Intel Atom D2500 and D2550 Processors Powering Upcoming NAS Devices

Subject: Storage | October 6, 2012 - 09:44 PM |
Tagged: Thecus, qnap, NAS, Intel, atom d2550, atom d2500, asustor

Earlier this week, Intel announced that two of its Cedar Trail Atom-series processors would be powering several upcoming Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Intended to be used in devices for home and small business users, they will feature either the Intel Atom D2500 or D2550 processor. Centralized content vaults, so-called personal clouds (internet and LAN-accessible storage), and security systems are all possible uses of the Intel Atom CPU-powered NAS boxes.

Intel Atom Inside.jpg

Both 32nm chips have a 10W TDP, 1MB of L2 cache, and are clocked at 1.86GHz. The D2500 has two cores while the D2550 is a dual core part with HyperThreading for a total of four threads. Both processors have an integrated northbridge and a PowerVR SGX545 GPU. The D2500 has the integrated GPU clocked at 400MHz while the Atom D2550’s SGX545 GPU is running at 640MHz.

  D2500 D2550
Cores (with HT) 2 / 2 2 / 4
Clockspeed 1.86 GHz 1.86 GHz
L2 Cache 1 MB 1 MB
Graphics Clock 400 MHz 640 MHz
TDP 10 W 10 W
Pricing (tray) $42 $47

The Intel-powered NAS boxes will have anywhere from two to eight hard drives and offer up a number of features. For example, the storage devices will be able to integrate the McAfee AV SDK to run virus scans on your media files on the NAS itself. And thanks to the GPU, platforms with storage and the Atom chips will be able to support up to two external displays. The example Intel provided is a security system where the D2500/D2550 can power a computer with lots of attached storage and up to output up to four HD video stream on up to two displays thanks to GPU acceleration.

Thecus-N5550_front_open.jpg

The Thecus N5550 NAS using the Intel Atom processor.

NAS boxes from QNAP, Asustor, and Thecus will be available at launch, with additional devices from other manufacturers coming in the future. The Thecus device is available for purchase now for around $600 without hard drives pre-installed.

On the small business side of things, Intel has announced that Mostor and Dane-Elec have also jumped on board to provide optimized software for the hardware used in business environments.

Read the full press release on Intel's website.

Source: Intel

Synology refreshes DiskStation line with DS213 and DS213+

Subject: Storage | August 28, 2012 - 06:45 AM |
Tagged: synology, NAS, diskstation

Today Synology launched an updated revision to their DS212 and DS212+. We looked at the DiskStation 212+ as part of our ioSafe review.

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The new DS213 models boast further improvements to their predecessors:

DS213+ Hardware Highlights

  • Dual-core
  • Floating-point to greatly accelerate decoding and encoding

DS213 Hardware Highlights

  • Equipped with SD slot
  • 2 USB 3.0 slots

Business Usage:

  • Support for backups from Windows® and Mac OS X clients
  • Centralized file sharing using common network protocols
  • ACL support for granular, file-level control
  • ADS support up to 100,000 users and groups
  • Granular notification system via email, SMS, and push
  • Antivirus package

Pricing:

DS213 $299 and DS213+ $369 respectively.

Press blast after the break.

Subject: Storage

Introduction and Internals

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Introduction:

I'm going to let the cat out of the bag right here and now. Everyone's home RAID is likely an accident waiting to happen. If you're using regular consumer drives in a large array, there are some very simple (and likely) scenarios that can cause it to completely fail. I'm guilty of operating under this same false hope - I have an 8-drive array of 3TB WD Caviar Greens in a RAID-5. For those uninitiated, RAID-5 is where one drive worth of capacity is volunteered for use as parity data, which is distributed amongst all drives in the array. This trick allows for no data loss in the case where a single drive fails. The RAID controller can simply figure out the missing data by running the extra parity through the same formula that created it. This is called redundancy, but I propose that it's not.

Continue on for our full review of the solution to this not-yet-fully-described problem!

