First impression on Thecus N3200 NAS device

CNET Labs gets its hands on the Thecus N3200 NAS device, a RAID 5 capable system that can store up to three 1TB drives internally.

The Thecus N3200 features hard drive bays and a little LCD for quick management. Dong Ngo/CNET Networks

I recently got a NAS device from Thecus--the N3200--and was very excited getting it out of the box. Among other things, the device looked as if it would be the first network storage device that incorporates a PCI expansion slot.

Unfortunately it isn't. There's indeed a place that reads "expansion slot" on the back of the device that looks like where you would fit a PCI card on a computer, but that's just a placeholder. As it turns out, the N3200 is the first NAS designed with a chassis to house more features than the internal circuit board has to offer. A representative from Thecus assured me that future products that share the same chassis will come with an actual PCI expansion slot.

Other than that rather disconcerting finding, the N3200 seems a nice NAS device that offers three hard drive bays. Each bay can house an SATA hard drive up to 1TB in size. The hard drives then can be set up in RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, or JBOD configuration. The device also has two USB ports and one eSATA port for storage expansion.

The N3200 would be the first SOHO NAS device that has a PCI expansion slot if that slot wasn't just a placeholder. Dong Ngo/CNET Networks

Other than regular NAS features including dynamic DNS, FTP server, iTunes server, and so on, it has a few rather unusual features such as ISO Mount, where you can mount up to 200 ISO files and make their contents available to network users. This is a nice way to compact data to conserve storage space. In addition, the USB ports of the device can also be used to host a printer, USB Webcams for surveillance, or a Wireless adapter if you want to put the device in a corner where there's no Ethernet connectivity. This is the second NAS device I've seen that support Webcams, the other was the Synology DS107 +, though the Synology only supports IP-base Webcams.

The N3200 is available for about $320 without hard drives, a relatively good price for a product that offers RAID 5.

This is the first storage product we've got from Thecus so check back soon for our in-depth review of the N3200.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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