Hardware Platform and Setup Impressions

The industrial design of the QNAP TS-451 is quite utilitarian. Despite the metal chassis, the drive caddies are themselves made of plastic and feel a bit more flimsy that what we would like. At the price point that QNAP wants to place the product, consumers would be looking for a premium product with proper metal caddies (like the ones that come along with the TS-x70 and the rackmount units). Apart from the main unit, the package consists of the following:

  • 2M Cat 5E Ethernet cable
  • 90 W external power supply with US power cord
  • Getting started guide / warranty card
  • Screws for hard drive installation

In terms of chassis I/O, we have a USB 3.0 port in front (beneath the power and backup buttons). On the rear side, we have the power inlet, a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, two GbE ports and a HDMI port. Since we are in the middle of a long-term evaluation (for the virtualization and multimedia capabilities), a teardown hasn't been performed yet, but Legion Hardware disassembled the unit and found two ASMedia ASM1061 SATA to PCIe bridges as well as an Etron EJ168A USB 3.0 host controller (two-port hub chip).

Platform Analysis

The various components of a Bay Trail-D part (the family to which the Celeron J1800 belongs) are provided in the diagram below.

Obviously, two cores are cut, as are a number of miscellaneous ports, in the Celeron part we are looking at.

As we already discussed in the launch coverage, the USB 3.0 port is connected the upstream port of the Etron EJ168A, while two PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes are connected to the two ASMedia ASM1061 ports. From Legion Hardware's disassembly, the other two PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes are connected to two Intel i210 Ethernet controllers.

Setup and Usage

QNAP's QTS is one of the more full-features NAS operating systems that we have seen from off-the-shelf NAS vendors. A diskless unit can be set up in three ways - the first one is to use QNAP's cloud service (at start.qnap.com) and enter the Cloud ID that comes in the getting started guide. The second one is to use QNAP's QFinder utility and set up the unit through that. The third one is to somehow determine the DHCP IP received by the unit and access the unit directly over the web browser. We chose the second option to get things up and running.

In terms of usage, the web interface allows multi-tasking and provides a desktop environment within the browser. It is a cross between a mobile OS-type app layout and a traditional desktop environment. From our experience, even though the features are awesome, we did find the UI responsiveness to be a bit on the slower side compared to, say, Asustor or Synology. Some of the relevant features are exposed in the gallery below.

We have not dealt with higher-level applications and the mobile app ecosystem in the above gallery. A discussion of those will be made in the upcoming coverage of the virtualization and multimedia capabilities.

The NAS's primary purpose is, of course, the handling of the storage aspects - RAID setup, migration and expansion. Our full test process of starting with one drive, migrating to RAID-1, adding another drive to migrate to RAID-5 and yet another one to expand the RAID-5 volume using a total of 4x 4 TB WD Re drives successfully completed with no issues whatsoever.

We simulated drive failure by yanking out one of the drives during data transfer. The operations from the client didn't face any hiccups, but the NAS UI immediately reported the trouble (alerts can be configured). Inserting a new drive allowed for rebuild. There was a bit of an issue with the NAS not allowing for the hot-swap because of some pre-existing partitions on the hard drive that was inserted as new, but the issue couldn't be reliably reproduced. QNAP suggested the use of drives free of partitions for the empty bays / replacements for reliable expansions / rebuilds.

Introduction and Testbed Setup Single Client Performance - CIFS on Windows
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  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    @Ganesh This question is asked in some form on almost every NAS review. Would you consider addressing it by adding a build vs buy page to the base review template? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Yes, that is a good idea. Let me add it to the template in the concluding remarks section. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Thanks. Will it be showing up as an update to this review; or in the next one? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I think you already have a great set of points above, maybe I will just reserve it for the next article :) Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Those were off the cuff and need some cleanup (if nothing else I switched wording halfway through) and the DIY section probably needs expanded; but feel free to use them as a starting point. Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Ok I donno that cause in previous NAS review I didn't see anyone mentioning that, and this NAS is a little pricier than other ones... Reply
  • BMNify - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    if you are going to do that then you better cover the less linked type of base kit

    for instance

    http://www.xcase.co.uk/rackmount-server-systems/mi... 4 hot swap custom itx case for £118.80 Incl. VAT

    just add a http://www.newegg.com/global/uk/Product/Product.as...

    ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L Mini ITX Green and Space-Saving Server Board DDR3 1333/1600 ECC/Non-ECC UDIMM 4 x MiniSAS connector(Marvell 88SE9485 x 2)
    (up to 16 SAS/SATA 6G HDD connections)

    want to go larger then put that in something like the
    http://www.xcase.co.uk/rackmount-cases/2u-rackmoun...

    X-CASE RM 208 2U WITH 8 HOTSWAP BAYS AND RAILS £107.94 Incl. VAT
    http://www.xcase.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache...

    if you need more later then go for something like the X-CASE RM 212 PRO, 12 BAY HOTSWAP SERVER CASE £238.80 Incl. VAT
    or even the more generic NORCO RPC-4224 4U Rackmount Server Case with 24 Hot-Swappable SATA/SAS Drive Bays £253

    see ,it easy to build to a given price if you forget the toy dual core antiquated Marvell ARMADA™ 370 soc and you even get far more for less than this crazy £591.60 for an ugly looking steel box and generic single board computer without any hard drives installed...
    Reply
  • BMNify - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    oc thats a mind bending 1004.77 US Dollar at current rates

    http://www.span.com/product/Qnap-Desktop-NAS-TS-45...
    Qnap Desktop NAS TS-451 4-Bay, JBOD/RAID 0/1/5/6 , empty case for £591.60

    OC you could always go the conservative view and still end up with a better data throughput
    usng something like the GA-J1900N-D3V Built-in Intel® Celeron™ J1900 (2.0 GHz) quad-core processor and dual gigabit Ethernet ports and pci slot to ...£61.17
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Honestly, the hardware you're suggesting looks like DIY enterprise architecture more than a typical DIY NAS build. AT does do an occasional article on big enterprise boxes; but 8+ bay boxes are only a very small portion of the NAS coverage here. If we do get a DIY NAS article I'd expect it to be done with inexpensive hardware and at most a 6 drive configuration in addition to a 4 drive one. The 4 drive config would IMO be mandatory for comparison purposes since most of the existing reviews are for systems with that config. Reply
  • BMNify - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    if its good enough for www.servethehome.com and http://forums.nas4free.org/

    http://www.servethehome.com/Server-detail/istarusa...

    http://forums.nas4free.org/viewtopic.php?f=60&...

    then its more than good enough for .anandtech to cover these options on a regular basis, after all readers want to know and be informed about the current options available to them, the options i mentioned above were based on the fact you can get HOTSWAP able hardware cases for far less then these ripoff consumer empty steel box's and SBC that cast them pennies on mass, and yet if you look you the enc consumer can actually find new and better kit such as the mentioned GA-J1900N-D3V Built-in Intel® Celeron™ J1900 (2.0 GHz) quad-core for far less to build than the lesser dual core Celeron™ J1800 that the qnap-ts451 uses....

    if you dont need/want 4-in-1 Trayless Hot-swap Backplane then just use the available generic £25 pc box's etc.... OC the ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L Mini ITX gets a special mention as its an all in single board computer you the end consumer can get behind if you feel you will need/want tp add sas to sata cables and drives as you see fit over a longer time frame.....

    a one off cost that's more expandable as you add data to your LAN devices etc....
    Reply

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