Overall Performance and Conclusion

Overall Performance

So much of what this product is about concerns the utility of a small, preconfigured server solution, that I had a hard time justifying any kind of serious benchmarking. The Atom SoC won't win any awards for speed, but the component quality of the W2000 does enhance the experience. For a simple throughput test I connected to the W2000 from a PC on my home network and performed a quick file transfer test with a large ISO file.

Throughput was exactly what I expected from the W2000, matching the speed of any other NAS on my network. The boot drive in the W2000 felt very snappy in normal use, and a quick benchmark shows that the SSD is quite capable, though limited in speed by the internal controller it's connected to.

The system never seemed to get too bogged down with my own light home use, though you can see that it makes the most of the available resources (1.3GB of 2.0GB memory in use at idle).

As discussed under the hardware portion of this review, if 2GB of memory isn't enough Thecus can authorize an upgrade to up to 4GB since this is not a soldered implementation. In fact, expandibility is really the name of the game here since both storage aspects of the W2000 (boot SSD and dual 3.5" bays) can be upgraded to larger and larger storage if needed. While it's unlikely this would be needed for the boot SSD, the only current limit on capacity for the network storage is available SATA HDD capacity. I had two 4TB drives installed, and the official HDD/SSD support from Thecus lists drives up to 6TB each (8TB drives are just starting to appear on the market).

Conclusion

Even though it would be incredibly easy to set up and use the W2000 for anyone with working knowledge of Windows Server 2012, such experience isn’t really needed to use this product. Server is certainly a complex thing to tackle with no experience, but to get going with the W2000 even a novice would just need to follow some instructions to get at least the basic functionality of the device on their network. Once initial setup is complete on the W2000 and the Connector software installed on a PC as (albeit only briefly) outlined in this review, the W2000 would at least provide network storage and backup functionality to a client PC. But the exciting part of this product is just how much more you can do if you’re familiar with Server – or at least interesting in learning.

From a hardware standpoint the W2000 is really an appliance, but that moniker can’t downplay the utility or complexity of a Server product. It’s a multifaceted thing, since it is impossible to completely ignore the appliance-like utility of a preconfigured product like this, while the means to operate it requires the use of an OS that would intimidate a first-time user (though anyone familiar with Windows on the desktop would at least be able to get around the OS). Most of us use Windows to the extent that we interface with applications and the general UI, but a power user knows of more of the functionality and can get much more out of it. While that is an oversimplification the same essentially holds true here.

We live in the era of YouTube, myriad walkthroughs, guides, and tutorials available for everything (and every OS), and this holds true with Server 2012. Literally, a completely new Server Essentials user could leverage an investment in time into fundamental understanding of this OS. But this certainly isn’t for everyone. So why relate a product like this to mainstream consumers and those unfamiliar with Server? It’s simple. Price. This product has a retail cost of $350. To put this into perspective, a regular license for Server Essentials is $500 – and while the licensing model is different for a Storage Server product the functionality with this version is the same for the end user.

Bottom line, to be able to manage a small home or office environment’s users and shared resources, or build a home network with the power of a Server instance – and do any of this for $350 plus the cost of a couple of hard drives – is pretty incredible!


Strengths

  • Well executed hardware design
  • Quality components
  • Small footprint
  • Reliable operation
  • The power of a full Server experience
  • $350 price includes Windows Storage Server license

Weaknesses

  • None at this price

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