Average computer users are starting to acquire digital content at rates never before imagined. Digital cameras, media players, PMPs, MIDs, notebooks, netbooks, desktops, TVs, IP cameras; I could go on and on with devices that generate and play back media. You can even get a refrigerator with an Ethernet connection to your network now. The personal computer is starting to move away from being the central hub of data and is now becoming just another end point for information to be displayed.
Replacing the PC as the central point for all of this data that we are bouncing around from one device to another are NAS servers. These small, power efficient miniature PCs run on optimized hardware with optimized software and can be accessed from nearly any device in the home. When joined with the latest wireless technology, any portable device can sync your digital music, pictures and even backup your entire data collection in minutes. By using standard internet protocols you can even backup, restore or play back content from anywhere in the world.
Different users have different needs for their NAS servers. Where one user may only need a place to safely store their digital content, another may want their storage appliance to serve up web pages over the internet while streaming music to network enabled media players, all at the same time while downloading torrent files for the teenager in the house. Network Attached Storage appliances are good for the entire family and not just the techy person in the house. Everyone on a computer knows how to open a folder on their desktop to view their pictures. Thecus and other NAS manufacturers have moved the high tech enterprise nature of NAS servers into a dumbed down Setup Wizard that a ten year old can set the system up with.
Today we are taking a look at the Thecus N4100PRO, a 399.00 USD home, small office NAS appliance that packs big features and performance into a package that makes small form factor PCs jealous.