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325xi
2006-07-25, 01:26
So, what do you guys think about Thecus N5200? Review say it blows everything around out of the water performance wise.

Can it be made running SlimServer?

mherger
2006-07-25, 02:04
> So, what do you guys think about Thecus N5200?

Just another NAS device. x86 CPU based machines have been around in this
market long before NAS devices entered our homes. They're just getting
back to the roots.

> Review say it blows
> everything around out of the water performance wise.

What review? If they compare to a Linkstation - ok :-)

> Can it be made running SlimServer?

Sooner or later it will, I'm pretty sure.

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Michael

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325xi
2006-07-25, 03:15
No, that's the point - it seems to be significantly better then any other NAS. I'm not talking about DIY PC with Gb, RAID, and bunch of HDDs. This is a commercially available device, a little expensive, and if what they talk about it is true - it's first I would really consider to buy.

BTW - the only serious drawback of ReadyNAS I was thoroughly looking at, was its slowness...

mherger
2006-07-25, 04:43
> No, that's the point - it seems to be significantly better then any
> other NAS.

....in its class, maybe. It's based on a Celeron? There are devices out
there with dual (or even quad) Dual Core Xeons.

> I'm not talking about DIY PC with Gb, RAID, and bunch of

Neither am I. I've been trying to convince people that the range of NAS
devices on the market easily goes from a hundred to the hundred thousand
[put your currency unit in here :-)].

I'm still waiting for my 15x400GB/Xeon 3GHz powered NAS I ordered a few
weeks back. For the office, not for me ;-)

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Michael

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325xi
2006-07-25, 04:54
What's your point, man? Even if you list all industrial grade servers available I won't be impressed by your knowledge, because I was sure it's quite clear they are out of the context. Sorry I didn't mention I'm talking about consumer grade NAS.

mherger
2006-07-25, 05:04
> What's your point, man?

You asked "So, what do you guys think about Thecus N5200?" - my answer was
"Just another NAS device." (hey, that's just my opinion - no offence
intended). To which you replied "No, that's the point - it seems to be
significantly better then any other NAS.".

So my point is: it's just another device, in another class than
Linkstation & Co.: It's faster than the Linkstation, and it will cost a
lot more than the Linkstation. Nothing new, really.

I didn't want to be a smart ass. I just wanted to tell you why I don't
think this device anything special.

--

Michael

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NWP
2006-07-27, 23:51
It looks pretty cool, but it seems like serious overkill for a slimserver. It would make a nice backup solution for a small company though.

325xi
2006-07-30, 01:15
I wouldn't spend $1K plus disks just to run SS on... There are lots of ppl having Tb storage at home. I personally want a file server for music and other purposes, so performance is important consideration. This is a current leader in class, but I'm yet to see Synology 406 reviews...

Mark Lanctot
2006-07-30, 07:44
I guess when you get into the realm of $1K "superNASes" I'm wondering what the difference between a PC and a NAS is.

Just get a full-size tower and populate it with 2-4 500 GB disks. Add a hardware RAID card and with the right software (ClarkConnect or equivalent) I'm not sure why anyone would want/need a NAS for home use.

You can upgrade the RAM and even the CPU. Plus installing SS is much easier.

The specs on such a machine would be way ahead of a similarly-priced NAS.

325xi
2006-07-30, 11:08
True, especially if you have spare time and some spare hardware in the closet. Many don't have not first not the second. I'd doubt I can find enough time to learn ClarkConnect administration.

NAS is ready out of the box, and accessible to less "DIY hard" people.

Another point is that if I decide to invest a time to start with it, it must be something substantial: based on SLIx2 mobo, one of SLI would go for PCI-e 8x RAID, gigabit stuff, etc - it will be about $2500 w/o software and drives, and time spent. Go figure. NAS is $700 here and now...

JJZolx
2006-07-30, 11:53
I guess when you get into the realm of $1K "superNASes" I'm wondering what the difference between a PC and a NAS is.

Just get a full-size tower and populate it with 2-4 500 GB disks. Add a hardware RAID card and with the right software (ClarkConnect or equivalent) I'm not sure why anyone would want/need a NAS for home use.

