We've said it before and we'll say it again. It doesn't matter how much storage you have, you'll find a way of filling it up. It's one of the axioms of computing.
Those brave enough to setup home networks just a couple of years ago are now at the stage where they're likely to have a media center PC. But little PCs don't have much space for hard drives. The only trouble with that, is that media center PCs could do with a lot of storage. In fact, so could the other computers in the house. Then again, it'd be great if they could all share that storage.
Enter NAS - Network-Attached Storage - the storage solution idea for enterprises, offices and increasingly so, the digital home. Of course, there isn't one product to suit all. For some time now there have been numerous 'prosumer' NAS products on the market, from tiny adapters to multi-drive RAID-enabled enclosures. Indeed, a number have passed through the HEXUS.labs, several from Thecus, a company that focuses on storage solutions.
The trouble with many of the NAS solutions (and this doesn't apply solely to Thecus) is not the feature set, nor the drive support, rather the performance. It seems many a NAS has a decent feature set, but is woefully underpowered. There's no point having a terabyte of storage if you can only read it off at ~6MB/s over that Gigabit network link.
The latest (and topmost) in Thecus' line of NAS products is the N5200. It frees itself from the shackles of the XScale processor and adopts the x86 architecture via an Intel Celeron M CPU. With space for five SATA drives and a CPU that promises much-improved performance, will the N5200 prove a winner in our tests? Read on to find out.