NAS Attack: Network Storage From Thecus And Western Digital


Although the two devices follow entirely different concepts, both the Thecus N0204 and Western Digital’s MyBook World Edition II are very solid NAS devices offering decent performance and a plethora of useful features.

Western Digital: Good Looks, Lots of Storage, Enthusiast Features

WD’s MyBook World Edition II looks pretty much like other MyBook products and scores through its design and classy finish. By using a pair of 2TB hard drives, WD is capable of offering a massive 4TB total capacity within the physical dimensions of a dual-drive MyBook. We found the Web-based interface to be very intuitive and easy to operate, as the basic options are reduced to only the most needed configuration settings by default. Enthusiasts may switch into the advanced mode and can consider enabling SSH access though, which provides full control over the Linux-based operating system.

Performance is reasonable, as our benchmarks returned fairly average results; most other NAS devices we've tested in this range are about as-fast. At the same time, power consumption was remarkably low for a dual-drive 3.5” NAS product. Improvements could be made by accelerating page-loading performance on the Web interface and by adding a few more features, such as a print server.

Thecus N0204: The Pocket NAS

The N0204 is small, but powerful nonetheless. We found it particularly interesting to see that this device delivers the same performance as 3.5” NAS devices, but without requiring the same amount of power. In fact, this is the lowest-power NAS device we’ve yet seen, even in a data-protecting RAID 1 arrangement. The only disadvantage may be the limited capacity of 2.5” hard drives, which is about to shift from 500GB to 640GBat the high-end.

Initial setup happens in two steps: first you have to run a Thecus application, which deploys the NAS operating system and basic settings. Then you can administer the N0204 through a Web-based interface, which appears simpler and a bit more technical than the WD software.

The device is attractive enough. But we believe that the use of metal instead of plastic would even be nicer, as not all plastic components, such as the stand, appear to be solid enough. However, you get fast throughput and the amazing idle power of only 6W in exchange.

Marcel Binder
  • usasma
    Nice review. I would have appreciated it when purchasing my latest NAS device (Netgear DNS-323).

    I've lost faith in the W-D MyBook type devices recently - having had several that have failed due to issues with the circuitry in the case (NOT with the hard drive itself).
  • evongugg
    It would be nice to benchmark a FreeNAS or Openfiler box next to these units. My FreeNAS was free, made of left over parts and is very fast.
    It also has a whole lot of features.

  • jblack
    Why in the world would RAID 1 perform better than RAID 0? --- You'd think at BEST they would be equal.
  • fromeast2west
    An Atom powered mini-server should be able to match these on both price and power consumption, and destroy them when it comes to features.

    I like the idea of a NAS, but haven't seen any company produce one for a price that is in line with performance they offer.
  • jasperjones
    Thanks for the review!

    Can you comment on fan noise? Is it audible when the devices are idle?

    Asking cause I live in a cozy Manhattan studio ;)
  • jawshoeaw
    The NAS concept continues to be overpriced I think. Still haven't seen a fast 802.11N device. There is something to be said for a simple design with fewer parts to go bad (so the homebrew NAS box is cheaper but more fault prone) - I'd like to see some longevity figures, though of course I would not expect toms to sit around for a couple of years waiting for the NAS to break. Maybe something like the consumer reports long term testing of cars.
  • dje007
    Thecus’s support is the crappiest I have seen in a long time stay away from them plus there code is bad the only thing it has going for it is linux, if you are looking for a good nas with the ablitly to fix issues your self try QNAP they have a VGA output and give you root access.
  • SchizoFrog
    This review is rubbish... out of the whole genre of NAS it includes 2 individual items, is that it, 2, just 2???
    But lets get to the real nitty gritty... Nas is all about network performance, so where are the details about the inbuilt processors and technical specs? There is so much more to account for when buying and setting up a NAS item than just 'Oh look, we can open this box... OOOHHH!!!'
    Talk about N00B article... FAIL!!!
  • SchizoFrog
    jblackWhy in the world would RAID 1 perform better than RAID 0? --- You'd think at BEST they would be equal.You obviously have no understanding of RAID and its configurations... No offence intended but go read:
  • deanbug
    I see both points. In theory 0 should have better read/write than 1, but it is limited to the source/destination speed of the drive.

    IMHO raid 1 or 5 is for consumers that really want their data, or for businesses. 0 is for people that don't care about data, gamers for fast map load times, or Ninja's:)

    (had to have some fun

    Obviously there are other uses, for both, but I think those are the most common.