Thecus N5200PRO NAS 0

Thecus N5200PRO NAS Review

Installation »


As with most products, the N5200 Pro comes in a box, in which a layer of protective foam is found. Nothing special here. The box itself is close to identical on all sides, a picture of the device is shown with some keyword specifications to attract potential buyers.

Apart from the N5200 Pro there are several accessories in the box. Namely a driver CD, backup application CD, power cable, network cable, keys, USB cable, some screws and a manual.
The items are quite self explanatory. There is no power adapter because there is a PSU built into the unit. The network cable is made by Belkin, so it seems they didn't cheap out on parts.

Given most people in the IT industry don't read manuals there still is a manual included. The manual covers basic setup and doesn't go into many details. Once you can connect to the device the interface explains the options. Hence there is little need for a 1000 page hard covered book that explains everything in detail. Besides, NAS devices like these are meant to be easy to use so we wouldn't even want a book like that. It would just scare you away.

The unit

The N5200 Pro itself has five hotswap-bays for the harddrives. These can't be missed when looking at the unit. The caddies are locked in place using keys. This prevents you from removing a drive by accident (kids, "funny" friends/family, etc).
Below the bays there is a reasonably sized display with controls, various LEDs, a power and reset button and a USB port.

The back of the unit contains all connectors and an exhaust fan. Two USB ports (Type A, host), an eSATA port, USB port (type B), power connector, two RJ-45 (network) connectors and a serial port.

Having agreed not to break the unit and only use it for review purposes I can't just break everything open. Then again thumbscrews basically invite me to open the N5200 Pro up.
The unit is closed with three thumbscrews, once those are removed everything comes loose.

Everything we've seen on the outside instantly becomes naked. The fan is the first thing you see, which is just a basic fan with a 3-pin connector which means there is some control over it. The rest of the back shows the connectors which are soldered onto some PCB. Obviously we want to see what this PCB is.

The N5200 Pro basically consists of a big PCB, which when you look at it is a complete PC on a motherboard. Being x86 based many chips on it look familiar.
The motherboard contains various jumpers, which according to the internet control settings like FSB. The firmware is loaded onto a piece of flash memory, which I removed to show that it uses a small IDE connector.

The flash module holds a single chip on a small PCB which connects to the IDE port on the motherboard. I think it's safe to guess that it uses compact flash. The N5200 Pro uses standard DDR RAM, although Thecus warns about it not being user serviceable due to compatibility issues and the likes, I'm pretty sure there won't be much problems replacing it, seeing how all parts are standard PC parts.
The CPU, as advertised, is a Celeron M at 1.5 GHz, and it's actually not soldered onto the motherboard but has a real socket. So yes, it could be replaced. Unfortunately the chipset is too old to support a Core 2 Duo processor. Still, the hardware is very modular and uses many common parts. Looking at just the hardware I'd say the average techie could have a lot of fun with this.
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