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.
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.
Thecus already released a mighty NAS with the N2810, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon. The new version is called the N2810PLUS and it comes with a better CPU and double the RAM. Both are things that are hard to argue with and a welcome addition to Thecus’ lineup.
The N2810PLUS comes equipped with 4GB DDR3 memory over the 2GB in the N2810 and the slightly faster Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor. The previous model used the N3050 processor, so it is only a small bump. Still, every little helps and can make the difference for a smooth experience.
The N2810 and N2810PLUS NAS’ support 4K video output via the built-in HDMI port and this is one of the areas where this upgrade should make a difference. The added memory, which most likely also makes it dual-channel over a single-channel setup now, will provide a much smoother display of high-resolution content. The addition of two more CPU cores will no doubt also help with this and any other task.
The NAS is designed for easy hard drive installation and with a focus on reliability. It can act as a full multimedia centre that supports AirPlay, DLNA, and much more – on top of the direct 4K playback. Two LAN ports provide the user with 7 modes of link aggregation and the three USB 3.0 ports deliver high data speeds for portable storage.
It also comes with the latest version of Thecus operating system, ThecusOS 7.0, that provides an optimized and feature-rich platform with an intuitive user interface and easy navigation. Key new features include Photo Station, Thecus App Center, and File Center. ThecusOS 7.0 delivers significant advancements in productivity, flexibility, and performance.
The new N2810PLUS edition NAS will begin shipping globally today, so it should be at your local Thecus dealer very shortly.
ASUSTOR launched two new high-capacity enterprise-class NAS units, the AS6208T and the AS6210T. The only difference between the two units is that one has 8 drive bays and the other one has 10 drive bays. They are powered by an Intel Celeron (Braswell) 1.6GHz quad-core CPU with Boost speeds up to 2.24GHz. This is backed by 4GB dual-channel DDR3L memory which is expandable.
This is a great base for a powerful system that comes with hardware encryption support and 4K capabilities. All that power can be connected through the four built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports for a read and write performance up to 398 MB/s and 355 MB/s respectively in a RAID 5 setup.
There are plenty of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as two eSATA ports. With that amount of extra ports, you can expand the systems even further than with the 8 and 10 internal bays that each support up to 8TB drives.
It’s probably unlikely that a system like this will be used for as a multimedia hub, although it would be perfectly suitable for it. Instead, it is much more likely to be used for surveillance tasks. It is well equipped for both scenarios with its direct usage ability. It features both an HDMI 1.4b connector and an S/PDIF audio link.
As with all other ASUSTOR NAS units, these two new ones come with a 3-year warranty and a suggested retail price of $999 for the AS6210T and $899 for the AS6208T. That’s actually not bad at all.
Key Hardware Specifications
Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (Automatic Overclocking to 2.24GHz)
Read Speed of up to 398+ MB/s and Write Speed of up to 355+ MB/s Under Link Aggregation and RAID 5 Configurations
4GB Built-in Dual-Channel DDR3L High Speed Memory (Expandable up to 8GB, 4GB x2)
4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
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) Ports, 2 x USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x eSATA Ports
Supports Largest Capacity Hard Disks on the Market (8TB)
Smart Fan Temperature Control
The AS6208T and AS6210T both come built-in with the latest ADM 2.5.4 firmware providing RAID data protection, high-grade AES-NI hardware encryption technology, a 256-bit data encryption mechanism, firewall, network defender, antivirus software for installation and other safety mechanisms to keep data safe and secure. But you will be able to upgrade to the newest firmware very soon as ADM 2.6 is scheduled to be released in April.
Intel has revealed its plans to release updated versions of Celeron and Pentium CPUs during its most recent developer forum in China. Apparently, the new chips are codenamed Apollo Bay, and they are based on the company’s 14-nanometer Goldmont architecture, which is the official successor of the Airmont architecture used to create previous Celeron and Pentium models. As we’ve come to expect from a new generation of Intel chips, the updated versions will offer better overall performance as well as improved efficiency, which means that they could ensure a longer battery life for portable devices.
Those of you who are interested in Intel’s Core series will be glad to know that it is also expected to receive an update in 2016’s second half. Even though the company originally planned to move over to a 10-nanometer chip named Cannonlake this year, this generation was actually delayed to 2017 in order to make room for a third 14-nanometer product family. This officially marked the end of Intel’s tick-tock cycle, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering how difficult it has become to manufacture smaller processes. Even though they’re not exactly ideal for gaming, Intel’s Pentium and Celeron CPUs are more than capable of handling simple day-to-day tasks, and since they basically sip on power, they represent ideal solutions for low-power laptops or office PCs.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
GIGABYTE launched a complete new series of High-End Desktop (HEDT) motherboards with the new X170 and X150 series motherboards that are based on Intel’s C236 and C232 chipsets and with support for Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors as well as ECC memory. Besides the Xeon compatibility, you can also use 6th generation Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors in these new boards.
