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.