You can upgrade the RAM and even the CPU. Plus installing SS is much easier.

The specs on such a machine would be way ahead of a similarly-priced NAS.
The reason most people buy an NAS is not to function as a general purpose server, even though more and more functionality is being thrown into these consumer oriented NAS. You buy it for the turnkey, nearly instantaneous exansion of you network's storage capacity. No fuss, no muss.

Actually, the Thecus N5200 is selling for virtually the same price as the Infrant ReadyNAS NV. At eAegis (a popular Infrant vendor) the N5200 is just $669 vs. $626 for the NV.

http://www.eaegis.com/browse_item_details.asp/Item_ID/834049

Some nice things about the Thecus N5200 (at least on paper):

much faster processor


five vs. four drive capacity


expandable RAID (like the Infrant NV)


built in four port Gbit Ethernet switch, plus the ability to do port failover and aggregation


power management (disk spin-down)


external eSATA port for expansion

It really rasises the bar when compared to the Infrant NV. The last one is particularly interesting. Does it mean expansion to six drives, or could it mean even more than six drives are possible?

But... I wouldn't want to be the first guy on my block to buy one. I'd hate to have problems... Thecus is a division of the Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer Abit. Anyone who's ever tried to get US support for a Taiwanese consumer product may want to think twice about that. They have no forums, so don't expect the instant feedback for problems that you often get from Infrant.

And, of course, if the system is closed, as is the Infrant currently, then there will be no way to run SlimServer on it without the close cooperation of Thecus, or else someone doing some hacking of the underlying OS.

egd
2006-07-30, 14:21
But... I wouldn't want to be the first guy on my block to buy one. I'd hate to have problems... Thecus is a division of the Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer Abit. Anyone who's ever tried to get US support for a Taiwanese consumer product may want to think twice about that. They have no forums, so don't expect the instant feedback for problems that you often get from Infrant.

I emailed Thecus about a manual in PDF so I could get a better look at the specs. They came back a day later saying they've not yet got one for download. Wonder if the unit itself comes with one. I did notice a link to a forum on their website, but there were just about no posts on it and it looks like it's independent of the co. As a reasonable speed storage medium I have to say it looks like it'll beat the absolute crap out of an NV. Hopefully it's more reliable too.

Mark Lanctot
2006-07-30, 14:38
Another point is that if I decide to invest a time to start with it, it must be something substantial: based on SLIx2 mobo, one of SLI would go for PCI-e 8x RAID, gigabit stuff, etc - it will be about $2500 w/o software and drives, and time spent. Go figure. NAS is $700 here and now...

Whoa, SLI is overkill for a system that's not intended to have a monitor connected to it...also 8-channel RAID isn't something most consumer NASes offer.

If you compare high-end PC hardware to low-end NAS hardware, obviously the NAS will be cheaper, but it isn't a level playing field. However if you compare on a competitive basis (no SLI, 4-channel PCI-e 1X RAID, onboard video, onboard LAN), PC hardware will be cheaper, and the CPU and memory will be bigger/better.

BTW ClarkConnect is as easy to administer as one of the NAS GUIs - it's all web pages. And it's also free.

I can understand if someone doesn't have the skill, time or inclination to build one themselves, but in terms of price, a comparatively-configured PC server will be cheaper.

Edit: using $CDN prices at www.ncix.com, I could build a PC-NAS with similar specs to the Infrant ReadyNAS NV for $766.06. I say similar specs, but the processor is much faster (AMD Sempron 3000+). The Infrant ReadyNAS NV from the same vendor with the same disks would be $1253.91...

egd
2006-07-31, 17:01
I could build a PC-NAS with similar specs to the Infrant ReadyNAS NV for $766.06. I say similar specs, but the processor is much faster (AMD Sempron 3000+). The Infrant ReadyNAS NV from the same vendor with the same disks would be $1253.91...

