Qnap TS-559 Pro+: Familiar Network Storage With A New CPU

Conclusion: Higher Speed, Higher Throughput

The Device

In renewing its TS-x59 series and specifically the TS-559 Pro, it was easy for Qnap to avoid mistakes. Take the quality casing and the interior of the previous series, add a mature and proven firmware, and exchange the processor for a newer model running 133 MHz faster. The move is of course evolutionary in nature, and it's a fairly logical step forward. From Qnap's perspective, simply adopting a new processor makes sense; it didn't incur any development costs, and the existing firmware is ambivalent to whether its commands are executed by an Atom D510 or an Atom D525 running slightly quicker. 

The Processor

The remaining question is precisely how much of a benefit is offered by the Intel Atom D525 dual-core processor. Considering the 133 MHz clock speed increase on the TS-559 Pro+, the boost to data transfer rates seems rather low. Quantifiably-higher transfer rates are mainly achieved in RAID 6 operation and where the transfer of data happens sequentially. But if a TS-559 Pro+ replaces a TS-559 Pro in a real-world environment, we'd bet that the difference wouldn't be noticed. Whether or not the processor makes itself evident depends on the application and user profiles; it's too small of a change to impress, though.

Recommendation

Currently, the TS-559 Pro and the faster TS-559 Pro+ are listed on Qnap's Web site. Both devices are also available from online vendors, and a closer look reveals a price difference of about $100 between the two.

Already priced up around $1000 without storage, these five-bay units are expensive. Near-term, users who've been toying with the idea of buying a TS-559 Pro will want to weigh the lower price with slightly lower performance in certain situations. Long-term, though, the TS-559 Pro will likely disappear (it was already deactivated on Newegg's site), only leaving the newer unit. It's 1.8 GHz processor doesn't offer any speed miracles on Windows networks, but a higher clock is always welcome, especially when it comes to the little Atom CPU.

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32 comments
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  • hmp_goose
    I remember a time when teh Internet was going to have hyperlinks embedded in articles for clowns like me to look stuff up with.

    C'mon! I'm a knuckle-dragging FPS-player: I don't know what "SMB/CIFS protocols" stands for, let alone good for! Isn't there at lest a related article?
    -2
  • barmaley
    Ok, I don't get it. Can someone explain to me why this $1000 device that comes with no storage is better than a $500 Linux box you can build yourself that will do everything this does and more plus it will come with tons of storage too...
    2
  • Anonymous
    Did you do Gbit Link Aggregation for the tests? Seeing as it has 2 of'em?
    3
  • sharpless78
    barmaleyOk, I don't get it. Can someone explain to me why this $1000 device that comes with no storage is better than a $500 Linux box you can build yourself that will do everything this does and more plus it will come with tons of storage too...


    Ease of use. Very few users have the time, will and knowledge to build a NAS.
    3
  • aaron88_7
    barmaleyOk, I don't get it. Can someone explain to me why this $1000 device that comes with no storage is better than a $500 Linux box you can build yourself that will do everything this does and more plus it will come with tons of storage too...

    First off, it isn't better than a $500 Linux box. Linux requires Linux knowledge and you have to provide the software you need yourself - that costs small businesses money. This also offers failover and load balancing with its dual NIC card that you wouldn't have in a $500 Linux box.

    The main thing is ease of installation. You don't need a highly technical person to get this box up and running and quickly backing up your companies data, whereas a Linux machine will require additional staff that a small business normally would not have on hand and have to pay to come onsite.

    For $1000 I'd like one just to play around with myself, though it clearly is not targeted for home users.
    0
  • aaron88_7
    Oops, I meant to write this is better than a $500 Linux box
    1
  • dealcorn
    I am not aware of any 5 bay hot swap itx case that could be used as a basis for a diy project with comparable functionality. Chenbro can get you to 4 at the cost of no pcie support. No pcie means no esata with a supermicro atom itx board.

    There are ways to go with ATX cases, but that is not really comparable.
    1
  • radiumburn
    but with that $500 linux box you will force yourself to learn something.. and in the end isn't it all about the pursuit of knowledge! haha well I admin a few linux servers so I'd save the cash and make my own for myself/work instead. On that note if you want I will make them for $999 and free shipping with initial phone setup!!! save a dollar!
    0
  • a-nano-moose
    How can you compare them when you are using different hard drives than the earlier tests?
    2
  • cknobman
    Sharpless78Ease of use. Very few users have the time, will and knowledge to build a NAS.


