|QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 02 May 2010|
Page 6 of 13
Closer Look: QNAP TS-259 Pro
Most SOHO network administrators don't need four or more drive bays to manage their Small Office/Home Office storage needs, unless they're doing video editing, post-production or other data intensive tasks. With 2 Terabyte drives readily available in both performance and Green versions, two bays will most likely house all the files that 2-3 people can create in the span of 3-5 years. That's the average planned life cycle for modern IT equipment, at least for primary use. It may get re-purposed, or upgraded or passed down because it still has life left in it, but in five years almost every piece of IT hardware you own now will have evolved to the point where the new capabilities and features are irresistible. Spoken like the true gear junkie that I am... When we get to "Final Thoughts", I'll let you see my five year old NAS and you can tell me whether it needs to be replaced with new-tech.
The QNAP TS-259 Pro shares the same technology inside and out as the larger TS-459 Pro, but the slim profile sets it apart and it doesn't cast such an imposing shadow. It also weighs a lot less, with only two drives bays to fill. The empty TS-259 Pro NAS unit weighs less than 4 LBS empty, and only gets up to about 7 LBS when filled with densely packed hard drives. If I had to describe it visually to someone who knew nothing about NAS devices, I'd tell them it looks like a slightly shrunken toaster with a smart, German design. Oh, and the toast slides in from the front. Clever, eh?
Two SATA drives can be installed as a single disk, RAID 0 (Disk Striping), RAID 1 (Disk Mirroring), and JBOD (Linear Disk Volume); all featuring iSCSI target services. Each drive can be formatted using FAT, NTFS, EXT3, or EXT4 file systems, and also offers AES 256-bit encryption. Our tests utilize EXT4-formatted disks without encryption. QNAP uses a steel-framed tray with black plastic latches for each drive bay on the TS-259 Pro. Each tray stands on edge, slides smoothly into the NAS and locks firmly into place. If additional security is desired, the barrel locks can secure the drives in place; they are keyed alike, and two duplicate keys are provided. The drive trays easily accommodate 2.5" drives without any additional hardware; QNAP does not recommend mixing 3.5" and 2.5" drives in the same enclosure. They do offer some small form factor units that are specifically designed for 2.5" drives, and those models are less expensive than the full size units. It's worth investigating them if handling 2.5" SATA drives is a requirement for you.
QNAP keeps the front panel clutter to a minimum on the TS-259 Pro, forgoing any LCD screens, and there are only a few buttons and indicator lights on the bezel. A single power button and USB (2.0) copy button and port are located on the lower left corner of the Turbo NAS. These buttons have status indicator lights built into them. Above these are four status lights which indicate activity for HDD1 and HDD2, LAN activity, and the presence of an eSATA device connected on the back panel.
There's a single strip of ventilation holes on the left side of the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS. This is the primary entry point for cool air to the dual-core Intel Atom processor, as the system board is located on this side of the unit. Fresh air also enters through the drive trays, passes over the HDDs and is then exhausted out through a 70mm cooling fan on the rear of the unit.
The QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS 2-Bay server is equipped with an Intel Atom-D510 dual-core processor, which is clocked to 1.66GHz, and 1GB of DDR2 system memory. This is near the top-of-the-line spec for CPU and memory in QNAP NAS servers, and it should provide the maximum performance attainable in a two-bay unit. QNAP employs a dual-redundant 512MB Disk-on-Module (DOM) flash drive to store firmware and applications on the TS-259 Pro motherboard. We'll take a peek at this unusual chip module when we take a look inside, in the next section of the review.
Twin eSATA expansion ports are available on the QNAP TS-259 Pro, which permits the connection of additional high-speed storage appliances. Dual Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 ports are provided, which can be configured in a variety of load balancing configurations, or as two separate adapters with independent MAC addresses. Each port is powered by an Intel 82574 Ethernet Controller, which offers a full set of features to take full advantage of whatever network environment the server is placed in. The IEEE 802.3ab standard (1000Base-T) interface enables Gigabit Ethernet to run over Category 5 copper cable and can be readily used in most 10/100 Ethernet networks without changing cables. The TS-259 Pro supports 4074, 7418, and 9000 bytes for MTU when Jumbo Frames are enabled. Note that Jumbo Frames are only available in a Gigabit network environment. Four Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports are positioned beside the eSATA ports, and a Kensington lock hole along the bottom edge allows administrators to tether the enclosure.
QNAP uses a Delta Electronics Power AC adapter on the TS-259 Pro. The model DPS-60PBA is rated for 12V and 5A output. To measure isolated NAS power consumption, Benchmark Reviews uses the Kill-A-Watt EZ (model P4460) power meter made by P3 International. At idle standby mode the QNAP TS-259 Pro consumed 18 watts of electricity, which is on-par with the 19W specified. With two 750GB hard drives installed, formatting the TS-259 Pro NAS drives during initial system setup drew 39W according to the Kill-A-Watt power meter.
Now that we've had a thorough tour of the exterior, let's do a tear-down and see what the insides look like. The next section covers Insider Details.