The downside is it would likely be a lot noisier than the NV and also not meet with the approval of most better halves insofar as it could sit alongside the hifi.

radish
2006-07-31, 21:02
The downside is it would likely be a lot noisier than the NV

No reason why it needs to be.



and also not meet with the approval of most better halves insofar as it could sit alongside the hifi.
Why would you put a server next to your hifi?

egd
2006-07-31, 23:58
Why would you put a server next to your hifi?

I wouldn't, but I might put a NV alongside or near the SB3 and bypass a PC/server altogether.

tommypeters
2006-08-01, 00:51
I wouldn't, but I might put a NV alongside or near the SB3 and bypass a PC/server altogether.
The idea is to connect the NV to a wireless router in another room. No need for a PC, and the server program is run on the NV.

andyman_sf
2006-08-09, 20:03
So, what do you guys think about Thecus N5200? Review say it blows everything around out of the water performance wise.

Can it be made running SlimServer?

Seeing as no body here has posted anything useful in regards to the Thecus N5200 let me start by atleast giving you a review from a person who has 3 of these babies. First I'd like to just let people know that I picked these up at www.eaegis.com. At $669 its really a good price not to mention free shipping and excellent support. I'm by no means related to them and I bought from them by searching froogle.com but so far I'm impressed by the level of support I got from these guys.

Now let me elaborate on why support is so important. The N5200 actually doesn't work! There is a firmware bug in the initial batch so you can't create arrays with more then 3 500gig and larger drives. Also there seems to be some NFS issues, some Samba issues, and general ACL issues with this . Also I noticed all the disk LED's are whacked (different colors). I suspect this is all firmware related issues.

After hacking away at it for a couple days I got the arrays to work with beta quality firmware then these guys were able to force thecus to give them. By god if it weren't for the level of support I got from these guys over the weekend, I would have a dead box. Right now as it stands with the firmware I have, the system has all 5 500gig drives working at raid 5. I've tested drive failure by removing a drive and inserting a new drive and it does indeed recover without loss of data. You even still have access to write and read your array while its rebuilding! Not that I would recommend writing to it.

Transfer rates are awesome. I would say roughly 22megabyte / sec write and about 35 read. I think their ad's are a little on the optimistic side. All in all I'm happy with the product and I trust it enough to retire my old thecus N4100.

I really do prefer this solution over a DIY because of the extensive use of smart info, ability for hot swap, easy to replace drive trays, and independent from my system. Don't get me wrong, its nice to have a raid in my server if I needed 24x7 access to high speed near line storage but for home use, I'd rather have an array I can copy my movies, mp3's, etc to and turn it off when I'm not using it.

The N5200 also features soft shutdown. The old n4100 simply powered the drives off. I have never lost any data with the n4100 by not doing a clean shutdown but then again all my drives in all my arrays have write back cache turned off and I never just power it off immediatly after a write. For me its mainly read only.

All in all I must say I'm impressed with the N5200. Its fast, economical. Not the quietest but its ok. Its not all that bad unless your super picky. Hands down I'd take the N5200 over the N4100 any day even if they were selling the N4100 for $200. Watch out guys for ebay, people are gonna try to unload them before the N5200 really takes off. I think the company I refered to above still has a few of these so grab em while you can before they become back ordered.

egd
2006-08-23, 00:29
The idea is to connect the NV to a wireless router in another room. No need for a PC, and the server program is run on the NV.

IMHO wireless just isn't robust enough to stream lossless audio. I've tried it and it's great until someone (neighbours included) uses a cordless phone or the microwave. I also found signal strength variable for no apparent reason. After a few weeks I couldn't live with the dropouts any longer and went wired - there's nothing worse than being in the middle of a really great playlist/song only to have it interrupted by silence or garbled sound.

tommypeters
2006-08-23, 02:59
OK, then use a *wired* router in another room... The message was that the NAS shouldn't be placed where you're sitting listening.

Mileage May Vary - I have two SB3 and the one in the kitchen sometimes has drop-out problems (even sans micro) while the one connected to my main Hi-fi/Home Cinema system never had any problems even though we have 5 cordless phones. Both SB3 are on a different floor from the router.

