Performance, Features and Conclusion
From a software standpoint, the Thecus N5200BR NAS Server suffers from a poorly organized, and a sometimes confusing, layout. There are many advanced features that make the system highly configurable to fit a multitude of uses and environments, but users will often have to reference the User's Manual for guidance. Once we got the hang of the flow, we were not hampered from achieving what we needed, but the system would benefit from a more intuitive front end in our opinion. The good thing is that if Thecus chooses to redesign some of the menus, it should be easily upgraded through a firmware update.
On the performance side of the equation, the Thecus N5200NR NAS Server was impressive. Network performance was excellent, offering 4x the speed of our reference system. Power consumption was moderate, however, updating hard drive spin down times to more finite settings and offering more fan control could have a significant impact on overall power draw, for the better. Conversely, having the option to automate system shutdown and restart helps minimize power consumption as well as wear and tear. But missing from the unit we tested was an automatic power on after a power failure.
The Thecus N5200BR NAS Server is one of several models available from the company that offer robust NAS capabilities in a compact design. With a great feature set that delivers solid overall performance, the Thecus N5200BR NAS Server should appeal to both business and home users looking for a complete NAS system. While the software side is far from perfect and it's helpful if the user already has a good understanding of networking, the pitfalls are not insurmountable and the effort may pay off in the end by delivering a relatively low power and fast NAS server capable of serving up over 5TB of storage.
The Thecus N5200BR NAS Server is priced at around $700, so it's not the cheapest unit out there, however, for the amount of features you get, this unit looks to be under priced compared to other NAS units with similar capabilities. The biggest issue we have is with the software interface and hard drive spin down times, which hopefully will be addressed in future updates and would make the Thecus N5200BR NAS Server an even more attractive system of this type.