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

Thecus N4200: Features And Build

Based on its name, you might assume that Thecus' N4200 is just a slightly-improved version of the N4100 Pro. This isn't the case, though. While the N4100 Pro employs a 500 MHz AMD Geode LX800 processor with 256MB RAM, the N4200 uses a dual-core, 1.66 GHz Intel Atom D510 with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM. Also, Thecus opted to go with the ICH9R chipset.

Two Displays

A display on the front of the N4200 provides information on system configuration and status. The front also sports four buttons for changing the settings.

Unlike the 4100 Pro, however, the N4200's top display is not a conventional LED or LCD display, but an OLED display. Just as the N4100 Pro had a vertically-arranged LED bar on the left side, providing network and disk activity information, the N4200 has an LCD display performing the same function. There are two USB 2.0 ports for connecting additional external storage devices. Underneath the OLED display, behind a door, we find four lockable hard drive bays that can accommodate 3.5" and 2.5" drives.

Rear Panel Connections

The most striking feature on the back of the NAS is likely the slot directly above the large 120x120 mm fan. This is where you insert an included battery that provides enough power to let the NAS shut down in a controlled manner during a power outage, without any data loss. Above this battery slot is a bracket hiding a PCIe x1 interface, which comes handy if you want to plug in a 10 Gb/s Ethernet network card, for example.

The N4200 doesn't necessarily have to be connected to the network through a cable. If you prefer more exotic solutions, you can even use a USB dongle to connect the NAS via WiFi. Naturally, wired connections will outperform wireless, but you never know when the cat might chew through your gigabit line (Ed.: that'd be one evil cat).

On the back, we find two eSATA ports, four USB ports, the external power supply connection, and two gigabit Ethernet ports. The GbE ports can either be operated with separate IP and gateway settings, or in failover and/or load balancing modes.

Marcel Binder
  • pletopia
    ummm .. why would i pay that much for 4-bay NAS ?? i have 2 thecus N7700's and i got them for ~$900 nearly a year ago
  • performance I would wager
  • fatedtodie
    I have a thecus 4100pro with 4 drives it was less than 800 bucks
    not sure what the advantage of the 4200 is over that except for the battery and that is what a UPS is for.
  • cknobman
    $700-$950!!! Holy cow those are expensive. While I see the purpose for these I just cant justify spending that kind of cash for one.

    I just built me a data/media server with exponentially more power for only $533 tax/title/license and no freaking rebates.

    My build may consume more power than these but it is much more versitle than these NAS boxes and at least a few hundred bucks cheaper. Plus I it will be suited to use as an HTPC or workstation if ever needed.

    FTR the build is: LiteOn dvd burner, MicroATX tower case (6 3.5 bays), 2 Samsung EcoGreen 2tb hd (will be raid 1), AMD athlon x2 250 (65w), Gigabyte ga-ma785gm (5 sata2, 6 usb, 1 esata, radeon 4250 integrated graphics, dvi-hdmi-dsub out), Antec EarthWatts Green 380w power supply, 4gb RAM.
  • snarfies
    I build my own Atom-based mini-ITX NAS about a year ago. It cost less than half of this. What I used: MSI IM-945 (at the time the only Atom miniITX board with four SATA connectors), Travla C138 case, Minibox picoPSU-120, A thin Sony Optiarc DVD-RW, a pair of Western Digital Caviar Blue notebook drives in RAID1, and the OS (FreeNAS) boots off a 1gb CF card.
  • tommysch
    NAS are indecently overpriced.

    I build my ''NAS'' with a low end PC and 2 SATA controllers. I have 8x 1.5 TB HDDs in 2 RAID-5 config.

    Seriously a 4 bay NAS cost like 900$ w/o HDDs...
  • ipp
    More super expensive NAS evaluated at tomshardware. Woo!
  • jeffunit
    NAS without ECC is foolish.
    These are foolish and expensive.
  • zelannii
    How does the TS459 directly compare to the previous generation, the 459 pro, or even the 439 Pro II? Both run the Atom as well, with the 459 Pro using a Dual Core Atom 1.66GHz.... Both also can run the latest qNap OS as well.

    Keep in mind to all the home-NAS and custom guys out there, these units are PROFESSIONAL, not SoHo class units. The qNap 410 and 419 are small business/home units, and even those still include native AD integration, and more, and not only operate as NAS systems, but backup systems, media servers, and more (dozens of features). These still are not even in the "personal" NAS class most home users can build on their own for about the same money.
  • zelannii
    TommySchNAS are indecently overpriced. I build my ''NAS'' with a low end PC and 2 SATA controllers. I have 8x 1.5 TB HDDs in 2 RAID-5 config.Seriously a 4 bay NAS cost like 900$ w/o HDDs...
    These are professional class systems, with iSCSI, Native AD support, IP multipathing, load balancing, VMWare certification, and more. These are not cheap "file share" NAS systems like you might want for a media server in your house, or simple storage and backup. Simply features like online data migration to larger disks, archive by file age automatically, IP camera support, iTunes servers, TimeMachine support, and more make these very different from what you can do with a mini-NAS or FreeNAS setup on old PC hardware (not to mention the savings in electricity). qNap does sell "home" system that are less capable, but still FAR more than most people need. If all you want is a bid gisk and media server, get a WHS or a home-built solution. if you;re hooking servers or VMs up to it, using it in a high bandwidth or office environment, and care about the NAS ability to protect itself, back itself up, and migrate data to larger drives later, that's what the $300 price difference covers.