Thecus has one of the few manufacturers of network storage, which offers consumers not only the device, running a special version of Linux, but also Windows Storage Server. In particular, we can recall the model W4000 +, which we tested late last summer. Impressions of this love were mixed. The device is clearly losing models with similar hardware configuration for speed, and server software to use the platform to work very slowly. However, for certain scenarios, this drive offers a more tightly integrated into the environment of Microsoft software, which may be a plus.
In this article we will look at dual-network storage Thecus W2810Pro, who works on a modern quad-core SoC Intel Braswell platform, which gives hope for a more comfortable driving Windows Storage Server. The rest of the key features are: 4 GB of RAM, a dedicated SSD for the operating system, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, three ports USB 3.0, a license for 50 clients or devices, support for Active Directory services, cloud Azure and Office 365, secure remote access.
The device is positioned in the SMB segment and for home users. If the first all to be expected, the house benefits of integration with Microsoft Windows infrastructure at least debatable.
It is interesting to note that the model in the line of Thecus making is almost complete twin – N2810Pro, who works with the traditional proprietary ThecusOS based on Linux. By the way, the younger brother of the devices we tested . It is slightly different hardware specifications of the «Pro» -version.
Drive supplied large compared with the device carton. For ease of transport, it is provided on the plastic handle, which is quite in demand given the small weight (less than three kilograms). A framed box in Microsoft style – solid fills, smiling photos of users, sans serif font. There are also a list of specifications and main features of the firmware.
The drive is protected by inserts made of polyethylene foam. The package includes an external power supply (12 V 4 A) to the cable, one network patch cable, screw kit for fastening drives, keys for latch drive bays, a special mount for the power cable, short printed manual in several languages, Getting Started with WSS, warranty card.
Of the features we note the absence of power supply built-in LED indicator, a cable without a ground connection and direct plug to connect to the NAS.
As with most other devices, the PSU power is selected explicitly reserve. With test drives WD Red 2TB system consumption in idle mode is less than 15 W, and when working with the store – 20 watts.
On the manufacturer’s website, which, incidentally, has a separate section with its own design for models with the WSS, has a catalog of models, compatibility lists and FAQ section. Speaking about downloads, then nothing interesting for the device in question is no. We present only a few electronic documents, but last year’s update the BIOS (maybe not for her). As for the operating system, then its image is already recorded on the internal SSD and requires the activation of the serial number, which is on the label is present on the drive housing. At a certain persistence, you’ll find an OS image on a network drive manufacturer’s website. It may be necessary to reinstall the operating system, including for the purpose of resetting the factory.
Additionally, the device is installed specialized software orbweb.me to implement a remote access service. Thanks to him, you can connect to the server through a browser using the Java and get a full desktop environment. In addition, there is a special service for mobile customers. The truth here is the use of such third-party software on the server is a bit strange.
Appearance is not very different from other models of the series “2810”. Overall dimensions are 102 × 213 × 155 mm. The front panel is made of black plastic. On the left is a vertical strip of glossy, which has two buttons (power on and up to the USB), four LEDs (excluding built-in buttons) and the Port USB 3.0. It is worth noting that the activity indicator embedded SSD is not provided.
The right side uses a matte plastic, and its main space is occupied drive bays. Note that the latter may, in addition to conventional latches, lockable, which is useful for use in offices. It should also be noted that this space is used for the air supply in the device cooling system. Frames disks made mainly of plastics, but there are metal parts such as the front part thereof and latches.
On top of the housing is closed sturdy brushed metal lid black. The rear panel is also made of metal, but has a neutral gray color. On top of it we see the Kensington lock hole, most of the panel covers 70mm format fan grille. Also, the following connectors are present here: two Gigabit LAN ports with built-in indicators, HDMI port, two USB 3.0, optical digital audio output, DisplayPort port, the input power supply. About the last hole is a special cable clamp attachment.
The bottom of the housing – unpainted metal. On it there is another small grille for air intake into the body, as well as four large sturdy legs with rubber inserts.
Overall, given that the manufacturer rarely changes the body design, the device looks a bit old-fashioned. At this point, the real work, of course, affects only slightly. You can say that the body strong, practical and comfortable enough.
To install the drives without having to open the drive casing itself. But it may be necessary for other purposes, such as cleaning of the fan.
To remove the top cover is sufficient to unscrew three screws. Inside we see a frame of thick metal. She secured the drive circuit board, SSD and system board with connectors for connecting drives.
Prior fan get more complex, but since all assembled with screws instead of the rivets, the operation does not cause serious trouble.
Most of the internal space of expected take up hard drive bays. Fan cooling system is only one. SoC manages a small radiator. Fan likely running at constant speed of about 1500 rev / min, we defined implicitly by the absence of significant changes in the noise level during the test. But to see this figure turned out only in the BIOS. Utilities for the operating system or not “see” the testimony or obviously erroneous display a very high value. The noise level can be assessed as low, the model does not cause irritation when placed in including on the desktop. Although, of course, in the general case it is better to install it in a separate room or even a closet.
