QNAP Launches New Powerful Dual-10Gbps Rack NAS’

When good isn’t good enough, then you’ll want great, and when looking for great, you can’t get past QNAP. They have just launched two new NAS series for the enterprise sector with plenty of storage capacity options, great connectivity, and strong CPUs. Perfect for enterprise users that don’t want to compromise. The two new series are the TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 and the TS-ECx80U R2.

Both of these new NAS series feature two built-in SFP+ based 10Gbps Ethernet ports without increasing the price over the previous models without the R2 name addendum. Besides the two SFP+ connectors, the system also features four 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Overall, everything you need for an IOPS-demanding application setup such as virtualisation setups and database systems.

The TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 series comes equipped with a powerful Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor and 16GB DDR3 non-ECC or 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM. A great hardware base for almost any setup. The TS-ECx80U R2 series provides models powered by an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor too and these come with 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM. Further, the series offers options with an Intel Core i3 3.5 GHz processor and 8GB DDR3 non-ECC or 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM too.

There are quite a few models to choose from, in various sizes and with varying drive bays. They all have four DIMM slots, extra internal ports for caching, redundant power supplies, and much more.

Both of these new QNAP series should be available now, so all that’s left to do, is to select which one you want.

Thecus N7770-10G Elite-Class Business 7-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


Today’s review is a real pleasure for me as I get to take a closer look and test an elite class business NAS with built-in 10GbE and high availability function. I got Thecus’ N7770-10G 7-bay business NAS on the table and I’m going to give it thorough testing to show you just how amazing it is.

When I review consumer class NAS devices, I often talk about how they are suited for all sorts of media and streaming needs as that is the main focus for that group. The Thecus N7770-10G does all this too and it does it great, but it isn’t what it was designed for. This is a business class NAS and as such it needs a whole other set of features and functionality. You get a complete backup solution that includes the use of external devices, cloud backup, snapshots, and client backup as well as total security thanks to Intel Security Antivirus, AES 256-bit encryption, and VPN server functionality. The N7770-10G still provides all the mobile connectivity and media streaming capabilities as well as centralized authentication control.

The Thecus N7770-10G NAS isn’t built around a low-power ARM or Intel Celeron CPU, instead it’s built with a full Intel Core i3-2120 dual-core processor that has a base clock speed of 3.3GHz. To go with that CPU, you get 8GB DDR3 ECC memory that is expandable all the way to 32GB, dual Gigabit Ethernet, 10GbE card pre-installed, and 7 drive bays for a lot of raw storage.

It is my personal opinion that we have been stuck at 1Gbps ethernet connections for way too long. While we had the ability to link those together to achieve better connections, it is old by now and today’s needs also increase the need for better connectivity. In that regard, I’m glad to see Thecus having this model with an included 10GbE adapter, making it ready for the step into the next speed category. It still features two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet connections too, which you naturally all can link aggregate and trunk. Further, you get a total of six USB 2.0 ports where two of them are on the front and two USB 3.0 ports on the rear. The HDMI port further allows you to turn your NAS into the ultimate multimedia hub by connecting the NAS directly to your TV or monitor.

The N7770-10G supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 10, 50 and JBOD modes besides single disk usage. You can create multiple RAID volumes with different modes, only limited by the amount of drives you have available for the pool. Should a hard drive malfunction occur, changing one is simple thanks to online RAID migration and expansion, hot spare, and auto rebuild. You can also pick which filesystem you prefer as the N7770-10G supports EXT3, EXT4, Btrfs and XFS for increased flexibility and ability to suit many different types of environments. Users can simultaneously use different file systems across multiple RAID volumes to get the best of each one.

iSCSI Thin-Provisioning is a thing that many people still read past as they don’t really know what it is, but it is well worth getting the handle on, as you can manage your storage better and get better speeds. 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. Windows Server, NT, and XP users will need to download the iSCIC initiator from Microsoft, but Windows 7, 8, and 10 users, for example, have it built right into the OS. If in doubt, just search for iSCSI from your Windows start menu search.

Two awesome features in Thecus NAS’ that often are overlooked, are the Disk Clone and Disk Wipe functions. Both can be extremely useful for both business and home users. The Disk Clone features allows you to copy the entire contents of a disk to one or many other disks while the Disk Wipe function allows you to permanently destroy a volumes data.

