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Written by Bruce Normann   
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
QNAP TS-219P+ NAS Network Server
QNAP v3.4 New Features
Closer Look: QNAP TS-219P
Insider Details: QNAP TS-219P
QNAP Turbo NAS Features
QNAP TS-219P NAS Hardware
QNAP TS-219P Software
QPKG Center Software Expansion
NAS Testing Methodology
Basic-Disk Test Results
NAS System Overhead Measurements
NAS Server Final Thoughts
QNAP TS-219P Conclusion

1GB Single-Disk Test Results

The bottom line for any storage device is the combination of capacity and transfer speed. For a network attached storage server, the differences are all about the infrastructure that is placed around the basic HDD array. Since capacity is something that's easy to define and measure, the real question for any NAS product is how fast will it Read and Write data. For this reason, Benchmark Reviews measures NAS performance as the bandwidth achieved during a file transfer test. The first tests we perform utilize a single 1GB (1000 megabytes / 1,000,000,000 bytes) file in a transfer to and from the NAS.

Since we started testing NAS units exclusively with Win 7, there aren't as many prior test results to compare with. We'll try and build up the NAS testing as best we can in the next year. In the meantime, we can compare several units from QNAP that we have on hand now. In single disk mode, the TS-219P+ comes in slightly behind the higher powered units on the 1 GB Read tests. The various combinations of faster CPU, more memory, SATA 6Gb/s, and a 64MB cache on the latest WD Caviar Black drives give the TS-259 Pro and TS-659 Pro II a minor win in this instance. It's not much of an advantage, and it shows that in single disk mode, a lower cost unit can stay on the same lap as the big dogs. The real difference is in functionality, as the two-bay units can only support single disk, RAID 0, or RAID 1.


Moving on to the 1 GB write bandwidth test, the performance when writing 1 GB files to the QNAP TS-219P+ falls down a bit compared to the higher-end units. We'll look at some system overhead figures later that help to explain this, I think. For now, suffice it to say that, even with the least challenging case of writing to a single HDD, the average transfer speed goes up with price. It's not a total fail, by any stretch of the imagination, because for anyone who is used to USB 2.0 transfer speeds, or multi-drive towers using SATA port replication, these results are still sweet.


Next up is 10 GB (1000 metric megabytes / 10,000,000,000 bytes) file transfer testing. Using the single-disk configuration in each NAS, and a single Gigabit connection, network throughput will be put to the test, and the effect of any system or hardware caches will be minimized.

10GB Single-Disk Test Results

Examining 10GB basic file transfer speeds, the QNAP TS-219P+ delivers just slightly better read performance than the more costly TS-259 Pro, with improvements of about 5%. These are about 15% behind the best transfer speeds we encountered during our testing and just like the 1GB read tests, anyone who just needs a single disk, RAID 0 or RAID 1 system configuration is going to be completely happy with this kind of performance. Of course, you get none of the advantages of redundancy with a single disk or JBOD, and a lot of NAS users will want to go for one of the higher RAID configurations. For delivering files to the desktop, or streaming media to a variety of entertainment outlets, this unit doesn't have to make any excuses in the presence of much more costly companions.


In our 10GB write performance tests, the performance of the TS-219P+ loses some ground, just like it did in the 1GB write test. There's no getting around the fact that the processing power inside any NAS appliance has a big effect on write performance, even with a single disk. With any kind of RAID arrangement, the load gets even higher and it really pays to spend the money for a more powerful CPU. Any backup tasks are going to run a little slower on a lower priced unit - about half the typical internal SATA transfer rate when writing to an HDD. But not everyone is going to use a NAS as strictly a backup solution. For some users, or groups of users, it makes more sense to use the NAS as your front-line storage. In that scenario, the write performance doesn't have as much impact on the user experience. They've typically moved on to the next task after they initiate the save process, it's when you're waiting for a new file to load into an editing application that you sit there twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to load.


We're not going to look at RAID 5 performance, since the QNAP TS-219P+ don't support the RAID5 configuration that we normally use to test the large format NAS products, and we won't be able to offer much of a comparison. Instead, we're going to look a lot closer at NAS System Overhead measurements, and see if we can find the cold, hard evidence that spotlights where the bottleneck is in write performance.

NAS Comparison Products



# Why no consumer drives?Dirk 2011-07-23 23:23

to the "Cons" in the conlusion:
Why aren't consumer hard disks often the right choice for drive arrays, also a simple RAID-1 ?

I've heard about it before, but didn't find a real explanation. If you activate HDD sleep after xx idle minutes, the maximum hours of operation should be limited. What else?
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# RE: Why no consumer drives?Bruce 2011-07-24 06:55
QNAP has a detailed compatability list on their site, but you have to read between the lines to find out WHY consumer drives don't always cut it in RAID applications. Two things are primarily responsible: a software setting in the drive itself and the mechanical design of the platter bearings.

The consumer drives have an error recovery scheme that can interfere with the RAID controller, calle "Time-Limited Error Recovery" (TLER). There's ton's of info on the web, including the major drive manufacturer's sites about it.

The second factor is that the drive spindles can wear out quickly from excessive vibration when many, many drives are all chattering away in the same rack. So, some drives (WD Black for instance) are approved by the manufacturer in RAID 0 or RAID1 when there are only two drives in the enclosure. This is great news for all the two-bay NAS owners...
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# RE: RE: Why no consumer drives?Dirk 2011-07-24 08:32
I see, and I remember that I've read complaints about WD's "deep error recovery" with consumer drives. Too bad, because most home users might prefer the energy efficient drives.

By the way: Thanks for the extensive review, Bruce!

Your measured power consumption on the page "insider details" (8 W in sleep mode) was with or without drives installed? In many reviews, the sleep mode consumption with discs amounts to 12-13W, which is on par with the comparable Synology DS-211+.
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# Sleep ModeBruce 2011-07-24 12:14
There was one drive installed at the time I did the power measurement. In sleep mode, the drive is not spinning, that's why the power usage was lower.
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