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Event Coverage

Big Storage at Computex 2013

By David Chieng - 5 Jun 2013

Storage Boxes Galore: Synology & Thecus

Storage Boxes Galore

Hard drive prices are normalizing post-Thailand floods. NAS boxes are getting cheaper and more powerful. Faster internet access is leading to more digital video, music and other data changing hands and at faster pace too. In short, there's no better time than now to get cracking on getting yourself a proper networked-storage box for the home, or small office. Here's a brief roundup of some of the more interesting developments from key players in the consumer storage space.


The Synology DS214+ features an unnamed Intel processor, and can apparently transcode video on-the-fly.

The yet-to-be-officially-released DS214+ is quite the interesting beast. It features an unnamed 1.6GHz dual-core CPU (the Synology representative declined to reveal whether it was an Intel chip), but made a big deal about the box being able to transcode video on-the-fly for use with DLNA-certified devices such as your brand-new HDTV. Physically, the box follows Synology's current-generation industrial design, looking not much different from existing networked-storage boxes from the brand.

Both the DS114 and DS114+ round up Synology's single-bay offerings in their updated line of consumer NAS boxes for the home user.

The USB Station 3 is still in prototype form. This box lets you share USB-powered hard drives on your network.

A look at the rear end of the USB Station 3; you'll see a pair of USB3.0 ports for hooking up USB-powered drives.

The Synology representative we spoke to mentioned this little nugget: That the DS414+ would come with screw-less drive rails as pictured. As someone who spends a great deal of time screwing and unscrewing drives in and out of NAS boxes during testing, this small tweak gets two thumbs up from me.

The DX213 and DX513 are add-on storage boxes designed to supplement the storage capacity of your existing Synology NAS boxes.



 The N2520 and N4520 are Thecus' latest NAS products for this period; the former features an all-new chassis design, while the latter recycles an older 4-bay chassis (a decision not exactly uncommon for the company to begin with).

The new N2520 and N4520 are quite similar internally, as both feature a new Intel tom dual-core SoC (system-on-chip) design, the CE5315. This enabled lower power (Thecus claims 9W while idle, and 14W at load), which leads to less heat and lower noise (as low as 20dB). While the N4520 obviously has four drives bays versus two bays for the N2520, the former also has 2GB of DDR3 memory, and the latter sports just 1GB.

The N2520 features rack-less drive installation (though you still need to install mounting rails to the sides of each hard drive), and a single USB3.0 port up front.

It's not every day we see a NAS with SPDIF output, while HDMI outputs are gradually becoming a common feature among quite a number of NAS brands. The use of a single Gigabit ethernet port does indicate that the N2520 is a consumer offering meant for home use.

We had the chance to preview Thecus' client-side Intelligent NAS software, as well as the upcoming ThecusOS 6.0 software which will power most of their NAS products.

The Intelligent NAS software is designed, according to Thecus, to make it easier for end users to access key features of their NAS all from an app running directly on their desktop computer, without having to log-in to the NAS via web interface. In addition, ThecusOS 6 has been redesigned, outwardly at least, moving towards an icon-based interface instead of a menu-driven one. Thecus hopes that this will make their administration interface a little easier to deal with. ThecusOS 6 will also feature feature automatic updates, and is due sometime towards the middle/end of this month. Interestingly though, the Thecus representative did note that while the ThecusOS 6 software would eventually roll out to all of their consumer NAS solutions, their rack-mounted storage boxes would still be running on ThecusOS 5 for now.