The N2310 is a budget dual-bay NAS from Thecus and an interesting product beyond the low cost for this category, boasting a number of features that help set it apart.
Apart from the primary role of a network attached storage (NAS) device - you know, storage - there are some interesting things a piece of hardware like the N2310 can do. This inexpensive NAS is actually a server, too, so beyond storing up to 8TB of data it’s powerful enough to replace a dedicated PC for certain tasks - the kind of tasks that some of us leave a PC running 24/7 to accomplish.
In this review we’ll take a look at some of the functionality that helps set the N2310 apart, as well as the kind of real-world performance you might expect to see.
It’s All About the Gigabytes
There are more reasons now than ever before for large storage options. Even though SSD’s are at their lowest prices ever most of us still need to supplement a fast boot drive with some traditional spinning disks. Just think about what accumulates in an average year on your PC… photos, music, videos, program backups and images, you name it. All those GB’s have to go somewhere, and there are obviously internal and external hard drives to share the load. However, regardless of the local storage option you might chose, it’s not always so convenient to actually access this stuff again. Clearly, the easier it is to access your files, the better - and not just from one device. So, having centralized storage is a great idea, right?
Between computers, tablets, and of course our phones, there are generally quite a few connected devices in the average technology-inclined home. And while every device mentioned can connect to the internet - and cloud storage has become very popular - there's still something to be said for local content management. Beyond the convenience of sharing sometimes massive amounts of data easily at home, another benefit of always-on storage is backup. Ideally, every computer in the home would be backed up locally as well as the cloud, and a great way to take care of the local side of backup is with a NAS. Setting one up is very easy these days, with a growing number of affordable options from various vendors.
Thecus makes an interesting case for a budget NAS with the N2310. For a comparison, Allyn recently looked at Western Digital’s My Cloud EX2 network drive, and this is a highly polished all-in-one solution is now selling for about $199 (without drives). The Thecus N2310 is less expensive at $149, and both offer two 3.5” drive bays. (The My Cloud is also offered pre-populated with drives providing up to 8TB of storage.) These “diskless” enclosures present a good opportunity to save some money up front, and whether you choose to run on two drives you happened to have around the house or office, or if you want to go out and grab a couple of Western Digital 4TB Red drives, they can accommodate your situation.
Let’s take a look at the Thecus N2310.
Subject: Storage | May 28, 2014 - 05:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: super talent, RAIDDrive II Plus, pci-e ssd
The Super Talent RAIDDrive II Plus is a rather interesting take on a PCIe SSD card, it's USB 3.0 connected 25nm MLC NAND storage is on one PCB with a SF-2281 to handle the traffic and on the second PCB is an LSI 2108 RAID on a Chip and 1GB of DDR2-800. That LSI RoC can support most RAID modes, giving you either higher performance or increased reliability all on a single PCIe SSD card. For testing purposes The SSD Review used RAID 0 and found that except in one certain scenario the card was outclassed by a single Intel 480 SSD. If you are not scared of a tough price of $4/GB on a 2TB device and need fast large block sequential reads and writes with no expectation of quick random reads nor writes this is a good choice. Otherwise you might want to consider other alternatives but the technology on this device is rather intriguing.
"The second type of PCIe add-in-card storage takes more of a brute force approach. These devices typically have off-the-shelf SATA/SAS controllers and connect via a PCIe bridge. Think of a HBA/RAID card connected to a SATA SSD, but on a single card. These designs have many advantages and disadvantages. While the cost and time-to-market can be low, they are inherently limited due to the architecture."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung XP941 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD Mini Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Tests Samsung XP941 M.2 x4, Plextor M6e M.2 x2 and Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSDs @ The SSD Review
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 V4 6TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Corsair Force LX SSD @ The SSD Review
- Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 460 (240GB) @ Bjorn3d
- Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Edge Boost Server 7mm SSD @ The SSD Review
- Seagate Desktop 3.5″ 4TB Solid State Hybrid Drive @ eTeknix
- Lexar High-Performance microSDHC UHS-I 32GB (633x) Card Review @ Madshrimps
- Kingston Class 10 UHS-1 Ultimate SDXC Card @ The SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB3 Flash Drive @ Kitguru
- SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 32GB Memory Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Kingston DataTraveler R3.0 G2 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- ADATA XPG 64GB SDXC UHS-I Speed Class 3 U3 Memory Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Addonics AD25MSD mSATA to 2.5-inch SATA Drive Adapter Review @ Legit Reviews
- RaidSonic ICY BOX IB-RD3662U3S External HDD RAID Enclosure @ NikKTech
- Silicon Power Diamond D20 500GB USB 3.0 Portable HDD Review @ Madshrimps
- QNAP SilentNAS HS-210 2-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Synology DiskStation DS214se @ Funky Kit
- ioSafe 214 Dual-bay Disaster-Proof NAS Review @ Techgage
- QNAP SilentNAS HS-210 NAS Server @ NikKTech
- Thecus N2310 2-bay Intelligent NAS @ eTeknix
- Thecus N2560 Network Attached Storage Review @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Storage | May 28, 2014 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, Force Series LX, mlc, toggle NAND, SM2246EN
Are you attracted to MLC SSDs with a price under $0.50/GB? Corsair's new Force Series LX uses Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller and is rated at speeds of up to 560MB/s
sequential write and up to 300MB/s sequential read when tested by ATTO and both the 128GB and 256GB models are available on NewEgg now for just a bit over the recommended price.
