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NAS: Thecus N0503 Three-Bay/Five-Bay

Tom's Hardware's 2009 Gift Guide: Part 2, System Add-Ons
By

www.thecus.com
<$400
By: Ed Tittel

Thecus is well-known for its compact, capable storage arrays, and it’s fair to consider the N0503 as a member of that family. But this model ventures into home server territory as well with its support for iTunes, a built-in photo album, UPnP-based media streaming, backup and data storage, Web-based file access, FTP (including secure FTP), print server capabilities, and more.

With prices hovering just around $400, and room for up to three 3.5" or five 2.5" hard disks inside the enclosure, this unit offers a very interesting set of capabilities and up to 6TB of total storage capacity. And if internal bays aren’t enough, don’t forget the two USB 2.0 ports and the single eSATA port available to add more (non-RAID) storage. Add built-in support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and JBOD, and you’ve got all sorts of sophisticated disk management to draw on as well.

The internal drive bays offer an interesting design: a snap-in cage accommodates a quintet of 2.5" SATA hard disks, or you can remove that cage to install the aforementioned trio of 3.5" hard disks instead. Although this means you must choose to populate the box only with one drive form factor or the other, either approach provides easy installation. The smaller drives pop into latch-held slots, whereas you must pop detachable rails onto 3.5" drives to install them and then fasten them into place with thumbscrews at the end of each one.

The Atom N270 CPU (1.6 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512KB L2 cache), along with 1GB of system memory, puts the N0503's performance on par with a mid-range netbook, but it is perfectly acceptable for a home storage/media server device.

The N0503 also proffers dual gigabit Ethernet ports and supports either network failover or aggregation modes. This latter capability is quite interesting because it enables the unit to handle multiple access requests simultaneously, while delivering greater network throughput overall—an important characteristic for a NAS box, and not unhelpful for a home server/media streamer, either.

Under the hood, the N0503 runs a Linux OS and offers a slick, well-engineered AJAX-based Web GUI to control setup and configuration. It also supports Windows (2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003, and 7), MacOS (9 or X), and UNIX/Linux clients as well.

Anybody with a home network is sure to appreciate a Thecus N0503, especially if you’re thoughtful enough to throw in some hard disks along with this enclosure (1TB 3.5" drives go for as little as $80 these days, and 320GB 2.5" drives sell for $50-80).

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    tortnotes , December 14, 2009 6:22 AM
    And here I was hoping we could all be mature enough to act normally if--gasp!--there are photos of a woman.

    ..sigh.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    DjEaZy , December 14, 2009 5:20 AM
    ... interesting... it is very hard to read the descriptions or look on the products... i wonder why... [?]
  • 7 Hide
    shubham1401 , December 14, 2009 5:47 AM
    That dress is cute!
  • -5 Hide
    presidenteody , December 14, 2009 5:51 AM
    i need a napkin
  • 6 Hide
    tacoslave , December 14, 2009 5:56 AM
    presidenteodyi need a napkin


    o.k...
  • 14 Hide
    tortnotes , December 14, 2009 6:22 AM
    And here I was hoping we could all be mature enough to act normally if--gasp!--there are photos of a woman.

    ..sigh.
  • 1 Hide
    tacoslave , December 14, 2009 6:49 AM
    ok some troll went through all of our comments and by the way @presidentteody come on this is toms not fapfest 09 holiday edition! Leave the immaturity to the Apple fanboys!
  • 2 Hide
    jebusv20 , December 14, 2009 7:22 AM
    tomshardware, a forum for men.

    with heads below the belt
  • 1 Hide
    The Lady Slayer , December 14, 2009 7:23 AM
    "PC Power & Cooling (now owned by OCZ) is likely the most respected name in PC power supplies."

    Only if you've never heard of Corsair.
  • 1 Hide
    nlcbryan , December 14, 2009 8:55 AM
    oh my..i think i've been living in a hole or something. When i saw how they described the ZuneHD functionality, im horror struck! All in the small thing? even 10hrs ?? wow im amazed..
  • 0 Hide
    Gedoe_ , December 14, 2009 9:31 AM
    +1 for using the same cute girl as last year (apparently your still together)


  • 6 Hide
    cangelini , December 14, 2009 9:36 AM
    gedoe_+1 for using the same cute girl as last year (apparently your still together)


    Hehe, last year Alicia, my wife, was in the gift guide. This year it's Sarah, who has done these since, I think, like 2005?
  • 0 Hide
    Harby , December 14, 2009 10:40 AM
    The Lady Slayer"PC Power & Cooling (now owned by OCZ) is likely the most respected name in PC power supplies."Only if you've never heard of Corsair.


    Actually, Corsair is better only if you've never heard of PCP&C. Unless you need modular bling crap that shoot lasers and whatnot.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , December 14, 2009 10:58 AM
    Does the Dell U2410 monitor have an IPS panel?
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 14, 2009 1:00 PM
    Or you could get a 27 inch LG for 200 bucks cheaper.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824005127
    Tpk=W2753V%20PF
  • 0 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , December 14, 2009 1:36 PM
    I was going to add $0.02 and make some lurid comment about wanting Sarah to pose with my USB stick so I could take pictures and post on the interwebs but then I noticed something.

    How many pictures did this poor girl have to pose for? By the end of the photoshoot did you at least get her drunk for her troubles?
  • -5 Hide
    tamalero , December 14, 2009 2:08 PM
    The Lady Slayer"PC Power & Cooling (now owned by OCZ) is likely the most respected name in PC power supplies."Only if you've never heard of Corsair.



    you're clearly a sad individual and dont know about real quality if you claim that Corsair is better than PC Power & cooling.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 14, 2009 2:30 PM
    Actually, in the "low end" up to 850W Silencer series, Corsair and PC Power&Cooling uses the same parts look on reviews when they disassemble the PSUs both using Seasonic and Corsair is always cheaper so it is the way to go,I got a 850w 70amp/12v for the price of a 750 PC P&C and both offers 5 year of warranty. BUT if you want a 860w+ like the 1.2Kw PC Power&Cooling is the way to go(Better quality than the HX1000 from corsair) if you have the money. And the turbo cool series from PC P&C offers 7 years warranty.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 14, 2009 2:36 PM
    I forgot to add the fan on the Corsairs vs PC P&C Silencer series, the corsairs 140mm which is much quieter than the Silencer series.The Turbo cool from pc p&c is 860w+
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