Western Digital releases 'Red" series of SOHO NAS hard drives

Subject: Storage | July 10, 2012 - 05:04 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, red, NAS, hdd, Hard Drive

** Note ** - Full review has been posted HERE!

Today Western Digital launches their Red series of hard drives. These are basically Caviar Greens that are specificially tuned to operate in small RAID configurations - namely home and small business NAS solutions containing up to 5 drives. These drives carry over some of the features present on Western Digital's Enterprise lines while adding a few of their own.

DSC00328.JPG

We got samples of the Red in yesterday evening, so instead of going on with conjecture derived from the news post, I'll hit you with the new features and a bit of my initial impressions from our early benching:

  • Extremely quiet operation thanks to a new dynamic balancing mechanism built into the spindle motor hub. The drive essentially re-balances itself on-the-fly as temperatures change, etc.
  • Seeks are equally quiet - quiet enough that a bunch of these doing random access outside of an enclosure would barely be audible from only a few feet away.
  • Great sequential throughput (~150MB/sec at start of disk, ramping down to ~65MB/sec at the end).
  • Random access times in the 20ms range - likely due to the very quiet seeking mechanism.
  • Red Series drives will all be advanced format (i.e. internally addressed by 4k sectors).
  • Reds will all be 1TB/platter, available in 1, 2, and 3TB capacities. This gives similar throughput figures regardless of capacity purchased.
  • 3-year warranty, with a 24/7 support hotline specifically for Red owners.
  • Red drives feature a QR code on the label to assist with any support issues down the road.

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I'm not kidding about the quiet operation. The only sound the Red makes is reminiscent of a DVD spinning at low speed, in a sound deadening enclosure. There is no motor whine whatsoever and the head actuator is nearly inaudible. I have to almost lay my head on the drive to tell it is seeking at all.

A full review with all of the gory details will be up later today. For now I leave you with the WD press release after the break, along with this nifty QR to get you more info on the Red Series:

wd red qr.png

*note - the QR page may not yet be live.

Source:

Intel Inside. Thecus' Next-Gen NAS introduced: N4800, N2800

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | February 20, 2012 - 10:53 AM |
Tagged: Thecus, NAS

Home users are starting to look at Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices to serve their home media needs. Also popular are products which allow you to browse the internet and play media on your TV. Just announced by Thecus are two NAS devices which fit both roles and many others. The N2800 contains a built-in media card reader while the N4800 has a built in mini Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), OLED status screen, and a second USB3.0 port.

thecus4800-2800.jpg

I hear they're a NASty bunch...

The obvious selling features of the two devices are the inclusion of HDMI output to enable the above roles as well as an updated 3rd Generation Intel Atom CPU D2700. The D2700 is a 2.13GHz Dual Core and hyper threaded Intel Atom processor manufactured at 32nm.

Check out the highlights of their press release below.

02/20/2012- As part of the Intel Embedded Alliance, Thecus has precedence and access to a multitude of Intel prototypes and the latest technologies. Working on those products for months now, Thecus is delighted to finally release its Vision Series.

The new N2800 and N4800 are going to be some of the first Intel(r) Atom(tm) D2700 based NAS! They will set the standard for what's best in the market to help you build a true multimedia center: USB 3.0, Dual Gigabit Ports, SD Card reader (N2800), Mini-UPS (N4800), etc.

And the most important feature is the HDMI output. With Thecus Local Display module, it's now possible to connect the NAS directly to a monitor and control it through USB mouse/keyboard. Playing HD movies, browsing the web, controlling the NAS... everything is now possible directly from your TV! Thanks to this feature, Thecus is now creating a new standard among the NAS industry.

About Thecus(r)

Thecus(r) Technology Corp. specializes in IP Storage Server and Network Video Recorder solutions. The company was established in 2004 with the mission to make technology that is as transparent as it is easy-to-use and products that are not only the best on the market, but are accessible to experts and novices alike. Combining a world-class R&D team highly experienced in storage hardware and software development with a keen customer focus, Thecus(r) stays close to the market to develop high-quality products to fulfill the storage and surveillance needs of today's world.