FREMONT, California — May 27, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide designer of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the release of the Force Series LX solid-state drives (SSD). Available in either 256GB or 128GB capacities, Force Series LX SSDs bring the amazing performance benefits of an SSD to new lower price point – making it easier than ever to move your PC into the SSD fast lane.
The speedy benefits of solid-state drives have long attracted PC enthusiasts, but high prices may have put off some users from making the switch to this faster storage technology. In response to this dilemma, Corsair is bringing all the perks of an SSD to a new, even more budget-friendly price point so everyone can feel the rush. With the Force LX 256GB costing $129.99 and the 128GB just $74.99, there’s never been a better time to upgrade to faster SSD technology.
Powered by a Silicon Motion SSD controller, the Force Series LX SSDs offer fantastic performance up to 10 times faster than that of a conventional spinning-disk hard drive. Force LX’s SATA 3 file transfer speeds of up to 560MB/sec read and 300MB/sec write can massively improve system performance. Operating system start-up and application load times accelerate to mere seconds, anti-virus scans complete far faster, and navigating your PC’s files feels much more responsive thanks to near-instant access times.
A slim-line 7mm aluminum housing makes it easy to install the Force LX into almost every desktop or notebook PC with a 2.5 inch drive bay -- an ideal upgrade to breathe new life into an notebook, ultrabook or PC in need of a boost. Corsair’s bundled SSD Toolbox software utility is also included as a free download, allowing you to easily optimize your SSD’s performance, clone your existing hard drive, or securely erase all data on a drive. TRIM, NCQ and S.M.A.R.T. technologies automatically maintain drive performance for years to come, and Corsair tops off the package with a 3 year warranty and legendary customer service for total peace of mind.
You probably saw some news floating around yesterday that leaked out about an upcoming Crucial MX100 SSD using 16nm flash with an eye towards the mainstream price segment. While we are waiting for our samples of these units to arrive, we did get this comment from Crucial on the matter.
The word is out that Crucial will be launching a new SSD in the early June 2014 timeframe called the Crucial MX100 SSD. The new MX100 will be a competitively-priced, 2.5" SSD based on Micron’s new 16nm chips, and will be the successor to the Crucial M500 drive. The high-performance Crucial M550 drive will also remain part of the Crucial SSD product line-up.
We’re excited to share that PC Perspective has been fully briefed on the new Crucial MX100 by the Crucial SSD product marketing team and have a review sample in hand that we’re now rigorously testing. Once the MX100 drive is officially announced, we’ll have a complete product overview and benchmarks to share with you directly. Stay tuned for the full scoop here!
Image source: Hardware.info
As a replacement for the Crucial M500 line, we expect the MX100 to be a big seller. Just look at the M500 price on Amazon.com today: 960GB for $459 or 480 GB for $219! That's really all we know for now, check back for Allyn's testing very soon!
Subject: Storage | May 21, 2014 - 09:06 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: storage, SATA Express, rumors, chipset, amd
The new SATA Express (SATAe) and M.2 standards are hot topics in the storage world at the moment, and SATAe is one of the more interesting features of the new Intel Z97-based motherboards. Now it looks like it won't be long until AMD counters with support of its own. Well, kind of.