So I'm also looking for a wired solution - can possibly route a CAT5e through the wall/floor downstairs - otherwise it will be the PowerPlug type of using the electrical wires.

egd
2006-08-28, 18:12
So I'm also looking for a wired solution - can possibly route a CAT5e through the wall/floor downstairs - otherwise it will be the PowerPlug type of using the electrical wires.

I've bought two ethernet over power adapters and have to say it's a great solution - it just works and throughput is more than enough

andyman_sf
2007-01-11, 13:47
I'm not sure if anybody here even cares but I managed to create my own firmware for the N5200 to allow for ssh access on their latest firmware (ver 1.00.05). In 1.00.05 they disabled ssh. I also created a user account called toor with a password of 123456 so you can login via ssh. Enjoy! I don't know about most of you but I've been trying to get into this array for the last 2 months! To be able to copy directly from one array to another is extremely powerful! can we say rsync via ssh! Also with ssh access I now have a super cheap linux box to do other simple stuff with now!

Be careful though. Use this file at your own risk and don't mess up your data. If you don't know much about busybox, logical volume manager, or linux software raid, you probably should avoid logging in so you don't mess up your raid array. A firmware re-flash may not recover your array if you mess it up.

egd
2007-01-30, 06:52
I'm not sure if anybody here even cares but I managed to create my own firmware for the N5200 to allow for ssh access on their latest firmware (ver 1.00.05). In 1.00.05 they disabled ssh.

Off topic question, have you managed to get slimserver running on your 5200?

Pellicle
2007-02-10, 08:36
SlimServer is now up on the Thecus N5200. See details on the wiki below.
http://onbeat.dk/thecus/index.php/N5200_Module:_SLIMSERVER

Pellicle
2007-06-21, 10:01
Just to update this thread on current status and my experience over the last couple of months.

The n5200 has been performing very well since version 2.00.01 of the SS module was installed. All functionality is present and performing well.

Scanning, plugins (Time Date Weather, web interface, album art browsing all work with no observed problems.

The responsiveness of both the web and SB interfaces is excellent including browsing with album art.

Firmware updates continue to be regularly released by Thecus with a major upgrade to version 2.00 in early beta. I have not looked at this and currently have good results.

The issues of access to the system thru SSH have been resolved and in fact there is a growing base of add in modules to enhance and customize the capabilities of the N5200 including PERL and Ss modules.

Thecus is releasing the n5200 Pro with a upgrade to a 1.5MHz Pentium M low voltage processor and other enhancements. I have no input on whether any changes have been made which might cause issues with SS installation.

Support from Thecus is not great, but the user forums are a good support group and are active and helpful. However, there does seem to be an effort to improve support from Thecus directly. I have not had a need for direct support so this is from the pulse of the forum.

JJZolx
2007-06-21, 10:17
The n5200 has been performing very well since version 2.00.01 of the SS module was installed. All functionality is present and performing well.

How open is the Thecus platform? You mention "version 2.00.01 of the SS module". Does that mean Thecus or someone else is releasing regular SlimServer packages that must to be installed to run SlimServer, or can you keep SlimServer updated to the latest nightlies if you wish? What about plugins?

Pellicle
2007-06-21, 14:50
How open is the Thecus platform? You mention "version 2.00.01 of the SS module". Does that mean Thecus or someone else is releasing regular SlimServer packages that must to be installed to run SlimServer, or can you keep SlimServer updated to the latest nightlies if you wish? What about plugins?

Good question. The nightlies cannot be used directly. The SS package needs to be packaged with some changes in configuration to fit in the n5200 module frame work. This is not very hard but is additional work and required Linux knowledge. There is documentation of how to do this in general in the Thecus Wiki. If you are a nighly junkie this takes a bit more work but I think once you uinderstand and have set up the module it can be done very quickly by recycling previous installation module and just replacing modified items.

http://onbeat.dk/thecus/index.php/N5200_Module_Development

Currently, other than the module framework which Thecus has implemented the work is done by users. Once the module is set up it is a 5 minute at most exercise to load SS. Addition of plugins is done thru SSH again a module you can install to gain a higher level of access to the system.