    A NAS is a computer. Heck you can even build a PC put Windows 7/XP Home edition on it and turn it into a NAS all for ~$500 (and thats even with 2tb storage in raid 1, heck that is what I have done and it works great and I am even using a low power AMD CPU that is powerful enough to actually be useful rather than a pathetic atom cpu).

    There is no ease of use factor or amount of time on earth that is worth $500+ dollars.
    -2
  • serendipiti
    Would be good to see tests with encryption enabled (another article showed it as a NAS Achilles heel). Hopefully benchmarks should show the strenghs of the CPU when encryption is on. What surprised me, is the 150W peak power... The reason of buying dedicated NAS hardware (and not reusing / building a desktop computer for that) should be cost, cost of maintenaince (power bill for a 24x7 device must be taken into account). For that matters, I agree that a properly setup desktop computer should do the job (as well as others that the NAS device won't) and with all that numbers in hand is hard to choose the NAS device.
    0
  • STravis
    barmaleyOk, I don't get it. Can someone explain to me why this $1000 device that comes with no storage is better than a $500 Linux box you can build yourself that will do everything this does and more plus it will come with tons of storage too...


    Agreed - I have been running a NAS based on an Atom processor for about two years now (but it's also a RADIUS server, SVN server, etc). However not everyone is technically capable and they are sometimes willing to pay for something off the shelf rather than putting it together themselves.
    0
  • TeraMedia
    Would have been great to see comparisons involving encryption. A recent article here on Toms compared the performance of a bunch of NASes using data encryption, and noted that performance was terrible when it was turned on. The article even went on to say that a faster CPU should improve performance, and one with AES-NI should improve it dramatically. No test to confirm this? Opportunity missed.
    0
  • obarthelemy
    @reviewer: since when is DDR2 faster than DDR3 ?
    0
  • dealcorn
    Based on what I see on their web site, this box could replace every aspect of the functionality of my home, atom d510, headless debian server with software raid 5. It costs a lot more, but only because my time has absolutely no value. It looks like a real easy path to the benefits of Linux from my perspective. The fact that you know it works and is supported is an added bonus.
    0
  • d_kuhn
    I've built OpenFiler (linux) NAS servers... affordable and powerful (and a good option for cost sensitive storage). I used one for a little while to play with VMWare clustering as I waited for an EMC iSCSI box to come in. But at the same time, when I needed to buy storage for a platform I'd be deploying to an end user (manufacturing plant) for online storage, I chose to go with an integrated NAS solution (I went with Thecus N7700Pro rather than Qnap... more slots for the same money) to avoid the management need that in my experience even a well implemented Linux box will periodically require.

    It's IMO a choice between fire and forget (if one of the thecus boxes fails the plant can replace it themselves) and an ongoing support need. For me that's worth the incremental cost.

    Additionally, you'll be going with software raid if you roll your own (hardware raid cards would blow any cost advantage entirely) and then you're going to have to be really conscious of processing power required for solid performance. That means time spent tweaking, optimizing, and in component selection that will more than overtake the hardware cost differential if you cost your time at a reasonable rate.
    1
  • jblack
    aaron88_7This also offers failover and load balancing with its dual NIC card that you wouldn't have in a $500 Linux box.



    This can be solved by purchasing a $20 NIC and adding it to the Linux system.
    -1
  • d_kuhn
    Well I'd suggest a better quality card than $20... but you can get a decent intel dual gig-e card that support jumbo frames for $150.

    The important thing to note is that if you've got the time and inclination to learn to setup and administer the system, a Linux box will give you more bang for the buck compared to systems like the QNap or Thecus. the N7700's work great as a single host box (or for archive use), but I've not seen the kind of performance that could support even a 2 host cluster. You could get that out of an Openfiler box with some tweaking (though an Openfiler box with that performance would probably cost a grand or so with required peripherals like a dual nic and hot swap SATA chassis).
    0
  • ProDigit10
    I wonder why people just not simply buy a mini atx computer with raid capability and an Atom processor?
    You may find them under $300!
    0
  • ProDigit10
    You can cut some of the noise down by disabling the 120mm fan, and closing the hole. The air exhaust of the power unit is big enough to cool down the drives and the rest of the system!
    0