Thecus Expands Windows Storage Server Line-up with W2810PRO

Thecus had a lot of success with their Windows-based NAS devices and now they’ve expanded that series with the new W2810PRO NAS. The new NAS comes equipped with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor, the same that we recently saw the N2810PRO launch with, it comes with 4GB DDR3 memory, and uses an SSD as boot drive.

Linux-based NAS run more out of the memory than Windows does and as such the use of a real SSD over a flash module is something that will make a huge difference for such a system. The quad-core processor is powerful enough to drive 4K experiences and thanks to it being a Windows version, it comes with a familiar interface. Integrating Microsoft services such as Office 365 and Azure Cloud Service is as easy as it could be on these devices as they’re running Windows 2012R2 Essentials as the operating system.

“Adding to the success of the original Windows Storage server 2012 solutions from Thecus, the W2810PRO provides increased power and speed performance to users”, said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology Corp. “This new Thecus Windows Storage Server is an ideal solution for individuals and businesses that are comfortable and proficient with the Windows platform to safely protect and effortlessly manage their valuable data.”

The 60GB boot SSD is more than enough for Windows itself and plenty of apps while the two drive bays give you up to 16TB raw storage capacity when using 8TB drives. That is a lot of power and storage in a small form factor. Windows Storage Server Essentials offers a host of features and functionality for organizations of all sizes including Data Deduplication and Storage Spaces for efficiency and protection, native support for Active Directory, and remote access through the P2P application, Orbweb.me. Users can further customize the W2810PRO to specific business needs as it supports third-party Windows Server add-ins.

Connection-wise, you get both an HDMI port and DisplayPort for direct usage, an S/PDIF for an audio connection, three USB 3.0 ports, and dual Gigabit Ethernet network connectivity.

Feature Highlights:

  • Top Storage for 1-50 Employee Business
  • Office 365 & Microsoft Azure: Cloud Service Integration
  • Active Directory Domain Services: Scalable, Secure User Management
  • Data Deduplication: Performance Optimization
  • Enhanced Boot Drive: Embedded SSD
  • Windows License Included
  • Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM

The new Thecus W2810PRO NAS is available starting today and it is an update well worth it. It packs more than double the power of the previous model, the W2000+, which was based on an Intel Atom dual-core processor.

QNAP Releases Budget-Friendly Dual-Core TS-x28 NAS’

We often both report on and test high-end NAS devices here at eTeknix, but that isn’t what everybody needs nor wants. Sometimes you want a budget-oriented and basic solution, and QNAP just released a new series of devices in this category. The two new NAS are called the TS-128 and TS-228 and are respectively 1-bay and 2-bay NAS’.

The new TS-x28 series is built around basically the same base as we saw in the TAS-268 NAS that we recently reviewed, just without the HDMI connector and dual Android system. The TS-x28 series is still a feature-rich NAS series for users that want to easily handle file backup and synchronisation tasks, both locally and through the internet.

Create your own personal cloud system without monthly subscription fees and storage limitations while you increase the security as all files are stored in the safety of your own home and on your own server. With the myQNAPcloud service, you get multiple remote access services to convenient access, manage, and share multimedia files located on your TS-x28 NAS from anywhere with a web browser. The mobile QNAP apps such as Qfile, Qphoto, Qmusic, Qvideo and Qmanager all work flawlessly with the new devices too. The Qsync utility is particularly useful as it supports file synchronisation across multiple devices and users can acquire the latest files from any device connected to the NAS whenever they need it.

Multimedia services are no problem with the TS-x28 series either, even though it doesn’t have the direct connection options. You can still stream through DLNA and other services to get all your media content directly on your TV and other smart devices. The Surveillance station also comes with 2 free IP camera channels for that home security setup that you might have considered for a while.

Overall, a tiny NAS that has all the basics and none of all the extras you possible don’t need nor want. Hardware wise it is powered by an ARM v7 dual-core CPU with 1.1GHz clock speed and has 1GB DDR3 memory. You get one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port besides the Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity. The TS-228 is available now for around £200, but I could only find placeholders for the price of the TS-128 at the time of writing. My guess would be around £160.

Key Specifications

  • TS-128: 1-bay mini-tower NAS
  • TS-228: 2-bay mini-tower NAS
  • ARM v7 dual-core 1.1GHz processor
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3.5” SATA HDD
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port; 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • 1 x Gigabit LAN port

Thecus N2810 2-Bay 4K Capable SMB NAS Review

Introduction


Today’s review is a little bit special as I don’t just get the chance to test one of the newest NAS on the market, but also a new operating system at the same time. Thecus N2810 2-bay SMB multimedia NAS server with 4K playback is in the testing area and it comes with Thecus’ brand new ThecusOS 7.0.

Thecus N2810 NAS is powered by an Intel Celeron N3050 Braswell dual-core processor with 1.6GHz base clock and a 2.16GHz burst speed. This is a great processor for NAS usage as it’s both powerful and energy-efficient. On top of that, the N2810 supports hardware AES 256-bit encryption for that extra layer of security without impacting performance the way a software solution will. This is backed by 2GB DDR3 memory, but you can upgrade the system to a maximum of 8GB DDR3 RAM should you require more. The standard 2GB should still be plenty for normal usage scenarios and seamless 4K media playback.

Thecus opted for a full USB 3.0 setup which is a nice thing to see. Thanks to the USB bus’ compatibility you can easily use legacy devices while having maximum speed on your modern equipment such as high-end flash drives and external SSDs. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the rear and one on the front. The front port also features a convenient one-touch copy button that allows you to copy content to or from a USB drive with a single press of the button.

The two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the N2810 support 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X and Wake-on-LAN. You can naturally also set them up for link aggregation and Thecus allows you to set all seven modes: Load balance, Failover, 802.3ad, Balance-XOR, Balance-TLB, Balance-ALB, and Broadcast.

There is also the HDMI port for direct playback on your TV or monitor without the need for any other device at all. This is a feature we see more and more on modern NAS devices and it is one that I really love. While streaming is great, a direct connection allows for higher compatibility with formats and there are fewer points of failure or lag on the way. That said, the Thecus N2810 has absolutely no trouble streaming either, but we’ll get to that later.

Keen eyes will already have spotted the serial UART port too and that isn’t something that we usually see on NAS devices, it is however an awesome feature. We sometimes find the port on the PCB, but rarely on the device itself. UART stands for Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter and is part of the serial communication protocol.

The N2810 is the first Thecus NAS to run the completely new ThecusOS 7.0 operating system and user interface. The refreshed OS offers an easy to use and intuitive user interface and quite a lot of new features over the previous OS including the new Photo Station, Thecus App Center with over 700 apps, and user profiles. Besides the design and feature improvements, it also got a push in regards to the performance where it gets even more out of your hardware.

The N2810 steps up to the challenges that 4K playback creates and provides a robust hardware platform that is able to handle multiple tasks with ease. The built-in HDMI port allows you to transform the NAS into a multimedia hub by connecting it directly to your TV or media center to utilize the power of KODI. There are plenty of streaming options too with basic DLNA as well as Plex Media Server that can stream to your consoles with ease. The server can also automatically assemble iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture content. Apple TV and Chromecast are both supported too, completing the circle of media abilities.

The N2810 is an SMB NAS and as such comes with a comprehensive list of enterprise-oriented features too, although none of them are limited to firms and enterprises, home users can take equal advantage of them. The Thecus System Failover feature is a fault tolerance process that creates mirrored data volumes. With at least two Thecus NAS available, data is copied by schedule and all changes are mirrored between the two NAS. While the second NAS is not visible, it communicates with the primary NAS. In the event of a power or network failure, a scheduled maintenance, or other unforeseen circumstances, System Failover automatically redirects operations to the secondary Thecus NAS, which then acts as the primary NAS.

Local failover is also achieved easily with a Thecus NAS and Snapshots. With BTRFS support, users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups through BTRFS subvolumes. Snapshots of data at various time points can be manually or automatically made and just as easily later restored to rollback files or folders to previous states.

To complete the backup and failover abilities, the N2810 comes bundled with Acronis Backup Software that can backup all your data to the NAS with a single click as well as local backups and Time Machine support. Real-time remote replication (Rsync) is naturally also supported and it is one of the easiest to use and widest available backup methods.

Security is an important factor on a NAS, after all, it’s the device that holds all your files, memories, and data. Whether you’re an enterprise user or a home user, a virtual private network can come in very handy. The N2810 can operate as a VPN server and allow users to remotely access through a secure network.

Thecus also added Intel Security to the package that gives you an active defense against viruses that might have made it onto your NAS. The software protects you by scanning the files on your NAS and defending it against possible threats. Intel Security is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company and Thecus users will be able to benefit from Intel Security’s powerful software on their NAS entirely for free.

With the Thecus N2810, it is also an easy task to set up your own personal cloud service that will work with mobile iOS and Android devices with the use of Thecus’ T-OnTheGo app and your PCs. The mobile app enables users to access, copy, stream, and edit any data between their NAS and mobile device. Your own personal cloud, available from anywhere with internet access. The access from anywhere is made as easy as it could be thanks to the built-in DDNS feature that will give your NAS a name rather than a difficult to remember and mostly changing IP address.

You can also reverse the whole thing and use the public cloud systems together with the N2810 NAS. The system will work with DropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality. Guard your data with RAID at home and an additional level of protection in the Cloud. Just drag and drop files into the folder on your NAS and access them on any computer or mobile device with DropBox, Amazon S3 or ElephantDrive.

With currently available hard disk drives you get up to 8TB in the consumer sector and 10TB in the enterprise sector. With two drive bays at your disposal, that’s already a lot of storage and you can take maximum advantage of this storage thanks to iSCSI and the efficiency of iSCSI thin provisioning. Connect through iSCSI for the fastest data transfer speeds available and make wasted disk space a thing of the past with thin provisioning’s flexible storage functionality.

Feature Highlights

  • Embedded with Intel Celeron N3050 Dual Core CPU
  • Running on the newly-designed and enhanced ThecusOS 7.0
  • Seamless 4K Multimedia Playback
  • Uninterrupted Accessibility with Thecus System Failover
  • Secure Remote Access with Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Faster Transfers: 2 LAN Ports for Link Aggregation
  • 99% Virus Prevention: Bundled with Free Intel Security
  • Complete Client Side Protection: Bundled with Free Acronis Software

Packaging and Accessories

Thecus packed the N2810 in a beautiful box that clearly shows the intended usage, as a 4K capable multimedia center.

The rear of the box continues the beautiful full-colour wrapping with the feature highlights. There’s no doubt that you have a premium device in your hands when you look at the package.

It continues on the sides where the brand new Thecus OS 7 is presented on one side.

The second side reveals the hardware specifications, device size,  and package content.

