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Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS Review

10GBaseT is coming of age. Thecus is on the cutting edge with the new N8810U-G NAS that brings high interconnect speeds down to reasonable price levels.

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Thu, Oct 16 2014 8:28 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Thecus

Introduction & Hardware Specifications and Pricing

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A lot has changed since we published our first NAS review with 10GbE support. We had two 10GbE capable NAS' in at the same time, the QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP and the Thecus N8900. Both systems were 10GbE capable, that means they supported 10GbE add-in cards, but didn't ship with 10GbE preinstalled.

The cards of choice at the time were Intel X520-SR2 models with SFP+ interconnects. SFP+ uses more power than 10GBaseT (copper RJ45), and the cables / transceivers + fiber cost more than Category 6a Ethernet cables.

Until recently, 10GBaseT ports cost more than SFP+ since the technology is newer to market. With a little maturity under the 10GBaseT belt, the cost of the technology has come down. So far this year, we've tested three 10GBaseT switches, two from Netgear and one from Supermicro. While the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR with 48 10GbE ports and four 40GbE ports still costs a hair over $12,000, the 8-port 10GbE Netgear ProSAFE XS708E is just down to just under $100 per port at some e-tailers. The cost of the technology has come a long way at reducing cost in a short period of time.

Small and medium sized businesses don't need switches with full 10GbE at all ports to take advantage of the technology. A switch with several gigabit ports and one or two 10GbE ports allows several users to connect to the system at the same time without losing performance to the NAS. Those users could be physical people or virtual machines connecting to the NAS for primary or secondary storage.

Today, we're looking at the Thecus N8810U-G. Last month we tested the N7710-G, a 7-bay pedestal version of the system we're testing today. The N8810U-G is a rackmount model, the extra space allows this unit to hold one extra drive, but other than the increased storage density and rackmount capability, the N7710-G and N8810U-G are nearly identical.

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.

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Like the N7710-G, the N8810U-G uses a dual-core Intel Pentium G850 processor running at 2.9GHz. Both systems also ship with 4GB DDR3 ECC DRAM, twice the current industry standard for systems in this price range.

The N8810U-G separates from the pedestal model with an additional drive bay and 2U rackmount form factor. The primary interconnect for this model is the included Thecus C10GTR 10GBaseT Ethernet port, but two additional gigabit ports that can run on separate networks or act as failover ports. Additional connectivity comes from the generous amount of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (two on the front and six on the back). The N8810U-G also has video connectivity from one HDMI and one VGA port.

The Thecus N8810U-G ships with a redundant power supply, a feature not found on the N7710-G. The dual PSU adds a level of high availability to the system, making it immune to a single PSU failure. Additional HA features include improved cooling with four hot swappable system fans.

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The Thecus N8810U-G ships with a nice accessory package that includes 4-post rails. This often overlooked accessory is more of a necessity that many NAS makers usually make users pay extra for. With Google Shopping, we managed to find the Thecus N8810U-G for as low as $1,743.55 without drives, as you can see below.

PRICING: You can find the Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS 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.

United States: The Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS retails for $1743.55 at Amazon.

Canada: The Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS retails for CDN$2488.81 at Amazon Canada.

Software Features

NAS products are equal parts hardware performance and software features. One compliments the other in a balanced product. You need more hardware performance to run more software features at the same time.

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RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and JBOD are supports in the software. The NAS also supports RAID level migration as well as RAID expansion and even AES 256-bit encryption.

Thecus equips the NAS with several functions built-in the operating system from the factory. These include but are not limited to iSCSI, backup, group, and user accounts and more. Tallied up, there are over 90 software packages that are features when needed and don't get in the way when not.

Packaging and Accessories

Packaging

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The Thecus N8810U-G ships double boxed from Thecus' factory.

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Inside the two large boxes, we found the NAS secured well between two half boxes with closed cell foam in the middle and on each of the four corners.

Accessories

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The NAS ships with a large accessory package. Here we see the five paper manuals and cards.

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Two software disks accompany two power cables, an Ethernet cord and a package that holds screws for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives. You also receive a liberal amount of keys for the drive sleds.

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The Thecus N8810U-G ships with rack rails. While it may seem trivial now, many NAS products don't ship with rails and the cost can be significant. Thecus includes the rails so you are able to install the system right out of the box.

Thecus N8810U-G

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Here we get our first look at the Thecus N8810U-G unit. The front door has a window in the middle so you can see the display, but covers the display and power / reset buttons.

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With the non-locking door open, we see the drive configuration and button system for the display in the middle and buttons on the far left side for power and reset functions, next to the status LEDs.

