Several months ago, I started building a home server that fits my needs. As I already owned a Drobo, I knew that it was necessary to look for a type of device that could be used as a storage device with features as Time machine backup, iTunes server and that it should be able to share some files over my network. Like most photographers, I have a large database of photos and this collection takes a lot of space. Moreover, it needs to be saved securely in whatever which circumstances.
After reading that the Qnap TS-419P+ had Raid 0, 1, 5, 6, online RAID capacity expansions and some other great features, I hoped that the Qnap would be a great opportunity for my desires.
The local dealer was really enthusiast when I proposed to make a review on the Qnap TS-419P+ and he immediately proposed to pick up a model with 4 hard drives of 1,5TB which I did only a few days later.
Everything a user would need to set up a nas device for the first time, has been included by Qnap: 2 Ethernet cables, 2 bags of screws for 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch hard drives, a charger with power cable, a manual, a CD containing the software for Apple, Windows and Linux Users and as an extra, there is also a note stating that firmware upgrades are free and that the unit should be used with the latest firmware.
The front of the Qnap TS-419P+ contains led indicators for the status of the four available hard drives, as well as indicators for the lan, usb 2.0, and eSATA connections. Also on the front of the unit, there are the power button, one usb 2.0 port, and a “enter” and a “select” button for navigating the front led display.
On the back of the Qnap TS-419P+ you will find 2 eSATA ports, 2 gigabit Ethernet ports, 3 usb 2.0 ports, the power connector, a K-lock security slot and a silent 120mmfan.
The next step is to install the drives. Each drive is held in a special designed tray and supports 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives, you only need to use other screws. To remove the drive tray, you simply lift the latch up and the drive tray slides out easily.
If you want to buy this Nas, I suggest you check the Qnap website before buying new drives. This website contains a list of hard drives qualified as excellent, good or bad. The main reason a hard drive is placed into the “bad” or “don’t buy section” is simple: this nas is 24/7 online and needs hard drives designed to do so!
I decided on a RAID 5 configuration for the hard drives, giving me the ability to have one drive failure and a usable size of 4TB.
Qnap has the ability to support raid expansions as well. If you would like to upgrade the hard drives to a larger size, you can upgrade “on the fly”, meaning that you don’t have to copy all data off before installing the new drives.
Currently 2TB hard drives are the largest disks that Qnap is supporting. But this will grow each month/year, so please check frequently the Qnap website and don’t buy or install disks which aren’t accepted by Qnap!
Setup and Configuration
Qnap supports almost all operating systems. If you use Linux, Mac OS or Windows, the software manages it all. I personally installed and used the Qnap on a network of Apple machines, starting with my own Mac Pro. Later on, I installed everything also on my iMac and Macbook Pro.
On the CD, the Windows users can follow the setup via an “auto run wizard”, but for the Linux and Mac users this function is not available. So I had to manually navigate to the CD to install the required software and start the installation of the configuration utility: QFinder. After the installation, the software will auto discover your Nas, and you will have to simply click “Configure” to start setting up the Nas.
The Wizard will pop up and you only need to follow the 6 steps to configure the Nas. At the end, the software configures the TS-419P+ (in my case this took about 30 minutes). To complete the configuration, the whole configuration needs to synchronize (which took about 12 hours), but I was able to start using it in the meantime.
Design and features are important for a Nas, but speed is almost the most important specification. For other external hard drive reviews, I used “AJA System Test”, but this doesn’t work for Nas -devices. So I tested the Qnap with “Xbench”:
- Read: 89,22MB/s
- Write: 33,93MB/s
My personal Drobo 2nd generation is connected directly on my Mac Pro with a Firewire 800 cable:
- Read: 46,63MB/s
- Write: 28,85MB/s
This test proves the great speed of this device!
CONTINUE TO PART 2 ...