Over the last few years, the NAS market as a whole has been growing at a steady rate and in when we start to break things down and look at the rate of growth in the individual market sectors, the rate of sales in the consumer group has seen a far greater growth than any other market sector. Part of this growth is down to market exposure where users are seeing far more units on offer through both the retail and e-tail channels; however the price is a more crucial factor and this is what is now bringing the NAS concept into the limelight for the SOHO market. When we go back two to three years and look at the total cost of ownership; that’s the cost of purchasing the NAS itself along with drives to store data on then with the cost of running the unit – things were not looking that good and the price of one of a typical 4-bay system in some instances was easily a four-figure sum of money – in other words, simply too much of a cost to swallow considering you could easily buy a set of drives and whack them into your desktop system for a whole lot less.
Since that time, the total cost of ownership has dropped considerably, with the price per GB of hard disk storage at its best to date and with NAS products maturing with more and more features, but for a lower price we are now starting to see the SOHO NAS ownership numbers grow more and more to the point where if you want to share a large amount of data between multiple systems, the NAS is now the go to place for your storage needs.
In the latter part of last year I took a look at Thecus’ N2560 – a highly affordable system that brought style as well as substance to the SOHO market with a white plastic chassis and tool-free installation on the outside and inside one of the first SoC designs inside which offers a high amount of performance for its size whilst keeping the power consumption nice and low in the process. The N4560 that I’m taking a look at today is, as one may see, is an extension to the new line of affordable systems and alongside the larger space to accommodate four drives, the N4560 packs an Atom based SoC to keep the performance at a good level whilst keeping the power consumption down (although the choice of drive will have an impact on the total consumption) and to round the package off, we are presented with a good array of features, but not too many that would flood a rookie user with options, resulting in a confused experience.
The N4560 comes in a light blue coloured box and alongside the system itself we get a fairly standard Thecus bundle, including two sets of screws for 2.5″ and 3.5″ drive installation, keys to lock the drive bays, IEC kettle lead and patch lead and a spread of paperwork with warranty information, basic setup steps and a CD with desktop software to accompany the system.