Inside the product is a quick installation guide and a product disk as well as the warranty card and product notes.

Besides the manuals and the NAS itself, there is also a power adapter with connection cord, two sets of drive tray keys, an RJ45 LAN cable, and a security latch for the power cable that can prevent accidental removal.

ASUSTOR Launches Entry-Level Quad-Core AS32 Series NAS

ASUSTOR announced the launch of two new economical entry-level multimedia NAS devices called the AS3202T and AS3204T. The difference between the two is the number of drives you can mount, either 2 or 4. The new AS32 Series is built around Intel’s latest Celeron 1.6GHz quad-core CPU that provides plenty of processing power for such units and they come with 2GB DDR3 dual-channel memory.

Besides being a great quad-core CPU for NAS usage, the systems also feature Intel’s AES-NI encryption instructions that allow the devices to support hardware encryption. This is something that gives a far better performance when dealing with encrypted drives than a software solution would.

The AS32 series also features a great graphics processing unit that allows you to use the NAS as a multimedia hub. You can connect the systems directly to a TV or monitor for direct playback without the use of other devices. Attach a keyboard and mouse or use an IR remote to stay in control of the system.

The ASUSTOR Portal App makes it easy and allows you to use the NAS to browse the web, change the configuration, use KODI and similar apps while the official ASUSTOR remote control completes the couch experience. Users can centrally store all of their digital multimedia on the NAS (photos, music, movies) and play it all back on demand, enjoying a comprehensive home multimedia experience.

The AS32 series doesn’t feature external drive bays, but still work with a toolless mounting system that allows you to easily install everything just by the use of thumbscrews. The exterior design uses the diamond pattern that we’ve seen before, for example on the AS1002T that we reviewed a little while ago.

“In order to provide better multimedia playback experience to consumers, we are launching the AS3202T and AS3204T tower model NAS devices which feature powerful performance,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “When compared to the 31 series devices of the previous generation, the 32 series devices provide even more powerful graphics processing capabilities which allow for sharper imaging and smoother playback for all high definition multimedia.”

External storage can be connected to the three USB 3.0 ports on the AS32 series. One is located on the front for easier access and the other two are on the back next to the Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port and the HDMI 1.4a port.

The NAS naturally come with ASUSTOR’s ADM operating system that’s both easy to use and setup. There is no need for complex installation and the devices can be setup with just a three steps. This makes it a great NAS for beginners as it’s budget friendly, easy to install, and still powerful.

Besides the default function, the functionality can be expanded with a large variety of add-on applications that can be installed directly from the built-in app central. There are mobile companion apps too for users that want to access their storage on the go and through the comfort of their smart devices.

Currently, ADM version 2.5.4 is the latest official version of the operating system, but the ADM 2.6 beta is available too and thereby we can expect the full version of this to be released soon too. The latest ADM 2.6 beta includes upgrades to ASUSTOR Portal web applications by increasing YouTube 1080p playback performance and support for a rich variety of streaming video sites such as Netflix, MetaCafe, US Stream, Vimeo, Youkou, Tudou and more.

Key Features for the AS3202T and AS3204T

  • Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (Automatic Overclocking to 2.24GHz)
  • RAID 1 Read Speed of up to 112+MB/s and Write Speed of up to 110+ MB/s
  • 2GB Built-in Dual-Channel DDR3L High-Speed Memory
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Port
  • Front of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
  • Back of Device: 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4b Port
  • Infrared Receiver
  • Supports RAID Volume Management Single, JBOD, RAID 0/1 (AS3202T)
  • Supports RAID Volume Management Single, JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6/10 (AS3204T)
  • Supports Seamless System Migration
  • Supports Largest Capacity Hard Disks on the Market (8TB)
  • Supports Intel AES-NI Hardware Encryption Engine

Synology Releases DS216j Entry-Level 2-Bay NAS

If you haven’t invested in a NAS for your home yet, then it might be time to do so as it can make your digital life so much easier by being a centralized storage and media centre. Synology officially released the newest model of theirs and it might be the perfect unit as your first one. The new DS216j is built around Marvell’s Armada 385 dual-core 1 GHz CPU and it comes with 512MB DDR3 memory onboard.

The DiskStation DS216j is able to deliver a great performance despite the low-sounding specifications and can deliver an outstanding read/write performance of 112.75 MB/s in reading and over 97.6 MB/s in writing when connecting from a Windows environment. The system is equipped with a single RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports for high-speed storage and other USB devices .

The DS216j is focused on home and personal use where it allows you to build your own personal cloud or served as their centralised multimedia server effortlessly. Backup and sync files across NAS’, PCs, and mobile devices as easy as a few clicks to initialize a job after which everything runs on its own. You can also stream files to DLNA media players and devices, Chromecast, or Airplay with ease as well as attach USB speakers for direct playback from the NAS itself.

The DS216j is a budget and entry-level unit which shows in a few places. These aren’t bad things, just things that can cut production costs and provide you with a cheaper product such as fewer connection ports and the not having ejectable drive bays. Users can also adjust the LED indicators brightness based on four different settings as well as schedule it on demand.

Synology’s DiskStation DS216j is now available worldwide and comes with an RRP of just £126.00 including VAT or €145.00 excluding VAT. The DS216j NAS is backed with a 2-year limited warranty.

Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 Review

Introduction


It has been about six months since Synology launched the Beta program for the new DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 and we’re so very close to an official release. Today I’m taking a closer look at just this new operating system and will show you the new improvements and features.

This review is a little special for me as my NAS reviews normally focus a lot more on the hardware side of things as well as the performance. It isn’t that I don’t show the user interface and features, but there isn’t room to dive as deep into the system as there is today where I’m focusing on the operating system and apps alone.

There are a lot of new great enhancements in DSM 6.0 and one of the best is one that you’ll barely notice as a normal user because it’s going on behind the curtains. The new OS has been upgraded to a 64-bit architecture on compatible models. This will not only allow for a better overall performance by utilizing the modern CPUs a lot better, it also supports over 4GB memory allocation for one single process to deploy large scale applications.

Synology also took some of the previous built-in features and modularized them into packages instead. This ensures better system maintenance and update flexibility. The Modularization in DSM 6.0 includes Storage Analyzer, Hyper Backup, PHP, Web Station and Text Editor, Log Center with basic built-in functions in DSM and extensive functions via package download, WebDAV, and Snapshot Replication.

DSM 6.0 brings a lot of enhancements for both home users and enterprises alike. The High Availability Manager server is now able to handle split-brain errors a lot better and it doesn’t require a full data replication anymore to get back up and running. This can save you from valuable downtime and thereby profit loss. It also comes with improved upgrade efficiency and cluster binding, and best of all, it also supports Docker DSM

Backup and replication got new features too and some things got moved around to accommodate the new add-on packages. Any existing setups will automatically be moved to the new locations upon upgrading, so that’s not something you need to worry about. CSP support got added to the security features in order to prevent XSS attacks while TLS and SSL profiles can be adjusted according to your browser capability and settings. Another nifty new security feature is that you can add and manage you most frequently used devices as trusted devices that don’t need a verification code every time you log in.

There are several new and pretty awesome features in DSM 6.0 beta, where on of them is the Docker DSM. Businesses can create a multi-tenant environment with flexible resource control and secure isolation. All Docker DSMs run independently from each other and provide additional features such as live migration. Synology’s multi-version backup provides snapshot and replication to one or more remote sites, up to every 5 minutes, and block-level incremental backup and cross-version deduplication is also included. You’re well covered here.

The SSD cache feature allows you to use up to 12 SSDs now, but that amount is naturally for the big enterprise models and the home-use NAS don’t come that kind of drive-bay amount. When SSD cache is enabled on a volume with advanced iSCSI LUNs, the performance can be improved up to 30%. You can now use different SSD models to create an SSD cache.

This is truly an upgrade that worth the shift from 5.x to 6.0 with the amount of features added, and I’ve only mentioned some of them up until now. The search feature won’t just search file and directory names now, it can also search the files actual content as well as meta tags to find just the thing you’re looking for. You can use 802.1X network authentication for wired networks and organize your firewall rules into different profiles.

There’s also a new Spreadsheet feature with co-editing, historical versions, tag, and file sharing link as part of Note Station. Offline editing, one-click email clipping, and instant table-chart conversion is also part of the deal. Apple Watch users can now enjoy the Note Station even more as it is now compatible with the Watch. Owners of an Apple Watch can now check notes directly on their wrist, or create new notes via voice input.

MailPlus server comes with active-active architecture, load balancing, and content filters and allows you to have a great mail solution running right from your own location. The clients are browser- and mobile-based and feature physical mailbox, virtual labels, auto-filter, and sticker.

Cloud Station Server and Cloud Sync now provide users with flexible synchronization of files within specified subfolders in addition to shared folders. Small file syncing has now become over 8 times faster than before which is great as those small files often come in big groups. Synology also revamped the Video station for this new version. It now supports offline transcoding, on-screen buttons, and Windows 10. DS Audio got Apple Watch support now too, to allow users to select songs, playlists, and broadcasts directly.

QNAP TAS-268 QTS and Android Combo NAS Review

Introduction


In today’s review, I am taking a look at a NAS that comes with a twist that we previously haven’t seen out-of-the-box. I’m talking about QNAP’s TAS-268 NAS which is a 2-bay hybrid NAS that runs both QNAP’s QTS and Android at the same time. The TAS-268 doesn’t just have a twist in the operating system, the physical form also takes a different approach than most NAS on the market.

At the core, the QNAP TAS-268 is a normal NAS with the function that you would expect from such a unit. It doesn’t come with the most power processor, but in return, it also comes with a low price tag despite all the functionality. It is built around an ARM 1.1 GHz dual-core processor and comes with 2GB DDR3 memory. It also features an onboard 4GB flash memory to be used by the Android system. While this doesn’t sound like much, it should be plenty for this device’s functions.

Besides this 2-bay unit, QNAP also released a 1-bay unit with the only difference being the number of drives you can install. But it is the 2-bay unit that we’re looking at today and it supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and single disk setup with two 3.5-inch hard disk drives. There are plenty of external connection options on the TAS-268 with one Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, four USB 2.0 ports on the rear and one USB 3.0 port on the front.

The front also features an SD card slot for easy and portable storage connection just as you’re used to from your Android phone or tablet – just much easier. You don’t need to remove any covers and battery as it is the case with many phones, instead, you have the SD slot right at the front of the device where you need it.

To complete the convenience experience, QNAP also added the one-touch copy button which allows just what the name promised, copy the content from the front USB port with a single press of the button. How the button shall react can be changed in the QTS system and it is capable of copy operations in both directions, both to and from the USB drives.

