Thecus’ new N4200 Zero Crash aims to be the most reliable small and medium-sized business (SMB) NAS appliance on the market. In this review we see whether it lives up to its claims.
Thecus’ latest four-bay small business NAS appliance takes reliability to the next level as the N4200 Zero Crash is the first desktop box to integrate power fault tolerance.
Primary power is handled by a standard external supply but Thecus has implemented a battery backup module (BBM) designed to keep your RAID array, outstanding disk writes and firmware upgrade manoeuvres intact in the event of a blackout.
There’s a lot more to this compact four-bay desktop unit as it sports Intel’s latest Dual Core Atom D510 processor and also features Thecus’ unique dual DOM (Disk on Module). This comprises a pair of 128MB IDE micro disk modules stacked on top of each other with the lower one plugged directly into the motherboard IDE interface. If the primary DOM fails, the secondary provides a backup for the OS so improving fault tolerance.
The N4200 introduces a slick new organic light emitting diode (OLED) display, which provides plenty of operational information including details about the BBM’s charge level. A keypad below allows you to access a menu system and manually configure many settings. More information is on offer from the colourful display panel at the side which offers status icons for the hard disks, both Gigabit network ports and the USB copy function.
For installation, Thecus’ Setup Wizard finds the appliance on the network, offers options for changing the admin password plus network settings and provides quick access to the main web interface. The smart Ajax-based interface sees even more improvements with the very latest firmware upgrade and is particularly easy to use.
Your first job is to create a RAID array and there are plenty of choices with JBODs, mirrors, stripes, RAID-5 or dual-drive redundant RAID-6 on the menu. For testing we popped in a quartet of 1TB WD Greenpower SATA drives into the lockable drive carriers.
CPU: 1.66GHz Intel Atom D510
Memory: 1GB 667MHz DDR2
Storage: 2 x Afaya 128MB IDE DOMs; 4 x hot-swap lockable SATA drive bays
Ports: 6 x USB2; 2 x eSATA
Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
Software: Setup Wizard, Backup Utility and FarStone DriveClone Pro