Thecus N2310 Conclusion
Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusions, as they represent our product rating for the sample received, which may differ from retail versions.
The performance of the Thecus N2310 is very competitive, no question about it. It sits either at the top, or very close to it, within its target market. During timed transfers of 1GB and 10GB files the N2310 recorded average Read speeds of 103.8 MB/s and Write speeds of 93.3 MB/s. These are results with a single disk, operating in JBOD mode. I suspect 80%+ of all users will choose the RAID 1 operating mode, and limited results I saw with that arrangement were comparable. I wasn’t able to monitor the AppliedMicro APM86491 processor inside, to see if it was maxed out during these tests. Nor could I see whether the 512MB of SDRAM was being run at or near full capacity. I never saw an impact on transfer speed though, as I was watching the network performance in real-time for many of the test runs. The balancing act of capacity, speed and cost has to land somewhere, and Thecus put together a well-balanced package that delivers the goods at a very low cost. The USB 3.0 performance is a much needed shot in the arm for interfacing with portable devices. The GbE network interface is perfectly suitable here, as there is absolutely no way to fit a 10GbE solution into the component budget for this NAS.
The appearance of the Thecus N2310 is dominated by the decision to fabricate the entire outer shell in plastic. Thecus went with a bold design theme that is all black, and it incorporates a large glossy section in the center that adds a bit of contrast and has a slimming effect. It’s actually smaller than it looks in most of the pictures, and much lighter than any of the other NAS models I’ve tested. The one piece shell for the top and sides minimizes seam lines and makes for a solid-looking package. The indicator lights will normally be shining blue and white, which are good colors for me. One day green will be back in fashion, but not just yet. Most people don’t spend a lot of time looking at their NAS; they just put it on a shelf in the corner, and dust it every now and then.
The construction quality of the Thecus N2310 might seem controversial at first glance, but I think it hits the mark perfectly. Clearly, cost reduction was high on the designer’s list of must-haves. However, I see no places where performance or reliability were sacrificed in the name of economy. Aesthetics, yes. Fit and finish, and that hard-to-define tactile sense of luxury, yes. Component quality and attention to detail in manufacturing, absolutely not. The PCB assembly was produced with very high quality, with good soldering and precise component placement. The board was cleaned very well, with very little of the usual fibers and solvent residues that I’ve seen elsewhere. The drive trays are a little too flexible, and don’t slide in and out as smoothly as some others I’ve tested. They seat firmly in the chassis though, and there are no issues with alignment of the drive with the SATA connectors on the backplane. The outer shell and the inner framework fit together well, came apart easily when needed, and went back together in a snap. Thecus provides a 2 Year warranty, which is reasonable.
The Thecus N2310 is targeted to a growing class of NAS users, I think. The expansion and increased awareness of cloud-based services has really opened the public’s eyes to the advantages of centralized storage, that’s universally accessible. The N2310 offers home users a very cost-effective way of creating a private cloud, that won’t incur monthly fees. Thecus has all the basics covered in their software modules, in addition to mobile access with both iOS and Android. The setup routine has been simplified, and it delivers on the 5-minute marketing promise. There was no way to migrate from JBOD to a RAID configuration without erasing all the data, but this is a common problem for NAS users. Very few vendors have improved on this, and to be fair it just makes good sense to populate both bays and create a RAID 1 array from the start, when you only have two drives to install.
As of January 2014 the Thecus N2310 model was listed for $159.00 at Newegg, and at Amazon. Given the performance and functionality you get, the state-of-the-art AppliedMicro SoC that’s inside, the USB 3.0 port, and the other features it offers, I think that’s a fantastic, low price. For me, the NAS concept has always been a good value proposition, but the Thecus N2310 offers unbelievable value within that paradigm. You are now able to purchase a two bay NAS for the price of a one bay unit, and RAID 1 functionality is within reach for a much larger group of households. As I said at the beginning of this article, Everybody Needs a NAS. With the N2310, Thecus has lowered the barrier to entry further than any of their competitors. Combined with the excellent performance, I think the N2310 represents one of the best values in the NAS market today.
Benchmark Reviews has enjoyed testing a variety of network storage solutions, and with the wide range of products on offer from a number of vendors, anyone in need of a NAS server can find one to fit their current and future needs. The biggest problem is choosing one; that’s why we go into so much detail in our reviews, to help you figure out what level of performance and features is right for you. If you need a staggering array of features and 10GbE-class performance, then you need to look elsewhere to meet those needs. If you just need the storage capacity that two bays of RAID 1 provides, in a small tower package, then the Thecus N2310 represents an outstanding value.
+ High data transfer speeds
+ Amazing value
+ Two bays for the price of one
+ High quality construction
+ Small size and weight
+ Low power usage
+ USB 3.0 port on rear panel
+ Quiet operation
+ Easy, fast setup with online install portal
+ High quality external power supply
+ Additional support apps available online
+ Active Company and Community support
– Can’t migrate from single disk to RAID without erasing data
– Must be on same sub-net as workstation, or use static IPs
– Chassis screws located under adhesive-backed feet
– Drive trays and bays not labeled 1, 2, etc.
Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: How do you use your network storage?