Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved well beyond data storage through a network. In order to get the most out of a NAS you have and look at the extra hardware and software features. The Thecus N5550 offers a good mix of features on both of these fronts.
On the hardware side the Thecus N5550 is an impressive unit that comes in at a very good price point. At the heart of the N5550 is an Intel Atom D2550 processor and it's paired with class leading RAM capacity - 2GB of DDR3.
Five HDD bays make up the main storage, but four USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port as well as eSATA offer room for expansion even further. The lone USB 3.0 port is on the front of the NAS behind the front door. We would have liked to have seen dual USB 3.0 ports on the back of the unit as well.
HDMI connectivity is the new buzz feature on NAS products at the moment, but making use of full HD video coming out of NAS products is still a challenge. The thought is we'll have media center like features in NAS appliances and servers in the future. Thecus is well on its way with a number of TV tuners supported, but without a handheld remote control, the feature is still a niche not lived up to its full potential. Given Thecus' heavy tablet and smartphone app list, it won't be long before your iPad and phone become a remote control for on-screen video features. UPDATE: Thecus just announced a new remote control features as I was going back over the review for the last time. Bonus!
Even with the heavy software features built into the N5550, the main task of any NAS is still data storage. Getting data to your NAS is easy with the two built in gigabit Ethernet ports. These ports can be used a number of way including 803.11ad "teaming" to increase data throughput.
At the time of writing, Provantage had the Thecus N5550 in stock for just $450.46. That's a significant price reduction when compared to the 4-bay N4800 that shows up in Google Shopping for $625. Provantage's website shows 60 units in stock and to be honest I really surprised they have any left at that price.