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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  • ganeshts - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Yes, QTS is 64-bit (you can see that in the SSH screenshot also). You can have up to 8G of RAM in the x51 series.

    VS models require at least 4G, but the VMs can be configured with 1G or 2G of RAM. The remaining is allocated to QTS for its baseline operation.

    I am currently running a Windows 8 VM with 2G of RAM on the TS-451. The other 2G is allocated for normal NAS usage.
    Reply
  • aryonoco - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    Ganesh,

    I wish you would start addressing the issue of bitrot in your reviews.

    With ever increasing number of disks and ever increasing size of disks, this is becoming a real problem. Some attention to this, and how various NAS platforms attempt to correct that (or not) would be great.

    This is an area that greatly requires AnandTech's attention to move the industry forward.
    Reply
  • climbmonkee - Monday, August 4, 2014 - link

    My comment may be better directed to the forums, but I'll post here first. As a home user with a growing media library (plus small kids and lot's of home video footage), who's looking to buy a NAS for the first time: is the QNAP a good recommendation or is there something else that is better suited for me?
    My primary uses would be media streaming and daily back-ups, with the unit on 24/7. I'm interested in a 4 bay model and would prefer a good GUI. I had just decided on purchasing the Synology DS414 but am a little confused on if I should change that decision based on the new(er) architecture of the QNAP and possibly other NAS units in the second half of 2014. It seems that this review is positive and with the faster rebuild times makes it very intersting. However, my uses are fairly simple and currently I'm not interested in the virtualization aspects that seems to be the basis of most comments here. Maybe I'm missing something, don't know.

    Either way, stick with the Synology, or look at the QNAP (or even something else?) Thanks for the help!
    Reply
  • JimmyWoodser - Friday, August 8, 2014 - link

    I am in the same situation and the same needs. I would appreciate advice on the QNAP TS-451 or the Synology DS-415play please. Regards Jim Reply
  • KSyed0 - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    I voted Synology (DS412+ newly purchased - they don't seem to have a newer replacement yet).

    Feature-wise, very comparable to the QNAP at the equivalent price, but the winner for me was the SHR, which is a type of RAID, allowing you to mix and match drives. With the QNAP or other NAS boxes, I'd have to buy matching sized HDs. With the Synology, I started with 0.5+1+1+2, and was able to replace the drives one by one and let it rebuild and resize. I now have 1+2+3+3, with no wasted space.

    For home use, that's great.

    MKS
    Reply
  • Pheran - Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the review! I'd love to see a review of the TS-851 compared against the Synology DS1813+ et al. Reply
  • Spoogie - Friday, February 13, 2015 - link

    Very concerned about its 1080p transcoding. Some users say it's fine, while others say it stumbles. Please look closely at how it performs in this area in your future tests! Reply

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