I recently dealt with a similar question...I wanted to add a NAS and based on my needs/desires/$$, I was left with deciding between a BYO using FreeNAS, TeraStation and the TeraStation Pro. Since the BYO was free, I started with trying that out. I have an old 500mhz PIII with 192mb ram and twin 6GB hard drives (I was going to get new, larger drives but I tried it with what I had laying around). I tell you what...that FreeNAS is good.....really good! I used v0.66 and it has a lot of functionality, easy to setup, fast, etc... But, what scared me away is that it is still very new (haven't even gotten to v1.0 yet) and I was afraid of losing my data in trying to save a few bucks (to me, my data is worth a LOT). Plus, I am not a programmer and I don't have much experience with FreeBSD (the core OS of FreeNAS). So then my decision was left between the 2 TeraStations (Pro and Regular).
Ultimately, I ended up with the regular TeraStation (the one with IDE drives) and I am VERY pleased with it. It is small, QUIET, easy to setup and fast (or at least, fast enough for my needs). I too saw reviews stating that these units were slow (one guy mentioned it taking 15 seconds to open 400k sized pdf's). As I am sure you are aware, performance of any device/component is dependent on several factors. All I know is that I use my TeraStation as a file server (for 3 different PC's) and as a backup location for those machines as well and I have no complaints concerning throughput (my main PC has a gigabit ethernet card (Intel Pro 1000MT) while the other 2 are using 10/100's and being routed by a DGL-4300). For example, I can completely open an 85MB pdf in about 1-2 seconds (the pdf shows up almost instantly but if you watch the network traffic it takes a total of 1-2 seconds). So, is that slow??? Not for me it isn't.
If you compare the Pro vs the Regular TeraStation, it looks like the Pro uses SATA drives and a faster processor so you would think that it might have better performance than my regular version??? Anyways, that is my opinion/experience....good luck with what you decide!
I guess when all is said and done TeraStation is about the same price if you were looking for a SATA solution. Maybe the advice here would to build a freeNas system with common parts for a test, if you think it's a good solution, upgrade what you have, if you need a plug and play option for AD then TeraStation has it all. Personally i would like to get a TeraStation PRO, but I have a bunch of SCSI 160 & 320 drives from decommisionsed machines at work that keep my costs very low.
I looked at those for home but the cost was a bit much. I settled on the Netgear SC101. The thing is tiny, silent, and super easy to set up. I dropped in (2) 80GB drives I had laying around and was done.
Buffalo Terastation Pro is not hot swappable.
Thecus N4100 is hot swappable.
Buffalo Terastation Pro has USB, but Thecus N4100 does not.
Buffalo Terastation Pro has one GbE port, but Thecus N4100 has two GbE ports.
Buffalo Terastation Pro comes with HDD preinstalled. The biggest ones are 2.0 TB, so I think they are 500GB each. You can not go any bigger. Seagate now has 750 GB SATA HDD available. If you really need the space, you can get 3.0 TB out of N4100. Check with Thecus to see if they are compatible first.
Check Newegg site for users reviews about Buffalo Terastation Pro and Thecus N4100.
You can also check out the following devices which use the same concept as the Thecus and TeraStation:
- Infrant ReadyNAS series
- Intel SS4000-E
- Newisys NA-1400
Each device has it's own pro's and con's when it comes to:
- Standard functionality
- Expandability (e.g. USB, miniPCI)
- Adaptability (closed source firmware, telnet access)
It's up to you what you which qualities you think are important.
In general my impressions are:
- Infrant ReadyNAS series are fastest, followed by the Newisys NA-1400
- Buffalo Terastation (non-pro) is cheapest
- Thecus N4100, Terastation (non-pro) and Intel SS4000-E are slowest.
Silentpc, Extreme Tech and ofcourse Toms Hardware have reviews about all devices mentioned above.
Depending on your intended use, I would say be careful with the Buffalo TeraStation. We purchased two of them (1.6TB apiece) and found them to be entirely too slow. In a RAID 5 setup, you end up yielding 1.2TB of useable space. In our tests, however, it took almost 4 days to fill up the drives with content. Granted, not everyone will be using a full TB of space, but at 8minutes for 2GB of data, it's still very slow for even average backup.
IS Newisys NA-1400 a OEM of Intel SS4000-E ?
The look is different but their spec. looks so much in common.
No, though they share a lot of the same technology, the Newisys NA-1400 is not an OEM of the Intel SS4000-E.
They both use
- an Intel XScale IOP 80219 processor,
- 2 Gbit ethernet ports,
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
- 256 MB RAM,
- Intel 32144 Serial ATA controller with hotswappable drives,
but the SS4000-E runs at 400 MHz and the NA-1400 runs at 600 MHz. The Intel also has an onboard miniPCI slot but the software doesn't let you use it, the Newisys has a lot of onboard connectors which I'm trying to find out what they can be used for.
I actually chose the Thecus N4100 over the Buffalo TP the other day and am very happy with it. Administration is very easy, and I like how it doesn't come with any hard drives, so that I can choose the size and brand that I want. Now that those new 750GB Seagate drives are out, I can upgrade to 3TB(!) of storage later on if I want. It doesn't have a USB port, but I didn't buy a NAS to use USB. :wink:
Dual GbE Ethernet and hot-swapping are huge advantages over the Buffalo unit.