With a NAS like this that supports Android, we also need an HDMI port in order to connect it to our monitor or TV and the TAS-2688 also features this on the rear. It is accompanied by four USB 2.0 ports that come in handy for keyboard, mouse, and game controller connection in order to take even better advantage of the Android platform and all the available apps. You can also control the system through the use of the included IR remote control. The TS-268 supports HD and 4K H.265 / H.264 file formats, 4K H.264 with up to 15 frames per second and 4K H.265 with up to 30 frames per second.

Shouldn’t you want to connect the device via HDMI or maybe you just want to get your stored and linked media files onto more devices then you can take advantage of the common DLNA streaming that QNAP also supports. Consoles, Smart TVs, Mini-PCs and much more support this and it is probably the easiest method of streaming content.

Google Play also provides various media apps including YouTube, TED, Twitch and other video apps to be used directly on the NAS. You can install and stream movies, cartoons, TV series, news, and sports at any time in order to enrich your entertainment level.

QNAP introduced their myQNAPcloud system quite a while ago by now and naturally the TAS-268 also supports this. It isn’t just a simple and effective way to set up your new NAS, it also allows you to connect to the finished setup much quicker and easier. By acting as a simplified and locked-in dynamic DNS system it will allow you to easily connect to your NAS, securely, from anywhere in the world and any device as long as you and the NAS both have internet connectivity.

With that in mind, it is incredibly easy to create you own personal cloud system where you don’t have to rely on commercial or free options that thousands of other people use. Keep your files at home where you know who has access and who doesn’t. It is a breeze to sync files to the NAS via QNAP’s own Qsync as well as the Cloud Drive Sync app from the QTS app center that can sync files with Google Drive and Dropbox.

Both real-time and scheduled backups on Windows systems as well as with Time Machine on Mac OS systems is easily taken care of with QNAP’s NetBak replicator and it also features disaster recovery solutions including RTRR, rsync, and cloud storage backup (Dropbox and Google Drive) are also included. So all the bases are covered.

As previously mentioned, you naturally also get the ordinary NAS cross-platform file sharing capabilities from a centralized data storage. Whether you use Linux, Unix, Windows, or Mac OS, your connection is covered. And with the use of apps you get the same connectivity on your Windows Mobile, Android, or iOS system.

So far I have mostly been talking about the software functionality, but that’s just one of the great aspects on this NAS. The design is quite a bit different than we are used with a vertical unit rather than a horizontal oriented. This saves space on the desk with a smaller footprint which can be a vital factor near your entertainment system and similar likely placement scenarios.

The TAS-28 is also a very light unit due to a simple and clever design. Even better, the entire NAS can be set up completely tool-less for your convenience. There is a single thumbscrew at the bottom with which you can open up the chassis and the drive are mounted tool-less too with the included adapters.

Despite having a unique outer design, a lot of the internal design is something that reminds us of previous 2-bay NAS units – just improved with the tool-less drive mounting options and vertical instead of horizontal.

With all this talk about Android, we shouldn’t forget about the base QTS operating system. It provides a web-based user interface to help you easily manage files on the TAS-268. You can install various apps based on your needs to fulfill tasks like storage, backup, management and multimedia applications. File Station allows you to upload, download and manage files anywhere with a web browser. All of your photos, music and videos can be indexed by the built-in Media Library, and easily managed and shared with the Photo Station, Music Station and Video Station. The energy-saving Download Station is your 24/7 download center, allowing you to quickly download files to enrich your collection.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU
  • Android and QTS operating system
  • Organize & manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location
  • Synchronize files between computers, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Remotely access your files securely from your personal cloud
  • Stream your multimedia library via DLNA to other devices and your TV
  • Enjoy direct media playback via HDMI with HD videos and photos
  • Compact and streamlined chassis ideal for a desktop or living room environment

Packaging and Accessories

The TAS-268 comes in a simple white box with a representation of the NAS unit as well as the feature highlights.

The rear of the box contains some more information as to what’s so special about this NAS, but it’s kept short.

Opening up the box and we find a brand new NAS that is well protected with self-adhesive plastic film – you know the kind we all love to peel off once we get a new gadget.

Besides the NAS itself, there is a quick installation guide to help you get started quickly, a power supply brick and power cord fitting the region you bought it in as well as an RJ45 LAN cable.

There’s also a small remote control included that is about 3 inches long. Shown below are also the four HDD mounting brackets that simply snap into the drive and hold it in place.

QNAP SilentNAS HS-251+ 2-Bay Passive-Cooled NAS Review

Introduction


The first NAS that I reviewed after I joined eTeknix was QNAP’s amazing HS-251 NAS, so it is a real pleasure today as I have the upgraded model in the testing area. I will take QNAP’s SilentNAS HS-251+ for a thorough spin in my testing area and check on its performance as well as show you the latest version of the QTS operating system that was released recently.

The HS-251+ NAS retains the same basic design that provides you with a completely silent NAS. There are no fans or other parts that can generate any noise apart from the storage drives you’ll be using. This design adds another bonus which is a dust-free inside. This is made possible because the entire chassis is used as a heatsink for the entire unit and inserted drives. There are no fans to draw dust and other unwanted dirt into the system. That makes it very easy to maintain, but it also means that it should be placed on top of a shelve rather than in a tight spot where it could have trouble getting rid of the excess heat.

QNAP’s HS-251+ is powered by a quad-core Intel Celeron processor and while some might take a step back here, it’s a great chip for the system. You get four cores that run at 2.0GHz and with a burst speed up to 2.4GHz, it consumes very little power, which also helps with the cooling, and it has more than enough power to drive a system like this. The CPU is backed by 2GB DDR3L RAM and the NAS has a 512MB DOM for the basic system.

Whether you want to mount 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives, the HS-251+ can take both. We only got two bays at our disposal here, so most people will probably choose the larger 3.5-inch drives that provide up to 8TB capacity for consumers at the time of writing. Smaller 2.5-inch drives do however run more silently and it produces less heat, so it’s something that is worth to consider in a system like this. The drive bays themselves are hidden behind a removable front that further helps to keep dust out while it also gives the NAS a sleeker appearance.

Connection wise we find two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports next to the two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Sadly none of the ports are located on the front or front end of the sides, but it isn’t a big issue with a flat NAS like this. You can easily both reach and view behind the unit. The NAS supports both printer and storage sharing through the built-in USB ports and over the network, which is a thing that can make the household IT-setup a lot easier.

You can also expand the HS-251+ through the use of QNAPs expansion enclosures UX-800P and UX-500P with 8 and 5 drives respectively. This can provide you with up to 80TB raw storage capacity in the HS-251+ using 8TB drives.

Next to those more normal connections, the QNAP HS-251+ also has an HDMI port from which you can connect it directly to your TV and use it for media playback and even run other operating systems in a virtual environment directly from the NAS. The QNAP QvPC technology is awesome and I’ll be showing you some of those features on the following pages. The HDMI connectivity supports 1080p video playback and the NAS also comes with hardware transcoding capability, making the HS-251+ is an ideal companion at home for multimedia entertainment.

Included with the QNAP HS-251+ is also a remote control that makes the usage from the couch a lot easier, more convenient, and in a fashion one is used to from TVs, DVRs, CD players, etc. With this, it is easy to control the playback and navigate the menus without the hassle of a keyboard and mouse.

The newest QNAP operating system, QTS 4.2, brings an even smoother experience than the predecessors with its flat and modern design. QNAP have streamlined loading times and added an intelligent desktop and multi-window operation that makes controlling every aspect of your HS-251+ fully accessible and easy to use.

It’s easy to centralize your all your files and backups in one place with this NAS, as it allows you to create backup jobs to and from the NAS, sync with computers, tablets, and mobile devices as well as the cloud. The real-time and offline HD video transcoding allows smooth playback of all your files no matter what the connection is like and file formats that might not be supported.

You naturally also get all the other great features such as the headless 24/7 download center, surveillance station with up to 40 channels, official mobile apps for all key functions and management, app center with official and third-party apps to increase the functionality even more, alert functions via SMS and Email services, web server, FTP server, Radius server, VPN server, print server, Plex media server, and much more.

The QNAP HS-251+ also supports the Qsirch function that is a QNAP exclusive. It is one of the best search function available that will find anything that you’re looking for on your NAS with ease and a lot faster than any traditional method will. Simply type in as much as you know about what you are trying to find, including bits of the file name or even words/phrases in the document, and Qsirch will display a list of matches, complete with thumbnails, as you type.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with hardware encryption engine
  • Your personal cloud with centralized management, file storage, sharing and backup
  • Real-time & offline HD video transcoding for your mobile devices, PCs, and Smart TVs
  • Supports file synchronization between multiple devices to have most up-to-date files
  • Modern set-top design for your digital lifestyle
  • Storage is expandable through extra units

Packaging and Accessories

QNAP’s HS-251+ comes in a plain brown box with a sticker that shows us what is inside. We get all the details we need on the sticker itself, from hardware specifications to features, so it has everything it needs to have.

Next to the NAS itself, we find a Quick Installation guide, the remote control, a power adapter and power cable from the region where it has ben bought as well as two RJ45 LAN cables inside the box.

Synology Releases DiskStation DS216+ 2-Bay NAS

Synology officially released the DiskStation DS216+ which is the direct successor to the DS215+ and a NAS unit that I’m sure a lot of people have been looking forward to. The new DiskStation DS216+ has it all and looks like it is a solid server with great features.

The DiskStation DS216+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3050 dual-core CPU that has built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine among other things. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory and the system can provide excellent encrypted data transfer performance at over 113 MB/s reading and 109 MB/s writing. Another really cool feature is the real-time capabilities to transcode H.264 4K Ultra HD video. The DS216+ can handle one channel 4K transcoding or three channels with Full-HD transcoding at the same time. When coupled with the ability to utilize DVB-T/DVB-S sticks and the record function, you got everything you need in relation to media in one place. The Video, Audio, and Photo Stations offer all the media features you need and it also supports DLNA and AirPlay, and even Bluetooth and wireless transmission with the use of dongles.

The DiskStation DS216+ has most things when it comes to hardware and software. The LEDs on the front have an adjustable brightness as well as schedule abilities. There is a USB 3.0 port with one-touch copy button, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and a feature that I personally love to see, an eSATA port. The drives are hot-swappable and feature Synology’s screw and tool-less installation. The 92mm cooling fan located at the rear should also make sure that the NAS works as flawless under controlled temperatures and does so as silent as possible.

Besides the full setup of backup, restore, cloud, and other features that we love from Synology’s DiskStation Manager operating system, the DS216+ also introduces the Btrfs file system. Btrfs has advantages over EXT4 and comes with built-in data integrity check, more flexible Shared Folder/User Quota systems, advanced snapshot technology with a customizable backup schedule that allows for up to 64 copies of shared folder backups, and file or folder level data restoration. The Cloud Station with file versioning also reduces the storage consumption down to half when compared with the Ext4 file system.

