The N2100 in Detail
Size is a great convenience in these kind of devices and that is where my cheap AMD system failed as it sooner or later required a keyboard/mouse and LCD along with the huge ATX case. The N2100 on the other hand measures just 16cm (W) x 8.5cm (H) x 20cm (L) making it a very compact unit indeed. Furthermore, moving the N2100 around is quite easy given the unit will weigh under 2kg with two hard drives installed.
The unit itself is quite attractive and comes in three colors (black, perl and silver). We tested the black unit, which is the best color out of the three in my opinion. The front of the N2100 features a large round silver power button which lights up blue when the unit is active. There is also a smaller silver button at the opposite end which is the quick transfer button for USB flash devices. Then there is a single USB 2.0 port which can be used for a number of purposes.
Finally, at the front of the unit there are a total of seven LED lights designed to let the user know what’s going on. There is a single power LED, system LED and then two LAN LED’s and two HDD LED’s followed by a USB copy LED. These LED lights are integrated into the facet very nicely and offer great functionality.
When moving around to the rear of the N2100 you will find many more expansion ports, including two Gigabit LAN ports, two USB 2.0 ports and the power input. There is also a small 30mm fan designed to extract warm air from within the enclosure. For the most part the fan is rather quiet, though on occasion can become quite loud which may be a concern for some users. Other than this there is nothing else to speak of when examining the external design of the N2100.
Open up the case and you will quickly begin to understand how technical and powerful the N2100 is, featuring an Intel IOP 80219 processor with 128MB of DDR memory. The memory capacity can be upgraded if you so choose, but we found that increasing the capacity did not improve performance noticeably. The large PCB board also features dual Realtek RTL8110 Gigabit LAN controllers and a small amount of flash memory. There is also a laptop PCI slot which is designed to add wireless support to the N2100.
The hard drive bay is connected to the PCB using what looks much like a PCI Express 4x slot. Installing the Serial ATA hard drives into the drive bay could not have been any easier. The drives slot in and have to be fastened with a number of supplied screws. Furthermore, the user’s manual is also very well detailed (for the installation procedure) and includes a number of high quality images.