Thecus W2810PRO Windows Storage Server Reviewed

Thecus W2810PRO Windows Storage Server

Thecus W2810PRO Windows Storage Server

To date, all the Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices that we have reviewed have been based on the Linux operating system. Thecus have gone against this trend with a range of units that are based on Microsoft Windows Storage Server (WSS) 2012 R2 Essentials. The W2810PRO is one of their newest 2-disk products in this range. Having Windows as the core system should allow for a seamless integration into a Windows environment.

Firstly, let’s look at how the Essentials edition differs from the other Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 versions:

WorkgroupStandardEssentials
Ability to join a domainYesYesYes
Data DeduplicationYesYesYes
BranchCache- Hosted CacheYesYesYes
VirtualizationNo Hyper-VYes (2 VMs)No Hyper-V
Failover ClusteringYesYesYes
Networking infrastructure
(including DNS, DHCP, and WINS)
YesYesYes
Windows Server Essentials ExperienceYesYesYes
Active DirectoryYesYesYes
(Domain Controller, Certificate Services,YesYesYes
Federation Services, Rights Management)YesYesYes

The Thecus W2810PRO is based on the Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core processor and comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM. If you find performance a little sluggish, it does support up to 8GB when compatible modules are used. The system storage is an area that is vastly different to Linux based devices. As the unit runs Windows Storage Server, it comes with around 60GB of storage for the system image.

Thecus W2810PRO Specifications:
ProcessorIntel® Celeron™ N3160 Quad-Core
Operating SystemWindows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials
File SystemNative NTFS support, FAT32, EFS, ReFS
System Memory4GB DDR3
Memory expandable up to8GB Memory
SSD 2.5"60GB + for system image
Drive Bays2
LAN Interface2 x RJ-45: 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
WOL supported
USB Interface1 x Front USB 3.0
2 x Rear USB 3.0
LED IndicatorPower LED: White
WAN/LAN1 LED: White
LAN LED: White
Audio/Video Outputs1 x Rear HDMI port
1 x Rear DP port
1 x Rear SPDIF port
Disk Interface2 x SATA
Network SupportProtocols : IPV6 / Multiple NICs / DNS / DHCP & WINS
Support for multiple subnets / Multiple IP addresses
File and Block Storage Protocol SupportFile : SMB (1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.01), NFS (v2, v3, v4.1)
Block : iSCSI Target Server, iSCSI, SATA, and USB
Directory Services / User ManagementSeamless Active Directory integration with any existing Active Directory Domain
Authentication and authorization
Domain Controller, Certificate Services, Federation Services, Rights Management
Windows Client Integration via Launch PadAgent deployed on client, one click connection to NAS appliance
PerformanceNIC Teaming: Aggregates bandwidth of multiple NICs
SMB Multi-channel: Multiple transport sessions in a single NIC
Secure Remote AccessSecure Remote Desktop Services with Encryption and Authentication
Remote file access via FTP/FTPS
Remote Web Access via HTTPS
LicensingClient support for up to 50 users or devices
No Windows Server Client Access Licenses ( CALs) required
Single processor socket / Up to 4 GB of memory
P2P connectivity via Orbweb (Ultimate edition)
Printer Server Support / FAX and ScanLocal printer connection: Full Windows print services support
Distributed Scan Server: Print Server and Document Services
Health Reporting / NotificationsIntegrated health monitoring and reporting
- Send health report to chosen email address on a customizable schedule
Media Pack for StreamingStream music, videos, and pictures with the included Windows Server Essentials Media Pack
Power Supply48W External Power Adaptor
System ClockBattery-backed up system clock
Power ManagementAuto power on after shutdown due to power loss
BuzzerAdjustable frequency alarm
ButtonsPower button
EnvironmentTemperature: 0°C to 40°C (Operation),
-40°C to 70°C (Non-operation)
Humidity: 0 ~ 80 % R.H. (Non-condensing)
Chassis2-bays Tower Chassis
Dimensions (HxWxD)146mm x 102mm x 213mm
Weight (Kgs)1.76

Design

Measuring at only 146mm x 102mm x 213mm, the Thecus W2810PRO is a fairly compact server with a solid build quality. The unit comes with three USB 3.0 ports, one on the front and two on the back. Similarly, on the rear of the device we saw dual gigabit LAN ports, video out (HDMI and DisplayPort) and a digital audio (SPDIF) port. The drive caddy supports 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives and is made of mostly plastic. However, unlike other plastic caddies, these were a lot more solid and firm in structure.