So whether you need a full set of media capabilities, an easy backup solution, or business features such as Windows AD and LDAP, Windows ACL, Mail Server, VPN server, or Radius server, the DiskStation DS216+ has you covered. It is backed by a 2-year warranty and comes with an MSRP of £237.00 including VAT or €275.00 excluding VAT.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with AES-NI hardware encryption engine
  • Encryption performance at over 113 MB/s reading, 109 MB/s writing
  • Advanced Btrfs file system with built-in data integrity check
  • Single H.264 4K or triple Full HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Hot-swappable drive tray design for easy installation & maintenance
  • Brightness-adjustable front LED with schedule control
  • A versatile storage server for small offices

We can also spot a new feature within the product photos of this DS216+ NAS and while it is a feature that isn’t present yet, it should be on future models. At the first glance, the DS216+ looks like the previous  Synology 2-bay models. It does have the new power button and one-touch copy button with built-in LED feature, but there’s another thing hiding in plain sight on the front. There is an unused and covered slot on the front that judging from the size could be an SD Card slot. We’ve already seen Synology add an SD card slot to their RT1900ac router, so it wouldn’t be far-fetched that we could see that added to the NAS lineup too.

Thecus Announces N2810 2-Bay NAS with 4K Support

With the advances in storage capacity on our drives, more and more people realise that a 2-bay NAS actually is enough for most people. With 8TB drives, you can have up to 16TB raw capacity or 8TB in a mirrored RAID setup, which honestly is plenty for most people. And storage doesn’t even have to be expensive. For example, you can get the 8TB Seagate Archive HDD for just £157.02. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at Thecus’ newest family member, the N2810 2-bay NAS that is equipped with the newest generation Braswell CPU, supports encryption, and also 4K playback and transcoding.

Thecus new N2810 is using the Intel Braswell N3050 dual-core processor that has a base clock speed of 1.6GHz and a burst speed up to 2.16GHz. It also comes equipped with 2GB DDR3 ram that allows you to run a lot more at once from this device than a lot of other ones. N2810 also supports AES-NI encryption engine for increased performance and enhanced security. The memory is expandable all the way up to 8GB, in case the included 2GB shouldn’t be enough for you. It should however easily be enough for plenty of multitasking and seamless 4K playback.

The NAS has plenty of connection options with three USB 3.0 ports for maximized transfer speeds on externally connected storage as well as two LAN ports that allow for 7 modes of link aggregation. The N2810 is also equipped with an HDMI port for local playback and supports USB devices, Apple TV, and Chromecast. More traditional media apps such as Kodi (formerly known as XMBC) and Plex further increase the rich multimedia offering.

Thecus bundles both Intel Security and Acronis backup solutions with the N2810 to give an even bigger peace of mind when it comes to the security of your files as well as the device itself. Should local security and backup not be enough, then the N2810 also supports DropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive. There is also an app store with over 700 free apps and user profiles for Thecus OS 7.0.

The drive trays are lockable to prevent accidental ejection as well as keep people with long fingers away from your drives. The front USB 3.0 port comes with a one-touch copy button for easy backups to and from external drives.

“The N2810 steps up to the challenges that 4K playback creates and provides a robust hardware platform that is able to handle multiple tasks with ease,” said Florence Shih, CEO at Thecus Technology Corp. “With the recent development of our newest operating system, ThecusOS 7.0, we are elated to announce that the N2810 will be the first Thecus NAS to be released with the new software.”

The new Thecus N2810 NAS will begin shipping globally in February. Since we now know that the N2810 will ship in February and come with the brand new Thecus OS 7.0, we know also have a time frame on the OS and can expect it to be rolled out to other Thecus NAS around the same time or shortly after.

Synology DiskStation DS216play 2-Bay Multimedia-Optimized NAS Review

Introduction


Synology’s 2-bay play series has been very popular among users due to its great features and functionality coupled with a low asking price. Today I’m taking a closer look at the newest model in this series, the DS216play, a NAS featuring a powerful dual-core CPU with hardware H.264 and H.265 transcoding support and floating point unit.

Let us dive right into the hardware on this little NAS. The CPU is an STM STiH412 32-bit dual-core processor with 1.5GHz and floating point unit. The hardware transcoding engine is capable of the H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, and VC-1 codecs and it can work with a maximum resolution of up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) at up to 30 frames per second. It allows you to transcode 4K videos to 1080p, making them suitable for all screens and bandwidths whether they are local media players or remote mobile devices. In addition, you can also stream original 4K resolution videos to your multimedia player or 4K TV within a local network environment. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory which should be sufficient for its area of operation.

With those hardware specifications, the DS216play is able to deliver an average speed of 107 MB/s when reading and 91 MB/s when writing on a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall capability of the main CPU and it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creations when uploading a lot of photos or videos.

One of the main features of a NAS like this is to stream media files to a whole lot of devices. The DS216play can act as a DLNA certified DMS (Digital Media Server), allowing you to stream multimedia contents, such as music, photos, and videos, to DLNA compliant devices. It can also stream to pretty much any other device such as mobile phones and tablets, TVs, and stereos. Synology also offers support for Samsung TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku players.

Three of the official and very popular apps on the DS216play are the Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station. They provide a streamlined and sleek interface that turn your NAS into an entertainment hub. The Video Station allows you to browse and manage all your movies, TV shows, and home videos and build up a smart video library with those. The Photo Station is the same, just for still pictures, and it also allows you to create web albums or blogs to record and share the exciting moments of your lives with others. The Audio Station can create your own audio streaming service where you can build a personal music center and stream music directly from your Synology NAS to other devices. You can rate your songs and sort music into smart playlists according to the rating. Plus, sharing a playlist with others is as simple as creating a sharing link and sending it to your friends.

Thanks to Synology’s QuickConnect, you can easily access all the NAS functions no matter where in the world you are, as long as the NAS and you both have an internet connection. It is a very simple DDNS service that takes care of all the settings for you. All you need to do is log in. This allows you to create your own personal cloud service where you don’t need to rely on costly monthly plans or storage limits. You can still connect your NAS to public cloud offerings such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud as well as Amazon S3, Glacier cloud service, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and hicloud.

The Synology DS216play supports plenty of backup methods for both Windows and Mac users with the use of Cloud Station. Whenever you modify a file, the changes are backed up to the DS216play automatically. Mac OS users can also use Apple Time Machine. Backups to and from another Synology NAS is also supported, just as rsync servers, external drives, and cloud services can be used as backup targets.

Speaking of external devices, the DS216play has one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for external storage devices, printers, or wireless adapters. There is one Gigabit Ethernet port for the network connectivty and the entire unit is cooled by a 92mm fan.

So far I have talked a lot about the media capabilities on the DS216play NAS, but we shouldn’t forget that NAS stands for network attached storage. The DS216play naturally supports everything it needs to here from Samba (SMB2) for Windows and Mac OS users as well as AFP and NFS. Should you use WebDAV for your credentials, then that is supported too. AFP, CIFS, File Station and WebDAV also support network recycle bins for extra safety. An FTP service is also included by default, one of the oldest and most universal file transfer protocls around.

The File Station is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216play. Just drag and drop to upload data from Mac or PC. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, or videos and it also has a built-in FTP and email client. IT lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application and you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file. Both HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption are featured for secure transfers and you can even set link expiry dates.

Synology built the DS216play in the well-known two-piece chassis, this time in black. It is simple yet effective with the only downside of not having front-accessible drive bays. On the other hand, home users are the intended market for a NAS like this and it is not like they’re switching and swapping drives all the time.

Feature Highlights

  • 4K Ultra HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Powerful dual-core CPU with H.265 codec support
  • 107.7 MB/s Reading, 91.47 MB/s Writing
  • DLNA certified for media streaming
  • Powered by Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DiskStation DS216play comes in a simple brown box with a sticker highlighting the NAS model and its features.

The physical characteristics are detailed a little bit more on the rear where it also lists the hardware specifications.

Inside the box, next to the NAS itself, we find a power cable and AC/DC converter, a LAN cable, screws for the drives and the chassis itself as well as a Quick Installation Guide to get you going.

QNAP Releases TS-x53A IoT-Centric QTS-Linux Combo NAS Series

Network attached storage devices have evolved a lot in the last 10 years from somewhat underpowered systems with the single purpose of serving your files across your network to what they are today. We first saw the introduction of the HDMI port for direct media playback, I think it was Thecus who was first with this, but the other companies were quick to follow and now they all have these entertainment combo units. Qnap’s are easily identifiable by the QvPC feature that allows you to use your NAS as an HTPC replacement too.

It does however not stop here and the world of technology keeps evolving. We recently saw QNAP announced the Hybrid QTS-Android NAS lineup and now they’ve introduced yet another great combination, the new TS-x53A series that are the world’s first QTS-Linux dual system NAS. The new QNAP TS-x53A series will be available in four different models: A 2-bay, 4-bay, 6-bay, and an 8-bay version. The features and functions of the four new QTS-Linux NAS stay pretty much the same besides the amount of drive bays available.

The new TS-x53A series is powered by a 14nm Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor with 1.6GHz (2.08GHz Boost) and hardware encryption engine. It also features the 8th generation HD Graphics from Intel that allows the TS-x53A series to provide 4K UHD HDMI output with 3K H.264 hardware-accelerated transcoding and playback. The systems are available with either 4GB or 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM and upgradeable to a maximum of 8GB. The small 2-bay model only features two Gigabit Ethernet ports while the other models all have four Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports, and all of them come with plenty of USB 3.0 ports too.

“The next-generation TS-x53A QTS-Linux Combo NAS series is specially designed as a Linux-based gateway for the IoT era” said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP, adding “Alongside its high-speed data transmission and advanced snapshot features, it supports versatile HDMI applications and 4K video playback & transcoding. The TS-x53A series greatly extends possibilities for work and multimedia use, providing users with a complete storage solution with higher value to cost.”

Technically you could already run QTS next to Linux with QvPC and the container technologies that QTS provides, but these new servers also provide the Linux Station that can act as a great base for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and development. You can naturally also run all other OSes such as Windows, Android, and MacOS through the container and virtualization station. The TS-x53A series can also provide a secure private cloud environment for file backup and sharing.

The NAS series features all the great things that we know from other QNAP NAS, but there is one more thing that sets this series a little apart. The TS-x53A series supports OceanKTV, QNAP’s NAS-based karaoke systems with two 6.3mm microphone jacks and one 3.5mm line-out audio jack. With all this storage available, you can build yourself an impressive karaoke box while you still enjoy all the other benefits.

