within the Vision Series. I haven’t received word yet on whether or not Thecus NAS OS6 will make its way beyond the SOHO/Home NAS lineup.
The Thecus Firmware is logical. Things are where you would expect them to be. Finding things can take a bit of time if you are used to other NAS firmware, but the search function works well and will lead you in the right direction. Thecus NAS OS5 isn’t as pleasing to the eye as that of Asustor, Synology, and QNAP, but it will do the job. The UI is plastered with a pastel blue background and a mundane dated side panel.
The individual menu elements, when clicked, bring frames into view that sometimes do not scale with the size of the window. These smaller than window size frames make for a constant scrolling in either direction to get all the information.
The firmware is broken down into 9 basic sections which each include various items to administer the NAS.
- System Information: General, Status, System Log, Online Registration, Syslog Management, System Monitor, Hardware Information
- System Management: Date and Time, Notifications, Firmware Upgrade, Scheduled On/Off, Administrator Password, Config Mgmt, Factory Default, Reboot & SHutdown, File System Check, Wake-0n-Lan, SNMP, UI Login Functions.
- System Network: Networking, DHCP/RAID, Linking Aggregation.
- Storage: Disk Information, RAID Management, NAS Stacking, ISO Image Mountin, Share Folders, iSCSI
- User & Group Authentication: ADS Support, Local User Configuration, Local Group COnfiguration, Batch Input, User Quota, User Group Backup, LDAP Support
- Network Services: Samba/CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP, TFTP, Webservice, UPnP Service, Bonjour, SSH, DDNS, UPnP Port Management
- Application Server: iTunes Server, Module Installation, Auto Module Installation
- Backup: DOM Backup, Rsync Target Server, ACL Backup/Restore, Data Burn, Data Guard, Amazon S3
- External Devices: Printers, Uninterrupted Power Source
If you are looking to give the ThecusOS 5.0 a testdrive: ThecusOS Demo
- Username: thecus
- Password: thecus
Thecus NAS OS5 provides you, the user, with some easy to find and read statistics about your NAS. The new page provides you with 4 customizable graphs that range from CPU usage and Memory Usage to Bandwidth. Unfortunately, there still is not a graphical representation of disk space, like other manufacturers. This requires you to read the article instead of just looking at the pictures.
The N7510 supports multiple RAID volumes on a single system. For example, this allows you run a RAID 0 volume for speed and a RAID 6 volume for redundancy based on your needs. RAID expansion and RAID migration in the N7510 is no different from it is for other models in the Thecus linup. You have the ability to migrate from various RAID levels, but not from a single disk to RAID:
- RAID1 -> RAID5/6
- RAID5 -> RAID6
The Users and Group Authentication menu option contains all the things you need to create users on your NAS. It allows you to create users individually for ACL (access control lists) or groups for a more generic permissions structure. You can even configure the NAS for ADS (Active Directory Server)/NT support. For home users or small office users, you can batch import users by means of a CSV file.
Submit files containing user names, passwords,
and group names separated by commas without any spaces,
each line represents one user.
Creating shares with the NAS is straight forward. All you have to do is click the “Add” button, name your share, provide a description, and choose whether it is public, and if you want to enforce a Quota or not. You can set the permissions for each folder by user or by group after the share has been created by entering ACL and dragging either the user or the group to Deny, Read Only, or Writable.
Additionally, Thecus NAS OS5 Sports:
- McAfee Antivirus – Thecus’ innovative hardware helps prevent failures. But sometimes you have to protect the NAS against itself. Adding an antivirus to the already comprehensive software bundle will provide the necessary software protection by scanning the files on your NAS and defending it against possible threats. McAfee is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company and shares Thecus’ spirit of dedication and quality. By establishing a strong partnership with them, Thecus will allow users the benefit of McAfee’s powerful software on their NAS entirely for free.
- 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.
- Cloud Backup – The private and public clouds meet with Thecus’ new DropBox, Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality! Guard your data with RAID at home and an additional level of protection in the Cloud. Just drag and drop files into the folder on your NAS and access them on any computer or mobile device with DropBox, Amazon S3 or ElephantDrive. Still waiting for Thecus to catch up to QNAP and provide a Google Drive module.
Thecus also supports the installation of additional modules so that you can bring new features to your NAS. The available list of applications is small but growing. There are plenty of 3rd party modules available as well.
It is a given that using your NAS should be easy, and it is also a given that your NAS should perform well in serving up your files. After all, this is basically what the devices is intended for. To benchmark the NAS, we run synthetic benchmarks as well as benchmark some real world activities.NAS Benchmarking Hardware & Methodology details hardware used & methodology for conducting benchmarks.To see how this NAS compares to others, please visit our NAS Benchmarking Database
For testing the large file transfer speed of the NAS, we transfer a 46.6GB Blu-Ray ISO (Avatar) from the workstation to the NAS and back five times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting. For more on our Avatar Benchmark please see our Benchmarking application: COD Benchmarking Utility[table id=1 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]
For testing the transfer speed of the NAS with smaller files, we use the same method as the Avatar test but instead create two hundred individual MP3′s of specific file sizes for repeatable results. The files are copied from the workstation to the NAS and back 5 times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting.[table id=2 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]
For testing the large file transfer speed of the NAS, we transfer a 2GB file from the workstation to the NAS and back five times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting.[table id=2 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]
For further benchmarking, we test each NAS using Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit to rate 2 key areas of NAS performance. We measure File Copy speeds to and from the NAS and the Directory Copy speeds to and from the NAS. System RAM is set to 2048MB of RAM to ensure there is no mem caching for transfers.[table id=3 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=3 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=3 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=3 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=3 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 use_datatables=false /]
For benchmarking the performance of iSCIS, we created an iSCSI connection to the NAS and benchmark the NAS using Intel’s IOMeter. IOMeter has to be one of the most widely used software packages for benchmarking disks. There are an endless number of ways you can build a benchmark, but we chose to limit our benchmarking to 100 percent Sequential Read and Write then 100 percent Random Read and Write. You can emulate our benchmarking by using the following configuration
[table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 use_datatables=false /]
‘size % of size % reads % writes % sequential % random delay burst align reply 2,097,152 100 100 0 100 0 0 1 0 0 2,097,152 100 0 100 100 0 0 1 0 0 2,097,152 100 100 0 0 100 0 1 0 0 2,097,152 100 0 100 0 100 0 1 0 0
CrystalDiskMark is another benchmarking utility that determines speeds by measuring 512KB, 4KB, and 4KB (Queue Depth 32) sequential and random read and write speeds. Test data can be Random, 0Fill, and 1Fill. For our purposes, we left the test at Random.j[table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,16,17 use_datatables=false /] [table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,27 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 use_datatables=false /]
Thecus brings performance and style together into one beautiful brushed aluminum package. The N7510 features 7 drive bays and tons of file transferring goodness. The new look of the Thecus lineup’s exterior is left lonely by the dated but still functional administration. The web interface has everything you need in various categories, but it lacks the panache and polish you get from other NAS. Whenever I perform any system maintenance, I feel like Marty McFly.
The N7510 does look good, and it performs as well as NAS that cost nearly twice as much. The Intel D2701 CPU teamed up with 2GB of RAM and the Intel 82801JI SATA AHCI Controller keep data moving quickly through the dual Intel Corporation 82574L Gigabit Network Cards. The benchmarks show that this NAS can hang with the big boys.
When you put it all together and slap it with a price tag right around $700.00 USD, you get a NAS that is almost impossible to pass up. Given its price tag, the lackluster UI is something I can easily live with. If you are in the market for a speedy NAS that has great looks and plenty of 3rd party support, you need not look much farther.