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QNAP TS-659 Pro II NAS Network Server E-mail
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Written by Bruce Normann   
Wednesday, 08 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
QNAP TS-659 Pro II NAS Network Server
QNAP v3.4 New Features
Closer Look: QNAP TS-659 Pro II
Insider Details: QNAP TS-659 Pro II
QNAP Turbo NAS Features
QNAP TS-659 Pro II NAS Hardware
QNAP TS-659 Pro II Software
QPKG Center Software Expansion
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
RAID 5 Test Results
NAS Server Final Thoughts
QNAP TS-659 Pro II Conclusion

Insider Details: QNAP TS-659 Pro II

The first inner workings of a TS-659 Pro 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 six SATA power and data connectors is right where it should be. It's firmly held in place by ten screws fastening it directly to the metal frame and the PCIe connector on the left, where it terminates on the motherboard. The two 90mm fans have 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.

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Inside_Cage_01.jpg

At first look into the drive bays, there were two ICs that were rather prominent; let's have a closer look. They are Marvell SATA 6Gb/s and PATA Host Controllers, Model No. 88SE9125. Each host controller supports two 6 Gb/s SATA interface ports and a one-lane 5.0 Gb/s PCIe host interface back to the motherboard. There are three controllers in total, these two ICs control drive bays 3-4 and 5-6. There is a whole family of parts in this series, and this one is optimized for use with a central RAID controller on the system board. The Marvell 88SE9123 chip shows up most often on motherboards that lack native SATA 6Gb/s support on their chipset, and its performance capabilities has been challenged by the last two generations of hyper-fast SSDs. I anticipate the primary usage of the TS-659 Pro II as being paired with traditional 3.5" HDDS, none of which operate anywhere near the full capabilities of the new SATA 6Gb/s interface. QNAP makes some Turbo NAS units that are specifically designed for 2.5" drives, but indications are that they are not keeping pace with the rapid increases in R/W speeds of the latest SSDs. The official compatibility list only lists 25 SSD models, and most of them are two generations behind the current state-of-the-art designs. In defense of QNAP, the name of the game in their market space is reliability, so keeping a respectable distance from the bleeding edge is probably desirable. Case in point: Corsair's recent recall of their Force 3 (CSSD-F120GBG3-BK) SSDs.

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Marvell_88SE9125_Block_Diag.png

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. This is as far as you need to disassemble the TS-659 Pro II to access the empty SO-DIMM slot and upgrade the memory from the standard 1GB to 2GB or 3GB.

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Side_Open_01.jpg

Taking a closer look at the board, the DIMM slot is more obvious, and also you can see where the plastic insulating sheet has been slit to create an access flap and allow easy access to the memory slot. To the left and below the memory, are the 98 pins for the x8 PCI Express connector that serves up multiple PCIe 2.0 lanes to the three Marvell SATA host controllers.

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Motherboard.jpg

1GB of DDR3 memory is installed on one standard SODIMM DRAM module, inserted in a typical memory slot with locking tabs on each side. The chips in my sample were supplied by Hynix and were rated for DDR3-1333 with timings of 9-9-9 for CL-tRCD-tRP. Specifications for the additional memory that can be added to the TS-659 Pro II were incomplete in the QNAP documentation. The hardware manual says, "QNAP provides 1GB DDR3 RAM module (optional purchase) for you to upgrade the memory of Turbo NAS.", but I couldn't find it for sale anywhere. In this day and age of DRAM as a lowest-common-denominator commodity, it's hard to imagine anyone not browsing over to Newegg and buying it direct. FWIW, the manual depicts an ADATA module being installed, and pictures of the ADATA SO-DIMMs show very similar Hynix chips on them. To the right is the connection for the front panel USB 3.0 port. The bandwidth of USB 3.0 must be pushing the limits, because all the internal cabling I've seen so far has been beefy, heavily shielded cable with dedicated connections. No basic header pins in sight for USB 3.0, and the QNAP system follows this trend.

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Memory_01.jpg

The power supply is sourced from Delta Electronics, and is rated for 250 Watts. Anyone remember what a 250W PSU looked like in the IBM AT days...? There is one 40mm dia x 20 mm thick fan included, spinning at 7600 RPM and pulling ~8 CFM through the PSU and exhausting out the back of the TS-659 Pro II. You might think that anything spinning at 7600 RPMs would be insanely annoying, but I never noticed it. Overall, noise levels were never an issue with the whole unit. I never had any reason to pay attention to the sound coming from it, even when it was formatting disks or rebuilding an array. Of course, I live in an urban setting and it's summer, so the A/C is on and the ambient noise is fairly high. If you live in a cabin in Montana, you will hear it, but then I have to ask, who needs 10TB of storage if they're living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere?

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_PSU_Delta_250W.jpg

To measure isolated NAS power consumption, Benchmark Reviews uses the Kill-A-Watt EZ (model P4460) power meter made by P3 International. In idle standby mode the QNAP TS-659 Pro II consumed 23 watts of electricity, which is on-par with the 22W specified for sleep mode. With four 750GB hard drives installed, building a RAID 5 cluster during initial system setup, the TS-659 Pro II NAS drew 58W. Obviously, power consumption is going to depend heavily on the number and type of drives that are installed. The drives don't take up the whole depth of the unit, leaving a fairly open area in front of the two system fans. This helps bring cool air past the motherboard and cools the CPU via a large aluminum heat sink.