Synology DS216se 2-Bay Entry-Level and Cloud NAS Review

Introduction


I’ve reviewed quite a few high-end NAS lately and that isn’t the right match for everyone, maybe because you just have a limited budget or you just don’t need more. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Synology DS216se, a budget friendly 2-bay NAS that allows you to set up your own personal cloud for your files and backups as well as serving as traditional NAS for file storage and media streaming.

The Synology DS216se isn’t just a budget-friendly NAS when you purchase it, it keeps being a cost-effective NAS thanks to the low power consumption of just 14 watts while accessing and 5 watts when the hard drives go into sleep mode. You can further lower the running costs with the new scheduled power on and off feature. After all, there is no need to have the NAS running when you don’t need it.

Synology built the DS216se with a 32-bit Marvell Armada 370 (88F6707) ARM v7-based SoC that comes with built-in floating point engine, 256K L2 cache, and running at 800MHz. Along with the CPU, the DS216se features 256MB DDR3 memory soldered onto the PCB.

The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall performance of the CPU, but it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creation when uploading large amounts of photos or videos. The DS216se can deliver an average speed of 102 MB/s while reading and over 59 MB/s while writing in a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The NAS also features two USB 2.0 ports for printers or storage and one Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity.

Synology’s QuickConnect allows a DDNS setup with much less hassle than the traditional DDNS providers offer. You can skip your network configuration and eliminate the manual port forwarding, make it work for all your NAS users, and even use it without a public IP address. That makes it easy to access your data from anywhere, may you be away or at home and whether you use a stationary or a mobile device.

This makes it extremely easy to create your personal cloud setup, freeing you up from costly monthly plans as well as the risk of large level data breaches. Store everything safely at home and access it securely via encrypted connections. The link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet is highly secure.

You can easily connect from Windows, Mac, and Linux systems with the use of FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV with network recycle bin where supported. The Cloud Station is a simple way to back up everything to your NAS and it also supports Apple Time Machine for the Mac OS users. You can create backup jobs to and from the NAS, to other NAS, and to public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and Hicloud. You can also sync your NAS with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud. So no matter what type of backup and in what direction, this NAS can do it.

Backup and syncing are just one thing, but the main feature of a NAS is still to store files and serve these in various scenarios. Next to the normal file sharing for app common operating systems, the DS216se also supports streaming to Samsung TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. The Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station apps allow you to build easy to navigate libraries and watch the content on pretty much any system, essentially turning your NAS into an entertainment hub.

The File Station app is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216se. Just drag-n-drop data from a Mac or a PC to upload your files. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, and videos and it also comes with a built-in FTP and email client. The DS216se also lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application where you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file while HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption, as well as link expiry dates ensure file sharing over the Internet is as secure as it can be.

Synology got a long list of other mobile apps available for both your Android and iOS devices, such as the DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download and DS cam apps. They allow you to access and manage the contents of your DS216se with smartphones and tablets. Thanks to the previously mentioned QuickConnect, it makes this just as easy while you’re on the road as when you’re at home and connected to the same local network.

The Synology DS216se is built-in a classic 2-piece design with a large fan at the rear that needs to be taken apart to install or switch hard disk drives. By default, the DS216se only supports 3.5-inch drives, but optional 2.5-inch adapters can be purchased should you want to use smaller HDD or SSDs.

Feature Highlights

  • Floating point unit enabled for multimedia processing
  • Affordable 2-Bay personal cloud for file sharing & backup
  • Consumes only 5.12W in hibernation
  • Scheduled power on/off further reduces energy consumption
  • DLNA®-Certified media server
  • Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DS216se package follows the simple and eco-friendly design and it comes without any fancy and unnecessary colourful print. Both the front and the back showcase a big Synology NAS logo, so there is no doubt what’s inside.

The side has a sticker showing you what is inside with a picture of the device itself, what hardware it has, and what content the box has inside.

Unpacking the box we find a Quick Installation guide to get you going, an RJ45 LAN cable for network connectivity as well as a power supply brick with connector cable for the region you purchased it in and screws for the drives and enclosure.

ASUSTOR AS1002T 2-Bay Entry-Level NAS Review

Introduction


It isn’t everyone that needs the fastest NAS model on the block with all sorts of fancy features, sometimes you just want something simple, effective, and cheap. ASUSTOR created a great NAS for just such a scenario and dubbed it the AS1002T. The AS1002T is a 2-bay entry-level NAS and today I’m taking a closer look at the NAS, its features, and performance.

ASUSTOR only just released the 10-series a little while ago and these are the first ARM-powered NAS devices from ASUSTOR. Next to this 2-bay unit that I’m reviewing today, ASUSTOR also created a bigger brother to it with 4-bays. However, it is the AS1002T that I’m reviewing today and this NAS is powered by a Marvell ARMADA-385 1.0GHz dual-core processor and comes with 512MB onboard RAM. That might not sound like much, but it should be plenty for normal file-serving and streaming purposes at home. The Marvell ARMADA-385 CPU offers both hardware encryption engine and floating-point unit, but it only consumes a small amount of power; a truly efficient little NAS with a power consumption of just 13.2W during operations.

The diamond pattern on the front together with the otherwise simple black layout gives the AS1002T a great design and it isn’t as boring as a plain black unit would be. It would look equally nice next to your entertainment system or TV as it would in your home office.

The 70mm fan on the rear of the unit provides the cooling and the NAS only produces 19dBA of noise during idle mode and 32 dBA during use. That’s not much at all which is a great thing, a device that will run 24/7 needs to blend into the background and be forgotten.

The AS1002T is a basic NAS that provides basic connectivity. It comes with a single Gigabit Ethernet connection that in itself is sufficient for most personal setups where low-end switches wouldn’t allow for link aggregation anyway. Adding more would just increase the price. You get two USB 3.0 ports that not only support storage drives but also USB UPS devices and printers that then easily can be shared over your network. WiFi and Bluetooth adapters are also supported on the AS1002T

The NAS features a completely tool-free installation with two thumbscrews on the rear of the unit to open it. Once they are out, you can simply slide the case apart and install your hard disks. The hard disk installation is tool-less too thanks to the included thumbscrews. A simple way to make it easy to install the drives and keeping everything cost-effective. The downside here is that you cannot swap slide out the hard drives as easy and during use as you would be able to with an NAS that features ejectable drive trays. Again, that would have been an unnecessary cost increase as most home users won’t swap drives at all. Once it’s running, it’s running.

Thanks to the ARM CPU, the AS1002T is a very efficient little NAS. It only consumes 13.2W during operation and 6.6W during disk hibernation. The AS1002T features automatic standby for both internal and external disks, auto fan control so it never spins more than needed, and power scheduling for on, off, and restart. These are all features that are great for the environment, hardware, and electrical bill.

The LEDs can be dimmed to fit just the scenario you put the NAS into and whether you want to see them or not. The AS1002T also features the LED Night Mode where it automatically adjusts the LED lights based on your settings.

Despite the low power consumption and eco-friendliness, the AS1002T NAS still performs great. It is capable of providing a read and write performance of up to 95MB/s reading and 110MB/s writing with the 3TB WD RED test drives that ASUSTOR used for the specifications.

Besides just being a network connected storage, the AS1002T is a great multimedia companion. The CPU’s built-in floating-point unit is able to quickly process large amounts of photo thumbnails, allowing you to instantly transfer and browse photos at any time. The rich variety of multimedia server applications is able to smoothly stream high-definition multimedia entertainment to devices such as UPnP/DLNA players, web browsers on computers, tablets and smartphones.

As I previously mentioned, the ARM CPU features a built-in encryption engine, allowing data to be completely protected from the moment it is first stored on the NAS. This means that you never have to worry about your confidential data falling into the wrong hands even if your hard disks become lost or stolen. The built-in hardware encryption engine features read speeds of over 39 MB/s and write speeds of over 31 MB/s for encrypted data. This is only about a third of the speed non-encrypted files would have, but it is still plenty for most operations that involve sensitive data.

ASUSTOR’s AS1002T is naturally powered by the ASUSTOR Data Master (ADM) 2.5 firmware that provides users with the latest enhanced core functions such as internal backup, shared folder based network recycle bins, and iSCSI LUN snapshots. Optionally, users can download more apps such as Syslog Server and DataSync for Microsoft OneDrive along with newly upgraded versions of existing Apps such as Photo Gallery and LooksGood. The NAS unit will of course also work with ASUSTOR’s mobile apps for tasks such as system management, file management, backup, downloading, media sharing, home surveillance and more, allowing users to have effortless and continuous access to their NAS while on the go.

Packaging and Accessories

The ASUSTOR AS1002T box is a simple white with all the relevant information right on the front, such as compatibility, basic features, and specifications, as well as a photo of the unit itself. The rear features a few more information in a variety of languages.

Inside the box, you will find an AC power adapter and a power cable that is suited for the region you bought the unit in. There is an LAN cable, software and manual disk, setup guide, and eight thumbscrews to mount the drives.

QNAP Releases Quad-Core TS-x51+ Series SOHO NAS

QNAP released the new TS-x51+ series of high-performance SMB NAS units consisting of the TS-251+ 2-bay unit and the TS-451+ 4-bay unit. The TS-x51+ series is built around a powerful Intel Celeron 2GHz processor and comes in two versions with either 2GB or 8GB DDR3 memory installed. The TS-x51+ series is an affordable and scalable solution with QvPC and Container based virtualization.

With the TS-x51+ series, you get dual Gigabit Ethernet network connectivity and the NAS supports both volume and folder encryption and the NAS is able to deliver up to 225MB/s throughput and up to 205MB/s transfer speeds with AES 256-bit encryption. You get two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI-out for a monitor and direct usage.

The QvPC feature allows you to use the NAS as an HTPC replacement where you simply attach a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to use it as a cheap PC replacement where you can view the web, browse the local content, and much more. With Container Station support, users are able to run multiple virtualization systems from Windows over Linux to Android. With LXC and Docker lightweight virtualization, you can also download systems from the built-in Docker Hub Registry.

The TS-x51+ series also features the highly anticipate snapshot function, but that requires a minimum of 4GB RAM. The QTS 4.2 Storage Manager can easily create snapshots within seconds for both volumes and LUN.

The QNAP TS-x51+ series also supports real-time and offline transcoding and features all the amazing streaming capabilities from Apple TV over Chromecast to ordinary DLNA and Bluetooth devices.

Both the TS-451+ and TS-251+ support the QNAP UX-800P and UX-500P expansion enclosures for easy expansion of the available storage and get close to 100TB or raw storage out of these NAS.

The new QNAP 2-bay TS-251+ and 4-bay TS-451+ NAS should be available now, but I could not find a price listing yet. Expect them to arrive at your favorite QNAP reseller very shortly.

