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
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  • BMNify - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    just to add "the hardware you're suggesting looks like DIY enterprise architecture" its also possible to actually buy NICE looking and cheap Free Standing Rack Cabinets for the home too now such as the Orion Free Standing Rack Cabinets with glass front for one

    http://www.rackcabinets.co.uk/cabinets/data-racks/...

    a 9U glass fronted cabinet for £240.00 (inc VAT) to sit next to your desk in the SOHO room or a cupboard if your not into showing off your home made rack... :)
    Reply
  • Trickie - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    Came across this when researching the x51 series last week. A x53 model is in the pipeline with a j1900 chip. Guessing they will be targeting small business with this model and be charging an even bigger premium as a result even though the chip cost $10 more.
    The extra grunt will suit my use case much better (vm's). What I need to make the jump to a NAS from a desktop is hardware transcoding support within plex. See http://forum.qnap.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=953...
    Reply
  • azazel1024 - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    That is interesting that the J1800 doesn't support AES-NI instructions. I was going to post a self righteous comment about "well of course it does!", and then I checked Intel ARK and saw they list it as not supporting it. My humble little z3740 in my tablet DOES support AES-NI though.

    I always find it odd what Intel choose to enable and disable on their various SKUs *shakes head slowly*
    Reply
  • takeshi7 - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    You should review the Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay next. I'm curious how the Intel based Seagate compares to this QNAP. Reply
  • halfflat - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Still no ECC RAM? Can't really take it seriously. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Look at the target market : Home media enthusiasts / power users - who want to stream their huge media collections / backup their smartphone photos / need a backup for small amounts of data that they generate on their laptops (say, tax returns or documents or similar things). Why go in for ECC RAM overkill (and associated increased platform cost?)

    ECC RAM is necessary only for mission-critical applications. If you feel ECC RAM is necessary for a non-ZFS mdadm-based software RAID system like the TS-451, I would love to hear the arguments in its favor.
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    That really depends on what you mean by "mission-critical". If you're using the TS-451 as backup, which I think is common scenario, and your main system's drives have died, and now you want to restore from the TS-451, then you'd have to ask yourself, could you afford to loose even one file on there?

    The chances are very low, but still, just 1 bit can cause irreversible corruption. After running a Xeon workstation with ECC 24/7 for a few years, I did encounter an uncorrectable (2 bits or more) memory error, upon which the machine reset telling me so, rather than continue on silently corrupting data.
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Also, it's not just ZFS where ECC is critical. If you use TS-451's encrypted volumes, one bad bit would take out more than just one file ;-) Reply
  • darkfalz - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Would prefer a 6 bay. At 25% space penalty, RAID-5 with 4 drives is a bit painful. With 6 bays you're down to at more acceptable 17% space penalty. Give me 6x6TB in RAID-5 NAS and I'll be happy (currenting running 5x4TB in a HTPC but feeling cramped already!) Reply
  • wintermute000 - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    there is a 6 bay model, its just not the one reviewed lol Reply

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