The Xeon CPUs come with quite a bit more power than the ordinary desktop CPUs and they are perfect for photographers, designers, and video editors where the software can take a real advantage of the underlying architecture. GIGABYTE is so sure of these products that Henry Kao, the Vice President of GIGABYTE’s motherboard business commented it as “the best HEDT experience” [sic]. The new Intel generation brings some great improvements. Not only are the new Skylake based Xeon’s built on the 14nm technology, the new C230 series chipsets bring along support for faster, better, and more memory. The boards support up to 64GB DDR4 memory with 2133MHz compared to the max of 32GB at 1866MHz on the previous generation. There are also the added bonuses of improved manageability, increased I/O bandwidth, and enhanced processor graphics to name a few.
In the new GIGABYTE series are boards with ECC support and some without, depending on what you need. The X170-Extreme ECC, X150-PRO ECC, and X150M-PRO ECC boards all support it and it can be a useful feature as it can eliminate small data discrepancies and prevent data corruption to ensure reliability for critical applications while also helping to reduce system crashes. Another thing that can help your productivity a lot is how GIGABYTE designed the motherboard. The first PCIe lane on these motherboards is a direct x16 Gen.3 lane to the processor that offers 128Gb/s unrestricted bandwidth to your graphics card.
The new boards also come with all other modern features such as USB 3.1, M.2, and PCI-Express connections. U.2 drives can also be used through an M.2 adapter to give you the fastest possible storage solutions available. On the flagship X170-Extreme ECC motherboard, you’ll also find the Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller which is classified as the world’s most advanced networking detection and prioritization technology for consumer and enthusiast users. The adapter delivers industry-leading latency performance, offering more powerful network control, improved latency, reduced jitter and virtually eliminates video freezes so users can play, watch and stream games all at the same time. At least on the paper.
At the time of writing, not all product pages have gone online yet, so we can’t provide details on all of the boards. The X170-Extreme ECC and X150-PRO ECC are still missing. The X150-Plus WS, X150M-Plus WS, and X150M-PRO ECC are online and you can find the highlights for those below.
Supports the Intel® Xeon® E3-1200 v5 processor and 6th Gen. Intel® Core i3/ Pentium®/ Celeron® Processor
Dual Channel DDR4, 4 DIMMs
2-Way Graphics with Premium PCIe Lane
PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connector with up to 32Gb/s Data Transfer (PCIe & SATA SSD support)
SATA Express Connector for up to 16Gb/s Data Transfer
8-channel HD Audio with High-Quality Audio Capacitors
Audio Noise Guard with LED Trace Path Lighting
Intel® GbE LAN with cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator Software
APP Center Including EasyTune and Cloud Station Utilities
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.
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.
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.
ASUSTOR just launched the new 31 series of NAS designed for the multimedia prosumer and with built-in 4K capabilities. The new series consist of two devices, the 2-bay AS3102T and the 4-bay AS3104T. The new NAS units are built around an Intel Celeron N3050 1.6GHz dual-core processor with a 2.16GHz Boost speed. It comes with 2GB built-in dual-channel DDR3 memory and can provide around 110MB/s transfer speeds in a RAID 1 setup.
The NAS connect through a single Gigabit Ethernet Port, which also explains the transfer speed ratings. They also come with one USB 3.0 port on the front and another two on the rear for extra storage connectivity. There is an Infrared receiver on the front and an HDMI 1.4b port on the rear that supports 4K UHD resolutions that make it ready to hook directly up to your 4K TV or monitor.
“ASUSTOR’s 31 series devices provide smoother multimedia playback via their enterprise-class core hardware and dual-channel memory,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “The 31 series lowers the barriers for home users and prosumers who require 4K multimedia playback and secure cloud storage.”
The compact sized NAS units with the elegant looking diamond pattern pack quite a punch thanks to the Braswell generation CPU that provides enhanced multitasking and supports AES-NI encryption engine for increased access speeds on encrypted data. The systems don’t use drive trays that are hot-swappable, but drives can be swapped toolless thanks to the thumbscrews on the rear and inside.
ASUSTOR’s LooksGood app can be used on the AS31 series to view videos over the Internet as well as to watch and record live digital TV. LooksGood also features ASUSTOR’s Hyper-Transcoding technology which provides at least a tenfold reduction in video conversion times. This series also support real-time transcoding that allows users to enjoy a smoother streaming experience where the playback device otherwise could have limits in capabilities and bandwidth.
