Thecus was showing off two lines at Computex, the evolutionary Vision, and the more comprehensively updated Toptower. Both have been shown before, but they have been enhanced enough to be interesting again.
First up is the milder of the two, the XXX (really, not a placeholder) line of NAS boxes has been given a new mobo that sports 32nm Atoms instead of the 45nm CPUs. This explains why the devices are about six months late to market, no problems other than Atom’s release schedule, or lack thereof. To celebrate, the line name has gone from XXX to Vision, something we think is a good idea.
Thecus’ new Vision
There are three Visions, N2800, N4800, and N5550, all updates of the previous N2xxx, N4xxx, and N5xxx lines. The best part of the new lines are that they can run fanless, and HDMI outs are standard. Part of this is due to the new OS upgrades, something that you probably will never have to deal with after the initial setup, and the 32nm Atoms. That said, the promised HD support is, err, optimistic in light of Intel’s Graphics on said chip basically not working. That said, stick with the NAS side of things, and the Vision line should do fine.
The TopTower series, introduced at Computex 2011 is probably a little more to the liking of most SemiAccurate readers, bigger, more powerful, and higher capacity. This is the second rev of the line, and it still comes in 6, 8, and 10 drive sizes, called N6850, N8850, and N10850. These sit between the home oriented Visions, and the enterprise oriented rack mount beasties in size, capacity, power, and most importantly, price.
TopTower part 2, all new
Although it is a little harder to see, these SMB aimed boxes now sport a touch screen front panel instead of buttons, something that after setting the IP should be of little use to an admin. That said, some people like them a lot, especially if they are done right. In our brief poking at the demo units, there were no problems or frustrations evident, but that is far from a full test.
The lower end version ship with a ‘Pentium’ CPU, basically an iSomethingmeaningless that has been artificially crippled, while the higher end models have a full Xeon on board. In keeping with the things Intel wants to push of late, all three can be optioned out with copper or fiber 10GbE NICs, something that would be quite useful if your switch can handle it. In a quaint reminder of days when people were silly enough to run Windows, TopTower comes with McAfee software to absorb CPU cycles that would otherwise be of benefit to the user.
In the end, not an amazing change, but all have new boards, CPUs and software. The Vision line makes this pretty transparent, you wouldn’t know they were updated unless you had them both side by side. The TopTowers are a lot more of a comprehensive update, faster, more bandwidth, and technically speaking, free McAfee software. How can you complain about faster and better?S|A