The PCB has not changed much compared to the N2810 model that we tested earlier. The main external difference is to set the digital audio output and DisplayPort port instead of the serial port. In addition, we note the absence of the reset button.
The drive operates on a 14-nanometer SoC Intel Celeron N3160. This quad-core chip with 64-bit mode support work at the nominal frequency of 1.6 GHz (minimum – 480 MHz) and capable in some scenarios to accelerate to 2.24 GHz. It is also integrated Intel HD Graphics graphics controller, without which it can not do, because the initial setup OS is required to monitor the connection. TDP chip is 6 watts, so it costs quite a radiator.
In fairness it should be noted that when the load stress test AIDA64, which of course is a completely artificial situation, the processor within one hour when the temperature around 90 degrees includes throttling. After removal of the load is reduced at the temperature conditions of 45 degrees on the processor about half an hour. State drives in this synthetic test is not satisfactory – its temperature does not exceed 37 degrees. As for the heating discs while working with them over the network, the maximum value that is able to see, is 42 degrees.
RAM standard DDR3L-1600 device is 4GB. The module is installed in a slot on a single printed circuit board and can be replaced by a model with a capacity of 8 GB, which is the maximum in this case. When you run a “clean” operating system without the application occupied about half the RAM.
System SSD unknown manufacturer has a capacity of 64 GB of which is on a fresh system free of about 40 GB. Partition Recovery is not provided, so that in case of problems and need to reinstall the operating system will have somewhere to look for the image.
However, in either case, critical data and services, it is recommended to use a backup. SSD bekpleynu connected to cable and can be replaced by any other drive model, if necessary.
Controller for service USB 3.0 ports built into the SoC. For network controller and audio codec installed external chips – two chips Intel i210 and Realtek ALC262 respectively. Unfortunately, the remote monitoring and control technologies in this product is not realized. In case of problems with the operating system boot will have to connect the monitor with keyboard and deal with it on the spot.
But with SATA harder. SoC has only two ports for disk maintenance, so that the manufacturer added ASMedia controller. This built-in ports processor work with SSD and the first drive bays and external controller is responsible for the second disc tray.
The model refers to the compact segment, so that the slots for expansion cards are not provided for therein.You can use the USB 3.0 ports if necessary to connect additional equipment.
A key feature of the product is run on Windows Storage Server 2012 operating system R2 Essential. This solution supports most Microsoft server technologies, including Azure, Data Deduplication, BitLocker and Storage Spaces, and can act as an Active Directory server, DNS, DHCP, and WINS. Pay attention to the existence of fifty complete client licenses, which should be with a margin enough for most usage scenarios of this equipment.
If we compare this product with traditional models of network drives, from the point of view of the hardware model can be considered quite modern and fast. However, if you look at the software, most other comparable class of devices operating on the basis of operating families Linux family, providing “out of the box” more convenient and simple means to configure and maintain, not to mention the possibility of an easy way to expand functions by installing prefabricated additional packages . So Thecus W2810Pro will be of interest primarily to those who are interested it is in the implementation of the functional server operating system from Microsoft (and has relevant experience) to serve small offices or integration into the enterprise infrastructure. Buy this model with the aim of reinstalling the operating system is a bit strange, because its value lies considerable price Microsoft Windows Server. Although technically such an operation is possible.
The device Thecus W2810Pro, in fact, is a standard computer into a compact package. To begin with it is necessary to use the monitor and keyboard / mouse. It is required for initial setup of Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 operating system R2 Essentials.
This feature can be a drawback for some companies, since this is not in any small office can find this additional equipment. Disks in the first phase can not be added because the operating system is on a regular SSD and it requires no additional storage.
After switching on the device, a wizard the basic settings of the operating system. In particular, you choose the language (at this stage in the list of only five, but you can add it later, although the packaging storage advertised the presence of 36 locations) and regional settings, enter the product key from the sticker on the case and come up with the administrator password (required complicated).
Next after entering the operating system, an additional assistant for setting functions directly to the server.Here you configure the built-in clock, which is important for the entire infrastructure, specify the company name, domain and server (they can not be changed without reinstalling the server), create a network administrator account, select the install the OS update mode. This is followed by a few reboots, after that you can start full operation of the server. At this point, you can turn off the monitor and input devices and use remote desktop to work with the server.
Note that you get a complete environment is the server operating system from Microsoft, and the aide present only those that are provided by its developers. And some of the operations for the OS interface are made through a standard “Control Panel”. That is, in terms of simplicity and ease of operation, this option is much more complex than the popular Linux-based devices. Of course, if you are not a specialist with experience on Microsoft products.
In some cases, it may be useful opportunity to enter into a standard BIOS to change system settings. Options presented here quite a lot, but of course for a script that works a little interesting server. Unless setting the power management options, such as switching on a schedule and WOL.
Installing the hard drive is no different from the usual installation of a computer based on the availability of support hot swap. Note that can be mounted on the framework and without use of screws drives format 3.5 “. But for 2.5 “devices they will need.
