QNAP TS-419P II review
The Quality Network Appliance Partner company is also known simply as QNAP Systems, Inc. The company is a relative youngster, founded in 2004, but has already carved itself a deep niche as a supplier of dependable network-storage products for home and business.
The QNAP TS-419P II presents as a subtly improved version of the similarly named QNAP TS-419P+. Currently, the only difference in the later II-suffix model is a new 2.0GHz Marvell ARM processor, up from the 1.6GHz processor of before, which itself was a step-up from the 1.2GHz chip in the original TS-419P.
Another change for the QNAP TS-419P II is in the pipeline for May 2012, to upgrade the current USB 2.0 ports to 3.0 standard.
In our experience of QNAP products, the hardware is the initial stand-out feature – solid, metal cabinets and quality engineering throughout. As its entry-level four-bay design, the QNAP TS-419P II does lose out here on the lockable bay doors found on its SMB products, but otherwise the hardware layout is consistent across the range.
With its single-core ARM processor, the QNAP TS-419P II runs efficiently and is low in heat and noise, at the expense of raw power for heavier-duty file-serving jobs.
When idling with the disks spun down, it drew just 11W of power through its external power supply block. This rose to a still-reasonable 35W with our 2TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 disks busy in benchmark tasks.
QNAP TS-419P II: Hardware Features
From the front of the QNAP TS-419P II, a two-line backlit LCD relays basic but useful information about the state of the drive. From here, you can quickly check the unit’s current IP address, read error messages, even start the setup process for a virgin system.
LEDs over each bay denote activity, or when a disk has fallen out the RAID. One front-mounted USB port allows easy transfer of data from thumbdrive to NAS (or the reverse if you prefer to configure so from the admin interface).
At the back of the QNAP TS-419P II are two more USB, plus two eSATA ports for faster connections to auxiliary hard drives. Through the admin interface, you can set backup jobs to such external disks, synchronising internal data to outboard storage.
Two gigabit ethernet ports allow the NAS to connect to two virtual network or provide failover, but there’s no option for dual-link aggregation to increase performance.
QNAP TS-419P II: Software Features
Disk configuration options for this QNAP TS-419P II four-bay unit comprise RAID 0/1/5/6/10 and JBOD linear. You can also build a RAID array with global spare disk, and bitmap volumes to assist data integrity.
The QNAP TS-419P II includes the usual file-sharing protocols of CIFS, AFP and NFS, for Windows, Mac and UNIX/Linux systems. QNAP has added a Twonky UPnP media server and iTunes server, and more recently VPN services and anti-virus scanning.
The classic QNAP interface gives plenty of control in a relatively straightforward layout
The QPKG Center is like a mini-app store where you can install additional packages such as WordPress, Squeezebox or a Transmission bit-torrent client. MyCloudNAS 1.2 is another service to allow the sharing of files stored on the NAS outside of the local network.
QNAP’s latest TurboNAS Firmware 3.6 has an interface that’s broadly unchanged for several years. Its mix of graphics and text is relatively easy to navigate, with a fixed sidebar on the left of the window for links to each module and service. Powerful features such as rsync (a UNIX file/folder synchronisation app) allow reliable backups to another QNAP or other rsync-compatible NAS drive.
Digging deeper, an administrator can check system resources in a real-time graph, or check a table of processes (top) hierarchy of running processes.
Our one small gripe is the inability to set power-down times for external connected hard disks.
QNAP TS-419P II: Performance
With the slowest processor (2.0GHz) and lowest RAM quota (512MB) of recently tested SMB-class NAS drives, we didn't expect the fastest performance, although the QNAP should prove more than capable for home and small business use.
In sequential reads, the drive could easily approach gigabit ethernet speeds for files exceeding 6MB size; and even 256kB files read at 91MBps.
Write performance is of course the casulty of underpowered NAS systems, and here the QNAP betrayed its more budget-friendly price point.
Down at 1MB level, files were copied at just 12.5MBps, rising to 30MBps for 10MB-sized data. Maximum writing speed topped out at 40.5MBps with 100MB data.
QNAP’s TS-419P II is one of its most affordable four-bay NAS drives at around £425 without disks, but it can still form the hub of a versatile and capacious online storage system.