Review: QNAP TS-439 PRO
A series of three reviews is about to go unleashed by MPC concerning the new QNAP NAS solutions that provide a solution for low, medium and high capacity needs. The new TS series sure look appealing and are fitted with power under the hood. We’ll look at these one by one and try to present you with an idea of what you are buying…
It’s quite amazing how fast new models of QNAP follow each other but that’s likely due to the demand and growth of the HD file storage scene. We seek more performance and bigger capacity, nicer designs, easier interfaces for home use, yet want all the features incorporated. We’d like it to be a “pro” device.
With the latest series of QNAP, all these requirements are met if we believe the specifications and the looks of the units. These units belong to the most powerful units in their category and look nice on top.
In this review, we will review all three new QNAP models launched early 2009 and give you an independent opinion on how we experience these NAS servers from unpacking the box to testing their performance…
We start in the middle with the TS-639 Pro followed by the TS-439. Last item we reviewed is the new flagship of QNAP, the TS-809 which can hold 8 hard drives and is powered by the massive 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
What we look forward to is exploring three new devices outside and inside, and then rule about the price being in balance with what is offered. We seek to be blown off our feet by QNAP’s new systems…
First we’d like to express our gratitude towards QNAP for providing the units in cooperation with the NL Distributor www.wifimedia.eu .
The QNAP TS-439 Pro has the same style as the other versions following the design enhancements we previously seen with the competition, although it does a better job at looking more modern.
Unpacking the device reveals the unit and power cord, 2 network cables, 16 screws for the hard drives, 2 keys to lock the hard drives in place, a CD-ROM with the necessary applications to discover the unit and a quick start guide.
The front looks nice and has everything you wish for: A small LCD panel that delivers quick basic information, but can also be used to quickly setup the NAS using a single button, network, USB, status, HDD and power LED, a quick backup button and a power button. Good thing is where none of the LEDs for the hard drives or other indicators shine too bright.
The rear end might scare you a little seeing the huge fan integrated and a second one dedicated for cooling the PSU. That’s quite some cooling going on for the hard drives and internal main board. The good news however is that these are all silent and smart fans that adjust themselves to the unit’s use, although it is audible.
There are two eSATA connections available, 4 USB ports to which you can connect external hard drives or a printer and 2 GBIT network connections that allow connecting the TS-439 Pro to two separate networks or one can opt for using load balancing or failover.
The VGA output is not for home use. There is a reset button and a Kensington lock provided in the rear.
As you can see, the options in the rear are exactly as with the TS-639 PRO, but different from the TS-809 which dropped both the eSATA ports.
Warning: As with all NAS servers, not all drives can be used. Manufacturers go through a lot of testing to provide lists of compatible hard drives. Please check this list before ordering any NAS from QNAP to ensure you pick the correct hard drives for your unit.
For our unit, we selected the 1.5TB hard drives, model Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 model ST31500341AS.
Our thanks go out to www.divxplayer.nl for providing 10 of these hard drives for our testing purposes.
Now the courtesies have been taken care of and introduction of the QNAP TS-439 PRO is completed, we can start setting up the unit and explore its abilities. Let’s get it on already and see what we find under the hood…
The QNAP TS-439 Pro is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB DDRII memory. This should suffice for the general user, although QNAP is one of the brands you can easily upgrade the memory of, but this voids warranty. Again, the specs are the same as with the bigger TS-639 PRO and I wonder if the only difference will actually be the available drive bays?
For our testing, we leave the default amount of memory in place. As stated, it can hold 4 hard drives, has iSCSI support integrated and supports volume based encryption to keep your data safe.
RAID configurations supported include RAID 0, 1 and 5. In RAID 5 you can assign a drive as hot spare and if you rather not have any RAID configured, there’s JBOD.
A little extra on the fans, these are “ultra silent” so the most noise in operation will come from the rattling hard drives inside. From 2 meters away from the unit, I have trouble hearing the fans operate unless the room is silent. I would say ultra silent is still somewhat different but the noise is acceptable.
The LED system in front offers problem indication using colors, which are explained in the manual backed up by a “beep” system to indicate what the unit is doing (Power on ready, shutdown, volume warnings etc…)
Now we will start setting up the unit and see how easy it is using the display…