Source: Thecus

Podcast #179 - Sandy Bridge-E Review, X79 Motherboards, a new NAS device from Western Digital, Aquarium PCs and more!

Subject: Editorial | November 17, 2011 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: x79, western digital, storage, sandy bridge-e, podcast, nvidia, NAS, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #179 - 11/17/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Sandy Bridge-E Review, X79 Motherboards, a new NAS device from Western Digital, Aquarium PCs and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:14:31

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:24 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:00 Intel Sandy Bridge-E Review - Core i7-3960X and X79 Chipset Tested
    1. Sandy Bridge-E Prices Leaked In Company Bulletin
  6. 0:27:45 X79 Motherboard Roundup Video Preview
    1. ASUS
    2. Gigabyte
    3. MSI
  7. 0:28:53 Alienware M17x (R3) Gaming Notebook Review: It Glows!
  8. 0:30:25 Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W Power Supply Review
  9. 0:31:20 NVIDIA Reports Q3 2012 Results
  10. 0:39:15 Western Digital launches Sentinel Series of NAS devices, bringing enterprise features to the small business.
  11. 0:46:20 The mineral oil in this Aquarium will be hard on the fish but not your components
  12. 0:53:45 Antec Announces P280 Enclosure
  13. 0:54:50 Win a Free Copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from PC Perspective
    1. You missed it, but Jared H. didn't!
  14. 0:56:15 Bulldozers at Knights Corner; duelling server chips
  15. 0:59:45 More Free Stuff Friday: XFX Radeon HD 6870 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  16. 1:00:12 The Intel 32 in 32 Challenge on Facebook
  17. 1:01:22 Free Stuff Wednesday: Gigabyte G1 Assassin X58 Motherboard Giveaway!!
  18. 1:02:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Random.org - finally get an answer to "where should we eat tonight?"
    2. Jeremy: Buckets are teh win but to be more useful Disconnect for Chrome is a nice choice
    3. Josh: Fast 120GB SSD for $140
    4. Allyn: Ironkey - now available in MLC
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Western Digital launches Sentinel Series of NAS devices, bringing enterprise features to the small business.

Subject: Storage | November 15, 2011 - 05:08 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, NAS, home, hdd

 Today Western Digital launches their Sentinel line of NAS devices. These Intel Atom powered devices can store up to 12TB when equipped with 3TB drives. The OS of choice is Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, which supports RAID levels 1 and 5, as well as built in backup routines and the ability to configure the devices dual Gigabit ports with Adaptive Fault Tolerance (redundancy).

snap-474-.png

Also available are some interesting yet agressive service options via Western Digital's Guardian Services, which include options for next-day warranty replacement of defective or failed parts, as well as the option to extend the warranty period from three to five years.

Pricing starts at $949.99 for 4TB (3 bay) and $1449.99 for 8TB (4 bay).

Following is the press release, and even more detail and pics should be available from WD themselves once their product link page goes live.

WD® DELIVERS NEW LINE OF NETWORK STORAGE SERVERS FOR SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESSES

WD Sentinel™ DX4000 Small Office Storage Server Combines Centralized Storage, Backup-and-Restore Protection for 25 Network Devices and Allows SMBs to Connect, Protect, and Collaborate

IRVINE, Calif. – Nov. 15, 2011 – Western Digital® (NYSE: WDC), the world’s leader in digital storage solutions, is introducing WD Sentinel™ DX4000 (photo), a complete network storage solution designed specifically to meet the demands of today's small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs). WD Sentinel DX4000 includes the Windows® Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials operating system software and the Intel® D525 Dual Core Atom CPU. The WD Sentinel DX4000 is centralized shared storage and automatic server-based backup and restore for up to 25 devices (PC and Mac®) in the network. It offers complete data protection with built-in hardware and software redundancy for all of the connected devices in the network. With capacities including 4 TB and 8 TB, WD Sentinel DX4000 lets small business owners expand small office server storage capacity as their business and storage demands grow. In addition, the WD Sentinel DX4000 small office storage server acts as the “on-premise cloud storage" for the SMB.