QNAP_TS659_Pro_II_Turbo_NAS_Server_Fans_at_Rear.jpg


We've seen the ins and outs of the hardware and the software; now let's dive into the testing phase.



 

Comments 

 
# Power Efficient, but cost efficient?Christopher G Fields 2011-06-09 06:45
Great review and looks like a great product, but as a Computer Engineer I have to say that the whole "Great for the home owner" appeal probably is not there. I would say maybe a small business would look at this to reduce cost before Betty Crocker buys this for her home to store her pictures of the family. $400 sub similar devices are out there that are cost effective and offer raid services. Great review though and probably a great product.........for a small business or a nerd like myself, but then I'd just build my own for the fraction of the cost.
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# Peter CrockerPeter 2011-07-15 17:42
A few years ago I bought a TS-639 pro with 6 * 2TB WD 2002FYPS drives. Good for 8TB storage. At this moment I get between 55 and 100 MB/sec transfer speed. The one tested here will top this. I use it for home pictures, video, backup, documents, iSCSI with a virtual MAC, printserver, you name it.
I must agree that it has cost me, but you show me a NAS with this performance,capacity and posibilities that costs less. I can not find them out there. Software and support is also good.
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# Different expectationsBruce Bruce 2011-06-09 09:37
Glad you enjoyed the article.

Home users and businesses definitely have a different POV when it comes to technology costs. The IT director at my company (~400 people) bought one of the 5-bay units a year ago, and remarked how inexpensive it was, for all the things it could do. I don't think a home user is ever going to feel the same way, but a unit like this can serve reliably for a LONG time as the strong foundation of a home network. So, over time the higher initial cost amortizes out.

But, I hear you... I'm a self-declared cheapskate - my relatives call my home "The house that does without". This is an unfair description, but I do have a tendency to buy things once, by choosing things that have lasting value. The rest of my family is always buying the newer, cheaper version of things, and replacing them every 18 months. Me, I'd rather not have to redo everything that often.
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# Encryptionendocine 2011-06-09 20:11
One thing that wasn't mentioned in the review is drive encryption. On a QNAP system its an option, but not viable on a large array because the CPU can not handle it, so don't buy it for that. Hopefully either atoms get more powerful or they use faster processors for their future products. Tried to encrypt a 4T array and it was going to take days on a 459.
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# Next TimeBruce Bruce 2011-06-09 20:22
I suspect the next major upgrade of the top-line NAS units will include CPUs that support Intel® AES New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI). The increased performance, compared to prior generations of CPUs is astounding.
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# I mostly concurJim 2011-06-10 15:36
Good review. I'm a SOHO user with several PCs that are heavily used for work/play. I work at home a lot and need good reliable, fast storage for PC backup storage, file sharing, remote file access, and now using Oracle's VirtualBox, I've been using NAS to store VM images. So figuring I'd buy something a little more high-end, I bought a TS-459 Pro II. Have only been using it for a few weeks now, but I'm very pleased. Performance is pretty much identical to results in the review. iSCSI is a neat capability for VM's. I populated my unit with Hitachi 5K3000 2TB disks in RAID-5 and it works flawlessly. These low cost "green" Hitachi drives are 512 byte sectors, and so far have not exhibited compatibility issues seen with other mfr's "green" disks. I stress tested them 24x7 for a week in the QNAP before moving any live data to it.

I agree the cost is a bit high for most home environments, but it really does satisfy my needs for a compact, environmentally-friedly, and robust "work at home" infrastructure.

Thanks,
Jim
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# The right product for the applicationBruce Bruce 2011-06-10 20:00
Sounds like you are definitely in the target market for this product line. You're using several of its core strengths at the same time.

Good choice on the Hitachis, they're one of the recommendations on the QNAP forum. Spinpoint 3 drives from Samsung are another good choice, apparently. I wanted to test out the SATA 6Gb/s capability, and there aren't a whole lot of good choices ATM. You also did the right thing by stress testing the system BEFORE you loaded it up with data.
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# True.. I was a bit gunshyJim 2011-06-12 10:05
Remembering the "Deathstar" fiasco IBM had with drives a few years ago, and the fact that Hitachi has these 5K3000 series drives manufactured in China, I was reluctant to order them at first. But with rebates, they were $59 apiece... Almost throw-away if they didn't pan out. I was pleasantly surprised that none were DOA or exhibited any early failure issues under stress. Although they are only 5900 RPM, they are faster than most other "green" drives, and when working in Raid-5, they can deliver more throughput than Gig Ethernet can provide. Sata III (6 GB/s) is nice (state of the art), but in reality the spindles at that speed can't deliver data to the controller that fast. I think the verdict on these drives will be out for a while until they establish some real-world track record. I'm cautiously optimistic, though.

