Thecus: M3800 Home NAS and Mini PCs Powered by AMD Geode
The M3800 is a renamed product, which had been presented back at CeBIT 2008 (it was called N3200M at that time). M stands for Multimedia and means that these devices are not only full-blown NAS servers (in this case for up to three 3.5” hard drives), but they were also optimized for audio/video playback. Hence it comes with a little remove control and audio/video outputs.The M3800 is now based on an AMD Geode LX800 processor (500 MHz) to power RAID 5. Instead of integrating video accelerators onto the circuit board, Thecus decided to go with a PCI add-on card. The box has an LCD display to show status information at any time. It also has a UPnP compliant media server, print server, a Gigabit Ethernet port and HDMI/component outputs. The M3800 will replace the N3200, as the storage processor behind it, Intel’s Xscale, has reached end of life.
Thecus’ new MiniPC is also based on the AMD Geode processor. This sub-$300 device is extremely compact and sufficiently stylish, and it comes with all the items an entry-level PC system needs: support for up to 1 GB of DDR memory (SO-DIMMs), one SATA port (internal), two front and two rear USB 2.0 ports, two serial and a parallel port, audio jacks including SPDIF, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a MiniPCI slot, e.g. to add a Wireless network card. Windows XP or any other x86 operating system can be installed to it. We would have preferred to have a DVI display port instead of the old-fashioned COM and LPT ports, as the D-SUB interface provides an inferior signal to digital displays.
Finally, the N7700 is the new NAS flagship model. This new storage monster is ready for as many as seven SATA drives that go into completely remodeled hot swap bays. These are clearly more robust than prior versions. The N7700 runs on a Celeron M 2.0 GHz processor, which should provide excellent RAID 5 performance. RAID 50 and RAID 6 are also supported, and the device can operate via two Gigabit Ethernet ports. eSATA and USB 2.0 can be used for capacity expansion, and the N7700 is also capable of creating snapshots and it even acts as an iSCSI target in SAN environments. Lastly, IP CAM support has been added as well, meaning that various network camera models can be addressed directly. This way, the N7700 will create AVI reporting files, which you can use to comfortably monitor what has been recorded by the camera picture by picture.