“The WD Sentinel small office storage server is the ideal storage, backup, and secure remote access solution for any SMB,” said Thomas Gallivan, vice president of marketing for WD’s SMB Solutions Group.

WD® Introduces New Line of Network Storage Servers for Small to Medium Businesses

“The ability to have centralized storage that is both on-premise and offers secure remote access provides a small business owner and employees the flexibility needed for today’s mobile lifestyle. WD is providing small business owners with a hands-free solution that offers complete data protection and unparalleled peace-of-mind.”

“The requirement for collaboration across multiple devices and locations necessitates the need for a centralized storage solution in today’s SMB environment”, said David Tuhy, General Manager, Intel Data Center and Connected Systems Group. “Intel is working closely with the industry and companies like Western Digital to provide the technology that is at the core of these storage solutions and provide SMBs a platform to manage, organize and secure their data to ensure business continuity.”

“Built on Windows Storage Server, WD Sentinel gives small business customers the storage and file services capabilities of Windows Server, as well as a solution aimed specifically at the SMB segment,” said Thomas Pfenning, general manager, Storage, at Microsoft. “We are pleased to see WD Sentinel serve our mutual customers.”

Whether they’re personal or professional, digital content and important files are invaluable and often irreplaceable if lost or compromised. WD Sentinel small office storage server provides several ways for businesses to protect their information without user intervention. WD Sentinel comes preconfigured with enterprise-class drives, RAID storage protection, built-in server based backup and recovery software, redundant networking ports and a redundant power option. In addition, WD Sentinel offers users the ability to connect to a “public cloud” storage provider, which offers small businesses an economical and integrated disaster recovery solution against earthquake, theft and fire or water damage.

Software included with WD Sentinel provides business owners and their employees the freedom and flexibility to remotely access files and share files with external employees, independent consultants and satellite offices anywhere in the world.

Five Levels of Data Protection

WD Sentinel DX4000 provides five levels of data protection for every device on the small office network and is supported by WD Guardian Services.

WD® Introduces New Line of Network Storage Servers for Small to Medium Businesses

1. The Drives Inside: Pre-configured with WD’s award-winning enterprise-class drives for durability and reliability.

2. RAID: Featuring levels 1 and 5 for data protection and speed.

3. Daily Backup: Automatic backup and recovery software provides daily full system back ups for up to 25 devices on your network. Simply set it and forget it.

4. Redundant Network Connectivity: Dual Gigabit Ethernet configured in Adaptive Fault Tolerance (AFT) automatically switches to second network port in the event of a network failure.

5. Optional Disaster Recovery Protection: Connect to the small business cloud provided by optional disaster recovery software and store your data offsite for disaster recovery.

WD Sentinel is certified to be compatible with a variety of Operating Systems (OS) including Windows XP, Windows Vista®, and Windows 7. In addition, WD Sentinel is compatible with Mac OS X® Leopard® and Snow Leopard® for file sharing among Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux operating systems and allows businesses to share files with clients, consultants, and inter-office personnel regardless of the OS used.

WD Guardian™Services for Small Business

WD Sentinel DX4000 is backed by WD’s world-class customer service and support. All WD Sentinel small business customers will receive free tech support for 30 days from the time of the first call. WD Sentinel customers may wish to upgrade their service plan to one of three options:

1. WD Guardian Express: Offers next-day parts replacement service including shipping and handling costs.

2. WD Guardian Pro: Offers a one year support agreement with WD service, express parts replacement and priority access to technical support.

3. Guardian Extended Care: Service that extends the product warranty from the standard three year warranty to five years.

Just Delivered: Drobo FS 5-bay Network Storage

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 20, 2011 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: storage, raid, network attached storage, NAS, drobo

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less. 