Business data is sensitive data and sensitive data needs to be protected. Thecus N7770-10G offers AES 256-bit RAID volume encryption that allows you to fully encrypt the entire RAID volume. Sensitive data also has to be sent and received with the proper security, for this you can set up the VPN server. It allows users to remotely access a secure network with the equipment already at hand.

Data Guard backup solution is the ultimate software as it provides both local and remote parts. Currently, data is backed up across RAID volumes and external drives. In addition, Data Guard uses innovative technology to sync data across the network to other NAS and servers. It makes managing NAS user-friendly and convenient. But there are many ways to backup your data and the Thecus N7770-10G pretty much supports them all.

With BTRFS support, users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups. 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. Rsync is probably the most common used technique and Thecus supports this too. It gives great flexibility with remote backup capability, a flexible scheduler, and the stability of Linux-based transfer.

You can easily create your own cloud solution with the Thecus N7770-10G, but that doesn’t mean that the existing cloud providers should be counted out. There can be many reasons to use these services and Thecus supportsDropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality. The best here is that it is as easy to use and setup as all the normal and local sharing functions.

Data Burn is another great feature that comes in line with the previous mentioned Disk Clone and Disk Wipe features. With Data Burn, you can connect a CD, DVD, or Blue-ray burner and create physical optical backups of your data. In addition, it also supports burning of ISO image files instead. You can of course also use a connected optical drive to easily backup the data to your NAS.

When you buy a Thecus NAS like this, you also get a few extra software pieces that are well worth having. The hardware in itself is solid quality while failovers and redundancies are available for almost all systems. But you also need to protect your files and an Antivirus software is perfect for this. Thecus partnered with McAfee and includes their award-winning software for free.

Acronis True Image is also included for free and it is one of the easiest ways to manage your backups, I use it quite often on both a personal level and for my reviews setups. It is one of the easiest pieces of backup software available with a long set of functions and One-click protection setups.

Keeping an eye on the NAS while you’re on the go isn’t a problem either thanks to iOS and Android connectivity. With T-OnTheGo and the T-Dashboard, you can manage your NAS, and upload to and download/stream from your NAS using an iOS or Android device on the go.

Feature Highlights

  • Intel Core i3-2120 (3.3.GHz Dual Core) processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 ECC Memory (Expandable to 32 GB)
  • 10GbE card included
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • Hot-swappable hard drives
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD

Packaging and Accessories

The front and the back of the box look the same, and it looks stunning. There is no doubt looking at the package that we’re dealing with a premium NAS. The feature highlights as well as the NAS itself are shown clearly and easy to spot.

The side of the box goes more into detail on the specifications and package content. This is also where it will be marked what market it is intended for, which really only comes down to what power cable is included.

The other side shows the feature highlights and how it can be useful in pretty much any scenario. As the box says, A NAS for every need.

Inside the box we find a power cable for our region, a single RJ45 ethernet cable, four keys for the drive trays, screws for seven 3.5-inch drives and screws for seven 2.5-inch drives as well as a utilities disk, warranty card, and quick installation guide.

Intel Ultra Low Power Skylake-U Lineup Revealed

While much of the attention have been focused on the i7 6700K and the i5 6600K, Intel’s latest 14nm process should shine best in the power limited mobile environment. Intel intends to be mum about their other Skylake chips, but someone has leaked slides detailing the Skylake-U ultra low power lineup.

Starting off, all of the chips are dual-core only given the limited power envelope, with the i3, i5 and i7 having hyperthreading to expose 4 logical cores. We have 2 i7s with 4MB L3 cache that breach the 3Ghz barrier at max turbo while the i5 lineup loses 1MB of cache and tops off at 3Ghz. The i3 is limited to a much more pedestrian 2.3Ghz while the Pentium and Celerons are even slower and lose another MB of cache and hyperthreading. TDP remains low at 15W max with a configurable TDP that drops as low as 7.5W.