ASUSTOR has just launched four new NAS units and they are all part of the World’s first Braswell powered NAS units. The new NAS devices are the AS6202T 2-bay and AS6204T 4-bay NAS powered by quad-core processors while the AS6102T and AS6104T are powered by dual-core processors. The choice of CPU brings along quite a few advantages besides having an overall more powerful chip in your back and would be a great choice for both prosumer and SMB users.
Along with the new Braswell CPUs, the four NAS units feature EAS-NI hardware encryption, expandable memory, plenty of USB 3.0 and eSATA ports as well as HDMI and audio out for Ultra HD 4K direct connections. The system is utilizing dual-channel memory and can expanded up to 8GB.
The new units also come ready and pre-installed with the latest version of ASUSTOR’s operation systems, ADM 2.5, that brings along a lot of improvements and strengthening of the core functions. Better backup features and security, enhanced network recycle bins, and iSCSI LUN snapshots are just a few of those.
The four new NAS units from the 62 and 61 series are currently launching in global markets and should be available for purchase very soon. A four units include a 3-year warranty.
Most NAS systems are built around the same basic design, but not all of them. Once in a while a device comes along that is something just a little bit special and today I’m taking a closer look at just one of them.
I got the new and innovative QNAP TS-453 mini on the testbench, an NAS that features the easy-to-use QTS operating system, powerful hardware, and a unique top-loading mechanism for the drives. It also comes with one of the easiest and most convenient ways to replace or upgrade the memory. Thanks to the innovative design, the TS-453 mini has a very small footprint for a 4-bay NAS unit. It takes up 29% less space than a normal QNAP 4-bay unit such as the TS-453 Pro that we recently took a look at.
The glossy black design looks great, but it isn’t so great for photos. You can clearly see my camera in most shots and in some you’ll even be able to see the reflection of my monitor that is a good 5 meters away. This is mainly based on the photo lighting and won’t be as extreme in your own setup. You’ll have to take my word for it, it is gorgeous.
The TS-453 mini also comes with QNAP’s relative new myQNAPcloud key that allows for incredible easy setup as I’ll be showing you later.
You can even use the TS-453 mini as full-fledged PC thanks to the virtualization support in QvPC. It allows you to install basically any operating system from Windows to Android in a virtual environment and run it directly from the NAS. That is simply an epic feature.
The NAS has dual Gigabit LAN, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and an HDMI out. This setup and QNAP’s QvPC technology allows you can use it directly with a VM setup or as HTPC. Connect the NAS to your TV or monitor, attach a mouse and keyboard, and you got a media station without the need for another PC.
You can adjust the LED indicators’ brightness in 5 steps from the dashboard so you don’t need to worry about them shining up your entire living room. The skyline LED indication will also remind you when the system is in sleep mode and you can schedule the times where it needs to be on and off.
The top of the NAS lifts off for easy drive access and it secures just as easy again. The powerful magnets in the top will pull the lid right into place and make sure it stays there.
The best feature is hidden on the bottom of the NAS, a single screw to remove a lid is all it takes to upgrade the memory in this system. It couldn’t be easier to upgrade the RAM in your NAS than this, although it isn’t really needed in this case as it is the model with 8GB RAM. Models with less RAM are also available.
As this is the TS-453 mini model with 8GB of RAM, we see that two modules are pre-mounted. You could still replace them, but there really isn’t any need here. The basic model comes with 2GB RAM.
The drive trays are very convenient to use and don’t require any tools or screws for 3.5-inch drives. You’ll need screws if you want to mount 2.5-inch drives in the caddies. Just pull the sides off the caddy, insert the drive and put the sides back on – all done. In fact, you can set up the entire NAS with a single tool and the only place you’ll need a screwdriver at all is if you wish to upgrade the RAM.
I’ve talked a lot about this NAS and I have barely touched the hardware yet. At the heart of the TS-453 mini you’ll find a quad-core Intel Celeron 2.0GHz processor with boost up to 2.41GHz.
This CPU will bring a lot more power to the table than seen from most ARM based NAS devices and it should be something that really shows a difference when dealing with the AES 256-bit volume encryption and comparing the benchmarks to non-encrypted drives. As previously mentioned, you can get this NAS with either 2GB or 8Gb DDR3 memory.
Within the package you find everything you need to get started. The NAS itself is protected with an adhesive film all the way around and you get two LAN cables, a PSU brick, easy setup guide, and an infrared remote control.
The QTS system is a great operating system that provides all the basics features natively. Anything that isn’t found among the basic features can be installed via add-on packages directly from within the management system.
The TS-453 mini is a little marvelous wonder with everything it can do. I’ve already mentioned some of the features, but there is so much more. Next to the QvPC technology for virtualization and HTPC usage it also features RTRR for easy data management and backup, NAS and iSCSI-SAN unified storage solution for server virtualization. It also supports VMware, Citrix, and Hyper-V and you can easy expand the raw storage capacity up to 96TB with the optional UX-800P QNAP expansion enclosure.
