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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

Insider Details: QNAP TS-419P II Turbo NAS

The first inner workings of a TS-419P II that you're likely to see is the opening of the drive bay, which is rather substantial, but not quite as large as some of the monster drive arrays that are available, with 8 and 12 bays. The metal guide rails can be seen along the bottom here, and the PCIe extender card that carries the four SATA power and data connectors is right where it should be. It's firmly held in place by several screws fastening it directly to the metal frame and the PCIe connector on the left, where it terminates on the motherboard. The 90mm fan has pretty much an unobstructed path to the drive bay, so any heat being generated by the drives can easily be pulled out the back of the enclosure. Like the other large units in the model range, there is a separate SATA controller IC mounted to the PCIe extender board and it serves as the sole SATA 3Gb/s interface; there is no companion chip on the motherboard. We'll see it in more detail as we continue the tear down.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Cover_Removed.jpg

Once the brushed steel top and side cover is removed, you can see the main server board installed along the left side of the chassis, parallel to the drive bays. The back side of the board faces the exterior, and only a few components are mounted on the back of the PC Board. All of the rear panel connectors are mounted directly to the board, for a reliable and secure connection. There is a full size clear, flexible plastic shield attached to the board to prevent the metallic side cover from shorting out any circuits in the event of some extreme rough handling. You actually void the warranty by disassembling the unit to this level, oh well... You can just make out two of the four DRAM chips, soldered to the back of the motherboard. We'll get a better view of them when we take things apart a little further and get a decent look at the front side of the PCB. The power circuits for the four drives require a more substantial wiring harness, which you can also see at the top, looping from the main controller board to the daughter board with the four SATA connectors on it.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Cover_Removed_02.jpg

Once you decide to go for a full deconstruction, the TS-419P II comes apart into several sections like this. The rear panel with the 90mm fan mounted to it slides off the back, the SATA backplane comes off with a couple of screws and unplugs from the 1x PCIe connector on the motherboard. Then the motherboard lifts from four standoffs and swings out with the front panel connectors still attached. The one thing that stands out in this view is the small size of the CPU heatsink. The one in the Atom-powered TS-659 Pro II was literally ten times the size. The other thing to notice is the large IC on the near, right-hand corner of the PCIe extender card. That's the Marvell 88SX7042 SATA controller IC that also serves up the RAID Management function for all four of the drive bays. It's not a brand new chip, I've seen it in products from circa 2008. It's interesting that of the last three QNAP units I've pulled apart, each had a unique PCIe-to-SATA interface solution.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_All_Parts_Disassembled.jpg

Taking a closer look at the motherboard, it doesn't look like much, but that's because most of the subsystem-level ICs are very small. I'll call them out in detail in the very next section. For now, the thing to understand is that it's a very single-minded design, with very low power consumption. The ARM processor in the Marvell 88F6282 controller is very power efficient, as evidenced by the miniature passive heatsink mounted on top of it. Even though a few of the many software features of QNAP's v3.4 software won't run on the ARM CPU, the functionality that can be provided by this minimalist hardware still amazes me. For years, I envisioned servers as all-mighty, conquering machines with megawatts of computing power (I know, the analogy stinks...). The reality is that most modern server hardware is pedestrian compared to the enthusiast-level boxes many of our readers have. The reason most new servers have six and eight CPU cores in them is for virtualization, not to provide multi-core processing for single applications.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_System_Board_01.jpg

The most important IC on the board is the system controller, also known as an "Embedded Processor", "System-on-a Chip" (SOC) or CPU. Back in the day, the CPU was just the CPU, but we all know that Large Scale Integration waits for no man. Today's "CPU" includes a whole bunch of other support and interface modules that simplify and streamline the system for the twin goals of increasing performance and reducing costs. QNAP uses the Marvell 88F6282 processor, which houses an ARM®v5TE Single Core CPU running at 2.0 GHz, with a 256KB L2 Cache. The memory controller is integrated, and it handles DDR3-1066 or DDR2-800 memory modules; the QNAP TS-419P II uses DDR3 memory, which is soldered directly to the motherboard. Some of the capabilities go unused on the TS-419P II, like the audio port, but most functions are utilized in the design. Although I see a Security Engine in the Marvell block diagram, the QNAP materials show that none of the non-Intel NAS models support AES 256-bit volume-based encryption. As slow as the Atom-based models are with encryption enabled, I can't see it being anything but a complete performance killer with the ARM processor.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Marvell_SOC_88F6282_Diagram.png