On the GPU side, we have the HD 530 for the i3 and above at 300/1000Mhz with the i7 variant boosting an additional 50Mhz. The Pentium and Celeron are paired with the slower HD 510 that clocks slower at 300/900Mhz, with the Pentium iGPU boosting 50Mhz higher. The Intel 520 should have 24EUs (Execution Unit) while nothing about the 510 has leaked yet. It will be interesting to see if the 34% promised gain over Broadwell iGPU will manifest in the 520 or will there be other higher end iGPUs launching later.

While the desktop side of things has shown lower levels of progress, the mobile side continues to show good improvement. It wasn’t long ago that mobile CPUs hit 35W TDPs with anemic iGPUs and poor battery life. Now, we will soon have chips that are leaps and bounds ahead of their predecessors with higher IPC, clock rates and better iGPU performance, all in a smaller, cooler, and more power efficient package.

Thank you FanlessTech for providing us with this information

Skylake’s New Graphics Core Names Make More Sense

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.

Thecus Tease Us With New NAS Units for Computex

As so many companies right now, Thecus is getting ready to show off their latest development, ideas, and solutions at Computex in Taipei next month.

“Computex provides a great venue for us unveil our latest technologies and display existing products,” said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus. “Users will be able to experience our wide range of NAS solutions for home, small/medium business, and enterprise uses.”

Among the units that they’re going to show off are their Windows-based solutions of which we already reviewed the W4000. These units make it easier than ever to incorporate Windows-based features into your network for a relative low price. Setting up your Azure or Office 365 on your SMB network has never been so easy.

But also newer units such as the recently released N5810 Pro NAS, that we also already reviewed for you. This is an amazing unit that doesn’t just add the usual enthusiast features but packs one on top with 5 LAN ports, 5 HDD trays, built-in miniUPS and HTPC function.

What got me excited is the yet promise, or tease, that they’re going to unveil and show off two new and yet unreleased SMB/Enterprise solutions including a 7-bay tower NAS and a 8-bay rackmount unit. These new NAS devices will be powered by Intel Core i3 processors, most likely Haswell, have 4GB built-in memory that is upgradeable to 32GB, and last but not least come 10G-ready.

 

First Intel Core i3 Powered Chromebook Launched by Acer

Acer has just announced its release of the first 4th Generation Intel Core i3 CPU-powered chromebook, having it be the first company to release a chromebook device with similar performance ratios. The company has stated that the Acer C720, powered by the latter processor, is available in two models in order to provide customers with even faster and more responsive performance in multi-tasking workflows, while also providing a long battery life of up to 8.5 hours.

“Acer has been a leader in the Chromebook space and the new C720 based on 4th generation Intel Core i3 processors marks a new class of Chromebook with enhanced performance and battery life,” said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platforms Group. “As one of the most powerful Chromebooks on the market, the additional performance of Core i3 enables an extremely responsive experience while surfing multiple tabs of web pages. Students, families and business users will recognize the difference in how snappy the new Acer C720 is with Intel Core i3.”

The chromebooks are said to be ideal for families and students, as well as anyone requiring a simple and secure computer to work with. Having the devices running on Chrome OS, updates are said to roll in regularly, this making the latest features available right away to customers, including various layers of security such as data encryption and verified boot.

In terms of specs, both C720 models are said to have a 11.6-inch ComfyView HD screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, providing a clear and enjoyable image quality. The 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi antenna along with the integrated HD webcam and microphone are said to provide the best quality for video calls and connectivity features. Breaking the series down, the first C720-3404 model is said to boast Intel’s Core i3 Processor, 4 GB of memory and will be priced at $379.99.

The second one, the C720-3871, is said to boast the same Intel Core i3 CPU, while providing less memory, having it come with only 2 GB. However, while the specs are a bit low, the price is set to match it, having the tag set at $349.99. The latter chromebooks are currently available in North America, having other regions receiving the chromebooks later on.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Intel Haswell Refresh Core i3 And Pentium Processors Set To Arrive July 20th

According to rumours coming out of China Intel’s Haswell Refresh Pentium and Core i3 processors will arrive on July 20th 2014. We have already seen the Haswell Refresh Core i5 and Core i7 models, such as the new Devil’s Canyon Core i7 4790K, but we’ve yet to see the lower-end SKUs. The lower-end SKUs are comprised of four Core i3 processors, two of which are T series energy efficient processors while the other two are not. There will also be four Pentium processors of which two are T models and two are not.