Security is an important feature and next to the AES 256-bit hardware encryption engine it also offers anti-virus and a multitude of backup solutions as well as cloud integration – both personal and public clouds. On the front you’ll find a USB 3.0 port with quick copy button that can be configured to work the way you’ll like it best and the system supports everything from third-party backup software such as Acronis True Image and Symantec Backup Exec as well as Real-Time Remote Replication, Rsync, and Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, ElephantDrive, Dropbox and Google Cloud Storage.
On-the-fly and offline transcoding help to create the best possible media experiences no matter what device you connect from and the SSD cache acceleration can be used to speed up the IOPS in environments where that is needed, which mostly will be enterprise scenarios.
Qsirch is a new google-like search feature that recently was added to QNAPs products. It requires some resources, but nothing this system can’t handle. In return, you get the probably fastest and best search solution found in any NAS system. A few keywords from meta-data, file content, or name and Qsirch will find your files.
Mobile devices are covered just as well as PC systems. There are a lot of apps available providing a direct connection to you NAS as well as synchronization options for your mobile devices.
The comprehensive Surveillance Station is of course also present and allows you to connect over 2700 different certified IP cameras to the NAS and monitor it in real time, record, and anything else you’ll want in a security station. Two camera channel are included and it can be expanded up to 24 channels.
We finally see Intel getting it right and structuring their naming convention and numbers to actually make sense when it comes to Intel Graphics in its latest Intel Skylake chips. A recent driver leak revealed what the company has planned and how you should choose Intel’s graphics.
Before we get into that, lets see where Intel went into the wrong direction. 2010’s Westmere chips saw the first entry-level HD Graphics, followed by Sandy Bridge’s HD 2000/3000. So far, the numbering system clearly displayed their performance through the latter numbering system.
Intel’s HD Graphics took a turn in 2012 with the Ivy Bridge and HD 2500/4000. From here, Haswell and Broadwell HD Graphics’ numbering system went as a ‘messy’ waterfall, having higher HD Graphics number models with a mixture of frequencies and execution units, sometimes even lower than HD Graphics with a lower numbering system. It was hard distinguishing which is which and what is better that the other without a deep search of the CPU and the graphics it boasted.
Luckily, the leaked Skylake drivers give us some hope and show that Intel is finally tidying its graphics naming conventions, having the company reducing it to a letter followed by three digits as show in the pic below.
According to a blog post from MyDrivers, the HD Graphics will remain the base graphics models, which can be found on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs. The HD 510/515/520/530/535/540 will represent the common multimedia-oriented graphical solutions found on the Core iX models. They will come with various frequencies, so be sure to check the CPU out before you buy it.
The Iris 550 is said to be the higher-level solution found in high-end smartphones, while the Iris Pro 570/580 are found in the top-of-the-line K Desktop models and smartphone models. They are rumoured to boast an embedded catch of 64 MB or 128 MB, depending on the CPU model. Finally, we have the HD P530 and Iris Pro P580, which can be found on the Xeon E3 product line and corresponding desktop version.
Today we are taking a look at one of Zotac’s latest ZBOX CI321 nano barebones system that is packing a dual-core 2961Y CPU. Something that makes this CI321 nano stand out of the crowd is that it carries dual Gigabit LAN and is completely silent with its passively cooled design. With the inclusion of an onboard IR receiver, this makes it an interesting option for a silent HTPC. With it being a barebones kit, you can use some memory or 2.5″ drives that you have on hand to keep the final build costs down. There has been a lot of growth in the mini PC market and Zotac has been in it for a long time with its ZBOX lineup.
RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v
SSD:User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
GPU: Integrated –Intel HD Graphics
LAN: dual 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x USB 2.0 , 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, 2x 1Gb LAN
OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
Warranty: 1 Year
Printed materials that the CI321 comes with
The hardware that you get with the CI321 allows you to mount the unit via the VESA mount of a monitor or TV. You also get an optical audio adapter for use with a Toslink connection, a dual band WiFi antenna, and screws to mount your 2.5″ SSD or HDD.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of Habey before, most people haven’t. They have however been in the business for quite some time and probably longer than some of our readers have been alive, so they know a thing or two about creating solutions for embedded and small form factor systems. Their newest product, the mini-ITX motherboard dubbed the MITX-6670 is somewhat of a swiss army knife of the small form factor with a lot of onboard functions and even more upgrade functions.
As a base, you’ll get a mini-ITX motherboard with a passive cooled Intel Baytrail quad-core J1900 processor running at 2.4GHz and two SO-DIMM slots for up to 8GB total DDR3 memory. There are two onboard Intel LAN port and there is an onboard header for an optional POE module. You can connect two SATA drives or two mSATA drives, but not both at once. The selection is made by jumper and one of the mSATA ports support full size where the other only allows half-size mini-PCIe.
