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QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS Server Review

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Non-Traditional NAS Test Results

In addition to measuring simple timed transfers, to determine how fast it will read and write contiguous blocks of data, Benchmark Reviews was also able to measures NAS performance using some tests that are traditionally used for internal drives. By mapping the QNAP TS-451 as a local drive, some of our favorite HDD/SSD benchmarking tools worked just fine. Just like the NASPT test suite, I only run these tests on the RAID 5 configuration, as that is the most realistic scenario for a system like this. Some NAS products don’t work too well with this type of test program; even though they may have the ability to map the NAS device to a drive letter, they’re still not treated like local drives by the Operating System. I didn’t have that problem with the TS-451 or any of the QNAP units I’ve tested, so let’s look at some results….

ATTO Disk Benchmark Results

The ATTO Disk Benchmark program is free, and offers a comprehensive set of test variables to work with. In terms of disk performance, it measures interface transfer rates at various intervals for a user-specified length and then reports read and write speeds for these spot-tests. There are some minor improvements made to the 2.46 version of the program that allow for test lengths up to 2GB, but all of our benchmarks are conducted with 256MB total length. ATTO Disk Benchmark requires that an active partition be set on the drive being tested. Please consider the results displayed by this benchmark to be basic bandwidth speed performance indicators.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_ATTO-9000MTU-RAID5-SEAG-4TB

The QNAP TS-451 turned in a solid performance on ATTO, reaching an average peak Read speed of 552.9 MB/s with four disks in RAID 5. These results are in the very top tier of NAS performance, and despite the fact that it came in third place behind the QNAP TS-870U-RP and the EonNAS 850X, the results were still amazing for a NAS device using a single GBE network interface. Every one of the other top-tier results was achieved with 10GbE network hardware. All the rest of the 4-disk GbE models have benchmark results that are mostly in the 115-120 MB/s range. I honestly don’t know how to explain these exceptional results, unless there has been a change in the QNAP software that allows the ATTO benchmark to run this test scenario asynchronously from the network interface. If true, that’s great news for performance across the whole product line. The reality is that there is almost three times more performance available from the TS-870U-RP if you fill it with all eight HDDs and bang on it with multiple high-performance servers. QNAP pulled more than 1800 MB/s in their Read tests, with multiple clients and IOMeter benchmarking software. While I can appreciate the importance of those results, the benchmarks we are presenting here show the typical performance that will be delivered to a single client. Those are equally important results, and depending on how you deploy it, one or the other will be more important to you. Let’s take a look at Write performance next.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_ATTO_Read_01

The TS-451 pulls WAY ahead of the pack again in the ATTO Write benchmark, without the help of a 10GbE network interface. The TS-451 basically equaled the performance of the TS-470, and the pair are more than 50% faster than the closest competitor. Once again, all the competing units with the old standard GbE network connection are in a close group centered around 120 MB/s. With maximum Read and Write speeds both well over 500 MB/s for the TS-451, I think we’ve entered a new realm for 4-bay NAS servers.  This is the sort of performance that used to only be available on large rack mount NAS systems, designed for enterprise use.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_ATTO_Write_01

It’s good to keep in mind that these ATTO tests are not always indicative of real-world performance, due to the sequential access mode used. In most cases, the results are going to be close to the numbers achieved in timed Read and Write tests, but these TS-451 benchmark results were a surprise. Let’s take another look at that in our next benchmark, CrystalDiskMark 3.0.

CrystalDiskMark Test Results

CrystalDiskMark 3.0 is a file transfer and operational bandwidth benchmark tool from Crystal Dew World that offers performance transfer speed results using sequential, 512KB random, and 4KB random samples. For our test results chart below, the 4KB 32-Queue Depth read and write performance was measured using a 1000MB space. CrystalDiskMark requires that an active partition be set on the drive being tested. Benchmark Reviews uses CrystalDiskMark to illustrate operational IOPS performance with multiple threads. In addition to our other tests, this benchmark allows us to determine operational bandwidth under heavy load. In this case, the TS-451 pulls excellent numbers for the 512k random tests and low numbers for the 4k random tests, which is not uncommon.  Some of the high-end NAS models redeem themselves nicely on the 4k random test with a high queue depth, and the Celeron-based TS-451 does the same here.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_Crystal-9000MTU-RAID5-SEAG2

The results in the chart below are for the first test, which is Sequential Read. Once again, the 4-disk RAID 5 configuration of the QNAP TS-451 comes out well ahead of the pack, getting beat only by its big brother, the TS-470. The single GbE result for the TS-451, 89.5 MB/s for Sequential Read, is still a great result for four bays and just a single GbE connection.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_Crystal_Read_01

The results in the chart below are for the second CrystalDiskMark 3.0 test, which is Sequential Write. This time, the 4-disk configurations are much closer together. The TS-451 still comes out close to the top, with an average Sequential Write result of 113.6 MB/s. That’s good for second place, only losing by a margin of less than 1%.  It’s not the QNAP TS-470 that beats it this time; it’s the TS-870U-RP by less than one MB/s.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_Crystal_Write_01

All in all, these are an incredible set of results for Network Attached Storage. In some cases they can pump data to and from a workstation as fast, or faster than a local SSD, driven directly from the SATA controller on the motherboard.  This is much better performance than we’ve been getting from mainstream hardware in the recent past. I’m so glad the Atom is finally retired from service, and that the replacement CPU is better in every way. The level of NAS performance that a home or small business can afford just jumped up several steps with the release of the QNAP TS-x51 series.

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3 comments

  1. Piotr Z.

    If I’ve read the screenshot of ATTO correcty, you’ve just measured your C drive on SSD 🙂 1Gbit interface is exactly that – 1Gbit = theoretical 125MB/s. With the overhead it will max out on 110-180MB/s which you got in other softwares. I would suggest fixing that part of otherwise great review 😀

  2. Bruce

    Well, that might explain the very strange results I got….. Thank you so much for pointing that out. I will redo that test and post the true results.

  3. jamief

    QNAP suggest 3 possible usb tv tuners for use with this model….namely UPMOST DVB192A HD; Hauppauge Win TV Nova_T Stick (Device: 70019;HW rev DiF4) or Asus My Cinema U3100 Mini. I mistakenly bought a QNAP USB tv Stick when I originally acquired the above unit, thinking that it would naturally be compatible. Some of the above sticks are difficult to either isolate or acquire in UK and I was wondering if anyone else with similar NAS has had any luck with any other usb stick.

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