For many families the days of owning just one computer are over. The “family computer” is dead, or at least it is in our home! Rather we have several computers, and with five family members all using their own in separate rooms around the house, sharing data effortlessly can become a daunting task.

For quite some time I have been researching NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices that could help to solve our data sharing problems.

There are other ways around the problem which I have also tried but none seem to be as ideal as a single little NAS setup. For example, I built a low-cost AMD Sempron system and set it up to share the data on two 320GB hard drives. However, the ~600GBs of formatted space quickly filled up with images, documents, music, and of course, system backups. Therefore more hard drives were installed until the standard ATX case could take no more.

The next step was to remove the hard drives and transfer all our data into even bigger 500GB and 750GB hard drives. However, I had been reluctant to do so as I was not convinced the little AMD Sempron system was the best solution to our data sharing problem. Setting up user accounts was a pain and while Windows Remote Access can be used to eliminate the need for input devices and a monitor, it didn’t always work flawlessly. At the end of the day, I have discovered that for advanced users, there are ways around having to spend money on NAS devices, but not all will want to.

Therefore the AMD Sempron file server was dropped and I went back to the drawing board in search of a quality NAS device. There are actually quite a few options available, though almost all failed to meet my requirements for one reason or another. Many failed to support Serial ATA hard drives, which was quite disappointing. Then I stumbled across a company called “Thecus” which was founded in 2004 and specializes in data storage. After a quick browse through their product line-up I was impressed and it was the N2100 Y.E.S. Box that caught my attention.

The N2100 was exactly what I was after, a small and simple network attached storage device that would allow everyone on the home network to access and share data. However, while simple in design I quickly learned upon receiving it that it was actually very powerful when it came to sharing data. Features such as dual Gigabit LAN, external USB 2.0 ports, optional wireless and Serial ATA hard drive support make this NAS device one to take under serious consideration.