Thecus N4810 Review

Thecus spent a full year in idle mode while it searched for funding to get back on the track. A division of Foxconn joined the team, and now the company is ready to rev the digital engine. In 2017, we will see several new models and features while the company plans to hit the same aggressive price points. The N4810 hits many of the targeted marks, and even includes some new features we usually only find on more expensive units.


Regardless of what you need network storage for, the capabilities of today's systems will surprise you. The NAS that made their debut more than a decade ago were primarily focused on providing secure, redundant data storage. The first systems came in two bold flavors; large rackmount storage from companies like Dell that incorporated enterprise features with enterprise power requirements, and low-cost systems with easy to manage, consumer-focused features that used less power than a standard desktop PC.

In the interim, the two types of systems have grown apart. Enterprise systems have focused on advanced features like deduplication and flash management, while consumer systems like the Thecus N4810 have reached for a broader consumer feature-set that, in some cases, has nothing to do with storage at all. NAS has morphed into an all-encompassing family server that serves data over the network to your personal computers, over the internet to your notebooks, and even your Android/iOS devices, anywhere in the world.

A strong focus on multimedia applications has been the latest addition. Many of the NAS manufacturers started the year with increased HD capabilities and enough performance to support 4K--even from Ultra-BluRay ISO files with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The Thecus N4810 isn't just an UltraHD playing powerhouse; it also incorporates new features that make the system a worthy upgrade.

Specifications

A powerful Intel 1.6GHz Celeron N3160 processor serves as the heart of the Thecus N4810. The processor delivers an instant 2.24GHz speed burst when asked, but it quickly drops back down to a lower power state to conserve energy. The system ships with 4GB of system memory from the factory. You can upgrade the system to 8GB by replacing the DDR3 SODIMM 4GB module that resides under the easily-removed cover. You can also just add another 4GB module, but we suggest using the same memory that ships with the system. Thecus sources memory from different suppliers, so you will need to check your N4810.

The four front-facing, removable drive bays support both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives (or SSDs) up to 10TB each. That gives you 40TB of supported capacity before redundant RAID uses a portion of the capacity for data security. Four USB 3.0 ports, including one Type-C, provide additional storage avenues, but they also double for accessories like managed battery backup and print server capabilities.

Thecus has joined the likes of Asustor and QNAP with strong multimedia capabilities on mid-tier products. The N4810 not only handles your digital data, but it also crosses over into a playback device, as well. The playback capability comes from HDMI and DisplayPort for video and audio. If you prefer to use the system as an audio-only device, it also supports the S/PDIF protocol.

Pricing And Warranty

We found the Thecus N4810 online for as little as $481.95. The system sells at all the usual places, like Amazon, Newegg, and B&H. Thecus covers the warranty in-house and guarantees the N4810 for two years. Some regional policies and terms dictate some of the finer coverage details depending on the country or state where you purchase the product.

Accessories

The N4810 uses an external power supply that ships with the system. Inside the package, we also found mounting screws for 2.5-inch drives, a high-quality Ethernet cable, and two cable management ties. The system utilizes locking drive bays and Thecus loads your office with eight drive cage keys that work with all four bays.

If you like documentation, you will find it with Thecus network attached products. The N4810 ships with a quick start guide, warranty statement and a disk with software as well as several utilities.

Packaging

Thecus ships the N4810 in a full-color package that lists several features, specifications, and use-cases. Inside, we found a well-packed NAS with dense foam surrounding the main system, along with an accessory package in an isolated box.

The Thecus N4810

The N4810 is a smaller version of the N5810 we reviewed in early 2016. The top-mounted LCD acts as a focal point and displays critical system information. You can use it to configure the NAS, as well. Status LEDs on the left of the system show disk and network activity, as well as power status. Thecus includes a USB 3.0 Type-A port on the front of the system, but it does not include a one-touch copy button. Users can log into the system and configure the port to back data up on demand, or when you plug a device into the front port.

The back of the system holds nearly all the IO magic. Two separate gigabit Ethernet connectors serve as the primary connection to your network. Users can choose from several options, such as teaming and round robin, to use both ports at the same time. There are options that do not require a special network switch, but don't expect to transfer a single file at 200+ MB/s--it doesn't work that way. You can also place the N4810 on two separate networks simultaneously, but you can only choose one gateway for Internet access.

