Games
AU grumpy
Moderator
7,286 Posts
#1
3.2 years ago
Introduction



Dusting off my review hat to bring you another review. This time it isn't a motherboard, CPU or graphics card, but a NAS drive.

What is a NAS drive you guys may be asking? It's a device that has the same components of a personal computer (CPU/MB/VGA/RAM, etc) but its sole purpose is to manage data - whether it is images, video, games or audio. NAS stands for, Network Attached Storage, basically a storage device that can be accessed on the computer network. Due to this specific purpose of use, the hardware is much less powerful (and sometimes niche) compared to the everyday PC hardware brands & models.



Although there are other ways to share data on the network like; file server, external drive on the network, or even just via SAMBA. What a NAS brings to the table is the total size of the device, the extensive functions that can be found on a NAS, (different RAID configurations, DLNA/streaming to compliant devices, FTP, download manager, & other services) and also the carbon footprint. QNAP's TS-412 is a NAS device targeted towards home & SOHO users. The main purpose for my purchase of the QNAP TS-412 NAS device was to provide a backup strategy for my photography & invaluable data.

The Australian RRP of the TS-412 is $499 but you can find the devices around $450 if you shop around. The 3TB Hitachi K3000 hard drives are $399 RRP each but again, you can find them for about $185 if you shop around. So the initial cost of a configuration like mine is about $1200 if you shop around in Australia.

Hardware Specifications







There is another similar model called the TS-419+ which has a faster processor, more memory & a handy LCD screen, but is a few hundred more dollars dearer.

My QNAP TS-412 has a 1.2GHz processor powering QNAP's Linux-based Firmware 3.50 for NAS devices. Storage comes in form of up to four internal hard drives which are hot swappable. Six extra drives can also be attached externally via the four USB 2.0 ports (Front x1 Back x3) & eSATA ports at the back of the device if more space is needed. Keep in mind that individual hard drives do not come bundled by default with the TS-412, this decision means I can choose my hard drive configuration & save on the cost with the omission of a hard drive.

Size of the device isn't that big, it's certainly noticeable though. The image below compares the device to a optical disc + my mouse.



Conents of the box includes:



You can also watch my quick unboxing video here:

may be biased towards good products - Check out my Blog
AU grumpy
Moderator
7,286 Posts
#2
3.2 years ago
Software Specifications

Access to the TS-412 can be achieved through the latest Microsoft Windows, Apple's Mac OSX, Linux & Unix operating systems. To access the web interface which controls the NAS device, the usual list of Internet browsers can be used to access the AJAX-based User Interface which is stored on the 16MB flash memory.

Applications of the NAS drive include the following:


* Print Server,
* Web File Manager,
* Multimedia Station,
* Download Station,
* Surveillance Station,
* iTunes Server,
* Apache Web Server, and
* MySQL Server




A more comprehensive list of software specifications can be found on QNAP's website here.

Software Interface

Instead of sharing images and words with you about how great the web interface is, the video below summaries perfectly. That being said, QNAP's Management Software is really simple and laid out very well, it only takes a few clicks to get where you want to be.



This is the "front door" to get into the web interface - dragging your mouse cursor allows the user to cycle through various menus



QNAP has developed a program called QNAP Finder, which basically finds all QNAP devices on the network - for those who may have more than 1 device or is cannot remember the IP address of the devices;



Reasoning of a NAS purchase

I did think first of rummaging around my house for a spare mITX motherboard & its components, but decided against it because of the total weight when filled with hard drives, the heat & noise, & also the cost of the case + a decent RAID card from Areca or Adaptec. In the end, i wanted a device that will be an addition to my computer and not another computer.

I purchased the QNAP TS-412 along with four Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3TB 7200RPM hard drives with the intension of putting 4 of these hard drives in a RAID6 configuration With this configuration, usable space on the RAID6 configuration became 6TB; ((3TB + 3TB) + 3TB +3TB for parity).

RAID6

It took about 24 hours to make a 6TB RAID6 partition from my 4x 3TB hard drives.



Performance (read & write speeds)[/LARGE]

To test the speeds, I will transfer one large file & several smaller files (RAW files from my DSLR) to test the speeds, these were done via FTP.



Writing several 20MB files equaling about 2.04GB from PC >> NAS (gigabit connection) - used an SSD to remove any potential HDD bottleneck



Reading several 20MB files equaling about 2.04GB from NAS >> PC (gigabit connection) - used an SSD to remove any potential HDD bottleneck



Writing 1x 2GB file from PC >> NAS (gigabit connection) - used an SSD to remove any potential HDD



Reading 1x 2GB file from NAS >> PC (gigabit connection) - used an SSD to remove any potential HDD bottleneck



Assuming that you need at least 6Mbps to steam 1080P H.264 content & 36 Mbps to stream full Blu-Ray rips, the speeds are adequate enough @ around 80Mbps. As you can see, the speeds for read/write are averaging about 10MBps, the reasoning is the hard drives are the bottleneck in this setup, being in RAID6.


Noise levels & temperatures
This setup will be located in the same room as my bedroom, so obviously the operating temperatures & noise levels is a very important factor. Keep in mind I don't have a sound tester so I can't give you a "dB number" but if I am sitting 30cm away from the NAS (where my keyboard is) I cannot hear it on idle. When it is being accessed, the hard drives make a notable level amount of noise - but my mechanical keyboard (Blue cherry) dwarfs it in "annoyingness"). On 100% load (creating the RAID6 partition), the hard drives do get very noisy but I couldn't hear it once I put my headphones on. Operating temperatures are 29 degrees on idle and about 33 degrees load (performing SMART scan) according to the System Information section of the NAS. The surface temperature was 20 degrees, room temperature was 20 degrees when doing this measurements.




