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Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage Server
QNAP v3.4 New Features
Closer Look: QNAP TS-419P II
Insider Details: QNAP TS-419P II
QNAP Turbo NAS Features
QNAP TS-419P II NAS Hardware
QNAP TS-419P II Software
QPKG Center Software Expansion
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
RAID 5 Test Results
NAS System Overhead Measurements
NAS Server Final Thoughts
QNAP TS-419P II Conclusion

Closer Look: QNAP TS-419P II Turbo NAS Server

The QNAP TS-419P II has more capacity than most NAS units in the market. Four bays can theoretically hold 12TB of data, in JBOD mode with 3TB drives installed in each bay. Very few people with anywhere near that much data are going to want to live without it for any length of time, so some sort of RAID configuration is undoubtedly called for. With four active drive bays, the main choices are going to be RAID 5, 6, or 10, depending on what type of data is primarily stored on the device. Despite its popularity, RAID 5 suffers from severe write performance limitations in large multi-user databases. Most people running that type of application are going to have direct-attached storage; it's really a necessity for that type of work. RAID 10 eliminates this problem, at the expense of capacity, but for some uses it's a much better solution. RAID 6 offers some additional redundancy, allowing for continued operation even with two simultaneous drive failures, with no additional performance hit and only one additional drive. This option is very popular because if one individual drive fails in a RAID 5 implementation, the array instantly starts operating as a RAID 0 configuration, which has NO redundancy. It stays in that vulnerable state until the array is rebuilt, which is a slow process that can take hours to complete.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Front_Welcome.jpg

The bottom line with any high performance storage solution is that the number of drive spindles in play is more important than almost any other factor, assuming that everything else is based on reasonably modern technology. When you combine the higher level of performance with the greater flexibility for online RAID capacity expansion & online RAID level migration, the additional cost of the extra drive bays looks like a bargain instead of conspicuous consumption. What initially looks like overkill in a NAS system might just be the very thing that saves the day some years down the road. With 2 Terabyte drives both affordable and readily available in performance and Green versions, four bays will most likely house all the files that 2-3 people can create in the span of 3-5 years. If you're a videographer, then there is never going to be enough space for all your files, and you are cursed with perpetual acquisition of more and bigger HDDs, for the rest of your life. It's still better than stacking cartons and cartons of Super-8 reels in the corner....

The QNAP TS-419P II shares the same basic technology platform as all the new TS-x19P II models, but the chunky profile sets it apart from the smaller units. It also weighs a bit more, especially with four drives bays filled with spinning platters. The empty TS-419P II unit weighs about 6.6 lbs, and adding four 2 TB hard drives piles on approximately 7 lbs to that. At 13+ pounds, it's never going to pass for a portable device, but it's still easier to pick up and move around than any PC case that has four external HDD bays. Don't forget, with a traditional storage server you would also need one more internal bay for the HDD or SSD with the operating system on it. If I had to describe the Turbo NAS visually to someone who knew nothing about NAS devices, I'd tell them it looks like a big, restaurant toaster with a smart, German design.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Left_Front_34_01.jpg

Multiple SATA 3Gb/s drives can be installed as: a single disk, RAID 0 (Disk Striping), RAID 1 (Disk Mirroring), RAID 5 (Block-level striping with distributed parity), RAID 6 (Block-level striping with double distributed parity), RAID 10 (AKA RAID 1+0, a stripe of mirrors), and JBOD (Linear Disk Volume). Each drive can be formatted with FAT, NTFS, EXT3, or EXT4 file systems. The Marvell-based NAS units (any product with a TS-x1x type model number) do not offer the additional option of AES 256-bit encryption. Even the Intel Atom CPUs on the pricier QNAP systems struggle with this extra processing chore, since they don't have the recent AES-NI additions to the Intel64 instruction set. You need the full-up Westmere architecture to get that capability, and most peoples' experiences using on-the-fly data encryption without it have been frustratingly slow. 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-419P II, which is a common part across a large part of the product line. Each tray stands on edge, slides smoothly into the NAS and locks firmly into place. Barrel locks are not included to secure the drives in place on the TS-x19 series, which may or may not be an issue for you (think of mechanically inclined, inquisitive children before you answer...). The drive trays from the higher-end units with integral locks are compatible, if you want to mix and match. The drive trays easily accommodate 2.5" drives without any additional hardware; just use the correct mounting holes. QNAP does not recommend mixing 3.5" and 2.5" drives in the same enclosure, and they do offer some small form factor units that are specifically designed for 2.5" drives. Those models are also less expensive than the full size units, so it's worth investigating them if handling 2.5" SATA drives is a requirement for you. There are some definite advantages to using that form factor in specific cases, as I outlined in my review of the Patriot Convoy 425XL SAS/SATA RAID Enclosure.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Drive_Tray_01.jpg

