Thecus N2810 2-Bay 4K Capable SMB NAS Review

Introduction


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feature Highlights

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

Packaging and Accessories

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synology Releases DS416slim 2.5-Inch 4-Bay NAS

Synology released a new NAS that is a little different that what we’re used to seeing. First off it is very tiny and it is also a bit in reverse, but with good reason. The new Synology Diskstation DS416slim is a NAS for 2.5-inch hard disk drives and drives are plugged through the rear. With its measurements, 18.4 cm x 16.8 cm x 23.0 cm, and its low weight, 700 grams, the DS416slim is a ultra-small NAS that still packs quite a punch.

The Synology DiskStation DS416slim is built around an Armada 385 Dual Core 1.0GHz CPU and comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. That is enough to allow this tiny unit to perform with up to 170MB/s read and 77MB/s write performance through a link aggregated windows connection. The CPU also features a dedicated hardware encryption engine.

As mentioned above, the DS416slim is capable of link aggregation and that is because it comes with two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the rear panel. Whether you want to configure them for load balancing or failover protection is naturally your choice. The NAS also comes with two USB 3.0 ports for external storage and other devices, one on the front for easy access and one on the rear for more permanent connected devices.

The rear is also where you find the four drive bays that each can hold a 2.5-inch hard disk drive or solid state drive with a height up to 12.5mm. Without any real height limitation, the choice of drives to use is yours. The power consumption is rated at about 17 watts during access and just 11 watts during HDD hibernation, which also makes it a very power efficient NAS. The noise output is rated to 20.3 dBA.

As this is a Synology NAS, it naturally comes with their own impressive DSM operation system. The DSM system also just got a major overhaul and version 6.0 was just released as well. You get tons of streaming and backup options as well as mobile apps and security when you pick a DSM 6.0 powered NAS.

The new Synology DS416slim comes with a recommended retail price of £222.00 including VAT or €248.64 excluding VAT, and it is backed by a 2-year warranty.

Synology Releases DiskStation DS216+ 2-Bay NAS

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

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

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

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

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

Feature Highlights

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

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

ASUSTOR AS1002T 2-Bay Entry-Level NAS Review

Introduction


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Packaging and Accessories

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

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

Synology Introduces the DiskStation DS216 2-Bay NAS

We’ve recently seen Synology release both the DS216se and DS216play, and now it is time for the DS216 to enter the market. Synology introduced the new 2-bay NAS and announced the immediate availability of the same. Synology’s DiskStation DS216 is the direct successor to the DS214 and it is quite an upgrade.

The DS216 is powered by a dual-core Marvell Armada 385 CPU that runs are 1.3GHz and is backed by 512MB DDR3 memory. The Marvel Armada 385 CPU comes with built-in hardware encryption engine that can increase the performance with encrypted files up to 49% while reading and 110% while writing compared to the DS214. Encryption becomes a thing more and more people want to utilize which makes this a great selling point. The CPU also features a floating point unit that especially speeds up the creation of thumbnails, but overall helps with the performance of the system.

With that hardware at its disposal, the DS216 can provide a read/write performance of 111.18 MB/s in writing and over 112.79 MB/s in reading.

Synology’s DS216 features one USB 2.0 port on the front where it also has a one-touch copy button and it has another two USB 3.0 ports on the rear next to the RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. Other than that, the DS216 doesn’t have any more connectivity, but what would you want more?

The two-bay NAS supports up to 16TB volumes with its two bays and 8TB drives, a storage amount that should be plenty for most people. The front panel is removable and behind it are two drive trays that support hot-swapping and easy tool-free installation.

A nice touch is that you can adjust the LED brightness on the front of the NAS, allowing you to tune it down where it otherwise would be too bright and just annoying. Perfect for living room placements where you don’t want a lot of blinking lights all the time. Other than that, the DS216 features all the other great functions that we know and love from the DSM operating system.

The DS216 is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and is available now worldwide for an MSRP of £204.00 and €240.00.