Synology DS716+ Now Officially Available Worldwide

Synology officially announced the worldwide availability on the successor of the DiskStation DS713+ NAS, the brand new DS716+ with upgraded CPU and 4K video transcoding abilities.

The new Synology DS716+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core CPU running at 1.6GHz and has a burst speed up to 2.08GHz and that comes with a 256-bit AES-NI hardware encryption engine. Synology coupled that with 2GB DDR3 system memory, making the DS716+ a very capable 2-bay NAS unit for growing businesses. The DS716+ comes with excellent transfer speeds thanks to dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for both BTRFS and EXT4 file formats on the internal drives. It is able to perform with 223 MB/s while reading and 137 MB/s while writing unencrypted data and still maintain an impressive 218 MB/s when reading and 141 MB/s when writing encrypted data.

Synology added three USB 3.0 ports, one on the front and two on the back, for easy storage expansion as well as connectivity of printers and UPS devices. I am personally a big fan of eSATA ports and as such it pleases me that Synology also included that on the DS716+. USB is great, but it doesn’t hold up to a native SATA connection and makes expansion a lot easier. Speaking of expansion, the DS716+ 2-bay NAS can be expanded with the use of a Synology expansion unit DX513, allowing it to support up to 7 HDDs at ones and have 56TB raw storage. It is naturally also compatible with the smaller 2-bay expansion unit.

Thanks to the new quad-core N3150 CPU, the DS716+ is capable of real-time H.264 4K Ultra HD video transcoding, providing a complete support to the latest multimedia file formats. The noise level is rated at just 18dBA and the silent NAS doesn’t consume much power either: only about 26W during access and 9W when the hard disks hibernate.

Synology fans will also notice a subtle little improvement on the old physical layout over previous models and I personally quite like it. We find a USB copy button on the front and both that button and the power button changed to feature an LED stripe.

Synology is backing the DS716+ with a 3-year warranty and it is available for a price starting at €451.92.

 

QNAP Announces Fanless HS-251+ 2-Bay NAS

QNAP is ready with another NAS in their stylish and fanless series called the Silent NAS HS-251+. It features a quad-core Intel Celeron Processor with 2GHz and comes with 2GB DDR3L memory. The fanless and stylish design makes it perfect as a living room NAS which is further aided by the direct output via HDMI to a TV or A/V receiver.

Next to being able to play media directly via the HDMI port, the HS-251+ also features DLNA, Apple TV, and Chromecast support. You can connect Bluetooth and USB devices to the NAS and also control it via the included infrared remote control. You can surf the web directly from the NAS as well as play YouTube videos and a lot more.

The HS-251+ is also scaleable with QNAP’s expansion enclosures UX-800P and UX-500P to provide a total raw capacity up to 80TB. Attaching one of these expansion enclosures will also add some extra noise to this otherwise silent NAS. Up to eight extra hard disk drives will create a lot of heat and the expansion units need to have a fan built in to keep everything running as it should. It is still a great feature to be able to scale the NAS up once you run out of space.

The fanless HS-251+ is the best choice for those looking for a silent NAS and a Home Theatre PC/NAS combo. You can mount both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives in the NAS and connect it via two Gigabit Ethernet ports. The new HS-251+ Silent NAS is now available.

QNAP TS-251 High-Performance 2-Bay Prosumer NAS Review

Introduction


QNAP created their TS-251 Turbo NAS as a great high-performance solution for home users as well as small and medium-sized offices, and today I’m taking a closer look at what it has to offer and how well it performs in our testing area.

The TS-251 provides a high performance and high-capacity storage solution thanks to a great combination of QNAP’s advanced QTS operating system and some great hardware. It is an easy-to-use yet powerful NAS for data backup, file synchronization, remote access, home entertainment, and it is also ideal for users to build a personal cloud where they can access their data easily and secure, outside of the prying eyes of strangers and commercial hosting solutions.

The QNAP TS-251 is built with an Intel Celeron 2.41GHz dual-core processor that has a burst speed up to 2.58GHz. It comes with two DDR3L memory slots and is available in two models, one with 1GB RAM and the one I’m taking a look at today with 4GB DDR3L RAM in two 2GB modules. The TS-251 has 512 DOM storage for the system itself and comes with two hot-swappable trays.

Users of the TS-251 Turbo NAS get two Intel-powered Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet ports that support trunking and link aggregation. There is one USB 3.0 port on the front together with the One-Touch copy button and another USB 3.0 on the rear. You will also find two USB 2.0 ports there. The rear USB 3.0 port is excellent for expanding the capacity of the NAS with up to 8 more drives, making this a great starter NAS that can be expanded at a later time, should you need it. QNAP has the UX-500P and UX-800P expansion units that respectively provide 5 and 8 extra drive bays. They connect to the NAS through a single USB 3.0 cable, making it real easy to set up. That effectively means that you can have up to 60TB raw storage with a complete set of 6TB drives and the TS-251.

The two USB 2.0 ports are perfect for USB printers, pen drives, and USB UPS connection as well as for keyboard and mouse when you’re using the HD Station. This is also where the HDMI port comes into play, as you can hook the TS-251 directly up to a monitor and use it for direct media playback of 1080p videos with 7.1 channel surround sound as well as run virtualization systems.

The powerful Intel x86 processor in the TS-251 can transcode Full HD videos on-the-fly as well as offline, allowing you to play them smoothly on both PCs and smart devices. It allows for up to 5 devices to simultaneously view different videos stored on the TS-251 with on-the-fly hardware accelerated transcoding. Even devices that lack the computing power or have limited file format support will have a great experience and it doesn’t require any complicated and time-consuming file conversions done by yourself.

You can easily stream to all your devices whether they are Smart TVs, PlayStation, or Xbox systems as well as Hi-Fi systems that support streaming. Mobile devices, both Android and iOS, are supported and so is Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google TV. Plex Media server is also included which is one of the most popular ways to manage streaming content.

For the perfect media experience, you might also want to invest in the optional media remote. The TS-251 features an IR receiver and works like a charm with the QNAP RM-IR002 remote control as well as MCE remote controls. You can also turn your mobile devices into remote controls by installing the Qremote app. All in all, you’re covered when it comes to media features on the TS-251.

You can easily turn the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS into your own personal cloud solution thanks the myQNAPcloud. It provides an always-connected infrastructure for everyone, and all without complicated setups and extra services such as static IPs, redirects, and DNS setups. A few simple steps to register your NAS and it’s ready.

Constant synchronization is a breeze with Qsync where any file uploaded to the TS-251 will be made available for all linked devices, such as computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Qsync is especially useful for frequent travelers in managing files and ensuring that different devices have the most up-to-date files with great flexibility.

The TS-251 also offers various data recovery options such as Real-Time Remote Replication (RTRR) for real-time and scheduled data backup to remote Turbo NAS or FTP servers as well as synchronization of files to remote folders from local folders. The rsync protocol is also supported and it is a very popular and simple method to backup data to remote servers on a scheduled basis. Commercial and public cloud services are also supported for both backup and restoration from providers such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, ElephantDrive, Dropbox, and Google Cloud Storage.

Local backup is just as important and in many cases it is the main reason that people invest in an NAS. The TS-251 can do that thanks to QNAP’s NetBak Replicator that supports real-time and scheduled data backup on Windows, including Outlook email archiving. Mac OS X users can use Apple Time Machine for effortless backup, and both types of users can use the USB 3.0 port and one-touch backup button on the front to backup that external storage to the NAS. A wide range of third-party backup software such as Acronis True Image and Symantec Backup Exec are also supported.

I’ve previously mentioned the direct usage functionality of the TS-251 thanks to the USB and HDMI ports, and that all comes together thanks to QNAP’s exclusive QvPC Technology. It allows you to use the NAS directly as a PC with direct access to stored data, the ability to run multiple applications using Windows/Linux/UNIX/Android-based VMs, surf the web on Google Chrome, or enjoy Full HD videos with up to 7.1 channel audio via Kodi.

The Virtualization Station is another feature we get thanks to the QvPC technology and it transforms the TS-251 into a virtualization platform supporting multiple operating systems, fast virtual machine creation, virtual machine import/export, snapshot, and that enables desktop operations on web browsers. With the easy-to-use interface, you can centrally manage all of the virtual machines created on the TS-251 with minimal effort. You can also download VMs on demand from online VM markets and import them to TS-251 without any complex procedure. This feature requires at least 2GB of RAM, so the 1GB model is out of the running here. Thankfully I’ve got the 4GB model here. As previously mentioned, you can also upgrade the memory in the TS-251 at any point with standard SO-DIMM DDR3 modules.

The TS-251 can also be used as Surveillance Station and you can monitor this directly via the HDMI output in real-time with local display, and much more. Surveillance Station offers a professional surveillance solution with a user-friendly management interface, over 2,600 compatible IP cameras, and expandable IP camera channel licenses. Next to real-time monitoring it also supports video and audio recording as well as playback with a wide range of customizable settings. There are also Android and iOS apps available for this.

Downloading files can also be done directly by the NAS thanks to the download center. The new and improved Download center in QTS 4.2 means that the old QGet tool isn’t needed anymore and QNAP has ceased the support for this. The Download Station can download BT, Magnet, PT (Private Trackers), eMule, FTP, and HTTP, and all without the need to have a PC running. You can also install HappyGet app to back up abundant online videos to your TS-251.

QNAP NAS’ offer so much, it is tough to mention it all. In short, it does pretty much everything. There are a few things more worth highlighting such as the Signage Station that lets you creatively present your animated content such as personal animated resumes or life memory books. You get the Notes Station that gives you a private and secure way to share and collaborate on digital notes and Qsirch is probably the most efficient way to search for content on your NAS, it’s quick and effective, and it searches your content intelligently.

You also get the Photo Station and Music Station that help you share the photos and media you want while keeping other things private and limit the availability. Connect and stream internet radio, favorite songs from iTunes server and much more. The TS-251 can do it all.

Packaging and Accessories

The front of the packaging displays the NAS unit itself and the area of operation, in this case, High-Performance Home users and Small offices. Some of the main features are also presented right on the front and it is an overall great looking design. It’s simple, but not boring.

A personal cloud setup is getting more and more relevant as we are getting used to being connected everywhere we go. The rear of the box displays that and shows some of the ways that you can utilize that.

The two sides provide even more information, without being too cluttered. Overall a great package design from QNAP on the TS-251; I like it.

Inside the box, you’ll find a power supply and power cable from the region where it was bought, in this case, a UK power cable. There are two LAN cables so you can use both LAN ports right away as well as screws for 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. Two small manuals help you getting started, setting it up and connecting it for the first time.

