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Thecus Brings SATA to External Storage

Thecus N2050

Thecus' N2050 eSATA solution can host two 3.5" SATA hard drives, and since it is anenclosure, the purchase of the hard drives is required. The drives, cooled by a small 40 mm fan ,are operated in RAID 1 (mirroring) or RAID 0 (striping) mode. The RAID mode is selected by using a small switch on the back of the device. Since eSATA is not available everywhere yet, Thecus bundles Silicon Image's 2515 controller for the PCI bus. Most systems should support it, but can also use the USB 2.0 interface if you are on the go and want to attach the N2050 to another computer.

As expected, the measured performance of the Thecus device is very good. We used two Western Digital WD1500 Raptor drives, so the test drives would not create a bottleneck. In a secure RAID 1, we measured data transfer rates of up to 85 MB/s for sequential operation. After setting up RAID 0, the maximum rate was 101 MB/s. Obviously, the PCI eSATA controller was the limiting factor. We thus recommend using the USB interface only when there is no eSATA port available, because its 32 MB/s bandwidth clearly slows down any modern 3.5" hard drive.

The enclosure is sleekly designed. It has several status and activity LEDs as well as an on-off button on the device'sfront side and an additional power supply .. The eSATAand USB 2.0 ports and a small RAID 0 to RAID 1 switch are on the back. However, if you change the mode, all your previously-stored data will be lost.

The power supply unit connector, USB ports, RAID switch and eSATA port.