Next to administer the server, you can use a remote desktop connection, and other networking technologies. On the Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials pre-installed full-time tools to help administrators, in particular the “Server Manager.”
In our view, the work of this product requires specific knowledge and experience. In our opinion, for the SOHO / SMB segments use the OS may not always be justified.
The manufacturer of the NAS does not provide virtually no information on the work with the device and sends the issue fully at the mercy of Microsoft. In particular, the FAQ on the website for this equipment has only a few dozen simple questions. So in front of us is clearly not designed for mass-user hardware and software package that focuses on professional application.
With this in mind, Thecus W2810Pro direct comparison with devices based on Linux is not very well because of the substantially different software features and usage scenarios. On the other hand, I understand what you can expect after all of this model is interesting from the point of view of the network access speed. So in this section we will have several performance tests network access. Local job on the server will not be checked.
As usual, contact WD Red hard drives up to 2 TB have been used. The basic test package – the same Intel NASPT templates for large files. Customer advocates a modern computer based on Intel Core family processor running 64-bit Windows 8.1. The amount of RAM on it specifically limited to 2 GB in order to reduce the effect of caching on the client side. Used network equipment includes a network controller Intel I350-T2 and Switch D-Link DGS-3200-10. And on the test network drive on the client and installed all the updates at launch benchmarks. Please note that the estimates for the first group are provided to connect the server to the network only via one gigabit port. Option of using two ports once we verify separately.
The first chart shows the results of standard tests of network access. For them on the server (NAS) organized regular disk volumes in the first and second disks, and use the software sequencing mode and a mirror for two hard drives. Next on the volume created shared folder to which the client is treated. No special optimizations or OS settings are not carried out.
Maximum speed is consistent with that used Gigabit LAN controller. However, it achieved only a multithreaded reading, all other templates with consecutive operations much slower. Especially frustrating write the script into a single stream. It turns out that for such tasks as backing up with one client at a time, you can expect no more than 40 MB / s, which is quite sad, considering the use of the platform and the cost model.
Among other things it is worth noting some differences between the first and second hard drive, probably due to their connection to different controllers. But they can not be called critical, although it may affect the work disks in the array.
The mirror shows the advantage in read operations that may be associated with the optimization of drivers that can read data from two drives. An array of striped has a significant speed increase for streaming multi-threaded operations. But do not forget that it is not a fault-tolerant, so it likely will not be used for actual projects.
For dual-drive support Storage Spaces is hardly popular, but in terms of unification, or other requirements, it can be useful. Given the more complex work with the structure of the disc, in this case, it will be interesting to compare the effect on performance. The graph below shows the results of the double-disc sets of the first test and configuration Simple and Mirror for Storage Spaces.
The small difference in performance between the pairs of configurations there, but in most scenarios, it is hardly significant. The only thing that will lose the user when working with Storage Spaces in Mirror mode – acceleration of single-thread speed reading.
The third chart shows a comparison of the performance of network access by using the server ReFS file system instead of the more usual NTFS.
The new file system has a distinct advantage in multithreaded scenarios recording, the remaining results are very similar. So you can not choose them on the network access speed.
The last test that we conducted with this device – Research speed when using encryption. Used configurations provide different capabilities, but it is convenient to collect them all together on the same graph. This group of tests was carried out with a single hard drive in the first compartment, formatted to NTFS. The first participant – normal mode without additional options. In the second protocol used encryption SMB, introduced in version 3.0. Third Test – NTFS folder encryption standard means on the client side. And recent results have been obtained using BitLocker technology on the server.
Regarding encryption protocol, no more than 15%, and only one difference pattern exceeds 20% in most scenarios, it causes drop communication speed between the server and the client. Somewhat unexpectedly appear configuration results with NTFS encryption. When a multi-threaded reading and writing speed even increased – by about 15% and 20%, respectively. Whereas in other scenarios, it is below 10% .. 35%.BitLocker is also possible to increase the speed of multi-threaded write a quarter, and the random recording as much lost. In other templates difference does not exceed ten percent.
Network Storage Thecus W2810Pro is essentially a compact x86-compatible computers, which allows the body to establish, in addition to the system drive, two 3.5 standard hard disk format. ” At the same time the heart of its modern hardware platform is a SoC quad-core from Intel. The device is equipped with a built-in solid state drive for the operating system has two video output ports and USB 3.0. In addition, it is set just two Gigabit LAN controllers. The amount of RAM is 4GB and can be doubled if necessary. The case has the traditional network storage design, supports hot-swappable hard drives, as well as different low noise level.
The key difference of this model is the use of the operating system Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials. On the one hand, it allows you to effectively integrate the device into Microsoft ecosystem and realize its corporate base additional services, so that we can even say that it is not just a network drive, and miniserver. On the other hand, it requires some knowledge and experience for the management of the OS.
A direct comparison with models based on the Linux operating system in this case is difficult to carry out. At the last party will be easy to set up, support the installation of additional packages, cloud services “out of the box”, lower cost and higher speed in the main scenario. While Thecus W2810Pro can respond only by the Microsoft operating system, with all its pluses and minuses.