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Status LEDs on the far left are mixed in with power, reset and alarm mute buttons.

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The display in the center of the N8810U-G NAS has four function buttons between the left and center drive sleds. The display and buttons allow users to check the status of the system and even manipulate some of the basic functions.

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The last set of drives are located on the far right side of the system. Aluminum handles on each side make installing the system easy and the included sliding rails allow the NAS to be pulled from the server rack.

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The N8810U-G's backplane will accept SAS drives, but the system is configured for SATA drives only inside.

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Two USB ports on the front of the NAS allow administrators to update the firmware or back up data quickly.

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Ventilation perforations on the side of the NAS allows air to exit the back of the system.

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Additional vents on the back of the system allows the fans in the front to push air to the back and out of the system.

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The N8810U-G ships with a redundant power supply configuration. This allows the system to operate even if a PSU fails.

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Most of the I/O on the system is in the middle of the NAS. HDMI and VGA allow for video output. Two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports are under the gigabit Ethernet ports.

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10GbE capability comes from a Thecus C10GTR card. The card uses just 4.95 watts of power in 10GbE mode and 3.3 watts at gigabit speeds.

Inside the Thecus N8810U-G

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Inside, we found that the redundant power supply is nearly as large as the motherboard.

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A Sure Star SS-400R8P with dual 400 watt units keeps the system up and running. Sadly, this unit is not 80+ certified.

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The system can accept up to four DDR3 ECC RAM modules. One ships in the system.

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Five SATA cables head to the SATA backplane and expand to eight SATA ports.

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The Thecus N8810U-G is very quiet in operation. The Intel dual-core CPU is actively cooled and helps keep the system noise down.

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An undocumented mSATA port inside the system may or may not have a future use. We've seen these in other Thecus systems in the past as well.

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The Thecus 10GbE NIC uses a Marvell controller.

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Four 80mm fans in the front of the NAS pull cool air over the HDDs and push it to cool the other components.

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The fans are actually hot swappable with each in a carrier.

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A quick detach connector keeps administrators from fumbling with connectors in the system. You just pull and replace.

Test System Setup

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Our NAS test 'system' has migrated to three 42u racks like what you'd find in a datacenter. There are ten servers that attack the target NAS with 120 Hyper-V installations of Windows 7 64-bit, each with a dedicated gigabit Ethernet port. The systems feed to three Extreme Networks X450e-48p switches and then to a Supermicro SSE-X3348TR top-of-rack switch. The device under test connects to the Supermicro switch via 1GbE, 10GbE or 40GbE. The iSCSI and NASPT tests use a single machine connected to the Supermicro switch.

This level of testing wouldn't be possible without the help and support from several companies, many of which have little to do with NAS products. We would like to thank AVADirect, Antec, Corsair, GIGABYTE, Icy Dock, Kingston, LSI, Noctua, Rosewill, Seagate, Thermaltake and Western Digital for their much-appreciated support.

Intel NASPT

The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct measurement of home network attached storage (NAS) performance. Designed to emulate the behavior of an actual application, NASPT uses a set of real-world workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications. Traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation and more provide a broad range of different application behaviors.

TweakTown Custom 120-Client Office Test

The TweakTown Custom 120-client Office Test uses 120 Windows 7 Hyper-V installations and custom software to stress each NAS with traces from Microsoft Office tasks. Both throughput (in Mbits per second) and latency (in milliseconds) are measured.

Seagate NAS HDD

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TweakTown uses Seagate NAS hard drives for all of our NAS tests. You can read our full review of the Seagate NAS HDD here.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR 10GbE / 40GbE Switch

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With a switching fabric of 1284 Gbps through forty-eight 10GbE ports with RJ45 connectors and four 40GbE QSFP connectors, the SSE-X3348TR is our switch oh choice for testing SMB and enterprise network attached storage products. Many server and motherboard manufactures have included 10GbE on top tier offerings. 2015 will be the year for a 10GbE take over.

Benchmarks - RAID 5 Single Client Performance

Benchmarks - RAID 5

RAID 5: Block-level striping with parity data distributed across all member disks.

HD Video Playback

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HD Video Play - 720p HD stream from Windows Media Player 256kB reads

2HD Video Play - 2x playback

4HD Video Play - 4x playback

HD Video Record

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HD Video Record - 720p HD stream, 256kB writes

HD Video Play & Record - 1 playback, 1 record simultaneously

2x HD Video Play & 2x Record - 2 playback, 2 record simultaneously

Content Creation

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Photo Album - All reads - wide distribution of sizes

Office Productivity - Reads and writes, 1kB & 4kB reads; Mostly 1kB writes

Content Creation - 95% writes; 1k, 4k & little reads; Writes up to 64kB

File / Directory Transfer

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Directory Copy From NAS - 64kB reads

Directory Copy To NAS - Predominantly 64kB writes, wide scattering under 16kB

File Copy From NAS - 4GB file copy, 64kB reads

File Copy To NAS - 64kB writes

Single Client Performance Summary

In a few of the tests, we noticed that the N7710-G was a little faster than the N8810U-G we're testing today in the single client tests. This may be due to the expanders used to get to eight SATA ports. The results were very close though in all, but one of the tests categories.