  • Core i3 4370, Core i3 4360T, Core i3 4160, Core i3 4160T
  • Pentium G3460, Pentium G3450T, Pentium G3250, Pentium G3250T

All processors will make use of the 22nm Haswell microarchitecture and will be based on the refreshed silicon production. I expect all the Core i3 models to be dual core, four thread parts while all the Pentium parts will be dual core parts without hyperthreading. Stay tuned for more details as they arrive.

Source: VR-Zone (Chinese)

Image courtesy of VR-Zone (Chinese)

Intel To Retire Five CPUs In 2014

CPU World reports that Intel is planning to discontinue five CPUs in 2014. The information was provided with Intel’s latest Product Change Notification (PCN). Of the CPUs that are being axed two are LGA 1155 Core i3 processors and three are socket G2 Core i7 mobile processors.

The Core i3 3210 and Core i3 3225 Ivy Bridge based LGA 1155 processors are the two desktop CPUs to be axed. Both the retail and OEM versions will be discontinued. The Core i7-3720QM, i7-3820QM and i7-3920XM are the trio of mobile Core i7 processors to be axed, this time only the OEM versions as these were never sold as retail version.

The three mobile Core i7 processors in question were released in April 2012 while the two desktop CPUs were released in September 2012 to January 2013. Intel is taking the last orders for all five CPUs on March 28th 2014 and last shipments are made on September 5th 2014.

Image courtesy of Intel

ASUS Launch Their VivoPC “NUC-Style” Mini PC

ASUS has launched their loose-interpretation of the Intel NUC style platform. The design sacrifices a lot of the compactness and portability of the reference NUC platform in order to pack in better hardware at a more attractive price. The VivoPC from ASUS will arrive at the end of the month in silver or black. The silver model (pictured in this article) uses the product name VM40B. It has an Intel 1.5GHz Celeron 1007U dual core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a 2-in-1 card reader, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectivity, and a 65 W power supply.

The second option is the black VC60 which comes with identical specification as the VM40B but uses an improved Core i3-3110M 2.4GHz dual core or Core i5-3210M 3.1GHz processor and twice the RAM at 4GB. 

The VM40B is set to cost €229 while the VC60 starts at €349 all the way up to €519. Both units weigh around 1.2kg and measure in at 190 by 190 by 56.2 mm (WxHxD). This is quite a lot larger than Intel’s reference NUC which measures in at 116.6 x 112 x 39 mm (WxHxD).

Images courtesy of ASUS

Intel Officially Releases New Haswell Processors

Intel yesterday released the rest of the Haswell Core Series processors. As you may have noticed the initial launch back in June up until now only covered high end Core i5 and Core i7 models for the desktop platform but this new launch extends the Haswell series to the Core i3 and Pentium series in addition to adding quite a few Core i5 and i7 models. Below you can see a summary of the new models, specifications and pricing courtesy of TechPowerUp. The two Celeron models are Ivy Bridge, and the two Core i5 models beginning with 3 are also Ivy Bridge.

For many system builders and budget system integrators these new releases from Intel are greatly welcomed as they mean two things. First is that the budget price point now buys you more efficient Intel CPUs with higher clock speeds for the same money. The second is that the release of new Haswell inventory in this market will force the price of Intel’s Ivy Bridge equivalents down.

UK pricing details can be found here for those that are interested.

Image #1 courtesy of Intel and Image #2 courtesy of TechPowerUp

Intel Haswell Core i3 And Pentium Pricing Detailed

CPU World have managed to get a hold of some pricing details about Intel’s Haswell Core i3. The pricing information comes from pre-order listings from ShopBLT and they have the majority of the unreleased Haswell processor models listed. Above you can see a table compiled with all the models, their specifications and their price. Generally speaking the pre-order pricing of Haswell is more or less identical to that of Ivy Bridge, though we will likely see a higher premium at retailers because retailers know consumers will pay more for newer Haswell Core series processors than they would for older Ivy Bridge processors.