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.

Synology DS716+ Now Officially Available Worldwide

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

QNAP TS-453 Mini 4-Bay Stylish and Quiet Vertical NAS Review

Introduction


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.

Buffalo Announced new MiniStation Extreme NFC Portable Hard Drive

Data security is more important than ever, especially for companies who work with a lot of personal details about their customers. Buffalo announced a new external hard drive that doesn’t just come with great physical resistance, it also packs the latest in digital protection. Buffalo’s new portable hard drive is called the MiniStation Extreme NFC and it will be available as both a 1TB and a 2TB version.

The drive has been tested and passed the US military drop test where it can withstand bumps and drops from a height of up to 1.2 meters. The ruggedized chassis and specialized internal bumpers absorb and transfer the shock away from the drive itself. It has also passed the IPX3 test to prove that it can withstand water and splashes and the IPX5 test for dust protection.

The digital side doesn’t just bring a 256-bit AES Full Data Encryption to protect sensitive data, it also comes with an included NFC smart card to protect and unlock the files. You don’t need to remember any passwords and you can ship the card and drive separately for additional protection.

“When examining the rugged portable drive market, many of our competitors focus on being the best at a single metric of device protection while sacrificing other data security capabilities,” said Matt Dargis, COO, Buffalo Americas, Inc. “We designed the MiniStation Extreme NFC to be the most complete rugged portable drive on the market, including features that not only protect against the elements, but also support the latest hardware encryption technology and NFC secure access functionality. We packaged all of this functionality into a sleek, compact design that sets it apart from the competition.”

The MiniStation Extreme NFC comes with an integrated flex connect cable and connects through USB 3.0 for maximum transfer speeds.

The new Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is available now for an MSRP of $129.99 for the 1TB model (HD-PZN1.0U3B) and $199.99 for the 2TB model (HD-PZN2.0U3B). Both are backed by a three-year warranty and comes bundled with TurboPC EX2, Backup Utility, Formatter2, and Lock and Go for NFC.

Crucial MX200 1TB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Crucial recently launched the MX200 series solid state drives and we’ve already had a look at the 250GB model here a little while ago. Today I’m taking a closer look at the big brother, the Crucial MX200 1TB solid state drive.

“We designed the MX200 and BX100 to meet the varied needs of the market, making it easier for anyone to move to an SSD, whether they are a seasoned computer enthusiast or an absolute beginner, all while keeping value top of mind,” said Jonathan Weech, senior worldwide product manager, Crucial. “These drives leverage Micron’s years of heritage in storage technology to deliver advanced features and performance, resulting in an unparalleled SSD experience for our consumers.”

The Crucial MX200 1TB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-inch client SSD is the next generation and follow-up to the highly successful and recommended MX100 series.

The Crucial MX200 series can perform sequential reads on both compressible and incompressible data with up to 555 MB/s which in itself is very impressive. Crucial adds to that with an endurance rating of 320TB total bytes written (TBW), which equals to 175GB per day for 5 years.

While the little brother relied on the Dynamic Write Acceleration to keep up the speeds, both the 500GB and 1TB models don’t require this. The can still perform great with up to 100K random read IOPS and up to 87K write IOPS.

Crucial’s RAIN technology protects your data at the component level, similar to how RAID works. This technology increases the security and protection of your data to a level that’s rarely seen in consumer-class SSDs.

Hardware encryption is also supported via AES 256-bit encryption, so all those private files can stay safe from hackers and other bad people. The Adaptive Thermal Protection technology enables the Crucial MX200 to dynamically adjust storage component activity based on how you’re using the drive, thereby allowing your storage to stay cooler.

The Crucial MX200 also features four layers of Exclusive Data Defense to prevent data corruption as well as being backed by a 3-year warranty.

Where the 250GB model only required the use of one side of the PCB, this 1TB model needs both sides and we find eight Micron NAND chips on each side. The cache has also been doubled while the controller stays the Marvel 88SS9189.

