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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  • basroil - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Those are some really nice numbers for iSCSI (which you need for Lightroom to work), far better than other qnap devices...

    Really got to say Anandtech rocks, the really do listen to feedback and test for cases that readers are interested in! (hell, I like the service so much I disabled all adblock like scripts for the site, something I never do)
    Reply
  • roman.md - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    759$ - overpriced Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    I'm just amazed how many here have forgotten the mantra that often simple is better.

    I'd be amazed if some of you ever get jobs finished or deliver anything with the overly complex solutions you come up with.

    Data storage, redundancy and back up for small business/home use is really not complicated at all. Most of you are worrying about scenarios that rarely if ever occur and if they do...no one will die.

    If you work on someone else'e dime well maybe you can dick around with the Heath Robinson solutions but when you work for yourself and reputation is everything you keep it simple, low maintenance and you deliver it quick. Customers and staff appreciate it too.
    Reply
  • KSyed0 - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    I completely agree. My days of tweaking HW and fiddling with my computers is long gone. I don't care about saving $100 and losing 1 or 2 days putting it all together and setting it up.

    My synology was up and running within 15 minutes of getting home. I've upgraded drives twice already.

    I think this is a key point that differentiates Synology from QNAP or other NAS vendors. You can use the Synology SHR (Syn Hybrid RAID) with mixed drives, with no wasted space!

    MKS
    Reply
  • tmoz13 - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    So how does it compare to the Synology DS415play? Which one would you choose if you had to pick one? Reply
  • carage - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I would probably steer clear from Synology for now, at least until this whole Synolock problem is gone. Reply
  • KSyed0 - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    I have to jump in - the Synolocker problem is only on the "old" OS, and it was patched almost 9 months ago. People who don't update their base OS or at least to the latest patches many months later, are always at risk. I know that you could make an argument that these NAS boxes should autoupdate, but at least it will warn you that an update is available.

    For the purchase of a new unit (which is already running the new OS), this is not an issue.

    MKS
    Reply
  • ZilchTech - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    Ganesh, I am looking forward to what you have to say about the ts 451 and virtualization. I am ready to buy a NAS and was set to buy a Synology DS415play. From what I could ascertain, the Synology OS and robust community make it a safe choice for someone like me who is buying their first NAS. The QNAP however seems to have moved ahead of Synology with the celeron and VM capabilities.
    Thanks for your thorough work.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    I have been using the VS app without any issues for the last 3 - 4 weeks. While there has been nothing fatal, I do miss some features (having come from a Hyper-V background). For example, I am currently yet to find a way to associate multiple storage controllers to a single VM. I also can't use a USB Wi-Fi stick as the network adapter for a VM (wanted to keep port-trunking in place for the baseline NAS operation). Data transfer between the host and the guest machines always need to go through the physical network ports for now.

    So, yes, there are plenty of areas where the app can improve, but the baseline functionality with respect to VM hosting is as stable as QEMU is stable on Linux.
    Reply
  • ZilchTech - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Is the QNAP QTS OS 64 bit? I have been under the impression that consumer NAS appliances have operated under 32 bit OSs. The j1800 can address 8 gigs. The TS-251 and TS-451 have 2 ram slots that will accommodate 8 gigs. The TS-251 comes with 2 gigs and needs 4 gigs to use the VS Station. The TS-451 comes with 4 gigs. The VS station requires a minimum of 4 gigs so I'll assume the extra 4 gigs could be allotted to the VM. Reply

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