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  • DanNeely - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I currently retire my old computers by making an image of their HD and parking it on my NAS so I can recover files and (theoretically) bring the whole system up as a VM or on spare hardware if I needed access to some software on it. As a result, I'd be interested in seeing how well it can run an image of a well used working computer in addition to the standard stripped down OS with a single application setup that a conventional VM hosts. I know Baytrail is much slower than the i7 of my main system; but knowing that all the cruft that accumulates after using a system for a half dozen years won't strangle the NAS would be reassuring. Reply
  • eliluong - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    What software do you use to image your old drives? And what VM software do you boot it up in? Is the image usable, given that in the VM all the hardware will be different? Reply
  • Samus - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I just sysprep and capture the image with WDS which can redeploy using WinPE via PXE (network) or USB. I still use a Windows 2008 server for this, but 2012 with Hyper-V gives the flexibility of snapshots before/after sysprepping which helps prevent running into that sealing limitation (3 syspreps before it craps out) of images. I typically refresh my corporate image quarterly with Windows Updates, Office Updates, Adobe Updates, Driver Updates, and profile tweaks.

    Hyper-V definitely has the edge on VMware for imaging because of how easy it is to convert a VXD to a universal image. You can go straight from Hyper-V to WDS, and vice versa (I can turn any PC on the network into a VXD through WDS capture, and virtualize, say, a legacy PC running legacy software that's currently on a KVM and annoying someone as they have to switch between it and their main PC. This is still preferable over XP Mode in Windows 7 because of XP Modes lack of snapshots, poor remote management and inability to backup while the machine is running.
  • eliluong - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the informative reply. I'm not in the IT field so this new to me. I've dabbled with virtual machines, but not in this manner. For a home-use case, where I have a 500GB system running XP that I want to have accessible in a virtualized environment, is this something what you described is capable of, or is it intended to just run one or two applications? Reply
  • Samus - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    You could use VMware, XP Mode or Hyper-V (Windows 2012 Server) to completely emulate a PC. VMWare and Hyper-V both offer tools to take an image of a physical machine and turn it into a virtual machine. They do this by stripping the HAL (hardware layer) and generalizing the image, so the next time it boots up, whether it be on different physical hardware are emulated virtual hardware, it rebuilds the HAL. In Windows 7, you'll see "detecting hardware" on the first boot, in Windows XP, it actually just goes through the second-phase of the XP setup again.

    Vista and Windows 7 brought Windows PE (preexecution environment) into the picture which makes low-level Windows deployment easier. For example, if your XP machine is running IDE mode (not AHCI) it's pretty tricky to get it to run in a Hyper-V machine, but there is a lengthy process for doing so. Windows Vista and newer can dynamically boot between SATA controllers, command configurations, etc. Windows 8 is even better, having the most feature-rich WinPE environment, with native bare-metal recovery (easily restore any system image to any hardware configuration without generalizing) but Windows 8 is hated on in corporate sectors, so us IT engineers are stuck dealing with Winodws 7's inferior manageability.
  • rufuselder - Thursday, October 09, 2014 - link

    I like it, although I think there are some better storage options out there... /Rufus from Reply
  • blaktron - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    Hey, if you do this often enough, what you should do is just run your system off a vhdx right from the get go. Its actually pretty good for a couple of reasons if you don't mind losing a % or 2 of random performance and total space.

    Here is a link that explains what I am talking about, but Windows 7 and 8 support this, and it works pretty well:
  • Oyster - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Since you asked for feedback, Ganesh:

    1) It goes without saying that all your reviews focus too heavily on the hardware. You need to dedicate more time to the software/OS and the app ecosystem for these offerings. I personally have a QNAP TS 470, and can't see myself switching to a competitor unless their offerings consist of basic functionality like "ipkg", myQNAPcloud, Qsync, etc. There's no way for me to reach a decision unless you cover these areas :).
    2) For VM performance, I realize that most of the NAS vendors are going to want you to benchmark under ideal conditions (e.g. iSCSI only). But it would be awesome if you can cover non-iSCSI performance.
    3) Please, please add an additional test to cover the effectiveness of these devices to recover from failures. This would allow us to figure out how effective the RAID software implementation is.

  • Kevin G - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I'll second the request for some more attention to software and failure recovery. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I already do testing for RAID rebuild after simulating a drive failure by just yanking out one of the disks at random. Rebuild times as well as power consumption numbers for that operation are reported in the review. In case of any issues, I do make a note of what was encountered (for example, in this review, I noted that reinserting a disk with pre-existing partitions might sometime cause the 'hot-swap' rebuild to not take effect.

    What other 'failure recovery' testing do you want to see?
  • lorribot - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    How badly is performance affected when running VMs or CIFS with a fialed drive? How badly is drive rebuild impacted when running a VM? I guess a test load for a 24 hour period replayed against the NAS box whislt a rebuild was under taken to see how far it had got would be a good test also testing response times during a rebuild and with a failed disk running of of parity. Reply
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 4 hot swap custom itx case for £118.80 Incl. VAT

    just add a

    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


    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...
  • BMNify - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    oc thats a mind bending 1004.77 US Dollar at current rates
    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
  • 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 and

    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....
  • 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

    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... :)
  • 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
  • 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*
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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)
  • - 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 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.
  • 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!

  • 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 07, 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • aryonoco - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link


    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.
  • climbmonkee - Monday, August 04, 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!
  • JimmyWoodser - Friday, August 08, 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.

  • Pheran - Wednesday, August 06, 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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