Specifications, Availability and Pricing
When it comes to the hardware the Thecus N5500 is top notch. The system uses a Core2 processor with a full 1GB of memory and gigabit Ethernet. The dual Ethernet ports support Link Aggregation (802.3ad) for load balancing or fail over redundancy.
Connectivity is the N5500s strong suit. The NAS is able to function as a NAS or DAS. The Direct Attached Storage feature is worked in through the eSATA port but there is also a USB option for direct attachment to your PC. The N5500 also supports iSCSI and this make the N5500 the first storage device to support NAS, DAS and iSCSI all in one.
For storage the NAS supports 2TB drives making it capable of serving up to 10TB of data with its five internal SATA ports. There is also an eSATA port so you can connect up to 6 drives total, but most users will opt to just use the internal five.
When it comes to software the N5500 has every base I can think of covered. The new AJAX based interface is fairly smooth, but not as refined as the software QNAP released just a few months ago. In my opinion the Thecus software is easier to setup but it feels a little clunky at this time. Given Thecus' past successes it won't be long before they get the browser interface running smooth.
Newegg lists the N5500 as in stock and with a cost of 849.99 USD. Newegg also lists the N5200 at 569.99 since it is close to end of life. With the N5200 being the lowest cost 5 drive NAS at Newegg you can start to guess where the N5500 is sitting at. Thecus' closest competitor is QNAP and these guys have been battling it out for years now. As it sits today the QNAP TS-509 Pro costs 50 Dollars more than the N5500 so Thecus has won the battle at this price point.