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Our Verdict

This is a powerful network storage array for SMBs. While the software has its flaws, the N8810U-G offers great redundancy features that will ensure it stays up in the event of hardware failure.

For

  • Redundant PSUs, fans, disk
  • Standard user-accessible hardware
  • RAID modes 50 and 60 offered

Against

  • Dated software
  • Messy module installation system
  • Really big and heavy

The N8810U-G is a two-unit rack-mount network storage unit, designed for server cabinets. It's big, since it accommodates eight hard disks, weighs 15kg, and it's over half a metre deep, with dimensions of 90mm x 428mm x 586mm.

It accommodates up to eight SAS or SATA disks, which can be configured in many types of storage array, from the basic types including JBOD, and RAID modes 0, 1 and 5, to more advanced configurations including RAID 50 and RAID 60.

Pitched at about £1,500 (around $2,350, AU$2,840), it's not the cheapest NAS on the market but it has more than a few extras to justify the cost. The included 10GbE card accounts for a large part of this price tag, for it offers cutting edge super-fast network speeds, along with software features including full hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption of your data.

Design

The black plastic cover at the front slides down after undoing a pair of thumbscrews to reveal eight drive caddies. An LCD display in the centre provides at-a-glance information about the status of the NAS. Each caddy has a lock on it to prevent removal, although there's no lock on the main drive bay door panel itself.

Two USB 2.0 ports, the power button and indicator lights are placed at the left. On the rear there are as many ports as you would find on a typical desktop computer, because the N8810U-G is basically an x86 PC. There are two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, VGA and HDMI video out, and there's a pair of standard Gigabit Ethernet ports which can be bonded together.

The 10GbE card works as a third Ethernet interface, and is possibly the most important aspect of the N8810U-G, for it provides a faster network backplane than many other NAS units on the market, providing up to ten times as much throughput. It removes what has become a bottleneck with transfer speeds for NAS units that rely on standard Gigabit Ethernet only.

Hardware innards

Undoing a single thumbscrew at the back of the N8810U-G allows the metal cover to slide off, revealing the guts of the unit – a standard x86 motherboard, processor and memory.

Thecus N8810U G inside

A 2.9GHz Intel G850 Pentium dual-core CPU runs the show

The chip used by Thecus is a 2.9GHz Intel G850 Pentium dual-core. It's no Core i7 or Xeon, but there's not a huge need for ultra-fast processor performance. It won't be running any graphics-heavy software, and the majority of work the unit will do will be to manage users, shunt data around and support the underlying OS.

Thecus confirmed to me that upgrading the chip with another LGA 1155 processor is possible if you wish, but it might be worth calling them to check compatibility before you do.

There are four internal fans, all of which are hot swappable, which should minimise downtime in the event of one failing.

The standard configuration ships with 4GB of ECC DDR3 memory, and this can be expanded to 32GB, but that's probably only necessary if the N8810U-G is deployed in an environment with lots of users. Thecus boasts that a single unit can handle 250 users simultaneously without slowdown, indicating that the N8810U-G is well-suited for small-to-medium business environments.