QNAP TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS

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Product: QNAP TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS
Provided By: QNAP

Price: Find Lowest Price Online

 

Introduction:

It's been a while since we have reviewed any type of a Network Attached Storage device - and the last was the Patriot Valkyrie.  The Valkyrie is priced at less than $150 and offers a Gigabit connection, some USB ports and is a decent product overall. Today we are looking at a product from QNAP that is also a NAS, but can't really be compared as it is so much more than a Network Attached Storage Box.  We've got the TS-459 Pro+ on our bench and this box is geared toward an office environment or even enterprise environment.  The TS-459 Pro+ is a NAS, full backup server, download server, media server, iTunes server, web server, MySQL server, and a whole lot more.  If we explored all of the options and features of this box, we'd be here for at least 20 pages, so I'll try and keep things focused to more of a mainstream/enthusiast level.

One thing to keep in mind is that this box can set you back almost $1000, so right off the bat, I'm sure that many of you just lost interest.  Please keep reading though as many of these features and the performance is also available in smaller NAS units from QNAP as well.  We have the four-bay device that is geared to provide excellent RAID 0, 1, 5 or 6 arrays.  While this is software RAID, the dual-core Atom 1.8GHz processor should keep things running smooth.  Let's take a look before we jump in.

 

 

As you can see by the brown box with a label, the QNAP TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS isn't geared for a retail shelf.  Customers looking for a NAS of this caliber know what they want and likely won't be suckered into flashy packaging anyhow.  The contents are very well padded and these sample units from QNAP come equipped with drives - although units purchased through retail channels do not.  Please keep that in mind when configuring one of these units.

 QNAP Bundle
Bundle

 

The bundle with the TS-459 Pro+ includes a pair of Ethernet cables, a set of keys, extra screws, printed instructions as well as a software CD with a few utilities.

 

First Look:

The images below show the first look at the QNAP TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS.  It's about as large as a Shuttle PC or a toaster.  It is quite heavy when loaded up with drives.  The front contains four drive bays as well as a USB port/copy button, power button, and a display with a couple of buttons for navigation.  This display shows system status and error messages should they arise.

Front Profile
Front Profile
Profile
Front Angle

 

To get a better idea of what the QNAP is all about, take a look at this promo video they posted on their page.

 

The TS-459 Pro+ is a very nice looking piece of hardware and we'll jump into the basic hardware specs on the next page before we take a closer look at this device.


Hardware Specs:

As with most of our reviews, we've copy and pasted the specifications from the manufacturer's site below to make it easier for you to get an idea of what we've got our hands on.  For full information, please check out the product page for all of the details.  That being said, check out the hardware specs below.


 

CPU Intel® Atom™ 1.8GHz Dual-core Processor
DRAM 1GB RAM
Flash Memory 512MB DOM
HDD 2.5/ 3.5" SATA x4
NOTE:
  1. The system is shipped without HDD.
  2. For the HDD compatibility list, please visit http://www.qnap.com/pro_compatibility.asp
HDD Tray 4 x Hot-swappable and lockable tray
LAN Port 2 x Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port
LED Indicators Status, LAN, USB, eSATA, Power, HDD 1, HDD 2, HDD 3, HDD 4
USB 5 x USB 2.0 port (Front: 1; Back: 4)
Support USB printer, pen drive, USB hub, and USB UPS etc.
eSATA 2 x eSATA port (Back)
Buttons System: Power button, USB One-Touch-Backup Button, Reset button
LCD panel Mono-LCD display with backlight
Enter button, Select button for configuration
Alarm Buzzer System warning
Form Factor Tower
Dimensions 177 (H) x 180 (W) x 235 (D) mm
6.97 (H) x 7.09 (W) x 9.25 (D) inch
Weight Net weight: 3.65 kg (8.04 lbs)
Gross weight: 4.65 kg (10.24 lbs)
Sound Level (dB) w/o HDD installed: 34.7 dB
Stand by: 34.1 dB
In operation: 36.8 dB
(with 4 x 500GB HDD installed)
Power Consumption (W) Sleep mode: 19W
In Operation: 35W
Power-off (in WOL mode): 1W
(with 4 x 500GB HDD installed)
Temperature 0~40˚C
Humidity 0~95% R.H.
Power Supply Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz, Output: 250W
Secure Design K-lock security slot for theft prevention
VGA Reserved VGA interface for maintenance
Fan 1 x quiet cooling fan (9 cm, 12V DC)

 

 

 

 

Now that you've seen the hardware specs, we'll take a closer look at this box before we plug it in and fire things up.

 

Closer Look:

As we take a closer look at the TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS, we see that they mean business when they built this device.  It's certainly more than a basic box.  it comes with a total of five USB ports - one on the front and four on the back.  These can be used for many things including printers, extra storage, flash storage or even a UPS.  That's right the TS-459 Pro can be configured to shut down when plugged into a UPS - what's more, it can actually send a signal to shut down other QNAP products that also exist on the LAN.  Dang!