But it doesn’t stop here as you can customize even more. There is a default PCIe x1 slot, but the really cool feature is the onboard header that allows you to expand with what you, may it be an extra HDMI port or a DisplayPort connector instead.
The built-in iGPU supports HD resolutions and the Realtek ALC892 chip powers the audio part. There’s also support for a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) and you can even insert a sim card for 3G, 4G, and LTE connectivity.
Dual Intel I210/I211 Gigabit EthereEthernet
Built-in Ethernet port pin-header ready for POE (Power over Ethernet) setup
HDMI + VGA and LVDS/HDMI/DP/eDP add-on interface card options
Dual mSATA SSD support with easy jumper selection
Build-in Inﬁneon Trusted Platform Module and 8-bit GPIO
Realtek ALC892 high-performance 7.1-channel HD Audio
Low power, fanless passively cooling
Habey’s MITX-6770 has a manufacturer suggested retail price starting at $159, which actually isn’t much considering the features you get and compared to other available boards with fewer features and functions.
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.
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.
Intel has launched the brand new Braswell SoCs that will take the place of the current Bay Trail-D SoCs. The four new SoCs are built on the same 14nm process as Broadwell CPUs, with two dual-core and two quad-core models.
The two new dual-core Braswell parts that are in the Celeron line, the N3000 and the N3050. They both have GPUs with a base frequency of 320MHz and boost to 600MHz and 1MB of L2 cache. The Celeron N3000 has a base clock of 1.04GHz and boosts to 2.08GHz. The N3050 is clocked higher with a base clock of 1.60GHz and a boost of 2.16GHz.
The quad-core Braswell parts both have 2MB of L2 cache with a 640MHz GPU that will boost to 700MHz. The Celeron N3150 comes in with a base clock of 1.6GHz and boosts up to 2.08GHz. The Pentium N3700 has the same base of 1.6GHz but boosts higher, up to 2.4GHz.
All Braswell SoCs support up to DDR3-1600 memory and have a TDP of 6W, all except the N3000 which comes in with a TDP of 4W.
The rumoured N21 Chrome book is here at last! Looking at its specs, the N21 appears to come with a 11.6-inch display, Intel’s Celeron N2840 Bay Trail CPU, 16GB storage space and up to 4GB of RAM. Connectivity-wise, the Chromebook has a 802.11ac wireless adapter, comes with HDMI, SD card reader, one USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port.
The battery life is also promising, having Lenovo stating that the N21 eats up 36 Wh. This means that users should expect a battery life of up to 9.5 hours, give or take, depending on the number of applications running on the device.
The N21 Chromebook appears to come in a rugged case and is available for purchase at stores at a starting price of $219.
Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information
Shuttle has announced their DS57U Slim PC based around the latest Intel Broadwell platform. The base model comes with a 14nm Intel Celeron 3205U 1.5GHz dual-core processor that has a maximum TDP of only 15W. The graphics power is provided by Intel HD Graphics with both HDMI and DisplayPort for dual-screen setups.
There are three further models (SKUs) that provide more power and support for 4K/Ultra HD video playback, the DS57U3 (i3-5005U), DS57U5 (i5-5200U), and DS57U7 (i7-5500U).
The fanless unit would be perfect in any office or living environment and won’t gauge on the electricity bill either. It comes with a 65W power adapter which in itself keeps the running costs as low as a good old-fashioned light bulb. The DS57U is certified for 24/7 use and can easily be adapted to digital signage as well as thin-client.
The durable metal chassis houses four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0, two serial COM ports (RS232, RS232/422/485), dual intel Gigabit Ethernet, b/g/n WiFi, a SD Card reader as well as MIC in, Line out and a clear CMOS button.
The system supports two DDR3L-1333/1600 SO-DIMM modules for a total of up to 16GB RAM. There is only one SATA slot for a 2.5-inch drive, but that should be sufficient for most areas of use. The 39.5mm thin unit is also VESA mountable.
No official word on pricing or availability yet. A single Austrian web shop has it listed for €224.24, but no availability date.
Thanks to Shuttle for providing us with this information
ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) are no stranger to the PC hardware game despite not being instantly recognisable by most as a PC hardware vendor. In fact, they are the fifth largest motherboard manufacturer in the world, producing hardware for some of the biggest PC brands such as Acer, Zoostorm, IBM and Compaq, and have been around since 1987. Although their bread and butter has been motherboards for years, they have occasionally deviated from this, releasing everything from graphics cards to SOC (System on a Chip) computers. Speaking of which, today’s review is all about their latest SOC offering; the ECS Liva Mini-PC!
