Atom-Powered NAS: Thecus N4200 And QNAP TS-459 Pro

Conclusion

For both the QNAP TS-459 Pro and the Thecus N4200, the dual-core Atom D510 is the secret ingredient behind the high data transfer rates. However, this performance comes at a price. The QNAP TS-459 Pro is available as a barebones unit without drives for $900 to $950 dollars. The bare Thecus N4200 runs a bit cheaper, at $750 to $800 dollars.

In both cases, the buyer gets a very polished NAS device with support for 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives without having to buy any additional equipment.

Almost Identical Hardware

When it comes to external connections, both units are almost identically-equipped. The Thecus N4200 has two USB 2.0 ports available on the front, while the QNAP TS-459 Pro only has one. Both of the units have four USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, and two gigabit Ethernet ports in the rear. QNAP also offers a VGA port for diagnostic purposes, which the N4200 lacks. However, the N4200 comes with a battery, ensuring a safe shutdown to preserve your data in the event of power failure. Thecus applies redundancy when it comes to the flash memory storage of its firmware, using a dual DOM (disk on module), while QNAP settles for a single one.

Differences in Administration and Features

The biggest difference between the TS-459 Pro and the N4200 lies in their respective GUI's feature sets and design. The TS-459 Pro's interface isn't only more sophisticated, it also offers more detailed configuration options (for example, creating a custom profile for fan control). It also comes with a VMware certification and many iSCSI features, such as LUN masking and MPIO. 

If you're ready to spend around $900 on a NAS, you can't go wrong with the QNAP TS-459 Pro. It offers high functionality and great transfer rates, as well as several professional features. 

As a result of lofty pricing, don't ignore the Thecus N4200, which runs about $200 less than the QNAP and still offers reliably high data transfer rates. In addition, the Thecus N4200 comes with the replaceable battery. This can be useful, especially in home networks, where the NAS device may be connected to a switchable power strip.

When it comes to the GUI, Thecus' N4200 lacks a number of features and settings found in the QNAP TS-459 Pro, forcing the user to accept some compromises. However, most of these are features a typical user will never miss.

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23 comments
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  • pletopia
    ummm .. why would i pay that much for 4-bay NAS ?? i have 2 thecus N7700's and i got them for ~$900 nearly a year ago
    1
  • Anonymous
    performance I would wager
    -1
  • fatedtodie
    I have a thecus 4100pro with 4 drives it was less than 800 bucks
    not sure what the advantage of the 4200 is over that except for the battery and that is what a UPS is for.
    0
  • cknobman
    $700-$950!!! Holy cow those are expensive. While I see the purpose for these I just cant justify spending that kind of cash for one.

    I just built me a data/media server with exponentially more power for only $533 tax/title/license and no freaking rebates.

    My build may consume more power than these but it is much more versitle than these NAS boxes and at least a few hundred bucks cheaper. Plus I it will be suited to use as an HTPC or workstation if ever needed.

    FTR the build is: LiteOn dvd burner, MicroATX tower case (6 3.5 bays), 2 Samsung EcoGreen 2tb hd (will be raid 1), AMD athlon x2 250 (65w), Gigabyte ga-ma785gm (5 sata2, 6 usb, 1 esata, radeon 4250 integrated graphics, dvi-hdmi-dsub out), Antec EarthWatts Green 380w power supply, 4gb RAM.
    3
  • snarfies
    I build my own Atom-based mini-ITX NAS about a year ago. It cost less than half of this. What I used: MSI IM-945 (at the time the only Atom miniITX board with four SATA connectors), Travla C138 case, Minibox picoPSU-120, A thin Sony Optiarc DVD-RW, a pair of Western Digital Caviar Blue notebook drives in RAID1, and the OS (FreeNAS) boots off a 1gb CF card.
    2
  • tommysch
    NAS are indecently overpriced.

    I build my ''NAS'' with a low end PC and 2 SATA controllers. I have 8x 1.5 TB HDDs in 2 RAID-5 config.

    Seriously a 4 bay NAS cost like 900$ w/o HDDs...
    3
  • ipp
    More super expensive NAS evaluated at tomshardware. Woo!
    5
  • jeffunit
    NAS without ECC is foolish.
    These are foolish and expensive.
    3
  • zelannii
    How does the TS459 directly compare to the previous generation, the 459 pro, or even the 439 Pro II? Both run the Atom as well, with the 459 Pro using a Dual Core Atom 1.66GHz.... Both also can run the latest qNap OS as well.

    Keep in mind to all the home-NAS and custom guys out there, these units are PROFESSIONAL, not SoHo class units. The qNap 410 and 419 are small business/home units, and even those still include native AD integration, and more, and not only operate as NAS systems, but backup systems, media servers, and more (dozens of features). These still are not even in the "personal" NAS class most home users can build on their own for about the same money.
    -3
  • zelannii
    TommySchNAS are indecently overpriced. I build my ''NAS'' with a low end PC and 2 SATA controllers. I have 8x 1.5 TB HDDs in 2 RAID-5 config.Seriously a 4 bay NAS cost like 900$ w/o HDDs...