Conclusion

Obviously not all of us need a 4 bay device to store terabytes of data, but if you require the services & the feature set that a NAS device provides, there are other NAS devices in the market with 1 or 2 slots for hard drives. However, if you just need something to store your non-critical data, I do recommend at least getting an external hard drive to backup any of your data. You can even backup your data on the Internet, aka Cloud backup, services like Dropbox for various filetypes, Flickr to backup your images or even sending some of your important data to your email address to keep a copy in the cloud, Gmail is a good way of doing this, I think they have about 7GB+ of storage for your emails & files. however ~ remember to read the terms & conditions of these services along with securing with a strong password to make sure your precious data does not get lost or stolen.

But for me, I'll sleep a bit easier at night knowing my precious data is safe and sound


I'll be updating this thread with more when I get into the nitty-gritty of the device.
may be biased towards good products - Check out my Blog
AU grumpy
Moderator
7,286 Posts
#3
3.2 years ago
Reserve1
may be biased towards good products - Check out my Blog
AU grumpy
Moderator
7,286 Posts
#4
3.2 years ago
Reserve2
may be biased towards good products - Check out my Blog
AU b0bftw
ShoutCaster
4,530 Posts
#5
3.2 years ago
NOW THAT, is a fucking review.
Good work grumpy, where is all of the ASUS stickers / merch all over the shop?
I expected ASUS stickers all over the nas

Nice work man.
[21:22] b1llz: i hear auscod is colapsing into itself without me |http://soundcloud.com/cartology |
AU Presto
Content Team
2,600 Posts
#6
3.2 years ago
My mate has one, its soooo pimp rofl
PogChamp
US Lantern
Moderator
5,475 Posts
#7
3.2 years ago
fuck yeah matt, nice work
I need to get a NAS in the new house, this could be an option
HOLGAN
AU nd_
Moderator
1,331 Posts
#8
3.2 years ago
Would buy if it was half the cost.
nd - Who is he?
0 Posts
#9
3.2 years ago
Very nice review. They look good as ^_^
AU samo
AU General Mod
2,507 Posts
#10
3.2 years ago
Quote from nd on the 24th of September 2011:
Would buy if it was half the cost.

if you have some spare hardware lying around look at FreeNAS.

Grumpy,

nice review. Which file system are you using? I assume ext3 or 4? Any support for ZFS? I will probably upgrade to a NAS when I have the cash.

Im currently using an AMD 240e based system with 8GB RAM and Dell PERC 5 running FreeNAS using ZFS. I have all of this in an Antec 300. Obviously much larger etc. but very powerful. Hardware cost less than $500.

Noise and heat isnt an issue due to it being in my walk in robe and the 300 has plenty of cooling.

Just thought id post my gear so that people on a budget can see that having a NAS/server doesnt have to be expensive. I just priced up a build with 4x 1TB hdd's.. came to $518.

If people are interested in FreeNAS and would like help with, PM me.
AU grumpy
Moderator
7,286 Posts
#11
3.2 years ago
Thanks for the feedback guys

@samo: ext4. No support for ZFS, you can see the details here

FreeNAS w/ ZFS is what most people get, I think it's awesome as well. FreeNAS allows a lot of config!
may be biased towards good products - Check out my Blog
AU mauseum
Member
5,445 Posts
#12
3.2 years ago
Excellent review, checking the temperature like a boss.
AU JOSH-
Moderator
771 Posts
#13
3.2 years ago
Nice review Grumpy! I run one of the TS-459's for my home server/media solution.

But I use these a bit in biz installs as thats when you can truly stretch their legs. Installed a few as iscsi devices for mac servers and with the new 3.5 firmware it now lets you run LDAP directory integration so you can apply the open directory users from mac osx as well. Easy way to add 5TB+ of RAID storage to mini server installs.

speaking of 3.5 firmware, shit just got real!
- Can use the nas as a syslog server for collecting logs from all network devices
- Uses ClamAv for integrated Anti-Virus on the NAS!
- host a radius server for wifi authentication
- now encrypts external backups (big for off-site usage)
- TFTP server i.e. may be able to serve as deployment server for fleets of pcs/macs
- windows live messenger notications. you can now select msn as an alert option along with email and sms. Last cool thing is that you can query the device over msn and ask it things about its status

www.qnap.com/fw_v35/features.asp
AU samo
AU General Mod
2,507 Posts
#14
3.2 years ago
Messenger Live shit is pretty awesome. Pity I dont use msn, cool feature none the less.
AU grumpy
Moderator
7,286 Posts
#15
3.2 years ago
Quote from JOSH- on the 25th of September 2011:

- Can use the nas as a syslog server for collecting logs from all network devices
- Uses ClamAv for integrated Anti-Virus on the NAS!
- host a radius server for wifi authentication
- now encrypts external backups (big for off-site usage)


How awesome are these features man ... if I was still with networking & CCNA, I would be creaming myself now.

But yeah, I saw all these features on the NAS - can't wait to get into the nitty gritty when I have some time !!
may be biased towards good products - Check out my Blog

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