Benchmarks - iSCSI Enterprise Workloads

Database

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File Server

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Email Server

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Web Server

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Workstation

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iSCSI Enterprise Workload Summary

The N8810U-G is a very fast NAS that keeps pace with the higher spec N8900 with an Intel X52-SR2 10GbE adapter.

Benchmarks - iSCSI Latency and Power Consumption

Benchmarks - iSCSI Latency

Database

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File Server

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Email Server

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Web Server

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Workstation

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iSCSI Enterprise Latency Summary

The latency numbers are all very close to each other in these three Thecus 10GbE NAS products.

Workload Power Consumption

We level the playing field in our power consumption test by using a single Seagate NAS 4TB HDD in each system during the test. This allows us to test the power consumption of the NAS and not the amount of HDDs in it. It also allows us to test different drive count systems and still compare the power consumption from the server and not the drives.

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The two systems on this chart with redundant power supplies are the Thecus N8900 (fitted with an add-in Intel X520-SR2) and the N8810U-G we're testing today. The N8810U-G uses less power than the N8900, but the additional power supply pulls more power than the single PSU N7710-G.

Benchmarks - Multi-Client Test

The Intel NAS Performance Tool (NASPT) is an excellent way to determine NAS performance in a single user environment. Any review that only uses NASPT assumes that only a single computer will access the target NAS at one time. We took issue with this method of testing and spent over a year designing, building, programming and finally validating the TweakTown Multi-Client Test.

The test uses Microsoft Office data recorded to traces and played back to the NAS from up to 120 client Windows 7 installations (clients). We record total throughput of all clients and average response time per client.

Over time we'll populate the two multi-client charts with several NAS products from a span of categories. The products range from a dual Xeon server with 2x 10GbE to a 2-bay NAS with a single gigabit Ethernet connection. The products will fall into their performance categories based on performance and not marketing material or opinion.

Throughput

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The multi-client test shows why the N8900 costs a bit more than the N8810U-G and N7710-G. The N8810U-G keeps pace all the way to 40 clients. but starts to flatten out at 48 clients.

Latency

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The latency numbers show the same. The N7710-G and N8810U-G are right together through the test, while the N8900 keeps the latency a little lower.

Final Thoughts

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Looking inside the Thecus N8810U-G, I realized this model is easier to upgrade over the pedestal N7710-G model. Thecus used one of four DRAM slots available with a 4GB of DDR3 ECC stick. 4GB is average for this class of server, but we suspect the performance would increase with more RAM. The N8810U-G is already fast for the price, and the features are a knockout punch for those who would even think of building a storage server this powerful and with this many features.

One of the great features on this series is the AES 256-bit RAID Volume Encryption that encrypts the entire RAID volume. This aids in protecting your data from physical theft. It's also just one in a long list of features. Thecus now has over 200 software modules that add to the value of the N8810U-G. If the server doesn't already have a function you require preinstalled, it's very easy to install a module with the GUI interface - there is no programming experience required.

The standout feature on this unit is the fat pipe to the network. 10GbE is ten times more bandwidth than most other products on the market. This gives users more bandwidth for file transfer or more virtual machines running off of the same server. This reduces the overall cost since you can run more traffic to a single server instead of using more than one server. Two years ago this feature cost significantly more than it does now and was still something you had to piece together.

The Thecus N8810U-G brings everything together in one easy to manage package that comes at a low price. 10 gigabit is the new gigabit for business use and virtualization environments. Doing more with less is now possible and the investment costs are now palatable.

PRICING: You can find the Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS 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.

United States: The Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS retails for $1743.55 at Amazon.

Canada: The Thecus N8810U-G 8-Bay 10GbE Rackmount NAS retails for CDN$2488.81 at Amazon Canada.

TweakTown award
Performance97%
Quality including Design and Build98%
General Features98%
Bundle and Packaging97%
Value for Money97%
Overall97%

The Bottom Line: Thecus' N8810U-G rackmount NAS brings exceptional build quality and enterprise functions down to the SMB level. The performance is very high with a large pipe to the network, while the cost is lower than most would expect.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

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CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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