    These are professional class systems, with iSCSI, Native AD support, IP multipathing, load balancing, VMWare certification, and more. These are not cheap "file share" NAS systems like you might want for a media server in your house, or simple storage and backup. Simply features like online data migration to larger disks, archive by file age automatically, IP camera support, iTunes servers, TimeMachine support, and more make these very different from what you can do with a mini-NAS or FreeNAS setup on old PC hardware (not to mention the savings in electricity). qNap does sell "home" system that are less capable, but still FAR more than most people need. If all you want is a bid gisk and media server, get a WHS or a home-built solution. if you;re hooking servers or VMs up to it, using it in a high bandwidth or office environment, and care about the NAS ability to protect itself, back itself up, and migrate data to larger drives later, that's what the $300 price difference covers.
    -2
  • 70camaross396
    these NAS devices are way over priced. that 900 dollars with out the drives. if you add 4 WD Cavier Raid Edition 1 TB sata drives, you can tack on another $640 to the price tag. that nearly $1600 for a NAS. just for compairison, you can buy a Dell Poweredge T110 with a hardware accelerated raid card and 2 250GB sata drives, a Xeon Processor, and 2gb of ram for $528 after instant rebate. granted it doent come with an OS, but you can download OpenFiler NAS/SAN OS or Ubuntu Server and have somthing that has way more capabilities than either of these NAS Cubes both of these OS's offer far morn that either of these NAS cubes. even if you stripped out both 250 GB drive and replaced them with 4 the WD's you would still save ove $500 compaired to the cost of these nas devices. the only way these would make sense is if the price was around 150-200 dollars with out drives.
    2
  • milktea
    No Superspeed USB 3.0? I think I'll wait.
    0
  • ta152h
    I wonder why they chose Atom over the Nano. Nano is considerably faster, doesn't use a lot more power, and can support more than two SATA ports on the chipset.

    Also, cats don't normally chew on wires. Dogs are much more likely too. A cat might knock it off the desk, or spill a glass of water near it, but chew wires? That's what dogs do, not to mention eat homework.
    -1
  • jblack
    I think these systems do have a place. I would never buy one for myself. However at work we had a remote location needing a file server. They weren't big enough, and I don't trust them enough for a full-blown server (And the location is far enough I can't drive).

    We purchased the Qnap TS-239 Pro for the location. I was able to install BIND on it as well to handle DNS. I was quite impressed with just how flexible the units are.
    -2
  • psychosomatic
    zelanniiThese are professional class systems, with iSCSI, Native AD support, IP multipathing, load balancing, VMWare certification, and more. These are not cheap "file share" NAS systems like you might want for a media server in your house, or simple storage and backup. Simply features like online data migration to larger disks, archive by file age automatically, IP camera support, iTunes servers, TimeMachine support, and more make these very different from what you can do with a mini-NAS or FreeNAS setup on old PC hardware (not to mention the savings in electricity). qNap does sell "home" system that are less capable, but still FAR more than most people need. If all you want is a bid gisk and media server, get a WHS or a home-built solution. if you;re hooking servers or VMs up to it, using it in a high bandwidth or office environment, and care about the NAS ability to protect itself, back itself up, and migrate data to larger drives later, that's what the $300 price difference covers.

    And so which of those features are unavailable from the open source FreeNAS operating system, and thus validate the $300 hike?
    4
  • MattPenner
    Like jblack, these are definitely for a specific space. I could easily see them being used in off-site locations where the extra few hundred dollars easily offsets the need for a dedicated IT technician. Even if I have a dedicated IT tech on-site, if he spends more than a day building a server and installing/configuring the software, and then troubleshooting any weird hardware/software issues in the future (rather than calling support or warranting a unit) then I've already expended the $300 savings over building my own.

    If I had to put a few of these in place I'd probably do it just to have my IT guy (or me) put them all out in a day and be done with it.

    It's just the nature that these types of articles on Tom's Hardware are read by us types that like to do it ourselves. No, most likely these would not find a place in our homes or small businesses that we intimately manage. But I don't think that's their target group.
    -2
  • lauxenburg
    I thought it was Pine Trail not Pineview....
    -1
  • NeeKo
    Build one yourself and save quite some cash!!
    0
  • JohnnyLucky
    Definitely not designed for a personal pc.
    -1
  • spoofedpacket
    milkteaNo Superspeed USB 3.0? I think I'll wait.


    It is a really bad idea to run a RAID box off USB 2 or 3. One bus reset and you stand to have some corrupted data. Stick with Ethernet and iSCSI if you care about your data.
    0