With the additional space available on the larger chassis, QNAP adds a few extra features on the front face of the 4-bay TS-419P II model, with an LCD screen and indicator lights on the bezel above each drive bay. A single power button and USB 2.0 "COPY" button and port are located on the lower left corner of the Turbo NAS. The older models had status indicator lights built into the buttons; on the newer TS-xxxP II versions, all the status lights are grouped together just above the first two drive bays. There are four status lights which indicate System Status, LAN activity, USB activity, and the presence of an eSATA device connected on the back panel. Directly above each drive bay, behind a solid strip of acrylic are indicators with bi-color LEDs to show the status of each HDD. Red means the system is checking the drive bay or there is an error reading or writing to the drive, green means the drive is present and OK, flashing green means the drive is being accessed.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Power_Copy_Buttons.jpg

There's a single strip of ventilation holes on the left side of the QNAP TS-419P II Turbo NAS. This is the primary entry point for cool air to the system CPU, 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 the single 90mm cooling fan on the rear of the unit. The fan is a PWM type, and is controlled by the motherboard, in order to keep things cool when needed and quiet the rest of the time. I didn't pay much attention to the fan noise, as it was never really noticeable during my daily use. Of course, I do live in a somewhat noisy urban environment, so if you have to have absolute quiet all the time you should probably load your NAS up with SSDs or 2.5" notebook drives, which run both cooler and quieter. Take a look at the QNAP SS-439 Pro, if you go down that road, as it's optimized for the smaller drives.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Left_Rear_34_01.jpg

The QNAP TS-419P II Turbo NAS server is equipped with a Marvell 88F6282 processor, which houses an ARM®v5TE Single Core CPU running at 2.0 GHz, with a 256KB L2 Cache. This is a 25% increase in CPU clock speed from the previous model, the TS-419P+, and this upgrade is available in all the TS-x19P II models that were released recently. The same basic integrated controller is available from Marvell in 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 GHz versions, so this was probably a straightforward upgrade path for QNAP, but you never know... Our previous tests showed a clear performance advantage for the models which are based on the Intel Atom, so I'm interested to see how well this bump in clock speed improves performance for the Marvell units. There are two-bay units in the larger product line with Intel ATOM dual-core CPUs, and they clearly have the computing power to vanquish any potential processing bottlenecks. In the 8 and 12-bay units at the top of the product line the system CPU gets a big bump, to Intel Core i3 Dual Core (3.30 GHz) and Intel Xeon Quad Core (3.10 GHz), giving us a solid clue to the actual computing requirements for a full featured, high performance NAS. Those inexpensive, shiny boxes that use port replication hardware fall flat on their faces when asked to pull anything more than light duty. QNAP employs a 16MB Flash Module to store firmware and applications on the TS-419P II motherboard. This acts like the system drive, yet it takes up very little space and uses almost no power. There's no built-in backup module in case of data corruption, like the TS-x59 units have, so be extra careful during firmware upgrades.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Rear_Panel_01.jpg

Looking at the back panel of the TS-419P II, you can see most of the hardwired I/O points. Starting at the top is the system Reset button, recessed inside the case to prevent accidental actuation. Two levels of reset capability are provided, Basic System Reset (hold for 3 sec), and Advanced System Reset (hold for 10 sec). Next in line, there are two eSATA ports, for use as capacity expansion or as backup capability. I know some of you are saying, "The NAS IS my backup." Sorry, but that's only half true; you really don't have a backup if you don't have off-site storage, and these eSATA ports can help facilitate that. Directly below, are two Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 ports provided, powered by twin Marvell 88E1318 Ethernet Controller ICs, which offers a full set of networking features. The TS-419P II NAS 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. Below the network ports are three Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports. It's not completely obvious (unless you were already looking for the blue USB connector hardware), but USB 3.0 has not trickled down to the lower level QNAP servers. It's unfortunate, because USB 2.0 is such a huge bottleneck when trying to use inexpensive portable drives for making copies of your data. I always like to have a full set of backups stored at an alternate location, and USB makes that fast, easy, and cheap. A 12 VDC power input is the last rear panel connector poking out from the internal PCB, and a Kensington lock hole sits along the bottom edge.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Front_with_Trays.jpg

The drives get installed in removable drive trays, which some people call drive caddies, but I prefer the term "tray". The four bottom mounting holes on each HDD are utilized, and that's the only option. Because the tray and drive need to solidly engage the SATA connectors on the backplane, there is no realistic way to include shock mounting for the drives. Of course, in a couple of years someone like Lian Li will do just that, and prove me wrong.... The tray is made from carbon steel and then plated for corrosion resistance. The latching mechanism is a combination of steel and plastic, and each tray is labeled with the slot number. They are all physically identical and you can mix and match them all you want, until you build a drive array and then you had better remember which one goes where, if you ever take them out. Seriously, keep them in the same, sequential order they ship in - creativity and imagination are completely out of place in this one instance.

