Over the last year, we've banged the 10GbE drum in our NAS and, later, our switch reviews. The technology has trickled down from top of rack to edge environments. Switches like the Netgear ProSAFE XS708E have transformed the 10GbE market, making the technology affordable for a wider market. 10GbE is now not only affordable, but the RJ45 standard means businesses no longer need to rely on expensive fiber.
Even if the client computers are connected at 1Gb Ethernet, businesses can increase productivity when more than one client system is connected to a central data source, like a server, that does use 10GbE. The 10x increase in throughput from the server to the clients means more clients can talk to the NAS at the same time without a performance reduction.
We're now past the catch 22 phase. Just two years ago, Thecus gave customers a 10GbE option by selling the most expensive NAS models with an open PCIe slot and giving the operating system drivers for a few 10GbE NICs. The Thecus N7710-G is the company's first 10GbE from the factory product. Thecus also released the new rackmount N8810-G.
Today, we're testing the new N7710-G, Thecus' new 7-bay model with 10GbE from the factory. Over the years, we've tested every 7-bay model Thecus has released and always loved the products. The 77xx products always deliver high performance at a very good value. They are also just one tick away from the rackmount units, but the price gap between the 7-bay and 8-bay rackmount units is significant.
Hardware Specifications and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS, you need to look at the extra I/O hardware and the mountain of potential software features.
Deep inside the Thecus N7710-G is a dual-core Intel Pentium processor running at 2.9GHz. Paired with the dual-core processor with HyperThreading is 4GB of DDR3 DRAM. Comparing the big three Taiwanese NAS manufacturers, Thecus is the only maker with a 7-bay NAS with 4GB of DRAM standard, and the N7710-G isn't the only model with this feature either.
The signature feature on the N7710-G is the 10-gigabit Ethernet port, and on this model, you get one special port. 10GbE comes from a Marvell chip PCIe adapter connected to one of two PCIe ports in the NAS. Thecus also outfitted the N7710-G with two additional Ethernet ports that run at 1Gb.
Additional connectivity comes in the form of two USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports (two front, four rear), a VGA port, and a HDMI port that carries both video and audio.
The N7710-G has seven drive bays, and aside from using USB drives, that's as many as you'll get to use. This model doesn't have eSATA unlike many of the previous Thecus units we've tested. Who cares though, it has 10GbE!
That 10GbE capability is going to cost you, though. The Thecus N7700 Pro V2 currently sells for $799, but it has a slower processor, and you have to add your own 10GbE adapter. Thecus also has a new N7710 model without 10GbE, but we weren't able to find it at a US etailer at the time of writing (it was just announced). The big boy model we're testing today, the N7710-G, costs $1,114.99 through Google Shopping at the time of writing, and that makes this the most expensive 7-bay NAS we've tested from Thecus.
For that price, you get a 2-year warranty, Ethernet cables, an Acronis True Image DVD, a driver disk, and a few other bits and pieces we'll show later in the review.
PRICING: You can find the Thecus N7710-G for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
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