ASMedia is reportedly licensing their SATA Express IP to AMD for an upcoming platform. Didn't know that ASMedia already had a SATAe implementation? The ASUS Z97 Deluxe board which Morry recently reviewed uses an ASMedia controller for one of its two SATAe ports, along with one powered by the chipset.
We can only speculate on the "next gen" platform from AMD mentioned in the report, and it will be interesting to see what kind of performance numbers might be seen from this alleged product.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2014 - 02:47 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Pioneer, bluray
By layering eight layers of 32GB Blu-ray media, Pioneer has achieved 256GB worth of storage on a single-sided optical disc. If you are more interested in storage than labels, the company acknowledges the obvious extension to double-sided media with 512GB of capacity. They also leave the door open for 1TB and larger discs by extending their signaling method to more than twelve layers.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
It suffices to say that this is a lot of storage. If cost can be kept low enough, optical media could once again be viable for archival and backup. Once a drive is purchased, and USB 3.0 makes it trivial to purchase a single drive for multiple computers, a single disc could bit-for-bit copy a full SSD and other, more modern amounts of data. Basically, it is much less work backing up in 256GB chunks than 4.7GB or 25GB ones.
If cost can be kept low enough is a serious point, though. BD-Rs retail for about $50/1.3TB (according to a few Newegg searches) and DVD-Rs are around the same ($25/500GB). This is not too far from hard drive territory (~100$/2 TB). Of course, hard drives are also faster, rewritable, and do not need to be inserted into a drive for reading and writing... because they are one. People are transitioning away from optical media to hard drives. Cost would need to be phenomenal to reverse that momentum.
4K and UHD video content was not discussed but, let's face it, your mind went there, too.
Subject: Storage | May 12, 2014 - 05:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, hyper express, SATA Express
In this case the picture below is definitely worth 1000 words, it is easy to see just how ASUS created a RAID 0 in a single SSD. Those SanDisk mSATA SSDs are both 128GB and communicate via a ASMedia ASM1062R controller. Astute readers will wonder what this means for TRIM, as those commands often do not pass through a RAID controller and you are right to be concerned for as of yet TRIM is not supported on this drive. Even without proper garbage collection the performance of this drive is rather tempting, as you can see for yourself in Legit Reviews full article.
"Last week we talked about what makes SATA Express important and showed off some performance benchmarks of the ASUS Hyper Express SATA Express External Enclosure. We’ve been able to acquire our own ASUS Hyper Express drive and we spent this week trying it out on our own systems to see how it performed on one of our own systems..."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- A first look at SATA Express with Asus' Hyper Express storage device @ The Tech Report
- Intel 730 240GB SSD Review @ hardware Canucks
- Kingston M.2 Sata SSD: a quick look at engineering sample @ Kitguru
- ADATA Premier Pro SP920 512GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SATA III 2.5" SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- NETGEAR ReadyNAS 102 Dual-bay NAS Review @ Techgage
- Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Kingston SSDNow E50 100GB Solid-State Drive @ NikKTech
- ADATA XPG SX900 SSD Review @ TechwareLabs
- Mach Xtreme DIY Series SATA-DOM 32GB SSD @ The SSD Review
- PNY Optima SSD Series @ The SSD Review
- Intel 730 Series 480GB SSD Review in RAID @ Legit Reviews
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ The SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Corsair Flash Voyager GO 64GB PC/Mobile Flash Storage Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Synology DS414j @ Kitguru
- Synology DS214se & DSM 5.0 Overview @ techPowerUp
- Synology DS414j 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Netgear ReadyNAS RN102 & RN104 @ Legion Hardware
- VisionTek mSATA Mini Enclosure Review @ Legit Reviews
- ioSafe 214 Fire and WaterProof NAS Video Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 6, 2014 - 03:46 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, sandisk, 4TB SSD
If you are an enterprise, SanDisk is getting a bit SAS-y with some pretty large SSDs. How large? 4TB. Not large enough? Why are you the way you are. Also, according to VR-Zone, 6TB and 8TB versions will follow, in 2015 (Update: 5/6/2014 @ 5:56pm EST -- VR-Zone might have meant "16TB"... as Tom's IT Pro claims to have heard from SanDisk). These drives will be produced with 19nm NAND, not utilizing the 15nm cells from their partnership with Toshiba. SanDisk claims their choice of 19nm was for reliability. Also, clearly, they are not suffering with density.