512 MB of DDR3 memory is standard on the TS-219P+ Turbo NAS; it's soldered directly to the board, and is not upgradeable. The chips in my sample were supplied by Hynix and are rated for DDR3-1333 with timings of 9-9-9 for CL-tRCD-tRP. The memory controller built into the Marvell system controller can only access them at DDR3-1066, and the memory chips support that speed as well as a variety of other speeds and timings. Marvell supplies all three of the three most important ICs on the board; the second of the three is the Marvell 88E1318 is a Gigabit Ethernet PHY controller. PHY is a new acronym for many of us; it refers to a physical transceiver that operates at the physical layer of the OSI network model. Realtek is probably the most popular controller in the PC motherboard world, but Marvell currently produces nine different models of single port Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) controllers in their Alaska product line, so there must be a big enough market for a variety of products. The last of the top three chips on the board is the SATA II controller for the four removable drives. It's the 88SX7042, also from Marvell, and it manages the entire end-to-end interface between the 1-lane PCI Express connection on the motherboard and the four Serial ATA ports. The 88SX7042 supports AHCI, Native Command Queuing, ATAPI Devices, Hot Plugging and eSATA connections. It also handles all the low-level RAID functions, so it's a busy chip.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Memory_Ethernet_SATA_ICs.jpg

The GL850G chip is by Genesys Logic and it provides USB 2.0 connectivity for the TS-419P II at the hardware level. The NCP3121 chip by ON Semiconductor manages power for the board, and features high efficiency, wide input voltage, and high output current through internal MOSFET switches. There are other, minor voltage regulators on the board, for smaller subsystems like the memory and the fan, but this is the main one. The PIC16F690 may seem like a familiar name to some of our more technical readers. I think it's fair to say that more hobbyist creations have been powered by PIC controllers than any other brand. This latest version of a long line of microcontrollers is a 20-Pin Flash-based, 8-Bit CMOS Microcontroller with "nanoWatt Technology". Once again, small and efficient rules the day for this system.

QNAP_TS-419P_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_IO_Power_PIC_ICs.jpg

To measure isolated NAS power consumption, Benchmark Reviews uses the Kill-A-Watt EZ (model P4460) power meter made by P3 International. Obviously, power consumption is going to depend heavily on the number and type of drives that are installed. In idle standby mode the QNAP TS-419P II consumed 12 watts of electricity, this is on-par with the 13W specified for sleep mode. With one 750GB hard drives installed, and formatting the drive during initial system setup, the TS-419P II Turbo NAS drew 17W. With all four drives installed and during heavy file transfer operations, it drew 31W. When the unit was turned off, it consumed 2W in Vampire mode. It's tougher for the power meter to measure the lowest currents, so don't take the 2W vampire number to the bank, just be aware that even when it's turned off, the small brick-like SMPS plugged into the wall still pulls a small amount of power.

Experts estimate that standby energy drain accounts for anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of an average home's annual power usage. Convert that percentage into dollars, and you've got around $4 billion in wasted spending across America every year, the Department of Energy estimates. The wasted cash is bad enough, but the toll on Mother Nature is worse. Vampire energy accounts for 1 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. I wandered through my small house after dark one night a few months ago and counted 47 LEDs and LCD displays burning away. How many are burning 24/7 in yours; you might be surprised?

We've seen the ins and outs of the hardware and the new software; now let's take a detailed look through the extensive list of features that you get with most every QNAP Turbo NAS. I know the next couple of sections are overly long, but it's critical to understand just how much these units can do. You don't want to be fooled into thinking it's just a box full of drives. It's capable of so much more than that.



 

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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