Front
Front Close
Rear
Rear Close

 

You'll notice as we head on over to the rear of the unit that there are two fans.  The small fan at the top is to cool down the power supply inside the unit.  You have to keep in mind that this is a Linux-based computer that runs a dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and a bunch of drives.  This takes some power and requires an actively cooled PSU in order to provide stability.  The second fan is for cooling the drives and doesn't seem to spin up much past 1500 RPM and remains really quiet.  The entire unit is much quieter than my Vantec eSATA dual-bay enclosure.

There are a pair of eSATA ports as well as Gigabit Ethernet ports that should provide extra storage capacity as well as great connectivity and performance - if this unit can actually perform like it claims instead of like a Valkyrie or DNS-323 box.

 

Software Installation / Setup:

The QNAP TS-459 Pro+ comes with some software on the CD that helps you find the box in order to connect and configure it.  It comes with NetBak Replicator, QNAP Finder, QGet as well as a full manual, and links to online support. 

Autorun
Autorun Menu
Software Installation
Software Installation

 

If you have a DHCP network setup and you're router blocks UPnP connections, you'll need to use the QNAP Finder to locate the device.  Once you've got the IP, you should be good to go.

Found 
Found!

 

On the next page, we'll look at connecting to the QNAP TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS and setup the device as well as start to explore some of the features and options.


 

Main Setup:

Now that we've used the QNAP Finder to actually find the TS-459 Pro+, we can load up a web page and log in with the default user name and password.  Once we are logged in, we can head on into once of the many options including Administation, Web Server, Multimedia Station, Download Station, Web File Manager, Customer Service, QNAP Wiki or the QNAP Forum.  The main screen is a very slick looking page that works as smooth as it looks.  It's a nice change from a few text links and seems to work well across Firefox, IE and Chrome.

Main Web Setup

 

As we continue on through the review, we have a lot of screenshots from the web interface and we'll leave most of them thumb-nailed to save space.  We'll talk about a few interesting features though as we continue and won't spend a lot of time on each of these settings.  We want to get through this so we can see how fast this NAS is and how it works when pounded from a bunch of machines on a fast network.


There are so many settings and features to cover on this Turbo NAS that we'll briefly cover them below - starting with the System Administration tab below.

System Administration

 

This Administration tab gives you quick access to General Settings, Network, Hardware Security, Notifications, Power Management, and a lot more.  We're going to take a closer look and talk about the Network, Notification and Network Recycle Bin below.

Network Config
Network Configuration
Notification
Notification Setup
Network Recycle Bin
Network Recycle Bin

 

Normally, Network setup on a NAS involves choosing static or DHCP IP address acquisition and maybe turning a DHCP server on or off.  With two Gigabit Ethernet ports, there is all of this as well as DDNS and IPV6 networking setup as well.  Also, the TS-459 Pro+ has the ability to do something pretty cool with it's dual Ethernet ports - you can balance the load between the two (adaptive or adaptive transmit), set them up as an active backup (fail over) or even Balance (Round-Robin) them.  We set them to Balance and experienced total network throughput over 1.7Gb/s into and out of this device.  It was a far cry above and beyond the 130Mb/s we have noticed with other cheap NAS boxes.

As far as notification setup goes, you can set up the NAS to email you as well as send text messages to your phone when system event occur.  SMS is a nice touch as it is much easier to keep track of your NAS by receiving a message on drive failure, quota and more.  

Finally, the TS-459 Pro+ has a network recycle bin that can be configured.  While some of you may think that this is no big deal, keep in mind that traditionally when you delete something off of a network share it is permanently deleted.  The same is not true with the TS-459.  It has a full-featured recycle bin that can be used to recover and restore deleted files if required.

 

Moving on to Disk Management we have a quick peek at what is capable in this box.  You can manage drives, RAID arrays, view and test HDD SMART, encrypt and check on a file system as well as setup iSCSI devices and a virtual disk.  Most of the settings here are pretty explanatory so we'll only include a couple of picture before we move on.

Disk Management
Disk Management
Volume Management
Volume Management

 

On the next page, we'll continue with some setup and feature exploration before we jump into testing the hardware.


 

Feature Exploration Continued:

As we continue to explore the features and settings of the TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS, we come to the Access Rights tab.  This is pretty standard for many NAS units as it allows you to create users, user groups, share particular folders as well as set quotas for users.  While this may not seem like a big deal in a really small office, if you're using this device as a file storage server for 20+ people and you have four 1TB drives in RAID 5, you'll have about 3TB of space available.  That translates to a mere 140GB per user with allowance for some extra space for the media server, web server or even FTP server.  If you are doing large backups or have a lot of media stored on the server, space can disappear very quickly.  A quota is a good idea.