The mini PC/net-top market that followed the brief fad of netbooks never really seemed to take off – by the time everyone had realised that netbooks were generally awkward to use and fairly underpowered the tablet market had began to take off, with manufacturers realising that netbooks wouldn’t survive the test of time. Interestingly, the net-top has had a recent resurgence of interest in recent times, with Android based net-tops offering low-cost media centres to Windows and Linux-based net-tops promising business users a cheap office worthy PC that uses a fraction of the power. ECS has come out swinging here, taking aim straight at the budget net-top market, providing the user with everything (with the exception of OS) needed to turn this little box of tricks into whatever PC they require, while undercutting rival offerings which often need extra components such as RAM or SSD’s first to function.
Hot on the heels of the Asus EeeBook X205, Acer thrown its hat into the neo-notebook ring with the Aspire E 11, with similar specifications, dimensions, and price to its competitor.
Acer’s new compact offering features a 11.6″ 1366×768 display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of solid-state storage, and Windows 8.1. However, the Aspire’s dual-core Celeron N2840 processor can’t quite compete with the quad-core Atom Z3735 boasted by the EeeBook. Add to that the heavier weight – 2.84lbs, against Asus’ 2.2lbs – and seven hours less battery life than the EeeBook, the Aspire pales in comparison.
Although Acer’s new hardware doesn’t compare favourably to the Asus equivalent, its release does suggest that the neo-netbook market is set to become a lot more competitive.
The European subsidiary of Shuttle has released their latest and most powerful Mini-PC Barebone system, the Shuttle XH97V. Powered by the Intel H97 chipset and the LGA1150 socket for fourth and fifth generation Intel Core processors and having a volume of just 3.5 liters, make these new Barebones great for a multitude of scenarios.
Just because something is small, doesn’t mean that it can’t pack a punch. Shuttle is a master in this area and they’ve packed this tiny 240 x 200 x 72 mm slim X-type chassis with basic features and expansion options to meet both 4K media presentations, as well as office productivity. This is also the first Shuttle mini-PC barebone to support simultaneous use of up to three displays out of the box.
The front ports are hidden behind moveable panels to offer a better dust protection as well as giving the unit a cleaner look. Opening up the panels expose the two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, and there’s also two 3.5mm audio jacks for headphones and microphone. It has room for an optical disk drive (ODD) with a max height of 12.7mm, seen at the top of the photo.
Users who don’t need an optical drive can use the bay for an additional 2.5-inch drive. Speaking of 2.5-inch drives, the Shuttle XH97V can hold a 12.7 mm and a 9.5mm drive beside the optional one in the ODD tray allowing you to install up to three SATA3 2.5-inch drives in this tiny unit.
The rear of the Barebone offers just as much connectivity as the front with two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. Shuttle also added an eSATA2 and an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet is powered by the Realtek 8111G Ethernet controller. The three 3.5mm jacks for the 5.1 surround sound are run by the Realtek ALC 662 HD Audio Codec.
There are two DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4 ports for up to three simultaneous display connections. The DisplayPorts can display 4k content in 60Hz while the HDMI port does it at half the refresh rate; 30Hz.
There is also a COM port, clear CMOS button and a DC IN for the power brick. The Kensington-style lock is cleverly placed to pass through both parts of the chassis, allowing Shuttle to use thumbscrews for the chassis and still being intrusion safe.
The motherboard inside is a standard mITX form-factor and it can handle up to 16GB memory over the two SO-DIMM slots. The maximum memory speed will depend on what CPU you use. The H97 chipset and LGA1150 (H3) socket gives you a wide variety of options from Core i3 / i5 / i7 processors as well as Pentium and Celeron models with a max TDP of 65W.
The XH97V doesn’t stop there and offers another two mini PCI Express expansion slots, one half-sized and one full-sized. The half-sized supports PCIe 2.0 and USB 2.0 and is intended for use with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards. The full-sized also supports SATA3 and can be used for mSATA drives as well.
Shuttle only used solid capacitors in this system and the processor cooling uses an integrated heat-pipe system with two 60mm fans. It also has an Always-On jumper that when set will make the system automatically boot after power loss.
The new Shuttle Barebone XH97V is available at retailers across Europe now or very soon and it has an MSRP €193,00 exclusive VAT. At some retailers, it’s already down to €186.47 inclusive VAT before it even has arrived in their storage.
Thanks to Shuttle for providing us with this information
Biostar has introduced us to their latest products, the iDEQ-T1 Mini-PC designed to subvert the conventional desktop PC by being smaller, lighter and more mobile while still having similar features and capabilities. By using a motherboard that is based on the mITX form-factor, these miniPCs are only about two-thirds of an A4 sheet of paper in size and weigh just 800 grams.
