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Thecus W4810 Windows Storage Server NAS Reviewed

Thecus W4810 Windows Storage Server NAS (Image courtesy of Thecus)

Late last year we were lucky enough to road test the Thecus W2810Pro Windows Storage Server (WSS) NAS. Here we are again in 2017, with the new W4810 WSS NAS, a new 4-disk storage appliance from Thecus. Like the W2810Pro, the W4810 is also built upon Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

For those that missed it in the W2810Pro review, here are some of the differences between Essentials and other flavours of Microsoft Windows Storage Server:

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 W4810 specifications include:
ProcessorIntel® Celeron N3160 1.6GHz burst up to 2.24gHz Qual Core
System Memory4GB DDR3
SSD 2.5"60GB + for system image
Drive Bays4
LAN Interface2 x 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
WOL supported
USB InterfaceUSB 3.0 host port (Front x1,Back x2) (A Type)
USB 3.0 host port (Back x1) (C Type))
LED IndicatorPower LED: Blue
WAN/LAN1 LED: Yellow
LAN LED: Yellow
USB LED: Activity/Failure: Blue/Red
HDMI Output1 x HDMI port (rear)
DP Output1 x DP port (rear)
SPDIF1 x SPDIF port (rear)
Disk Interface4 x SATA for internal
File SystemNative NTFS support, FAT32, EFS, ReFS
Disk ManagementData Deduplication
Storage Spaces:
- Create pools of storage using industry standard hard disk drives
- Enables data redundancy with mirroring or parity
NTFS Online Scan and Repair (CHKDSK) Intelligently repairs unexpected corrupted data
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 / Notifications Integrated 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
EnvironmentTemperature: 0°C to 40°C (Operation),
-40°C to 70°C (Non-operation)
Humidity: 0 ~ 80 % R.H. (Non-condensing)
Chassis4 HDD Bay Tower Chassis
Dimensions (HxWxD)192 mm x 172 mm x 250 mm

As you can see, Thecus have used the Intel Celeron N3160 to power the W4810. This is the same processor used in the W2810Pro so we are expecting to see similar performance results. The W4810 also includes HDMI and DisplayPort outputs for 4K streaming directly to a screen.

Design

The Thecus W4810 measures at 192 mm x 172 mm x 250 mm, slightly thinner and taller than the 4-disk NAS units we typically review due to the HDDs being stacked flat rather than on their side. The case is constructed well, has a LCD display and a range of available ports. On the rear of the unit there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, dual gigabit LAN, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. Similarly, you will find the token USB 3.0 port at the front.

Thecus W4810 WSS NAS

The rear ports on the Thecus W4810

The same plastic HDD caddy we saw on the W2810Pro

Once the case was removed we found a few positive differences compared to the W2810Pro design. The system SSD was located on the top with plenty of airflow. However, the most notable change was the location of the SO-DIMM slots. Our gripe with the W2810Pro was that memory upgrades would be a tedious task with the number of components that would need to be removed before you could access the slots. With the W4810, Thecus have placed the slots on the side providing quick and easy access.

Thecus W4810 System SSD

Thecus W4810 SO-DIMM are located on the side for easy access

Software

As we mentioned earlier, the W4810 is a Windows Storage Server solution based on Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials. I won’t repeat the setup process but it’s essentially the same as the W2810Pro.

For the purpose of this review, I configured 2 x Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSDs as a single storage pool using RAID1:

I also teamed the 2 network interfaces:

Performance

CrystalDiskMark was used to benchmark the system SSD and storage pool:

The Thecus W4810 System SSD Performance

The Samsung EVO’s performed as expected

The sequential read speeds of the system SSD were around 382MB/s and expected from a stock system SSD. The storage pool using higher end SSDs performed significantly better with read speeds of just under 900MB/s and write speeds of 269MB/s.

The next set of tests comprised of the following client file transfers:

  • Surface Pro 3 (Windows 10) <-read/write-> W4810
  • QNAP TS-563 (QTS 4.2.x/10GbE) <-read/write-> W4810

Copying Linux distro from QNAP TS-563 to the Thecus W4810

Copying Linux distro from Thecus W4810 to the QNAP TS-563

File copy from the Surface Pro 3 to W4810

File copy from W4810 to the Surface Pro 3

Consistent with our experience with the W2810Pro, performance was certainly on par or better than the Linux based equivalent products.

The Blue Iris Test

One advantage of running Windows as your NAS operating system is the ability to install and run (almost) any of the windows based software out there. One particular piece of software I was interested in testing was Blue Iris. Blue Iris is an application capable of turning a windows machine into a powerful Network Video Recorder (NVR) compatible with most modern day IP based surveillance cameras. This is a great solution to help stress test the W4810 as the recommended hardware required for our test cameras are:

  • Intel core i7 with QuickSync
  • 8GB RAM
  • nVidia graphics
  • 64-bit Windows
  • 7200RPM HDDs or SSD

Knowing that the W4810 was significantly under spec’d for the number of 1080P cameras I have for testing, I decided so start slow and progressively ramp up the number of connected cameras to see how far we could push it. It wasn’t surprising that we couldn’t push it too far but does show some great potential in this space for a higher spec’d Windows Storage Server.

Blue Iris was configured for continous recording

Blue Iris started to show signs of struggling at 2 cameras

We essentially killed the Blue Iris application with 4 cameras

Final Thoughts

This was the 2nd WSS based NAS that I have reviewed and I am certainly liking them over their Linux counterparts. Not only does it enable many users to run some of their smaller windows based applications but the familiarity of using Windows, make managing the device a breeze.

The W4810 performed well in our tests and the only change I would have made to the configuration would have been the addition of more RAM. 4GB is fairly low by today’s standards.

That said, in a saturated NAS market, Thecus, in my opinion, have made the right move by differentiating themselves by including a series of Windows based NAS appliances in their arsenal of storage solutions. If Thecus could come up with a high end (and affordable) WSS NAS capable of running Blue Iris, they would simply blow away the other NAS competitors in the NVR space.

Highly Recommended

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