Features

  • Hardware Encryption
    • AES 256-bit encryption
    • TCG Opal 2.0-compliant
    • IEEE-1667-compliant
    • Compatible with Microsoft eDrive
  • Data Transfer Software – Includes Acronis True Image HD software for free data transfer
  • Redundant Array of Independent
  • NAND (RAIN)
  • Exclusive Data Defense
  • Adaptive Thermal Protection
  • Power Loss Protection
  • Data Path Protection
  • Active Garbage Collection
  • TRIM Support
  • Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART)
  • Error Correction Code (ECC)

Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G3 32GB Encrypted Flash Drive Review

Introduction


Encryption is becoming a bigger factor for more and more people these days, even more so with each hacking scandal and spying activity that makes the news. With that in mind, it is a pleasure to take a closer look at the Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G3 with hardware encryption.

The normal sized flash drive doesn’t just come with hardware encryption by user-defined password, it also locks the drive down and reformats it after 10 failed login attempts. It is interchangeable between Windows and Mac OS, which is another great thing to see and something that isn’t always a reality on encrypted drives.

The DataTraveler Locker+ G3 also comes with the free USBtoCloud by ClevX, a backup solution that automatically backups your data on the thumbs drive to the cloud storage of your choice. At the time of writing, it works with Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Box; so you’ll still have a secure backup at all times, even in the event of a lost or stolen drive.

Of course, we don’t just want to secure our files, we also want speedy transfers. The DataTraveler Locker+ G3 will naturally be slower than an ordinary drive in this category simply due to the encryption. It still promises great USB 3.0 speeds up to 135MB/s reading and 40M/s writing; not bad for a 32GB drive, especially not for an encrypted drive.

The drive is as easy to set up and use as a normal flash drive. Upon first insertion you’ll run the application stored on the flash drive to configure it and afterwards it’s like using a normal drive – with the exception that you’ll need to enter your password before you can use it.

The durable metal casing with key loop further keeps your data safe from physical damage. It is robust, light and good looking at the same time. Companies can also get the drive Customised with logo and/or digital files preloaded.

Due to the way the drive works, with a read-only partition for the security software, the drive requires two available drive letters on your system. Not something that should be an issue for most, but still a thing to consider.

Kingston backs the DataTraveler Locker+ G3 with a five-year warranty and free technical support.

PNY Announces New SPYRUS Co-Branded Encrypting and Bootable Windows To Go Drives

PNY announced its entry into the high assurance encrypting USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 data storage and bootable drives market with new PNY cobranded Secured By SPYRUS drives. The PocketVault P-3X and PocketVault P-384 encrypting USB drives are resistant to the BadUSB attacks that otherwise is an unpatched problem.

“PNY is proud to partner with SPYRUS to manufacture and distribute the SPYRUS USB product lines specifically engineered to meet the security needs of the Enterprise and Government marketplace,” said Bob Stone, SVP of Operations for PNY. “Our extensive USA manufacturing and support facilities for flashbased products in Parsippany, New Jersey, can meet the global demand forecasted for high security USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices.”

PocketVault P-3X combines USB 3.0 performance and SSD NAND for ultra-fast performance. Designed to meet FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and Level 3 specifications, the P-3X features a ruggedized extruded aluminum case and a unique embedded hardware security module to support digital signature applications. PocketVault P-384 is a USB 2.0 drive that stores your data in an encrypted partition on its internal microSD card. Both drives use the latest XTS-AES 256-bit full disk encryption instead of the older AES-CBC encryption.

PNY is also entering the Hardware-encrypted Secure Portable Workplace and Bitlocker encrypted Portable Workplace family from SPYRUS. These are Microsoft-certified Windows-To-Go drives that securely boot your custom Windows 8 or 8.1 securely even when booted from untrusted computers.