Access Rights
Access Rights
Network Services
Network Services

 

Network services on this unit include the typical Microsoft Networking, NFS Service as well as FTP service.  Other services included that aren't as common are Apple Networking, Telnet/SSH, SNMP Settings, Web Server and Network Service Discovery.  The Web Server feature is pretty slick as it allows virtual host support - allowing you to host multiple domains on the box by simply clicking and adding a new virtual host.  You can also specify port number on the Web Server to allow internal web sites, or even to slip by the Port 80 restriction of your ISP.

 

Applications:

It's not normal that you see many applications available on a NAS box but the TS-459 Pro+ has plenty.  It comes with a multimedia station, download station (supports BitTorret, FTP, HTTP downloads) as well as a Surveillance Station (storage), iTunes Service, UPnP Media server, MySQL server, and more.  If you want more than is offered out of the box, you can go get more applications at the QNAP site or directly through the interface.  Other applications that can be installed simply are PS3 Media Server, Java Runtime Environment, PHPMyAdmin, Wordpress, Joomla and a lot more.  All of these can simply run off of the TS-459 Pro+.  One word sums up this feature set - amazing.

Applications
Applications
MySQL Server
MySQL Server
QPKG Plugins
QPKG Plugins

 

The MySQL setup can be setup for local use as well as used for remote applications as well.  You could host the server on one QNAP device and access it through website on another remote server or load balance at a local location as well.

 

USB & eSATA Action:

With five USB 2.0 ports as well as a pair of eSATA 2.0 ports, not only is this box a powerhouse of storage and functionality in itself, it can also control and manage other connected devices as well.  You can fill up all of your USB ports with storage devices or mix and match a UPS and a printer into the mix to keep things interesting.  With four of the USB ports at the rear of the box, the front USB port will likely be used more for backing up a USB flash drive and the TS-459 Pro+ is happy to oblige.  It even has a dedicated "Copy" button so that you can quickly and easily copy your flash drive to the storage device - with the default location in the "USB" directory of the NAS marked with the days date.  The feature can also be disabled if you don't want this functionality.

External Storage
External Storage
UPS Settings
UPS Settings
USB Copy
USB Copy

 

Finally, if you want everything on the TS-459 Pro+ - or another NAS from the same series - mirrored to a remote location, QNAP has you covered with their Remote Replication feature as well.

 

I'm very pleased that they use the rsync application as well as Amazon S3 for multi-platform compatibility.  This should make it useful for a large number of users.  

 

System Info, Services and More:

As we keep on running though the QNAP TS-459 Pro+, we'd be remiss if we didn't look at some of the hardware, software and processes in action.  As you can see, I was able to max out the CPU on the NAS.  In order to max out the CPU, I had to do a lot more than transfer files to and from seven concurrent machines.   I hosted two different sites while pulling media from the iTunes server as well as through the Android app on my phone.  Even with everything running and data flowing freely, I was sitting around 40% CPU load and the system remained very responsive.  Everything ground to a halt however when I trans-coded a media file from WMV to FLV for remote playback.

 

While there is "only" 1GB of RAM installed, even with everything running with a pretty decent load, the memory usage is very low - this ain't no Windows box!  Temperatures are very decent and the fan speed rarely gets about the ~1500rpm range and stays very quiet.


System Services
System Services
Process View
Process View

 

You can see that the ffmpeg process is the hog.  I believe that QNAP could do a little more quality control and limit the amount of CPU that this uses, or at least work on better prioritizing.   During trans-coding, the TS-459 Pro+ felt more like an aging D-Link DNS-323 - not a $1000 piece of hardware.

 

As stated above, the memory usage stayed quite low and below shows a CPU usage diagram of some very heavy usage.  At the time the CPU Usage screenshot was taken, I was pounding the QNAP TS-459 Pro+ with everything I could from about 7 machines.  Four of these contain SSDs, so the overall bandwidth and packet prioritizing was pretty impressive. 

Memory Usage
Memory Usage
CPU Usage
CPU Usage

 

Even without any network teaming, load balancing or fail-over enabled, the network performance from this box is just plain crazy.  When transferring files from the RAID 5 array to a PC with an SSD, we achieve transfer speeds of a full Gigabit on a network connection.  If "Trunking" were enabled, we'd expect to see total bandwidth in and out of the box at almost 2Gbps.  In fact, I clocked a bunch of concurrent downloads on different machines and I figured it managed close to 1.7Gbps.  That is not bad at all and shows just how powerful this box really is.

 

 

 

On the last page, we'll take a look at the built-in Web File Manager as well as the Download Station and the Media Center before we wrap things up.