Three USB 3.0 ports on the back of the system can address additional storage devices, communicate with a battery backup system, or act as a print server. I keep a USB phone charging cable connected to my NAS in the living room. It works well when guests come over.

You may wonder why we keep a NAS in the living room, and I'm getting to that part. Over the last two years, Windows Media Center has given way to smaller, more efficient systems in the living room. NAS manufacturers have incorporated high-quality audio and video into the systems that utilize powerful playback software from third-party developers. The Thecus N4810 is the first system we've tested with onboard DisplayPort. It also supports HDMI 2.0 and has an S/PDIF (optical audio) port.

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
16 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • nutjob2
    Chris, did you write this, or was it handed to you verbatim by Thecus's marketing department?
    -3
  • rantoc
    Mini itx and wham... _*cheaper and more expandable*_ nas...
    -2
  • CRamseyer
    Yes I wrote it. It's a wonderful system. I even deployed it in a room to use as a media center.
    0
  • dthx
    I doubt the author of this article has ever tried a recent Synology NAS equipped with an Intel CPU.
    0
  • daglesj
    Doesn't anyone think to remove all the cellophane and wipe kit down with a damp cloth or similar before taking photos of it?
    0
  • videobear
    It's a shame you tell us how great a media server it is, but then fail to perform any tests with Plex transcoding, 4K display or any other media functions.
    1
  • dark_lord69
    then fail to perform any tests with Plex transcoding
    Yeah, I was just thinking, it may be nice but for that price you'd think it would be fast enough to do transcoding for plex but the specs don't look good enough for that.
    0
  • Kitanul
    It does not? I was actually getting this as my first nas for plex.
    0
  • CRamseyer
    For the last two years many of the Intel SoC processors feature extensions that accelerate transcoding and other multimedia tasks. Yes, the system can transcode Plex just fine. The system outputs to UHD just fine as well.

    I do have modern Synology systems with Intel processors on hand. I have them from every NAS manufacture. If you guys want more coverage on the software side I'll take that back to the staff and push for enhanced coverage. I don't have a problem writing ten page reviews. I used to do at least one a month back in the day.

    As for wiping the systems down, there is a reason for that. The piano black systems show finger prints and dusk like you wouldn't believe. It will scratch with a regular paper towel. I try to show the fingerprints and other undesirables that build up after two weeks use in a lab.
    0
  • mavrrick
    It won't do any transcoding for plex. The cpu doesn't even score 2k on passmark so therefore it will be insufficient for more then 1 stream at 720p. Probably great as a plex client though
    0
  • firefoxx04
    Anyone considering ANY NAS as a plex server is out of their mind. Plex needs a strong cpu, despite local network streaming (this is a problem with plex).

    Nothing special here move along. Another non zfs supporting, 1gbps limited nas. Move along.
    -1
  • nutjob2
    Anonymous said:
    Yes I wrote it. It's a wonderful system. I even deployed it in a room to use as a media center.


    Yeah, that was a rhetorical question, but that opening paragraph reads like corporate boilerplate and seems irrelevant to the review. And it's in bold. I skimmed the rest of the review and seemed quite gushy, thus my comment...
    0
  • ashburner
    How would this stand up to the Synology 916+? That's the model I was planning on buying. With 8GB, it's $599. Also, I'm curious as to why you didn't test with link aggregation. I mean, that's a main point of buying something like this if you can nearly double your transfer speed.
    0
  • zodiacfml
    lol at the conclusion, not a single media capability is tested
    0
  • acerb_
    It seems pretty similar in features and hardware to the Asustor AS-6204T. So I wouldn't say it's currently unmatched in its price category.
    They both stands HDMI, SPDIF, support link aggregation, etc. I'm just curious on the difference between the Thecus optimized version of Kodi and the Asustor one...
    0
  • acerb_
    I think it's quite similar to the Asustor AS-6204T, so I wouldn't say it's "unmatched in features and quality". Both of them have the multimedia features (hdmi & spdif + kodi & plex), link aggregation (to go above 1Gbps), the possibility to extend the memory to 8GB and a good catalog of apps...
    0