When the time is right for dedicated network storage and you don't want to go through the hassle or complication of building your own FreeNAS or other type of device, one of the best options on the market according to our own Allyn Malventano is a Drobo. 

drobo1.jpg

For an upcoming review we just received a new Drobo FS, the network attached version of the Drobo lineup.  Available in both a standard and a "Pro" model, the former with 5 bays the latter with 8, they are about as idiot-proof and easy to setup as a NAS can be.

drobo2.jpg

The Drobo FS only has a single connectivity option: the Gigabit Ethernet port for connection to your primed-and-ready router.  Adding or swapping hard drives for larger models is super easy and the "BeyondRAID" technology makes it reliable as well as simple to use. 

drobo3.jpg

We are looking forward to putting the Drobo FS to the test in the coming days and reporting back to you on the performance, features and reliability of it.

Source: Drobo

Can Plextor compete with Drobo?

Subject: Storage | June 6, 2011 - 09:06 AM |
Tagged: plextor, network attached storage, NAS, external drive

There once was a time, when dinosaurs like Compaq ruled the earth, when there was only one choice for the true enthusiast when buying a CD burner.  Plextor was by far the most reliable choice in a time when CDs were more sensitive to external vibrations than a fine souffle. Things have changed a great deal since then and the looks you get when you ask how many sheep your burner has can be quite amusing.   This has left Plextor looking for alternative revenue sources and the area they have chosen is NAS devices.  The new Plextor PX-NAS4 has impressive stats but it is competing against heavy hitters like Drobo.  Think Computer tries out this ~$400 NAS device and contrasts its features and controls with similarly priced competitors offerings in their latest storage review.

 

TC_plextorNAS4.jpg

"Plextor introduced the PX-NAS4 quad-bay network attached storage device late last year to augment its PX-NAS2 dual-bay device and break into a market with larger storage needs. The dual gigabit Ethernet PX-NAS4 can house up to 8 TB of storage in several RAID configurations and sports volume encryption and low power consumption among other standard enterprise and business features. ThinkComputers takes a look, and finds that while the PX-NAS4 provides the basic features, it leaves something to be desired for users with more. Read on for the review."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Thecus To Unveil 3 New Sandy Bridge Powered NAS At Computex 2011

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | May 16, 2011 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: Thecus, SAN, NAS, computex

Thecus, a leading provider of Intel based NAS (Network Attached Storage) products, has announced that they will be unveiling a new XXX line powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors and offering 10G Base T Connections at 2011's Computex in Taipei.  The XXX line covers everything from 2 bay Atom powered NAS for consumer useage all the way to the new 16 bay Sandy Bridge powered NAS for enterprise use.  The "XXX" stands for "Xtreme Power, Xtreme Function, and Xtreme Value," and it is their line of the best performance for the price NAS devices.

ThecusNAS.jpg

They will be unveiling an eight bay, twelve bay, and sixteen bay NAS which they have dubbed the N8900, N12000PRO, and N16000PRO respectively. The eight bay NAS will be powered by a dual core Intel i3 2120 at 3.3GHz while the twelve and sixteen bay NAS devices will be powered by a quad core Intel Xeon E3-1280 at 3.5GHz. Considering that these chips are sought after for enthusiast and workstation computers much less NAS boxes, they will be able to eliminate CPU bottle-necking and provide ample horsepower to feed all of the NAS devices' internal drives. Thecus confidently states that "these models are guaranteed to dominate the market with excellent results for consumers jues like their predecessors."

Thecus further states that their new NAS devices offer 100% availability with 10 G Base T HA and iSCSI SAN (Storage Area Network) "with absolutely no breaks or delays in service in rain, shine, or Armageddon." Their NAS boxes "finally give businesses a true alternative to messy, bulk, budget-busting servers."

Whether their claims will hold up to testing or not, Thecus certainly seems confident in their product and are not afraid to follow the adage of "go big or go home" as they partner with Intel to power their NAS boxes with the latest and greatest in CPU technology.

Source: Thecus