Thecus W4000+ Windows Powered 4-Bay NAS

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan/device at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.


As a basic NAS/server, the Thecus W4000+ offers everything you need (except for hard drives) to get the job done. Given the amount of capacity being offered by current desktop hard drives, the system's four bay setup is certainly sufficient for most SOHO operations. A fifth SATA drive to load the O/S is not only supported but conveniently included in the form of a budget 60GB SSD. The machine also comes with a Windows Storage Server 2012 Essentials license pre-loaded. Drawing 20W from the wall or less in its stock configuration, it's quite energy efficient, thanks in part to its external power adapter. The power supply makes no noise either, and this combined with a relaxed fan control algorithm makes it incredibly quiet. The noise of the NAS depends entirely on the drives used.

For office/business use, Storage Server 2012 Essentials is an appropriate choice as it can accommodate up to 50 users and offers flexibility with regards to services and applications. However, the W4000+'s hardware seems underpowered for the software. The operating system is demanding enough that the antiquated Atom D2701 processor struggles at times. Running RAID-5, a large file transfer is enough to bring CPU usage up to 70%, so it's easy to bog down depending on how many people are accessing the server simulataenously. There's just too much overhead using software RAID on Server 2012 and this may be the reason for the poor network speeds. Microsoft offers an alternative to RAID in the form of their Storage Spaces feature which has a parity option. It's probably the way to go with slower systems as it's less taxing on system resources, though you may take a hit on performance.

It's not being marketed as a home server, and it's easy to understand why. In this capacity, it offers adequate performance for most users but its overly complicated as Server 2012's interface is not as intuitive for users unfamiliar with Windows servers. For this usage case, a custom tailored version of Linux like ThecusOS is preferable as it streamlines the sever interface so it feels more like an appliance than a PC. The machine's inherent video playback capabilities are also crippled by the lack of a working graphics drivers for Server 2012, so it can only serve HD multimedia as a back-end. This is a big drawback compared to something like the QNAP TS-469L, which has a similar processor but can play 1080p directly with XBMC/Kodi.

The Thecus W4000+ is currently selling for about US$500, which makes it a reasonably good value on paper, considering a Server 2012 license and 60GB SSD is included in the package. The cheaper W4000 will save you about US$70 but its 2GB of RAM is woefully insufficient, so it should be avoided unless a memory upgrade is part of the plan. It can function competently in a small office as long as RAID is not used and it's not hammered simultaneously by too many users — it doesn't have enough horsepower to handle much more than that. Thankfully, according to our contact at Thecus, an updated version with a Bay Trail chip under the hood will be arriving in the near future.

Our thanks to Thecus for the W4000+ sample.

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