The last gadget review of 2015 comes in the form of a NAS, or a Network-Attached Storage. This baby is the Thecus W4000+, one that we unboxed earlier and promised a review of once we had an HDD to plug in. What makes this device different, aside from the numerous security features and ports, is what’s inside it – a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials OS.
The device comes in two variants and the one without a plus (Thecus W4000) differs only in terms of the RAM, with it having only 2GB.
Do note that the reviewer has no prior experience with any previous versions of the Windows Server and will just review the product based on his experience with it.
Looks and Hardware
The LEDs are indicators for each bay, connectivity for both LAN/WAN ports, and for the USB ports.
For the initial unboxing, you can check our findings here.
For the hardware, the Thecus W4000+ runs a dual-core Intel Atom CPU running at 2.13GHz, furthered by a hefty serving of 4GB of RAM. The device also comes with a 60GB SSD for its innate OS.
Though not much different in terms of hardware compared with other NASs that we’ve touched, the 4GB RAM makes it a clear winner. On the otherhand, it just goes that the Thecus W4000+ requires this much to run nominally since it juggles and functions as a Windows desktop.
For more detailed information about the hardware, here’s their product site.
What’s Inside the Inside?
Well, it should be. Windows Server 2012 runs in the same vein as with Windows 8.1. We get the traditional desktop together with a tiled ‘Start’ menu. It pretty much functions as a regular computer installed with Windows 8.1, having the same tools but with added NAS functionalities.
It even has a Windows Store! Impressive, but by no means useful. One cannot find a large number of applications that are suitable for a NAS environment here.
The positive kicker about it all is that the interfaces are familiar and it’s nigh impossible to get lost in a Windows environment. Just use it as you would a desktop and that’s it. However, underneath this façade that we’re accustomed to is a learning curve that would prove to be steep to most.
Setting Up the Thecus W4000+
Another thing that makes the Thecus W4000+ different, or a worthwhile experience, is its tutorial or first-time session. It walks the user along the motions, appending side notes to guide and clarify jargons and terms. It starts with a checklist of tasks that while harmless on the initial table, would start to be incredibly confusing once you jump into them. Despite the effort of adding guides, a neophyte user would surely lose way unless prior knowledge is acquired and networking terms are understood.
Suffice to say, setting it up might be a good experience but it is no cakewalk. This behavior can be attributed to the fact that the Thecus W4000+ means business. It’s not an entertainment NAS or downloader, it can be, but its purpose is on far loftier heights. What it brings into the table are compatibility and security measures to fully function with existing Windows computers and devices. This is one big thing that you should take note of if you’re looking to buy this NAS.
If you have a URL and would want to utilize the W4000+ as a server, simply follow the steps.
However, once done well, the Thecus W4000+ makes the ordeal all the more fulfilling. The Windows OS caters to a large number of backup features that it makes your backup, more backed-up thru Microsoft Cloud services. Also, it’s not just a NAS, it’s a server. So if you’re planning on creating your own site with resources that you’d love to share while keeping it locked behind an impenetrable fortress, then the W4000+ has those too.
It might mean business, but can also act as a Media Server on a limited functionality. It might not be a full-blown entertainment NAS but the function is still there. Although you have to manually set it up first.
For those wishing for a more complex adventure, the Windows Server also features a powershell console for commands.
The Thecus W4000+ is a bit of a nagger as it checks the overall healthiness of the NAS. Red flags and other icons would pop-up during usage as it carefully checks through anything that you’ve missed, advising you about things that it could still do. It’s serious in doing this job and would not be shy in telling you, the server administrator, of your shortcomings.
Thecus thankfully sent us a Seagate HDD to test with the Thecus W4000+. We’ve tested it and was surprised that it was able to surpass the other team’s NAS variant in terms of raw performance. This 6TB monster is more than enough to keep your files and is riddled with positive qualities. It’s silent, it’s fast, and it works. Here’s our review of it.
While the Thecus W4000+ is obviously not for everyone, it greatly rewards those that brave and trudge on its complicated initial setup. Once done, the user is rewarded with a NAS server that functions with great compatibility, accessibility, and security. The backup features, while not exclusive to the Windows environment, can be automated and could save a lot of time should problems arise.
In terms of build quality, the Thecus W4000+ is robust and rigid. It’s certainly of high-quality make, making no reservations or compromises with its structure. The numerous ports and the added RJ45 port makes it one of the most port-filled NASs in the market. Plus, the four HDD bays, aside from making it more future proof compared to 2-bay NASs, are also physically secured by a lock-and-key mechanism.
Now, who wouldn’t want this?
We can recommend the Thecus W4000+ for small offices that require a cost-efficient server or for users looking for some peace of mind. It’s not that expensive and again, offers a lot with its Windows Server OS and great build.