An affordable dual-bay NAS with some powerful functionality

The N2310 is a budget dual-bay NAS from Thecus and an interesting product beyond the low cost for this category, boasting a number of features that help set it apart.

Apart from the primary role of a network attached storage (NAS) device – you know, storage – there are some interesting things a piece of hardware like the N2310 can do. This inexpensive NAS is actually a server, too, so beyond storing up to 8TB of data it’s powerful enough to replace a dedicated PC for certain tasks – the kind of tasks that some of us leave a PC running 24/7 to accomplish.

In this review we’ll take a look at some of the functionality that helps set the N2310 apart, as well as the kind of real-world performance you might expect to see.

It’s All About the Gigabytes

There are more reasons now than ever before for large storage options. Even though SSD’s are at their lowest prices ever most of us still need to supplement a fast boot drive with some traditional spinning disks. Just think about what accumulates in an average year on your PC… photos, music, videos, program backups and images, you name it. All those GB’s have to go somewhere, and there are obviously internal and external hard drives to share the load. However, regardless of the local storage option you might chose, it’s not always so convenient to actually access this stuff again. Clearly, the easier it is to access your files, the better – and not just from one device. So, having centralized storage is a great idea, right?

Between computers, tablets, and of course our phones, there are generally quite a few connected devices in the average technology-inclined home. And while every device mentioned can connect to the internet – and cloud storage has become very popular – there's still something to be said for local content management. Beyond the convenience of sharing sometimes massive amounts of data easily at home, another benefit of always-on storage is backup. Ideally, every computer in the home would be backed up locally as well as the cloud, and a great way to take care of the local side of backup is with a NAS. Setting one up is very easy these days, with a growing number of affordable options from various vendors.

Thecus makes an interesting case for a budget NAS with the N2310. For a comparison, Allyn recently looked at Western Digital’s My Cloud EX2 network drive, and this is a highly polished all-in-one solution is now selling for about $199 (without drives). The Thecus N2310 is less expensive at $149, and both offer two 3.5” drive bays. (The My Cloud is also offered pre-populated with drives providing up to 8TB of storage.) These “diskless” enclosures present a good opportunity to save some money up front, and whether you choose to run on two drives you happened to have around the house or office, or if you want to go out and grab a couple of Western Digital 4TB Red drives, they can accommodate your situation.

Let’s take a look at the Thecus N2310.

Our thanks to Thecus for providing the N2310 NAS for our review!

Hardware Specs:

Processor: AMCC APM 86491 800Mhz
System Memory: 512MB DDR3
Disk Interface: 2 x Internal SATA
RAID Modes:     RAID 0, 1 and JBOD
LAN Interface (PCI-e): RJ-45 x1, 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
USB Interface: USB 2.0 host port x1 (back x1), USB 3.0 host port x1 (back x1)
Power Supply: 40W external power adaptor
Buttons: Power button, USB copy button, Reset button
Environment: Temperature: 5°C to 40°C, Humidity: 0 ~ 80 % R.H. (Non-condensing)
Chassis: 2 bays Tower
Dimensions (HxWxD): 135 x 97 x 207 (mm)/5.33 x 3.83 x 8.14 (in)
Weight: 0.79(Kgs) / 1.74(lb)

Packaging and First Impressions

The N2310 is nicely packaged and gives a good rundown of the device’s features. Inside things are well protected, and the NAS emerges with all accessories in perfect shape.

The N2310's design is all business

The N2310 is black plastic throughout, and pretty light. It’s also pretty small – not much bigger than the two drives it will contain, so it won't take up much space on a desk.

The rear ports include two generations of USB, as well as Gigabit Ethernet

Next we'll take a look at initial setup and performance.

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