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.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage ServerRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-01 05:17
Excellent article which will require me to read it a second time to gain all the information presented! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article.

The TS-419P II is a well designed software solution with a wealth of functionality. The case is well made and looks great but uses yesterday's processing hardware. Why USB V3.0, Dual CPU and SATA6 are missing is a turn off for me. SATA6 is probably of little value but it's the industry trend with disk drives and may prove useful in the future. Intel hardware is a plus for me.
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# There's so much there.....Bruce 2011-12-02 07:43
Funny, you should mention having to read it twice. There's so much functionality built into these devices that sometimes I feel like I'm writing two reviews. LOL

USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s are all available on the more high-end QNAP servers. I don't know of any Dual CPU units made by anyone, but if you mean dual-CORE, then that's also available on the pricier units. Most of the "Pro" models have the Dual-Core Intel® Atom? (1.80 GHz) in them. The really hardcore models have a Quad Core Intel Xeon E3-1225 at 3.1GHz Processor or a Dual Core Intel® Core? i3-2120 Processor at 3.3 GHz.
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# Best media NASKeith 2011-12-09 20:34
I have been reading a lot of reviews on Home servers/NAS but really haven't seen any reviewers basically make their recommendations based on useage situation. For example I'm looking to build or buy a homer server that can serve up my media and DVR recordings throughout the house and when I'm on the road. Also it'll be used for photo, video and general back ups.

The software on this unit looks great and has a lot of functionality and great access ability.

For the average home user with a decent amount of tech knowledge, working within a win7 environment at home but an iPhone/iPad on the road what would be better; windows home server or a product like this? And in your opinion would building a box myself with better parts( processor, memory) bet the better option?
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# RE: Best media NASRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-11 08:56
Bruce,

Yes, I meant dual core, I know better. I would be happy with an Intel 2120, but never an Atom anything.

Disk drives sure jumped in price due to unfortunate weather!


Keith,

If the sofware was offered separately, the answer would be easy. I'm in much the same position as you. I don't like the processing capability until the price is more than I want to spend.
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# Future of Windows Home ServerBruce 2011-12-11 13:13
I'm sure someone will jump in and tell us how much you can do with tWindows Server (...one of the four versions they sell...), but IMHO, there's a whole lot more dvelopment going on in the NAS world than there is for Windows server. There is a good amount of competition in this sector, and it's driving more and more features into the NAS software packages. Windows server has been pretty much moribound in the same time frame. So, today I like the features that QNAP has to offer, and I suspect that in the near future this trend will accelerate.
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# RE: Future of Windows Home ServerRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-11 14:18
Bruce,

I totally agree with you. I will probably break down and pay the higher price for improved processing because the software is impressive!
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# RE: RE: Future of Windows Home ServerRichard Fitzmaurice 2011-12-16 06:47
Bruce,

I just now ordered the TS-659 Pro II. Didn't get everything I wanted but got everything I could afford. I will have a toy to play with tomorrow. I should have purchased the TS-659 Pro+ because it's a much better buy, but common sense failed.
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# Hold on to your hats, because...Bruce 2011-12-16 08:01
I just got the QNAP® TS-879U-RP in house, for testing. This thing should COOK! I've got to build a better test platform to mate it with, something with honest-to-God SATA 6G performance.
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# RE: QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage ServerAnna 2012-01-21 10:24
When you compare this one to the TS-419P+, is the TS419 II worth the money? Because I doubt between an TS-419P+ and a TS419 II.
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# Depends....Bruce 2012-01-21 13:12
... on what your primary usage is, and if you are going to use it almost exclusively for one thing, or do many things, either singly or all at once. The 25% increase in CPU speed only matters in some use cases. In others, it's not a factor.

What is your intended use(s)?
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# RE: Depends....Anna 2012-01-21 20:19
- Downloading
- Music/movie streaming
- Backup
- Central storage
- Near future hosting my own website
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# In that case....Bruce 2012-01-21 21:34
Depending on how heavy the backups are (are you doing daily backups for 5 machines, let's say...?), I think the TS-419P+ would do the sum total of those things pretty well. The CPU gets hammered during RAID 5 Write activity; that's why the backup tasks are the key differentiator. You need to act quickly, because I think the only TS-419P+ units you will be able to buy are what's left in inventory.