The Biostar iDEQ-T1 comes in two versions, one with Karaoke support and one without. The Karaoke version has a C-Media CM108AH Audio chip whereas the non-karaoke version has a Realtek ALC662 Codec instead. Inside these tiny machines, we find a quad-core Intel Celeron N2940 processor with 2MB cache and a boost speed up to 2.25 GHz. Intel’s Bay Trail processor provides the Gen7 display chip which can run a 2560×1440 resolution and has DirectX 11 support while maintaining a very low power consumption.
Using dual-channel DDR3 SO-DIMM memory with speeds up to 1333 MHz, the miniPCs can have up to 16 GB RAM over the two memory slots. For additional expansions it features a mini PCI-E slot that can be covered with the optional WiFi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n module, or anything else you can find that fits. You can add a 2.5-inch storage drive up to 9.5mm thickness and it will connect to an SATA2 port.
Wired network is performed by the Realtek RTL8111G Gigabit Ethernet controller and the system has three USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 ports. Monitors can be connected via the HDMI or VGA port and both can be used simultaneous for multi-screen setups. While speaking of monitors, the iDEQ-T1 is VESA compliant and can be mounted with optional 75/100 VESA brackets if the foot-stand isn’t to your liking.
This clearly isn’t a gaming machine, but I can see many scenarios where it would be a great system. The processor can pull any normal office or HTPC task with ease. The karaoke version might be a hit for some people, where others might just laugh a bit and move on.
As any device from any manufacturer, these mini-PCs feature a row of exclusive in-house features. We have the Magic BIOS that is able to install the LAN driver for you after you installed your operating system, a minor but great function. The BIOS also supports Rescue BIOS that automatically can load a working and error-free version if you’d ever run into a BIOS crash. For the more every-day usage, it has support for BIO-Remote 2 and Charger Booster technology.
Thank you Biostar for providing us with this information
Samsung has just launched their newest Chromebook 2 model and this time it features an Intel processor. The new XE500C12-K01 is powered by an Intel Celeron N2840 processor running at 2.16GHz and a boost up to 2.58GHz. The CPU has 1MB L2 cache.
The LCD display is 11.6-inch LED HD and has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and a brightness of 200nit. The anti-reflective technology helps to prevent glare and allow for usage both inside and outside.
Just like the other Chromebooks, this Intel model has 2GB DDR3 system memory running at 1600 MHz and a 16GB eMMC storage module. The graphics are covered by the CPU-integrated Intel HD Graphics that shares the memory with the rest of the system. The stereo 2 watts speakers, built-in microphone and the 720p webcam makes the Chromebook perfect for video chats with Google Hangouts for example.
The Intel Chromebook 2 has the latest 802.11ac wireless LAN powered by the Intel Wireless-AC 7260 card with 2 x 2 antennas and built-in Bluetooth 4.0. Physical connections are covered by an HDMI port for the video signal, headphone out and microphone in for a headset and one of each USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. It also features a Micro SD card reader for additional storage.
The AC adapter is only 26 watts and the Chromebook itself is powered by a 2 cell Li-Po battery with 4080mAh. Depending on the working scenario it can provide up to 9 hours battery life for the long work sessions on the go.
The build is nearly seamless and it has a strong metal from top to bottom of the device to make it as sturdy as possible. It isn’t much bigger than a sheet of A4 paper with its measurements of 289.6 x 204.8 x 16.8mm and the weight of just 1.2 kilo makes it highly portable. The keyboard is ergonomically designed with curved keys that are said to allow for a more comfortable and faster typing experience.
It comes with a 1-year warranty and it is running Chrome OS, of course. US customers can pre-order it on Samsung’s own site for an MSRP of $249.99 while it will be widely available through the week of October 20, 2014.
Thank you Samsung for providing us with this information
QNAP announced the release of the new tower-based Turbo NAS TS-x53 Pro series (available in 2, 4, 6, 8-bay) and the 2.5”-drive SS-x53 Pro series (4 and 8-bay) that provide a powerful and reliable solution for data storage and mission-critical business applications for small and medium businesses. Coupled with exclusive QvPC Technology, these new series can serve as cost-effective PC substitutes that enable direct access to stored data, real-time surveillance monitoring with local display, XBMC digital entertainment, and more.
The TS/SS-x53 Pro series is powered by a quad-core Intel® Celeron® 2.0GHz processor with burst speed up to 2.41GHz and 8GB/4GB/2GB energy-efficient DDR3L RAM (expandable to 8GB), supports 2 or 4 LAN ports that provide up to 400MB/s read & write speeds in port trunking mode, and achieves 70+MB/s read & write AES-256bit encryption performance. “The new models deliver high performance that maintains smooth system operations even during intensive data access,” said Jason Hsu, product manager of QNAP. “The high-quality hardware also provides the power for users to operate multiple virtual machines using QNAP Virtualization Station, transcode Full HD videos in real-time or offline, and enhance their business productivity with SMB features built-in,” added Hsu.