Speaking of reliability, the SanDisk warranty is rated in both time as well as the supported number of full drive writes per day. The Optimus MAX SSD is rated at one-to-three drive writes per day, or 4-12TB per day, over the course of its 5-year warranty.
4TB Optimus MAX SSDs are expected to launch "to select OEMs and through the channel" in Q3.
VisionTek recently released a new storage product dubbed the mSATA mini USB 3.0 Bus-Powered SSD Enclosure (900696). Despite the name, VisionTek has an interesting product on its hands as it not only enables speedy portable storage (assuming you have hardware with USB 3.0 ports of course), but allows users to put any mSATA SSDs that would otherwise be gathering dust in a drawer to good use! Essentially, it is a small metal enclosure that accepts a mSATA SSD and interfaces it with a PC over USB 3.0.
The mSATA USB 3.0 enclosure measures 2.88" x 1.63" x 0.51" and is constructed of aluminum with a textured titanium color (for aesthetics) and rounded edges. Users can install any mSATA SSD up to 50mm in length. A third generation ASMedia ASM1153E controller then performs the conversion from the drive's SATA I, II, or III interface to USB 3.0. Naturally, you are going to take a performance hit due to the added latency and interface conversion introduced by the ASMedia controller versus directly attaching the drive to a motherboard's mSATA slot. Fortunately, the hit to performance is fairly minimal when dealing with large file transfers and sequential read and write performance.
According to Legit Reviews, their Kingston 120GB (SATA 3 6 Gbps) mSATA solid state drive saw sequential read and write speeds of 271 MB/s and 160 MB/s respectively when connected to a motherboard slot. When installed in the USB 3.0 enclosure, speeds dropped to 250 MB/s sequential reads and 158 MB/s sequential writes. Further, a large 71GB 4K video file transfer averaged out to 151 MB/s. The exact speeds will vary with the specific drive users install, but the thing to note is that the performance hit should be minimal (at least the performance relating to dealing with file copies, random access will take a larger hit) despite adding the USB 3.0 interface to the equation.
The VisionTek drive is available now with a three year warranty for $30.72 from Amazon, which is a tempting price for fast portable storage especially if you already have a mSATA drive laying around! Notably, it seems that VisionTek is not the only manufacturer sourcing these boards, as MyDigitalSSD has a simlar drive with an MSRP of $24.99.
If you are interested in putting together your own SSD-powered portable drive, check out the full review linked above.
Now, if I can only encourage Allyn to recycle some of his mSATA drives...
Subject: Storage | May 1, 2014 - 07:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SATA Express, pcie, asus, ssd, Z97-Deluxe
KitGuru had a chance to test the ASUS Z97-Deluxe with a Concept Edition SATA Express SSD from ASUS to see what happens when you can feed the data from an SSD across two SATA ports, giving it the bandwidth of two PCIe lanes. That should allow a theoretical 10Gbps bandwidth as PCIe 3.0 lanes are still being held in reserve as there are not that many available on an LGA1150 board but as KitGuru points out "leaked information suggest (we still cannot confirm anything) that M.2 support will be native to the ‘future Intel chipset’." Check out their review and be prepared to be amazed that the speed of 728MBps was lower than expected.
"We revisit the SATA Express interface to obtain a more up-to-date look at what the next generation of SATA connections is capable of. Our tools for the job; a retail Asus motherboard set to release soon, and a concept version of Asus’ Hyper Express enclosure, internally powered by solid state storage."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ASUS Hyper Express SATA Express Drive Performance Preview @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD 480GB @ Kitguru
- What Is SATA Express and Why It Matters @ Legit Reviews
- Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Micron M500DC Enterprise SSD Review (480GB) @ The SSD Review
- Crucial M550 512GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Silicon Power 32GB Superior microSDHC UHS-1 Flash Card Review @ Madshrimps
- 32GB OTG USB Flash Drive Roundup - Corsair, Kingston, Transcend @ Legit Reviews
- Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo OTG 32GB USB Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- Lexar Professional 600x SDXC UHS-1 Card @ SSD Review
- Kingwin KF-252-BK Internal Hard Drive Hot Swap Rack Review @ Tweaknews
- Synology DiskStation DS414j
- Vantec NexStar 6G 2.5" Hard Drive Enclosure Review @HiTech Legion
- Synology DS1513+ 5-Bay NAS @ eTeknix