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QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS Server Review

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QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS Server Conclusion

Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”  While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete.  Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusions, as they represent our product rating for the sample received which may differ from retail versions.

The performance of the QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS server was very impressive, especially when the GbE networking bottleneck was bypassed, like in the ATTO Disk Benchmark. The results of 553 MB/s in Read mode and 514 MB/s in Write mode are a first for any NAS without a 10GbE interface to light up the test bench. Those are disk access speeds that are in line with the best SSD products out there, and the TS-451 did it with 5900 RPM NAS drives that are a tad slower than the latest generation of high performance HDDs. Timed file transfers were network-limited, but still at the very top of the pack at 122 MB/s Read and 116 MB/s Write in RAID 5, with all four disks in service. The Intel Celeron J1800 CPU makes a huge difference here.  The Celeron dual-core member of the 22nm Silvermont family, architected as a System-On-A-Chip (SOC) with the peripheral interfaces like USB and SATA built right into the die, leapfrogs the performance of any device built on the old Intel Atom platform. This really puts the TS-451 Turbo NAS on solid footing that can hold its own in almost any home or SOHO environment.

The small, four-bay form factor of the QNAP TS-451 is not the sort of thing you would expect to see in a data center, but many SMBs operate out of more mundane environments. Remote or branch offices are also a likely application for a smaller device like this. Remember that there are six and eight bay versions in this series, that have the same features and performance, but with more capacity. The front panel has a new face, bright and modern, and very easy on the eyes if you have it out in the open. Status LEDs for System Status, USB, LAN, and activity on each HDD are located on a silver strip along the left side. The USB 3.0 port, quick backup button and the power switch are also there, at the bottom. There is no front door, or cover on the front of the unit, but the exposed drive trays are nicely finished and blend well with the remainder of the front panel. There are no ventilation grill patterns to disrupt the front surface, and all the plastic parts are well matched in terms of color and texture.

QNAP_TS-451_Turbo_NAS_Server_R_Front_34_Low

The construction quality of the QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS is a case study in how to maintain performance and cut costs by taking advantage of modern production methods and practices. The new chassis design uses all the well-proven tricks and techniques for reducing cost and complexity, that are the stock and trade of the mechanical engineering profession. The old chassis design was good, and it served its purpose well, but time moves on and so does the competition. This is still a device that is designed to run 24/7/365 with NO issues, ever. QNAP has an enviable reputation for quality and reliability, both very important qualities for a NAS server, and the TS-451 design and construction show no sign of backing away from that objective.

The QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS network storage server is clearly aimed at family and SOHO applications. There are dozens of models in the QNAP storage product line, and this one has been tailored for a specific application. The new virtualization features built into the QTS 4.1 operating system and the refinement of the transcoding capabilities go a long way towards focusing on the video content that is such a big part of family life today. The addition of an IR receiver on the front panel makes the multimedia features easier to access, in case you want to hook the TS-451 directly up to a hi-res screen. The breakout move, of putting the new Celeron-class 22nm CPU in a small NAS benefits all users, and it’s a welcome relief from all the Atom-based models. The large number of apps that are available and the cloud services that extend the reach of NAS storage, all contribute to a versatile system that does more than you could ever imagine a NAS server was intended to do. Some of the high-end routers are attempting to edge their way into this solution space, but for the moment the prize for the most functionality in one small net-centric box goes to the QNAP Turbo NAS server family.

The TS-451 is aimed at the home user, and pricing is more of an issue for this customer base than it is for the business customer. The good news is that the TS-451 is available now for $456.99 (B&HNewegg), which is a whole lot cheaper than a comparably equipped TS-470. In a home environment, these two are likely to perform about the same, so the savings are real and substantial. I’m not immune to sticker shock and I know there are cheaper devices out there, but QNAP offers some of the best software and support available in this market, and they are not in a race to the bottom. If you think enterprise storage is the right place to shave a few dollars, more power to you. I know a home user isn’t going to suffer the same consequences from having a lax data management system in place as a typical business would, but nobody wants to lose all their financial records, let’s say three weeks before their taxes are due. Six and eight bay models are available for those that need additional capacity, but I’m guessing the 4-bay version is just right for most home users and SOHO applications, what with 3 and 4TB NAS-spec drives readily available at reasonable prices.

Benchmark Reviews has enjoyed testing all of these network storage solutions, and with the wide range of products on offer from them, anyone in need of a NAS server can find one to fit their current and future needs. The biggest problem is choosing one; that’s why we go into so much detail in our reviews, to help you figure out what level of performance and features is right for you. The TS-451 Turbo NAS Server is just about perfect for the enthusiast at home, and it looks like a decent fit for the SOHO market as well. If you’re planning on a major upgrade to the networking infrastructure in the near future, you may want to step up to the QNAP TS-470 in order to maximize the overall performance over the lifecycle of the system. If not, the TS-451 is the better choice.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

553 / 513 MBps best read/write performance with ATTO
+ Consistently achieves max performance for GbE interface
+ System software is SOTA and continually updated
+ Virtualization and transcoding services on NAS server
+ Support Apps available for multiple cloud services
+ Lower price, better performance with new platform
+ iSCSI certified for several virtualization platforms
+ Storage pools in a Linux environment
+ 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports with teaming and failover
+ Two USB 3.0 ports – one in front and one on rear panel
+ High quality construction

Cons:

–  I wish all GbE interfaces could be replaced overnight with 10GbE
–  Only one CPU core available for virtualization tasks
–  Non-business users will compare to low-end consumer devices (<<$$$)
–  Substantial disassembly required to upgrade RAM capacity

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.25
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 9.25

Final Score: 9.4 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: What environment would use use a network storage server in?

NewEgg.com

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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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