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2-Bay NAS Media Server Enclosure
At a glance
ProductTRENDnet 2-Bay NAS Media Server Enclosure (TN-200)   [Website]
SummaryInexpensive Marvell-based two bay NAS with a decent set of basic NAS features
Pros• Very inexpensive
• Time Machine support
• IPv6 support
• Flexible backup options
• Built-in DLNA/iTunes/FTP servers
Cons• Admin GUI a bit poky
• Fan gets noisy under load
• No client backup software bundled
• USB 2.0, not USB 3.0 port

Typical Price: $95  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Budget-conscious consumers often turn to lesser-known manufacturers for products that offer a lot of value at a very affordable price. Sometimes they find a real bargain and the relatively low price offsets whatever drawbacks the product may have.

That's just what they may find with the TRENDnet TN-200 2-Bay NAS Media Server. The TN-200 comes in two models, the diskless model that is our review sample (~$100) and the TN-200T1 with a single 1 TB drive (about $190). As with all two bay NASes, the TN-200 supports RAID 0, RAID 1, (mirroring), individual volumes per disk and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks).

As you can see from the image above, the TN-200 has a white plastic case. The majority of the front panel has a molded-in grill that provides front to back airflow for cooling. Unlike many NASes that mount the drives horizontally through the front panel, the TN-200 has a slide-off top that allows you to mount the drives vertically.

You just line up the power/data connectors on your eSATA disk with the corresponding connectors on the TN-200's PCB and gently slide the disk into place. You'll feel it seat in the connector, and you'll know that it's in the right location when the screw holes in the mounting bracket line up with the mounting holes on the disk. You secure each disk with two screws - one in the front and one in the rear bracket. In the image below, I didn't screw in the drive to the right hand bracket so you can see how the screw holes line up.

TRENDnet TN-200 disk mounting

TRENDnet TN-200 disk mounting

The front panel of the TN-200 is fairly simple. There's a power button an indicator for each disk, and a USB sync button. The chart below summarizes each indicator.

TRENDnet TN-200 front panel status indicator chart

TRENDnet TN-200 front panel status indicator chart

The image below shows the rear panel of the TN-200. Directly above the Ethernet port, there's a Kensington lock slot. Above the fan grill, you'll find a slide lock that locks the top cover in place. The Ethernet port has two built-in indicators for link and activity.

TRENDnet TN-200rear panel callout

TRENDnet TN-200rear panel callout

Inside

The TN-200 is powered by a Marvell "Kirkwood" 88F62702 running at 1 GHz. Other key components are found in Table 1, with summaries for three other sub-$150 NASes. Note the TN-200 uses the same amount of memory as two of the other devices and has the same processor as the D-Link DNS320L. The TN-200 drew 14 Watts with two WD RED WD30EFRX 3 TB (SNB provided) drives spun up and 7 W when the drive spun down after the programmed idle drive time.

Product TRENDnet TN-200 Buffalo LS421E D-Link DNS320L Iomega ix2-dl
Price $100 $149 $118 $140
CPU Detail Marvell Kirkwood 88F62702 @ 1 GHz Marvell Armada 370 @ 1.2 GHz Marvell 88F6702 @ 1 GHz Marvell 88F6282 @ 1.6 GHz
Ethernet (Gigabit) Marvell 88E1318 Marvell 88E1518-NNB2 Marvell 88E1318 Marvell 88E1318
RAM (MB) 256 512 256 256
Flash (MB) 128 1 128 128
Power - Normal 14 14 16 20
Power - Eco 7 ? 7 7
Noise Medium Very Low Very Low Medium Low
Table 1: Component summary

The TN-200 relies on a fan for cooling. By default, the fan is set for "Auto Speed", which lets it spin up to a higher speed after a period of heavy I/O activity. When the fan is spinning faster, I'd rate the NAS as moderately loud, and the fan only adds to the noise made by the drives. Even with the disks spun down and the device in "hibernate" mode, the fan is still running, so you'll hear the constant hum in a quite office. I guess that I've gotten spoiled by the quietness of the other NASes that live on a shelf near my desk.

For those of you who like the circuit board image, the photo below shows the component side of the PCB. The Marvell SoC is located right in the center of the board.

TN-200 PCB component side
TN-200 PCB component side

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