Thecus N5550 NAS Server
|Thecus N5550 NAS Server|
|Hardware and Software Specs|
|Software Setup and More|
|Other Setup and Software|
|Performance and General Use|
Today we are looking at the value-priced and very powerful Thecus N5550 NAS server. This is a large 5-bay diskless box that can currently house five 6TB drives and give you a mix of 30TB of storage. This unit is powered by a Dual-Core Intel Atom Processor and 2GB of DDR3 memory. While it is not designed for a massive corporation, it is one of their higher-end products for the Small to Medium Business. The last product we reviewed from Thecus was the N2310 Dual-Bay unit that was (under)powered by a single-core processor that worked just fine in a home office environment, but simply couldn't perform in a larger environment with more connected clients. The N5550 has one of the best price-to-performance ratios on the market today. It has a long list of features that we'll get into here a bit later, but suffice to say, it's pretty loaded and the price isn't.
Thecus has a ton of different products in different configurations that range from small, extremely affordable dual-bay units all the way up to 16-bay Rackmount units powered by Xeon CPUs. The N5550 really comes in as a very sweet product that is affordable for almost any small-to-medium business and has the capability to grow with you as the 5-bays offer a lot of room as well as different RAID configurations simultaneously.
The Thecus N5550 supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD and this will allow you to choose either one large (or multiple) stripes of RAID 0 for the best performance or the security of RAID 1, 5, 6 or 10. For this test we ran a three disk RAID 5 array as well as a two disk RAID 1 mirror to see how performance works with two of these more popular RAID arrays. Many people that will be using the Thecus N5550 will probably settle for a RAID 5 array as the performance is very good and you can lose a drive with the other drives maintaining parity and you can replace the defective unit. Of course, if you lose another drive before you rebuild, you'll be out of luck.
At Thecus, we take pride in developing innovative storage solutions that keep data safe and secure. Founded in 2004, the Thecus team brings decades of R&D expertise, Thecus brand marketing channel development, and a strong customer focus to deliver high-quality products that meet the storage needs of individual, small/medium business and enterprise.
Quality, innovation, integration, and reliability -- the four pillars that Thecus was built on.
- Quality - Commitment to bring only the highest quality products to the marketplace.
- Innovation - Investing vast resources into research and development to provide high performance and easy-to-use solutions.
- Integration - Understanding consumers' needs and bringing the most complete product line to serve various types of applications and environments.
- Reliability - Bringing the most secure, easy-to-use, and reliable storage solutions available.
The Thecus N5550 is a fantastic looking box that hides all the ugly bits behind a door. The front remains a little contoured with a few buttons on the bottom as well as clear panel for the display to be visible when the door is closed. As you can see in the image below, the sides of the box have some ventilation as well to allow for some airflow for the system components. The bundle includes pretty much everything you'll need to get started and stay running. In the box is a single Ethernet cable, power cable, keys, screws bits, software and everything you need to get the device hooked up on your network and your data saved by way of Acronis True Image (included free). It's a very decent bundle to go with a device that promises a lot.
The front of the drive is nice, clean and it looks great. There is a narrow clear window that allows you to view the activity LEDs for power, network, drives and more. You can also see the bright blue USB 3.0 port on the front, but you can't use it unless you open the door. This is a bit unfortunate as there is very little clearance from the bottom of the door to the desk and if you've got extra pens or a USB cord laying around, the door won't open freely.
The rear of the unit is pretty plain but there is enough connections to be interesting. In addition to the easily removable power supply, there are a few other connections that make this unit stand out. There are audio jacks that include microphone, line in and line out as well as both VGA and HDMI ports. While a few units now come with an HDMI port, many do not include VGA for legacy monitors and TVs. Also on the back of this unit we find four USB 2.0 ports as well as an eSATA port. This gives you the option to install printers, uninterruptable power supplies, hard drives, flash drives and even a keyboard or mouse for some applications. All of this storage is connected by a pair of GB Ethernet ports located towards the bottom of the unit.
With the door open you get a better view of the ventilation that is on the front door as well as all five drive racks. Located to the left of the display are power and reset buttons. The N5550 supports USB copy but that is accessed through a menu on the device itself and requires of course that the door be open. I do like the feature on other NAS products where there is a button located right near the front USB port that allows you to do this procedure very quickly. I plug in my camera or an SD Card Reader to this and quickly make copies of my camera cards after a photo shoot using this method, so simpler, with less buttons is better.
On the next page we'll take a closer look at the hardware and software specifications before we take a closer look at this unit.