Synology Releases 3 New High-value NAS Servers for Homes and Businesses

Synology announced not one, not two, but three new NAS units that should provide plenty of features for a moderate price. Three three new NAS units are the DS216se 2-bay NAS, DS216play 2-bay NAS, and DS416 four-bay NAS.

Let’s start out with the biggest model, the DS416. It is the replacement for the DS414 NAS and the new DS4166 features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Annapurna Labs Alpine AL212) with hardware encryption engine and floating point unit. It comes with 1GB RAM and features dual Gigabit Ethernet with failover and link aggregation. You also get three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is on the front of the unit.

With Link Aggregation, the DS416 delivers over 221MB/s while reading from an RAID5 array, and over 139MB/s writing. The hardware encryption engine helps a lot when encryption is needed and the DS416 can still deliver up to 146MB/s reading and 65MB/s writing here. That is an easy 90% gain on encrypted file performance over the predecessor.

The cheapest of the three new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216se, a budget-friendly two-bay NAS device with the capability to host, share and protect data. This could be a great NAS for people who want to enter the world of NAS users without blowing their budget.

The DS216se features a Marvell Armada 370 800MHz with floating point unit that helps in a lot of scenarios, but especially when creating thumbnails and similar media related operations. However, the built-in floating-point unit generally enhances the overall capability of the CPU. The DS216se only features 256M DDR3 RAM, so you shouldn’t multitask too much with it. The DS216se delivers an average 102 MB/s reading speed under RAID 1 configuration and over 59 MB/s writing.

Two USB 2.0 ports on the rear allow the connection of portable storage drives for easy backup both ways. There is a single Gigabit Ethernet connection that should be plenty for most people’s home NAS needs. You can also connect it wirelessly with optional USB dongles if you should wish to do so.

With the DSM operating system at hand, you got a lot of useful features such as DLNA streaming, UPnP setup, and much more. A great feature for home users is the scheduled on and off times that help you to save electricity, live greener, and also extend the lifetime of the hardware.

The third and last new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216play, the successor to the highly popular entry-level DS214play NAS. The new DS216play features a better processor and comes with a dual-core 1.5GHz featuring hardware transcoding engine and 1GB RAM. The new processor in the DS216play allows for real-time transcoding of 4K Ultra HD source content (H.265) for a perfect multimedia experience on all devices. The CPU is an STM STiH412 dual-core with 1.5GHz that also features both hardware encryption and floating point unit.

The DS216play features one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port on the rear of the NAS as well as a single Gigabit Ethernet connection.

The name suggests play and that is in regards of media playback and not playing games and the DS216play could be a great solution for this. With its real-time transcoding abilities, support for DVB-T and DVB-S sticks and video recording as well as the general file serving options for pretty much all systems, including Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android, there isn’t much that the NAS can’t do in that regards. DLNA support is also part of the deal.

 

All three NAS are backed by a two-year warranty. The DS216se has an MSRP of £98.40, the DS216play £186.00, and the DS416 has an MSRP of £330. Prices including VAT and all three NAS units should be available now.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

Synology Displays New NAS Units at Computex

Computex 2015 – We’ve seen the new Router from Synology already, but it wouldn’t be an NAS manufacturer if they didn’t bring those devices along too.

On display is the DS216se, a budget friendly NAS server perfect for home and personal use. The two-bay NAS unit allows for easy drive mirroring, network sharing and it is also DLNA certified for streaming to your TV, consoles and set-top boxes.

Moving up the scale a bit and we get to the DS215+, an NAS unit designed for Small and Medium Businesses. It delivers great performance up to 209MB/s reading and 139MB/s writing thanks to the dual-core CPU and dual-LAN ports with link aggregation and failover support.

You also get USB 3.0 and eSATA ports along to connect extra external storage including the Synology DX513 expansion unit.

The DiskSTation DS715 is a completely new unit and doesn’t succeed any previous units. It is built around a powerful quad-core 1.4GHz CPU that offers hardware encryption engine.

The DS715 SMB NAS comes with 2GB RAM and can deliver a great performance with up to 205.5MB/s reading and 77.62MB/s writing.

The dual LAN ports support failover and link aggregation as they’re supposed to and you can expand the unit with 5 more drives using Synology’s DX513 expansion unit.

Enterprise users are also covered well by Synology’s lineup, especially with their rack units. The RC18015xs+ for example brings a quad-core processor, up to 32GB RAM as well as advanced snapshot technology for flexible point-in-time data backup and recovery.

The RXD1215sas is a high-redundancy expansion unit offering dual high-speed 6Gb/s SAS modules and allows for stacking with up to 15 units for a total of 180 drives.

QNAP Launches Cost-Efficient VioStor NVR VS-2200 Pro+ Series

QNAP already has an impressive lineup in their VioStor NVR series and they’ve just expanded with a new unit, the VS-2200 Pro+ series, available i a 2-bay tower form factor with 4, 8, and 10 channels. The new network video recorder is built around an Intel quad-core processor with 2GHz and comes equipped with 4GB RAM.

The new VS2200 Pro+ series brings a lot of features in a compact size, and it’s a highly cost-effective unit for Small and Medium Businesses as well as Home offices. With support for dual Full-HD 1080P Local Display, built-in alarm GPIO for enhancing security management, QSCM Lite as a free app for centrally managing multiple NVRs, and more, the VS2200 has it all.

The HDMI output allows you to quickly set up and manage the NVR by simply plugging in a mouse, keyboard, and HDMI monitor. Once you have set it up, you can easily monitor multiple IP cameras and play back recordings directly from the NAS without the need for an extra PC. It also features dual Gigabit Ethernet and three USB 3.0 ports.

With the built-in GPIO (6in/2out) terminal blocks, the VS-2200 Pro+ series supports alarm-system linkage between alarm equipment such as emergency push buttons and IR sensors. Once the GPIO interface receives signals, the VS-2200 Pro+ will switch to high frame rate video recording, send an event notification via email or SMS to the control center, and trigger the alarm system at the same time to help administrators respond to events in a timely manner to achieve better security.

With the free QSCM Lite app, you can centrally monitor, playback, and manage up to 256 IP cameras from up to 16 VioStor NVRs are different locations.

You don’t have to splurge for the large model with a lot of monitor channels right away as you can purchase additional license as you got along and your needs grow. The expandable license management provides a flexible and cost-effective way of scaling various surveillance needs.

The VS-2200 Pro+ series is now shipping and will become available at your local reseller shortly. GPIO support will be available from the next newer firmware update.

ASUSTOR AS5102T 2-Bay Enthusiast NAS Review

Introduction


I was pretty excited when I heard that the ASUSTOR AS5102T 2-bay NAS was on the way for a spin on my test bench. I’ve seen, heard and read a lot about ASUSTOR and their features but never had the pleasure of a hands-on experience. This has changed from today and I’ll be giving this unit a thorough lookover and testing.

The AS5102T is categorized as an NAS for power-users to businesses, and I had no doubt about that from the moment I took it out of the box. The NAS is relative heavy for its size and it’s a result of the absolute awesome build-quality. The AS5102T is powered by an Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz quad-core processor which combines with a rich variety of multimedia output functionality to give you an optimal choice for both work and play.

The unit is built around an Intel Celeron 2.0GHz quad-core CPU with a burst speed up to 2.41GHz. The 2GB SO-DIMM DDR3L memory can be expanded to a maximum of 8GB in two modules, it can take two 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs of your choice and supports hot-swapping as well as easy migration to a new ASUSTOR NAS if this one ever should become too small. There is plenty of connection options with three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two eSATA ports. One of the USB 3.0 ports is located at the front ‘inside’ the backup button for the same. A simple press of the key and the NAS will start to sync the drive with the specified location-based on your settings.sata, two gigabit ethernet ports,

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports support every possible setup from link aggregation to fail-over and dual-IP setups. The choice is yours. Another amazing feature is the direct output via HDMI 1.4a and S/PDIF. This allows you to connect the NAS directly to your TV, monitor, or audio system. No need for a dedicated HTPC. You can control it via a web interface, smartphone apps, or directly by attaching a keyboard and mouse to the unit. A true multimedia hub for all your photos, music and movies.

As mentioned above, you can control the AS5102T in multiple ways, but ASUSTOR adds one more to the list. They’ve also added an infrared receiver to the NAS and you can get this awesome little remote for it that works with the AS-6, AS-3, AS-2TE, AS50, AS51, and AS70 series. This is awesome, you can truly kickback and play all the media from your NAS in a convenient way.

With the newest version of KODI that was released just a few days prior to this review going live you’ll even be able to control the NAS and KODI with your normal TV remote. There are however two things you need for this to work, a TV that supports CEC function and an extra USB to CEC Adapter. But then it’s just plug-and-play assuming the TV has the CEC function turned on. Your ASUSTOR NAS is now fully integrated into your existing multimedia setup, awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV9OfBZVuyo

ASUSTOR also made sure that the unit is as eco-friendly and economical as possible. The system will only draw 17.7W in an average configuration compared to the 100-350W a PC easily can draw. The system will automatically enter sleep mode (Schedule S3) when needed and supports auto-standby for both internal and external disks. The 70mm fan is controlled by the system and only spins as fast as it is needed and I didn’t notice it at all during my time with the unit. You can also set your own custom power schedule with on, off, restart and sleep settings.

A really awesome feature that I didn’t expect to find was not only the LED Night Mode, but also that you’re able to customize what LEDs are turned on and off as well as how bright they should shine. The Night mode can be automatic or you can set your own schedule. The more I dive into the depth of this unit, the more I get impressed by it.

I previously mentioned that the unit felt heavy when I unpacked it and that is because it’s a full metal unit, well aside from the front panel and rubber feet, of course. The NAS features an aluminium casing along with a rust and corrosion resistant coating which combines with the metallic hard disk trays to fully make use of the natural cooling properties of metal. This significantly enhances the entire cooling ability of the system and it’s far superior for the job than plastic units who need bigger fans running at higher speeds to keep cool.

 

The full metal drive trays feature both a locking mechanism to prevent accidental ejection during operation as well as someone taking a drive with him when walking past the unit. Each tray has two LEDs directly built and the locking mechanism when you plug the trays into the unit is simply superb. Same goes when ejecting a drive again, it pops and slides out without a noise or any resistance. It just fits.

A premium device also needs a premium accessories bundle, and the AS5102T has that too. ASUSTOR was so kind to provide us with a remote as part of our NAS, but you’ll have to purchase that seperately if you wish to use a more traditional control of the built-in media player. They NAS also comes with two LAN cables so you instantly can take full advantage of both ports. While other NAS devices provide multiple LAN ports at times, they rarely come with more than one cable. It’s a nice touch from ASUSTOR to include one for each port.