General Usage:

The TS-459 Pro+ comes fully equipped as a web server and one item that is also included for remote file management is a Web File Server.  While this may not seem like a handy item, I assure you the benefits are incredible - even on a local network.  If you have a large number of media files that you need to move from one folder to another, moving them through a network browser would essentially move them to your computer and back to the device - taking quite a while.  With the Web File Manager, files are transferred internally on the device making moving and copying large numbers of files very, very fast on the TS-459 Pro+.  I used this several times when moving files to and from proper directories for the Media Center application.

Web File Manager
Web File Manager
Download Station
Download Station
Media Center
Media Center

 

The Download Station is a nice touch as it lets you add BitTorrent files or FTP and HTTP URLs to a download queue and download files without your computer running.  What makes this even handier, is that you can also use their application "QGET" and from your PC, add files to be downloaded - without opening a web browser.  The QGET application is much more simple and easier to use than a web interface.

The Media Center is a bit of a mixed bag.  The idea is great and in fact it works very well, but organization is a little clunky.  While it does look for music in sub directories, it requires a little footwork and file copying to make sure you can find your music and movies from a remote browser or even your iPhone or Android device over a 3G network.  Once it is setup properly this feature is very slick - albeit a little buggy on the Android platform.
Editors Note: (Version 1.0 was released just post testing the main app functions.  It seems to have fixed several issues, but extensive testing has not been done.)

QMobile picture 1

If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch or Android device, head on over and get your app over here.  You can use it on a demo server from QNAP and see how well it works.  Of course you will need a good data connection on your phone and an even better data plan.  In a couple of days I consumed over 2GB of my 7GB data plan on my Nexus One watching some movies.  The *.MP4 movies played back flawlessly and there was no lagging/buffering once the initial 10-30 second loading of the video was complete.  I could write an entire review regarding QMobile itself, but it's suffice to say, that the Android version is still in beta and on my phone it did crash occasionally.  I do have hope though that this will be smoothed out and become a must-have app for anyone with a QNAP NAS that supports it.

 

Final Thoughts:

The TS-459 Pro+ Turbo NAS is one of the most robust NAS devices on the market.  It combines two Gigabit Ethernet ports with five USB2.0 ports and a pair of eSATA ports to provide extra connectivity.  Not only can it handle extra storage devices, it offers one-touch backup to USB devices as well.  In addition to backup, the USB ports can be used for printer sharing as well as UPS management.  When you consider the benefit of a RAID 5 array inside this box, it becomes very appealing.  Although the RAID is software-based, it is very speed thanks to an x86 Intel Atom 1.8GHz Dual-Core (+ Hyperthreading) CPU inside the box.  For everything other that video trans-coding, the TS-459 Pro+ absolutely flew.

It comes fully equipped to handle tons of different tasks but you can always add more if you're not satisfied.  Installing QPKG files is simple and fast and gives you greater flexibility to quickly install Wordpress, Joomla and more at the click of a button onto any of the virtual hosts you've set up.

In the end, the TS-459 Pro+ is an amazing piece of hardware.  Also amazing is the price tag.  It retails for around $1000.  Ouch.  This is no mere Network Attached Storage box for your home.  It is listed on the QNAP site under the SMB & Corporate NAS, and once you discover what it is capable of - and the speed at which it can get it done - you begin to see why it is so expensive.  Even with the large price tag (without drives), the QNAP TS-459 Pro+ offers some great value to the customer it is designed for.  It is designed for a corporate office where data management, redundant backup, and media sharing are a priority.  The TS-459 Pro+ delivers on its promises, and throws in some nice QMobile streaming to your favorite iOS or Android device to boot.

It's hard to rate this product in our traditional BCCHardware rating, but we'll give it a try below.  First the Pros and Cons.

Pros:

  • Lots of connectivity options (USB/eSATA)
  • Supports JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and Single Disk Volumes
  • Servers: MySQL, FTP, HTTP, VMWare, Printer, iTunes, BitTorrent, UPnP Media Server, and more through Plugins
  • Network Teaming/Trunking provides insane throughput in a NAS
  • Mobile Streaming Server is a nice touch
  • Backup: External Drive, USB One-Touch, RSync, Time Machine
  • Display on unit lets you see network settings and more
  • Encrypted File System

 

Cons:

  • Not cheap
  • Very slow to start up / shut down

 

 BCCRating

 Gold

 

At the end of the day, I can highly recommend this box to a person that needs more than just a standard NAS.  This thing is so stinking fast that on a good network, it can almost keep up to an eSATA device plugged directly into a machine.  The downside is that it is expensive.  In truth, you could build a linux-based server more powerful with the same RAID 5 security for less money.  The truth is that a custom-built box wouldn't be so polished and work this slick out of the box.  It would require a bunch of custom setup in order to make it this slick.  I'd be happy to pay QNAP for one of these myself.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.