Introduction and Testbed Setup

The launch of the QNAP TS-x51 series was covered in detail last month. Its introduction has revitalized the premium NAS market for SOHO and power users by providing a powerful enough alternative to the Atom D270x-based NAS units. The 22nm Celeron J1800 in the TS-x51 is a SoC (obviates the necessity for a platform controller hub) and brings a revamped Atom microarchitecture (Silvermont) to the NAS market. QNAP is, to our knowledge, the first off-the-shelf NAS vendor to bring a Bay Trail-based NAS unit to the market. The Celeron J1800 is also one of the few Bay Trail parts to come with the Intel Quick Sync transcoder engine as well as VT-x capabilities. QNAP takes advantage of both in their firmware to provide hardware transcoding capabilities (both offline and real-time) as well as support for virtual machines (i.e, their OS, QTS, can act as a host OS).

The virtualization and multimedia capabilities of the firmware deserve detailed analysis and will not be part of this review. Instead, we will solely concentrate on performance numbers under various scenarios. We have already looked into the market that QNAP is trying to target with this lineup in our launch piece. So, without further digression, let us take a look at the specifications of our TS-451 review unit.

QNAP TS-451-4G Review Unit Specifications
Processor Intel Celeron J1800 (2C/2T @ 2.41 GHz)
RAM 4 GB DDR3L RAM
Drive Bays 4x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
Network Links 2x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out HDMI 1.4a
Full Specifications Link QNAP TS-451 Specifications
Price $759

Note that the $759 price point reflects the additional 3 GB of RAM over the baseline 1 GB model (which will retail for $700).

The TS-451 runs Linux (kernel version 3.12.6). Other aspects of the platform can be gleaned by accessing the unit over SSH.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The QNAP TS-451 can take up to four drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We benchmarked the unit in RAID 5 with four Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Hardware Platform and Setup Impressions
POST A COMMENT

55 Comments

View All Comments

  • zodiacsoulmate - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    why not build a SFF computer? it seems to me a NAS is very overpriced? can anyone explain a little? Reply
  • Gigaplex - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't be surprised if the bulk of their engineering expenses come down to the firmware R&D. They're out to make a profit, not give away their software for free, so comparing a home brew SFF system probably needs to include a commercial OS for a fair comparison in costs. If you're happier with OSS and supporting it yourself, by all means do DIY. Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Thank you! Reply
  • Beany2013 - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    You're also paying for the convenience. It'd take the better part of a day to build a SFF system with the software capabilities of this (multi-raid, iSCSI, NFS, SMB, FTP, SSH, browser based video playback, metadata tagging, remote file browser, airplay/chromecast support etc) and whether that's worth it is entirely down to yourself. Or whether you need all those features, natch.

    If you just want a simple SMB server then an HP Microserver with an OS of choice and simple file sharing might be a better answer.

    As someone who deals with servers, networks, break/fix, etc all day, I'd rather just take something out of the box, fire it up, and be transferring my data to it within minutes of it first spinning the fans, these days.

    Steven R
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    1) Size (mITX cases approaching a 2/4 base NAS in compactness are few and far between) - a smaller box is a plus when you're living with non-geeks who don't think every surface covered in computers/computer parts is an attractive aesthetic.

    2) Turnkey It Just Works integration - A major plus for people who aren't alpha-geeks, who are but have things that are more fun to do than fiddling with hardware for a box that should be stick in the closet and ignore once setup, or for people who just want to be able to tell their mom/brother in law/etc "call vendor support, not me" when something breaks.

    3) Related to the last point if you want more than just a network fileshare, non-bottom of the barrel boxed NASes have a large amount of extra useful software preconfigured so you can use the easy button to install and configure it automatically.

    4) For people who can be served by a basic NAS: 2-4 bays and an ARM based SoC - the cost of buying a boxed NAS isn't much higher than a DIY setup using new hardware. $150-250 for a case, PSU, mobo, cpu, ram. vs $300/400 for entry level 2/4 bay NASes from Synology.

    The corollary to 4 is that if you need higher end specs: 6+ drives, a full power CPU, more advanced file systems (ZFS or Btrfs), etc; the price of entry ratchets up significantly and building your own looks a lot more attractive if you're capable of doing so.
    Reply
  • jabber - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    However as I have found most small businesses and even some larger ones often don't have much more than 8-10 GB of data.

    Word docs, PDFs and excel spreadsheets dont actually take up a lot of space. Unless you are creating visual or audio media then massive complicated storage systems are just not worth it.

    Most just need simple filesharing and a place to back up the laptops/desktops to without needing a IT guy on hand 24 hours a day to look after it. A NAS does that perfectly
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Agreed; and small businesses without a full time IT person are a perfect example of cases where spending a bit extra up front for vendor support is highly attractive investment. Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Thanks guys! Reply
  • BMNify - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    that's what the commercial FreeNAS for business is for, they call it trueNAS based on axactly the same FLOSS code with extra options and OC SMB vendor support etc
    http://www.freenas.org/for-business/
    Reply
  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now