This is also an opportunity to check out the final confirmed specifications of these products. Interestingly the lower end Pentium models have weaked Integrated graphics that the Core iX models but they do come with a substantially smaller price point. No doubt the Haswell Pentium processors will continue to be a favourite among low end system builders and even moderate gaming systems – pairing the Haswell Pentiums up with a mid-range GPU like a GTX 650Ti  or HD 7790 would be capable of doing most modern games on medium settings running at 1920 x 1080.

There were no details on when we should expect to see these new Haswell processors arrive but within the next month seems realistic since retailers and distributors now know what the final retail prices are.

Image #1 courtesy of Intel and Image #2 courtesy of CPU World

Intel Has Range Of Embedded CPUs Planned For September

Intel’s Haswell technology hasn’t had a chance to permeate all parts of Intel’s CPU portfolio. The embedded sector is still rather lacking of the new Intel architecture but from September we can expect to see them arrive with Intel’s 4th generation Shark Bay platform. The new releases of embedded CPUs will contain five new processors. These will be the following:

(Note that Thread counts are just educated guesses as this information was not disclosed.)

  • Core i7 4700EQ @ 1.7GHz with 4C/8T and a 37W TDP
  • Core i5 4400E @ 2.7GHz with 2C/4T and a 37W TDP
  • Core i5 4402E @ 1.6GHz with 2C/4T and a 37W TDP
  • Core i3 4100E @2.4GHz with 2C/2T and a 37W TDP
  • Core i3 4102E @ 1.6GHz with 2C/2T and a 25W TDP

All of these new embedded chips are based on a mobile Haswell design and are embedded into QM87 or HM86 chipset motherboards. Consequently the feature set of the platform will vary between the different motherboards that these CPUs are embedded on. The CPUs come in a BGA 1364 package. You can check out more detailed information here and here courtesy of EKF-System.

Image #1 courtesy of Intel and Image #2 courtesy of EKF-System

Intel Phasing Out Various Old Desktop CPUs In Q3 2013

With a new fourth generation of Core series CPUs from Intel, aka Haswell, we have to start saying adios to older CPUs in Intel’s portfolio. Most of the Sandy Bridge portfolio was already given EOL (end-of-life) status in Q1 earlier this year with a single Ivy Bridge CPU given EOL status on Q2. Q3 brings a flurry of EOL activity from Intel mainly in the lower segment of the market. For those who don’t know EOL essentially means no more shipments will be shipped by Intel so once stock has dried up in the market then that product is no longer available. The PDN (Product Discontinuance Notice) is a warning sent to manufacturers and OEMs informing them they have a limited period of time to order shipments of a particular CPU before it becomes EOL.

In terms of Pentium and Celeron processors the following are becoming EOL – G860, G645, G645T, G550T, G555, G645, G630, G620, G622, G870, G860T, G640, G630T, G640T, G550, G540T, G460, G530, and G530T. Additionally we are now seeing the end of the Sandy Bridge Core i3 processors as Intel introduces Haswell Core i3s and Ivy Bridge ones drop back to replace the Sandy Bridge Core i3s. The discontinued Core i3 processors are the Core i3-2100, i3-2125, i3-2130, i3-2120T, and i3-2102. Finally the last Sandy Bridge Core i5 gets the chop as the Core i5 2390T is axed by Intel.

Image and information courtesy of MyCE

New Intel Haswell Processors Coming September 1st, Includes Core i3

Intel’s Haswell has been out for a while now but there are still some unreleased models we are expecting. According to a VR-Zone story the rest of the Haswell line up will arrive on September the 1st. This will consist of  a single Core i7 model, two Core i5 models, five Core i3 models and five Pentium models. There are also a pair of Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors and a trio of Ivy Bridge based Celeron processors coming too on September the first.

With regards to the specifications of the Haswell processors WCCFTech have created this excellent summary table that shows you all you need to know about these upcoming Intel Haswell processors. Interestingly enough most of the processors exceed the 3GHz mark quite comfortably which is something that we haven’t seen for a while with Intel processors. All Core i3 models have hyper threading and HD 4600 graphics while there are a couple of T models that have reduced 35W TDPs over the 54W TDP of the standard Core i3 models. The new Core i7 4771 is simply an i7 4770K that is locked and it has an 84W TDP.

Image #1 courtesy of VR-Zone and Image #2 courtesy of WCCFTech