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Atom-Powered NAS: Thecus N4200 And QNAP TS-459 Pro

For both the QNAP TS-459 Pro and the Thecus N4200, the dual-core Atom D510 is the secret ingredient behind the high data transfer rates. However, this performance comes at a price. The QNAP TS-459 Pro is available as a barebones unit without drives for $900 to $950 dollars. The bare Thecus N4200 runs a bit cheaper, at $750 to $800 dollars.

In both cases, the buyer gets a very polished NAS device with support for 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives without having to buy any additional equipment.

Almost Identical Hardware

When it comes to external connections, both units are almost identically-equipped. The Thecus N4200 has two USB 2.0 ports available on the front, while the QNAP TS-459 Pro only has one. Both of the units have four USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, and two gigabit Ethernet ports in the rear. QNAP also offers a VGA port for diagnostic purposes, which the N4200 lacks. However, the N4200 comes with a battery, ensuring a safe shutdown to preserve your data in the event of power failure. Thecus applies redundancy when it comes to the flash memory storage of its firmware, using a dual DOM (disk on module), while QNAP settles for a single one.

Differences in Administration and Features

The biggest difference between the TS-459 Pro and the N4200 lies in their respective GUI's feature sets and design. The TS-459 Pro's interface isn't only more sophisticated, it also offers more detailed configuration options (for example, creating a custom profile for fan control). It also comes with a VMware certification and many iSCSI features, such as LUN masking and MPIO. 

If you're ready to spend around $900 on a NAS, you can't go wrong with the QNAP TS-459 Pro. It offers high functionality and great transfer rates, as well as several professional features. 

As a result of lofty pricing, don't ignore the Thecus N4200, which runs about $200 less than the QNAP and still offers reliably high data transfer rates. In addition, the Thecus N4200 comes with the replaceable battery. This can be useful, especially in home networks, where the NAS device may be connected to a switchable power strip.

When it comes to the GUI, Thecus' N4200 lacks a number of features and settings found in the QNAP TS-459 Pro, forcing the user to accept some compromises. However, most of these are features a typical user will never miss.

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