Jim
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# RE: QNAP TS-659 Pro II NAS Network Servers 2011-06-16 14:07
Nice write up will passing this link on.

FYI

Memory info found while sifting threw the other reviews and the QNAP forum pages.

TS-659 PRO II/TS-x59 PRO II

memory 24.99 at newegg + $0.99 Shipping

Kingston 2GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM Unbuffered DDR3 1333 System Specific Memory Model KVR1333D3S8S9/2G

Can confirm it works.
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# Thanks for the tipBruce Bruce 2011-06-16 14:28
Without access to the BIOS, it's tough to tell what kind of speeds/timing QNAP is using, and if they are consistent across the platform. They spec the existing system memory out as DDR3-800, and Kingston has another module with the same spec memory chips on it that runs at DDR3-800, CAS 6. So many JEDEC profiles, so little time....

Many thanks for doing the detective work!

I know this isn't true, but it's funny to think that there's a cousin of the ASUS Eeee hiding inside my QNAP. LOL
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# RE: Thanks for the tips 2011-06-17 06:09
Glad it helped.

I spent a few days Googleing for the solution.

NOTE: I found posts that the other Kingston module does -NOT!- work. Any module that's specs match the module above should in theory work.

I couldn't see paying QNAP 600% more for what looked like just a generic little stick of laptop ram.

On the Bios note. Have you or anyone tried connecting a monitor to the VGA port on the back with a USB k/b and mouse and booting up? I was wondering about seeing the bios my self but other things have been occupying my time.

I haven't had it for long but so far I am pleased with that little box.

This unit is a more costly little NAS but has far more capabilities and potential than the other offerings out there.
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# Free TipPeter 2011-07-15 17:51
Before you want to upgrade the memory, you might firts want to check the QNAP resource monitor. My TS 639 pro standard has 1 GB installed.
The resource monitor shows me that it rearly uses more than 400 Mb, even when I am tranfering files at max speed.
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# CorrectionPeter 2011-07-15 17:52
Before you want to upgrade the memory, you might first want to check the QNAP resource monitor. My TS 639 pro standard has 1 GB installed.
The resource monitor shows me that it rearly uses more than 400 MB, even when I am tranfering files at max speed.
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# True facts...Bruce 2011-07-15 18:11
You're right about that, Peter. I looked at that issue in more detail in my latest review, of the QNAP TS-219P+. The section called "NAS System Overhead Measurements" clearly shows that file transfers hardly tax the memory subsystem at all. It's all the other capabilities where the extra memory can make a difference, really. It's not needed for the basic disk I/O.
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# More Memory....Jim 2011-12-07 08:26
I actually did add a 2-gig DIMM to my TS-459 ProII. Works fine and it was about $20. I was figuring that since it's running lunux as the underlying OS, the memory could (or would) be used for disk cache buffers. It's not clear that that is happening. But if you want to download, and install other applications, or enable many of the built-in services, the additional memory is a nice touch. :-)

BTW, my 459 has been working beautifully for over 6 months now and the hitachi disks are still going strong. I couldn't be happier.
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# Thanks for the update on the Hitachi HDDsBruce 2011-12-07 08:39
Good to hear that the Hitachis are holding up OK. Too bad we won't see those prices for awhile. $59 for a 2TB HDD is just a big fantasy now.....
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# No more cheap disks....Jim 2011-12-09 08:42
Yeah. I'm really glad I bought one extra at the time. Since RAID arrays like to be populated with identical disks, I figured having an identical spare was a good idea.
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# For $25 after the rest...Mik 2012-05-27 23:22
I decided, if it uses it or not most of the time, for the tiny little extra it costs to bang it in there today rather than after I wished I had it, it was worth adding it to the order. Almost bang on $2000 for a 12TB, 659 Pro II from Amazon.co.jp
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# The 1%'ersBruce 2012-05-28 08:10
You're right, an extra 1% on the initial cost is just not a significant issue. Memory is dirt cheap right now anyway. Too hab HDDs aren't. {$^(
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# sm768@hotmail.coms 2011-07-16 06:17
I have always found that planning for the future saves time and aggravation later on.
Anything worth doing is worth over doing, With in reason. Reason only being limited by ones Bank account/credit limit.
True, file transfers don't even come close to using the base system memory but start running a few other things and it can start to add up. streaming content to more than one media center running a personal web server etc. and it starts to eat up system resources. So adding 2gb of extra ram to future proof it for less than $30.00 is a no brainier when you have already invested around 2K$ for the box and the drives to populate it.
I wish my linux/programming Kung-Fu was stronger. I would love some one to port mythtv to it. Add a mythtv ipgk/qpkg a silicondust HD Homerun dual the soon to be releases cable card version network tuners. That would make this thing really rock. I have the dual and am impatiently waiting for the cable card version to be released later this month they work with linux mac and ms-win ware the centon offering is an internal card only works with ms-win. I found a post on the silicondust forum that someone was porting mythtv to a synology box. I hope someone takes up the challenge for QNAP. I really like my TS-659 PRO II. I still need to more drives read "a few more pay checks" to complete the box.
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