Once the case was removed we found the system boot SSD on one side and the back of the system board on the other. One aspect of the W2810PRO internals we did not like was accessibility to the memory slots for a DIY upgrade. The W2810PRO can support up to a 8GB DDR3 module but getting access to it isn’t as easy as one would hope. Fortunately, we didn’t need to upgrade the RAM on the test unit.

Software

As this was not a Linux based NAS, setting this up was going to be different from the start. Firstly, when installing the W2810PRO for the first time, you will need to use a keyboard, mouse and screen. Once configured, it can run headless and you can simply RDP to it. Once the Thecus W2810PRO completes the boot up sequence, which by the way is so much faster than a linux based NAS, you are greeted with the familiar Windows desktop.

WSS 2012 R2 Essentials desktop

WSS 2012 R2 Essentials desktop

A few more clicks are required to complete the configuration process:

If you are familiar with Windows, you shouldn’t have too much trouble configuring the W2810PRO. For example, adding a new storage pool was as simple as attaching the drives to the caddies, inserting back into the NAS and then configuring via the Windows Control Panel:

Other settings including the integration of cloud services such as Office365 could be configured through the WSS Dashboard:

WSS Dashboard

WSS Dashboard

Available cloud based services to integrate

Available cloud based services to integrate

View connected devices on the dashboard

View connected devices on the dashboard

Performance

I grabbed CrystalDiskMark and ran some tests on the system SSD as well as our newly created storage pool:

Benchmark results for the system SSD

Benchmark results for the system SSD

Benchmark for our newly created storage pool

Benchmark for our newly created storage pool

The storage pool comprised of 2 x Crucial SSDs (BX200 and MX300) using RAID1 and the sequential read speeds were impressive at just under 900MB/s. Similarly, whilst not a premium SSD, the Thecus supplied system SSD did well with sequential read speeds of around 383 MB/s. With these localised speeds, we were quite interested in seeing how the W2810PRO performed over the network. Using a file share on a QNAP TS-563 we copied a 7GB Linux ISO file to and from the Thecus W2810PRO:

Copying Linux distro from a QNAP share to the Thecus W2810PRO

Copying Linux distro from a QNAP share to the Thecus W2810PRO

Copying Linux distro from the Thecus W2810PRO to a shared folder on the QNAP NAS

Copying Linux distro from the Thecus W2810PRO to a shared folder on the QNAP NAS

Granted these were only single user tests, the W2810PRO performed well above what we’ve experienced in the past with a Linux based NAS. The file copy to an external destination (the QNAP) pretty much saturated the single gigabit link we were using on the W2810PRO. It should also be noted that the W2810PRO comes with two gigabit network ports so you could always increase the bandwidth on the W2810PRO if required.

Final Thoughts

With today’s ever expanding technology and the need to store loads of information from your phone, tablet, and computers, having a centralised NAS storage device in the home/office is a must. Traditional mass USB storage devices can no longer provide all the value add features consumers are demanding. The Thecus W2810PRO gives you the ability to easily store large amounts of data from multiple sources and more. Granted that all NAS devices let you do this, having Windows Storage Server Essentials as the operating system makes it a much more convenient process if you are running a Windows environment.

The user experience with Windows Storage Server Essentials was a fresh change from what we are used to. It’s simple, responsive and most of all does the job. However, we felt that 4GB was a little on the low side for a Windows based NAS but were happy to see that the unit was upgradable to 8GB. Similarly, it would have been nice to have two memory slots for dual-channel memory configuration rather than just the one. That said, even with 4GB of RAM, the W2810PRO performed well and is capable of supporting up to 50 clients which is plenty for the home or small office environment. Performance was great and the Thecus W2810PRO was feature packed with external ports including HDMI, DisplayPort, SPDIF and USB 3.0.

The Thecus W2810PRO is perfect for the SOHO market, providing easy integration into existing Windows infrastructure and services. If you are wanting a Windows in a box, this is one that you should definitely have a closer look at.

Highly Recommended

Highly Recommended

1 thought on “Thecus W2810PRO Windows Storage Server Reviewed”

  1. Pingback: Thecus N2810 NAS Reviewed - GeekLingo

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.