The AS5102T has a tiny footprint with only 10.8cm width, 23cm depth, and 16.35cm height. It weighs about 2kg due to the use of superior metals over plastic and the generally great build quality.

 

ASUSTOR has a long list of apps ready for your mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, among them AiData, AiRemote, AiVides, AiDownload, AiMusic, AiFoto, AiSecure, and AiMaster. Everything looks to be covered with just the right app for each occasion.

ASUSTOR has one more amazing function that I’d like to tell a bit about before we move on and take a closer look at the device itself. The MyArchive function allows you to use hard disks as removable storage archives. Plug in an archive when you need it and swap it out for another one when it isn’t needed anymore, or just to cut on the power consumption. It’s as easy as plug and play and works by keeping any OS related files off the drives.

There is a limited amount of drive bays reserved for this function and in the case of the AS5102T it is one. Larger models allow for two bays to be used for the MyArchieve function. The lazy person can even buy additional disk trays to eliminate the need for screwing when replacing drives this way. This is also a very cost effective way of storing a lot of data, especially when we look at the Seagate Archive HDDs. The 8TB variant costs less than a 6TB WD NAS drive as we use in our tests, and that is an offer that is hard to resist. But keep in mind that these drives are heavily optimized for reading and will have bad writing performance compared to NAS drives.

While AiRemote and AiDownload will be some of the most used tools, the AiMaster is the one worth highlighting. Not only will it allow you to initialize your new NAS from your mobile device, it also allows you to generate the entire setup, change and modify it at any time anywhere. All you need is a networked connection to your NAS. We’ll take a closer look at just this aspect a bit later in the review.

WD Adds Four New NAS Units to Their Line-Up

WD expanded its suite of NAS solutions with four new products that address the increasing demands for content storage, management, protection and streaming among prosumers, creative professionals and small businesses. There is a new 2-bay and 4-bay unit in the My Cloud Expert Series and the same for the My Cloud Business Series of devices.

“As the market leader in the single-bay personal cloud category with our award winning My Cloud platform, as well as in the NAS hard disk drive (HDD) category with our WD Red line, WD understands that customers need more power and more choice in NAS systems,” said Jim Welsh, executive vice president, WD Content Solutions Business and Worldwide Sales. “We are very excited about our new My Cloud Expert Series and My Cloud Business Series NAS products that offer the performance, ease of use, reliability and My Cloud OS that customers want from WD.”

The My Cloud Expert Series will get the EX2100 two-bay and EX4100 four-bay NAS systems designed from the ground up for creative professionals and prosumers who need to reliably save, share, backup, stream and manage large amounts of digital data.

They are powered by the latest version of the dual-core Marvell ARMADA 385 and 388 processors and will offer up to 24TB of high-performance storage. The included WD Red drives can be configured using with the usual RAID options including RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 JBOD and spanning modes. Backups can be centralised with the WD SmartWare Pro software for PC users, and with the Apple Time Machine backup software for Mac users.

DLNA and UPnP multimedia devices such as gaming consoles, smart TVs and WD TV Live media players are all supported using the Twonky media and iTunes server for simple streaming of your movie and music libraries. Other features you’d want in a NAS are also included such as FTP server, backup server, P2P download server as well as system health monitoring and use of third party apps such as aMule, Icecast, Transmission and more.

The two new My Cloud Business Series include the DL2100 two-bay and DL4100 four-bay NAS systems that are built to provide reliability, security and scalability. These units are powered by Intel’s Atom dual-core processors and come with up to 24TB of storage.

The business series devices come with up to 2GB RAM and can be expanded up to 6GB. Besides the same features and functions as the Expert series they also offer AES 256-bit volume encryption and business-ready capabilities including iSCSI target and initiator, replication and file synchronisation, integrated FTP, WebDAV server, SSH Shell, and Microsoft Active Directory support.

These units can also backup themselves, either to another My Cloud in a different location or to a cloud service such as Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive. USB 3.0 one-touch backup is another great feature to have. The units further shine with features such as dual power supply ports with fail-over, dual Gigabit Ethernet and UPS support.

The units are either available now or soon and the price varies depending on model and equipped hard drives.

  • MSRP for My Cloud EX2100 NAS is £239.00 for the diskless unit, £399.00 for 4 TB, £539.00 for 8 TB and £709.00 for 12 TB.
  • MSRP for My Cloud EX4100 NAS is £359.00 for the diskless unit, £699.00 for 8 TB, £999.00 for 16 TB and £1,399.00 for 24 TB
  • MSRP for My Cloud DL2100 NAS is £329.00 for the diskless unit, £499.00 for 4 TB, £609.00 for 8 TB and £829.00 for 12 TB.
  • MSRP for My Cloud DL4100 NAS is £499.00 for the diskless unit, £799.00 for 8 TB, £1,099.00 for 16 TB and £1,419.00 for 24 TB.

Thanks to WD for providing us with this information.

QNAP Announces New Energy-Efficient TS-x31+ Turbo NAS Series

QNAP announced their newest line of NAS servers, this time in the energy-efficient end of the scale. The new TS-x31+ series Turbo NAS is designed for small and home offices and packs a dual-core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 CPU with VFPv4 floating point unit and hardware accelerated encryption,

“For home & small businesses, a powerful, secure yet affordable cloud storage solution is becoming a key investment for improving everyday business workflow,” said Jason Hsu, product manager of QNAP. “With the TS-x31+ series, users can build a cost-efficient private cloud with ensured security and comprehensive business applications.”

The new series has two models, a two and a four-bay unit. Both have the same features besides the difference in the amount of bays. Under the hood, you’ll find 1GB DDR3 RAM, SATA 6Gb/s ports, dual Gigabit LAN, and three USB 3.0 ports (1 front, 2 rear).

The devices have an outstanding transfer and multitasking performance of up to 200MB/s throughput and the enhanced hardware encryption engine provides transfer speeds of over 150 MB/s with AES-256 bit Full NAS Volume Encryption enabled.

The new TS-x31+ series Turbo NAS is scheduled to be available from February 2015 and has DLNA, AirPlay & Chromecast support just as well as all the other features your used to from QNAP systems.

Thanks to QNAP for providing us with this information

Synology Releases BeyondCloud Pre-Setup NAS Units

It isn’t everyone that is equally skilled when it comes to configuring devices, and there also are the people that just don’t want to bother with it. For just those, and everyone else for that matter, Synology created the BeyondCloud NAS devices that come with preinstalled hard drives and features so you can start playing, collaborating, and achieving right away.

The BeyondCloud systems are pre-installed and storage is already allocated, so users can access their own private cloud almost immediately. In addition, the bundles can cost less than the DiskStations and disks purchased separately. Single disk packages are available in 2TB and 3TB configurations, and two-disk packages are available with two 3TB disks in a mirror configuration.

“We are extremely excited to be offering the BeyondCloud package,” said Jason Bonoan, Product Marketing Manager at Synology America Corp.  “Synology is well known for our award-winning DiskStation Manager and its feature set.  With this bundled package, users can quickly take advantage of this, and go beyond traditional public cloud solutions; providing the best value for the tech-savvy user.”

At the base of everything, is of course the DSM operating system from Synology, but it has a lot of features pre-installed and setup such as multimedia packages. Everything can be then be accessed the conventional way or through the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps. Cloud and Note stations are also setup, so you can start working on those creative projects and ideas right away.

The Synology BeyondCloud units are US only for the moment, but they might make it to other markets at a later time. Availability is set to mid-January to mid first-quarter.

Thanks to Synology for providing us with this information

Synology DiskStation DS215j 2-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


It isn’t long since I had the pleasure to review the new Synology 1-bay NAS for home users, so I’m really looking forward to giving the 2-bay version a spin in form of the brand new Synology DS215j.

The J series, or Junior as I tend to call them, is aimed at average home-user. But since there really isn’t such a thing as an average home-user, Synology has created a cost-effective NAS that still covers all the important aspects, features, and functions. This might very well be the a perfect entry device into the world of NAS.

The DS215j is built around a powerful dual-core Marvell Armada 375 (88F6720) processor with floating point unit and hardware encryption. These are already some impressive features and will help to accelerate media decoding as well as encrypting your sensitive data. It has 512MB DDR3 memory to run everything and that might not sound like much. It should however be enough for you to run your download manager, stream media to your TV and/or computers and backup your files on a regular basis with enough to spare for additional plugins of your choice.

This small 2-bay NAS doesn’t offer a hot-swap feature or an easy tool-less mounting of your drives. But both aren’t really needed in our normal home environment as we don’t run around and replace our hard drives on a regular basis nor does it matter if we have a downtime of 20 minutes while we replacing a drive. It still only takes 2 screws to open the enclosure and another 4 per drive, so it isn’t a big task no matter what.

The DS215j takes two 3.5-inch drives as it is, but it does require adapters to work with 2.5-inch drives. This is simple due to the method of floating drive mounts and not a big issue. When it comes down to it, 99% of everyone will use 3.5-inch drives in an NAS like this anyway. If you want that extra bit of speed, the DS215j, of course, also supports the use of solid state drives.

There will come the time where you’ll want to attach other devices to your NAS. This could be storage devices to backup files in one direction or the other, it could be your printers, and it could be your security IP cameras. The Synology NAS lineup can  also act as print-server and surveillance station. Every Synology NAS comes with a 2-camera license, making it ready to go.

The DS215j has one USB 2.0 port for the printers and other devices that don’t need the high-speeds that the USB 3.0 port can give. The USB 3.0 is also present for those who have blazing fast external SSDs and thumb-drives and wish to connect them to their local network via the Gigabit interface of the DS215j.

The upgrade Synology gave the 2-bay junior series is impressive and it is said to achieve speeds 19% higher than its predecessor. With measured speeds of over 111MB/s while reading and 87MB/s while writing it performs just as well as many SMB units. And it does that at a low power consumption of just 13.42 watts during access and 5.28 watts during hard disk hibernation.

Once you have all your media files stored in a centralized area, you’ll want to be able to access them in the most convenient way possible. Synology offers a wide variety of options and it has a DLNA media server built-in that can stream directly to your TV or other DLNA capable devices as well as specialized streaming to Samsung TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.

Synology also created the QuickConnect that allows you to easily connect it with the internet without having to configure your local network and router for it, nor any need to set up dynamic DNS addresses or similar. This will allow you to easily access your files from any device anywhere while still keeping all your files secure.

The QuickConnect also helps with the comprehensive cloud services Synology offer. You can easily create your own personal cloud using this NAS and save yourself the trouble, costs, and privacy concerns with commercial cloud services. The Cloud Station lets you synchronize files among your DiskStations and multiple devices including Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs as well as iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices. You can also sync files between multiple Synology DiskStations as well as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Baidu for hybrid cloud storage.