Thecus N5550 NAS Server - Performance and General Use

Article Index
Thecus N5550 NAS Server
Hardware and Software Specs
Software Setup and More
Other Setup and Software
Performance and General Use

Performance Tests:

The performance of the Thecus N5550 is pretty solid. We didn't have five matching drives so we got a little creative and created a couple of drive arrays to check out. Network performance on both RAID arrays is pretty decent for sure and in fact, the write performance is the best we've seen. No matter how we sliced it, the performance was rock solid. Thecus claims the drive can read up to 104MB/s and write at 112MB/s. In our tests we saw pretty close to that on the write tests, but the read tests came in a little lean on both RAID arrays.

For a real-world write test we used a file creation utility to generate a 4GB file on the Thecus N5550 as fast as it could and as you can see, it created this 4GB file in just under 42 seconds on the RAID 5 array and at just over 35 seconds on the RAID 1 array. That equates to a real-world write speed of just over 116.9MB/s. That is incredible!

N2310

N2310 RAID 0

N5550 RAID 1

N5550 RAID 1

N5550 RAID 5

N5550 RAID 5

 

We saw read speeds right on par with the write speeds and again, I attribute this to network throughput as much as drive throughput - not the capability of the NAS.

N2310 RAID 0

N2310 RAID 0

ASUStor RAID 5

ASUStor RAID 5

   

N5550 RAID 1

N5550 RAID 1

N5550 RAID 5

N5550 RAID 5

 

I've included the results from the ASUStor AS-604T and Thecus N2310, but this is like comparing apples to oranges. The reality is they are running completely different drives, RAID arrays and have entirely different processors. Still, you can see that the Thecus N5550 takes the write speed crown - even with some odd RAID arrays and older drives. I thought I'd include this data for reference only and it's not meant to be a straight comparison between units.

 

Usage:

The Thecus N5550 is a solid product to use. The performance for network attached storage is great and it currently is the fastest NAS that we've tested. The box has more than enough features for the home or small business user including Time Machine backup, iTunes server, Plex, FTP, Web Server, DDNS, WebDAV support, user accounts, quotas and a whole lot more. You can install a bunch of other applications including CrashPlan, TeamSpeak3, Minecraft, McAfee and more.

The only real beef that I have with the Thecus N5550 is the ThecusOS itself. It feels unfinished. It does have easy access to features, applications and more, but it just doesn't feel polished. Other applications that are installed feel very separate from the system. As with the N2310, all of the features work well enough, but they really do need to spend some more time polishing off the rough edges - and spelling this correctly. This is not a deal-breaker by all means as the N5550 is perhaps the best value in any SOHO NAS around as it has five bays and stellar performance, but it is something that could be worked on to make the user experience that much better.

Profile

 

Conclusion:

At the end of the day the Thecus N5550 is a very solid product. What it lacks in smooth and polished web interface it makes up for in performance, value and in features. It is one of the most feature-packed NAS units we've seen and comes it at a lower price point than many 4-Bay NAS units without a display. The hardware under the hood is very comparable as well and you're not giving up any performance when you choose this unit as your main file storage server. I do like the fact that Thecus has a growing selection of mobile applications that add to the flexibility of the N5550. Many of these are available for both iOS and Android platforms and this attention to their user base is a very good thing.

The N5550 has a ton of RAID options that are possible with five bays and we were able to test out a couple of them. Overall the performance was very good as it powered by a dual-core Intel processor and it comes with 2GB of DDR3 memory. Thankfully, with that extra processing power, the USB interface is a pleasure to use - unlike the N2310 that was powered by a single-core ARM processor. There isn't anything at all to complain about in terms of performance.

The experience for a single user is very good and we upped our game and connected multiple machines to this box and pounded in for a few weeks. In the end, the performance was limited to the network connection coming out of the N5550 and we were able to saturate it and still get very good performance. When copying files to and from this machine, we saw that we were able to read at about 60MB/sec while at the same time write at around 90MB/sec. The CPU usage was pretty high at that point, but it served up files just fine.

There simply isn't much to complain about with the N5550 from Thecus, and there is quite a bit to be happy about. One of the biggest reasons to be happy is the $420 price tag (currently) and the fact that it has five bays. This is an amazing deal if you need data security on a device such as this. I don't think you can find a more powerful device with more bays for less money.

 

Pros:

  • Lots of connectivity options (USB2.0/USB3.0/eSATA/HDMI)
  • Supports JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and Single Disk Volumes
  • Display on unit lets you see network settings, alerts and more
  • So many options
  • Much cheaper than the competition
  • Media Server / Media Player
  • HDMI and audio connectivity

 

Cons:

  • Web interface still needs more polish
  • Installing software is a bit more clunky than with other products

 

Gold

 

I would like to thank Thecus for sending over the N5550 for us to review. It was great to see the follow-up to their entry-level unit and to see how much better this performs under a bigger load.

If you have any questions or comments, please make sure to drop us a line in the forum at the link below.