What's the price difference - about $100, right?
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# RE: In that case....Anna 2012-01-22 12:46
Tnx for the info, and yes the price difference is pretty big.
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# Differences in QNAP's lineupBKK 2012-01-22 10:15
Bruce, thank you for a great and comprehensive review. I've been going back/forth researching NAS for a year and it's time to make a decision. I'm trying to get my head around QNAP's line up between 419P II, 439 Pro II+, 459 Pro II - besides the processor and memory are there significant difference really from a functionality stand point? I'm a small business running out of my home, but I have one partner who is remote and ideally I'd like for him to able to use the NAS as a remote file server and access it in a secure manner. We also travel a lot for business so remote access is needed. Intention is to use the NAS as a primary file server (i.e. not having to store everything on the laptop HDD) and a consolidated backup server for the various laptops (3 laptops and 1 desktop, backups daily or no later than every 3 days); the NAS would then be backed up to S3 or some other cloud backup service. Also looking to use the NAS to store all of our digital photos (RAW and JPG format). Given that, is the 419P II a good solution? Or should I be considering one of the other QNAP products? One potential use in the medium term is to use the NAS as a web app server for product demos (but we wouldn't use it for production deployment of the product however). Budget is around $2000 with the HDDs. Appreciate your sage advice.
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# They sure do make a lot of them....Bruce 2012-01-22 15:27
Those are all good choices. The features that you get as you move up the ladder probably don't matter much to you, except maybe Real Time Remote Replication, since you have somebody whos more or less permantly at a rempte location. This feature is available on all the Intel-based units. The other features you get with the high-end models, are primarily focused on advanced networking schems, such as: VMware Certification, Citrix Certified, Microsoft Hyper-V and Windows 2008 Failover Cluster. It doesn't sound like you need that, yet. The one other thing Intel units have is AES 256-bit Volume-based Encryption, but it's quite slow with the Atom CPU, and it may not be an issue for you, depending on your physical security situation.

Now, the OTHER thing you get as you spend more mony is WRITE speed. Take a look at QNAPs published write speeds:

Write Performance (MB/s) - Dual-Core Atom: 107, Single-Core Atom: 88, Marvell 2.0GHz: 75, Marvell 1.6GHz: 45

This has a direct impact on yur backup speeds, although the laptops may be the limiting factor anyways, if they have the typical 5400 RPM HDDs in them. They use less power, so it's quite common to use them instead of the 7200 RPM models.

The other thing you get for your $$ is USB 3.0. This may not have any impact on your intended usage, but for some, USB 2.0 is a deal-breaker.

Of course, you also know that QNAP released a couple new models at CES, right. I tell you, I can't keep up with them... LOL

Bottom line, like Anna above, I think your expectation for backup performance is the key discriminator here. That's the primary area (of the ones you listed), where spending more will get you more.
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# Thanks!BKK 2012-01-23 16:08
Bruce, thanks for the advice. You make a good point about the real-time remote replication. I should look into that.

Presently I don't need the virtualization features.

Are the new models announced at CES listed in their site? I would assume so, as their site indicates the 459 Pro II as a new model.

And thanks for the link below.
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# Forgot to sayBruce 2012-01-22 15:29
Here is a direct comparison between the units you mentioned:

qnap.com/images/products/comparison/Comparison_4BayNAS.html
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# RE: QNAP TS-419P II NAS Network Storage ServerKeith 2012-01-29 07:52
A great point was made by Richard above regarding the software side of it (new features, etc...). When compared to say windows home server, which doesn't seem to be getting full attention from MS, if you had to make a nas purchase based solely on software or os , what would be the choice?
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# Easy ChoiceBruce 2012-01-29 16:00
There's no doubt that the major NAS players are continuing to drive more and more and better features into the NAS side of things. QNAP just release version 3.6 at CES this month, which is two releases beyond what I tested in this review.
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# 419P ii does have USB 3.0Ahmed 2012-04-09 16:34
I just purchased the Qnap 419p ii today and to my surprise it does have USB 3.0 ports! Two of the slots on the back are USB3.0

I first saw it on the box then when I opened and looked at the back of the unit, two of the ports are labeled USB3.0 The quick start guide also says USB3. This is very odd since their website and all reviews say only USB2.0

I do not know if the new units are shipping with USB 3 or is it Canadian versions. I am in Canada. Anyways I am thrilled. This unit offers so much for the price.
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# That's Cool....Bruce 2012-04-09 18:02
That is a VERY NICE surprise!

Usually when the "Manufacturer reserves the right to update the product specifications" it's to take cost out of the product.
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# Ditto the USB 3Rich 2012-05-05 09:47
I just got one of these in Germany and two of the three USB's on the back have been changed to USB3. The remaining USB 2 on the back is used by the UPS to trigger shutdown. No idea why they haven't updated their website as this resolves one of my major tradeoffs when I was selecting this unit.
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