QNAP’s exclusive QvPC Technology consolidates a number of high-end technologies including VM integration, multimedia transcoding, HDMI output, cloud integration and NAS connection technologies, allowing users to operate the TS/SS-x53 Pro series as a PC when they plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor. With QvPC Technology, the TS/SS-x53 Pro series is transformed into a cost-effective device with PC functionalities for users to directly access stored data on the NAS, run multiple applications using Windows/Linux/UNIX/Android-based VMs, surf the web on Google Chrome, enjoy Full HD videos with up to 7.1 channel audio with XBMC, monitor the Surveillance Station in real time with local display, and much more.
Users can install the Virtualization Station from the QTS App Center to extend the functionality of the TS/SS-x53 Pro series by operating multiple Windows, Linux and UNIX-based VMs. Virtualization Station offers numerous functions including snapshot, VM import/export, dedicated LAN ports, user permissions, and more. Users can conveniently operate VMs as remote desktops via web browsers for instant management or troubleshooting.
The TS/SS-x53 Pro series, with integrated hardware acceleration, provides superior real-time and offline Full HD video transcoding capabilities to convert videos on-the-fly or in the background to universal formats that can be smoothly played on computers and mobile devices. In the event of limited Internet bandwidth, users can still enjoy smooth videos by selecting lower resolutions to play the videos via File Station, Video Station, or the Qfile mobile app. The TS/SS-x53 Pro series allows multiple users to simultaneously watch different videos stored on it without affecting the performance of other running applications. “This powerful transcoding feature makes the new series perfect for organizations where videos are at the heart of their daily work or digital offerings, increasing their productivity and providing higher-quality videos near-instantly,” added Hsu.
The TS/SS-x53 Pro series has a range of comprehensive business applications and is ideal for SMBs to build a secure private cloud. It supports VMware®, Microsoft® and Citrix® virtualization solutions to simplify virtual storage management. The cross-platform file sharing for Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX users makes the TS/SS-x53 Pro series an ideal centralized storage solution for organizations with a large number of users. The support for Windows AD, LDAP directory services and Windows ACL improves the efficiency of permission settings. The TS/SS-x53 Pro series can also act as a domain controller for Windows, and offers flexible backup solutions for Windows® and Mac® users and disaster recovery solutions including RTRR, rsync and cloud storage backup. The IT Management Station (powered by Mandriva® Pulse) provides an IT system management solution for businesses of all sizes to centrally manage multi-OS and multi-site IT assets. With the unique Signage Station, business users can easily create animated content and advertisements for promoting their services.
Featuring a scalable design, the TS/SS-x53 Pro series allows administrators to connect a QNAP expansion enclosure (UX-500P or UX-800P) to increase the total storage capacity to 96TB with multiple volumes (varies by models). The UX-500P and UX-800P tower expansion enclosures offer SMBs with budget-friendly options to expand their storage capacity on demand to fulfill storage-intensive applications such as video surveillance, data archiving, TV broadcast storage, and for backing-up the entire content of the connected Turbo NAS.
The TS-x53 Pro series
TS-253 Pro: 2-bay tower model
TS-453 Pro: 4-bay tower model
TS-653 Pro: 6-bay tower model
TS-853 Pro: 8-bay tower model
Quad-core Intel® Celeron® 2.0 GHz processor (burst up to 2.41GHz) with Virtualization Technology (VT-x), 8GB or 2GB DDR3L RAM (expandable to 8GB); 2.5”/3.5” SATA 6Gbps HDD/SSD, hard drives hot-swappable; 3 x USB 3.0; 2 x Gigabit LAN ports (TS-253 Pro) / 4 x Gigabit LAN ports (TS-453 Pro, TS-653 Pro, TS-853 Pro); 1 x HDMI; LCD panel (TS-453 Pro, TS-653 Pro, TS-853 Pro)
The SS-x53 Pro series
SS-453 Pro: 4-bay tower model
SS-853 Pro: 8-bay tower model
Quad-core Intel® Celeron® 2.0 GHz processor (burst up to 2.41GHz) with VT-x, 4GB DDR3L RAM (expandable to 8GB); 2.5” SATA 6Gbps HDD/SSD, hard drives hot-swappable; 3 x USB 3.0; 2 x Gigabit LAN ports (SS-453 Pro) / 4 x Gigabit LAN ports (SS-853 Pro); 1 x HDMI; LCD panel (SS-853 Pro)
The new TS-x53 Pro and SS-x53 Pro Turbo NAS series are available now or on route to your favourite QNAP reseller.
Thank you QNAPfor providing us with this information.