Thanks to PNY for providing us with this information

Patriot Launches Supersonic Bolt XT Hardware Encrypted Flash Drive

Patriot has presented their newest thumb-drive; the Supersonic Bolt XT USB3. This isn’t an everyday thumb-drive as the housing might give away. The rugged housing made from rubber protects the drive from day-to-day drops and bumps while the built-in FIPS 197 compliant 256-bit AES hardware encryption keeps a keen eye on the safety of your files. On top of the encryption, the drive has a bruteforce protection and will reformat itself if the password should be entered falsely ten times in a row.

Connecting via the USB 3.0 interface, the new Supersonic Bolt XT can read data with 150MB/s and write them with 30MB/s. While it may not sound like an all too fast drive, one has to take the encryption into consideration. That is a tasking job for many processors alone, and the drive has it built-in.

The Patriot Supersonic Bolt XT USB3 Flash Drive is available now and the pricing starts at $49.99 for the 16GB model and 32Gb and 64GB will be available as well.

Thanks to Patriot for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Patriot

Synology Launches DiskStation DS415+ 4-Bay Quad-Core NAS

Synology has launched their newest NAS today, the DiskStation DS415+. This is a 4-bay NAS targeted at small and medium sized businesses as well as enthusiast home users. Built with a Quad-core Intel Atom processor that runs at 2.4GHz and a hardware encryption engine, this NAS should deliver in all situations. This is Synology’s first desktop DiskStation model to include both a quad-core processor and AES-NI hardware encryption engine.

“Thanks to its best-in-class combination of hardware specs and DSM software integration, DS415+ handles data transfer and encryption at blazingly fast speeds, bringing peace of mind to businesses or individuals who wish to safeguard their data while maintaining excellent performance,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

The new 4-bay NAS has 2 GB DDR3 memory that runs at an unspecified speed. It has two USB 3.0 ports on the rear side and one USB 2.0 port on the front. It also has an eSATA port, and that is a big bonus in my opinion. Many manufacturers have started to cut it away, but I use it quite often on my own NAS’ and miss it when it isn’t there.

It wouldn’t be a NAS without the network ports and as such it has 2 Gigabit RJ45 ports that support Link Aggregation and Failover modes. It of course supports the current 6 TB Hard drives to give you the maximum storage capabilities and it can handle both 3½ and 2½ inch drives. The file system itself allows for a size up 108 TB, but that requires the extension devices.

This NAS promises performance you’d otherwise only find in the enterprise series of servers. The Synology DS415+ can archive read and write speeds that exceed 228 MB/s and 233 MB/s in unencrypted mode. With the hardware encryption enabled, the NAS still performs great at reading and writing with 232 MB/s and 206 MB/s.

The DS415+ doesn’t have a heavy power consumption either, so you don’t have to compromise between running costs and performance level. It only requires 17.3 watts with the hard drives hibernating and peaks at 46.2 watts during maximum usage. The two 92mm system fans should barely be audible at 20.2 dB(A) and the devices come with a 2-year warranty.

The new Synology DS415+ NAS is shipping globally now and local retailers should have stock soon. Having a look around the different web shops, some have started to take pre-orders already and have set the estimated time of arrival on three weeks. As usual, the German shops and the Geizhals price-comparison site are some of the first to list the new products, and as such it can be found on German e-Tailors for just €420.

We aren’t so lucky here in the U.K, unless you want to get screwed from the looks of it. Amazon UK has the device in stock via a couple of third party merchants, it however costs a heavy £543.13 and up. I’m sure we’ll see some more reasonable prices as soon as the stock arrives at the other shops too. This might just be a few trying to take advantage of the situation. I couldn’t find it at any of my known U.S. sites at the time of writing.

As a little bonus information, I can add that Synology have also released the latest Beta version of their DiskStation Manager today. Version 5.1 Beta can be downloaded and tested from the official page, however users should keep in mind that it has the beta tag for a reason. It might contain undiscovered bugs, but also a long range of new features and apps that will enrich every Synology owners experience.

Thank you Synology for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Synology