The Thecus N5550 was connected to a network where all wired devices feature Gigabit network adapters, and all cabling is done with CAT6 grade cables. The Thecus N5550 was connected with a three foot CAT6 cable to a D-Link branded Gigabit switch. The computer used to access the NAS for the tests in this review was also connected directly to this switch with a ten foot CAT6 cable.
Testing will compare the performance of the Thecus N5550 with that of a Synology Diskstation DS415play 4-bay NAS server, Synology Diskstation DS414j 4-bay NAS server, a Thecus N2310 2-bay NAS server, and a Windows based server. The Windows server features an Intel i3-3245 processor (3.4GHz dual core), 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, and 4x 3TB Seagate Barracuda hard drives connected to a Highpoint RocketRAID PCI Express controller in RAID 5. The server uses an integrated Gigabit network adapter and is connected to the same D-Link branded Gigabit switch using a 6-foot CAT6 cable.
The desktop system used to access the various storage servers features a 240GB SATA III SSD for the operating system and a 3x 640GB drive RAID 5 array for read/writing transferred files. All devices were assigned static IP addresses by the network's router.
The four NAS servers were all plugged in to a Seasonic Power Angel monitoring device at different times in order to get real time information on the electrical current drawn while in use. The devices were tested in three conditions, where possible... 1) While the device was active - reading and writing data from two different clients in order to keep the drives spinning, 2) with the device idle - where it is fully powered up but with no active data transfers, and 3) in hibernation mode - where the disks have spun down due to inactivity to conserve electricity. The Thecus devices do not support hibernation, so the "N/A" shown indicates it could not complete that part of the test.
What we see is that the difference between idle and active is about 11 Watts on the Thecus N5550, going from 44W while idle to 55W while active. It does draw the most power of the units on hand, but it also has the most drives. I do not like that 44W is the lowest you can go without turning the unit off completely. It seems like something could/should be done to get the disks to spin down and use a fraction of the electricity. For comparison purposes... Let's say the device is active for 8 hours per day and idle for 16 hours per day. We will ignore the active portion of the day, and focus on the difference in electrical consumption between the N5550 and the DS415play for the 16 hours when not in use. Over the course of a year, the Thecus N5550 would use 256.96 kWh in just these "off peak hours" while the DS415play would use 64.24 kWh. For me, this would be about $29 extra on my electric bill at 15 cents/kWh.