Qnap TS-559 Pro: Do More Drives In Your NAS Mean More Speed?

Test System, Details, Power Consumption

Test Configuration

We used the NAS devices’ default settings in our benchmarks, meaning no jumbo packets. The firmware (version 3.2.6 build 0423T) proposed the ext4 file system for all the different RAID arrays we tested. Also, instead of using the old 320 GB Samsung HD321KJ hard drives with 16 MB cache we switched to 1000 GB HD103UJ models with 32 MB cache.

System Hardware
Test Platform
Asus P5E3 Deluxe, Rev.1.03G, LGA 775, Intel X38, BIOS: 0810 (02/11/2007)
CPUIntel Core 2 Duo E6750 (65 nm Conroe core) @ 2.66 GHz
RAM2 x 1024 MB Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600
eSATA ControllerJMicron JMB363
System Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9, 160 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 8 MB Cache
Test Hard Drives
5 x 3.5" Samsung Spinpoint HD103SJ, 1000 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 32 MB Cache
DVD ROMSamsung SH-D163A , SATA 1.5 Gb/s
Graphics Card
Gigabyte Radeon HD 3850 GV-RX385512H
GPU: 670 MHz, Memory: 512 MB DDR3 (830 MHz, 256-Bit)
Network Card
Marvell Yukon 88E8056 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Sound Card
PSUCooler Master RS-850-EMBA, ATX 12 V V2.2, 850 Watt  
System-Software & Treiber
Operating System
Windows Vista Enterprise SP1
DirectX 10DirectX 10 (Vista-Standard)
DirectX 9Version: April 2007
Graphics Drivers
AMD Radeon Version 7.12
Network Drivers (Vista-Standard)
Intel Chipset Drivers
Version (20/02/2008)
JMicron Chipset Drivers
Version (24/03/2007)

Intel NAS Performance Toolkit 

We used the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit for testing the NAS devices. For a more detailed description of the benchmarks, see the article Benchmarking with Intel’s NAS Toolkit.

Noise Levels (Subjective)

Both the TS-459 Pro and the TS-559 Pro are rather quiet NAS devices. The only time they are actually noisy is when powering up, as the fans are briefly operated at full-speed. In normal use, you only hear a slight hum that is hardly audible and hence not annoying.

We did not notice any major differences between the TS-459 Pro with its 92 mm fan and the TS-559 Pro with its 120 mm fan. The quiet impressions made by the two NAS devices were somewhat disturbed by a recurring noise caused by the vibrations of the hard drives. Applying a slight pressure on the hard drive cages immediately silences the humming noise, until it turns up again at some point. We would suggest better vibration cancelation for the hard drive mounting points.

Power Consumption

Qnap TS-459 ProQnap TS-559 Pro
Off0.7 W0.9 W
Peak110.5 W148.8 W
HDD Power Down24.4 W27.3 W
Idle45.1 W56.2 W
Rebuild52.2 W63.5 W

The power consumption at idle (power down) does not differ a lot, and active idle differs by roughly 10 W. In any case, both NAS devices require roughly as much power as a low-power desktop PC, which is acceptable. Roughly half of the power consumption is attributed to the hard drives, while 15-25 W are required by the Atom D510 platform.

This thread is closed for comments
    Your comment
  • thomaseron
    "We put four-bay and five-bad units..."
    Haha! ;-)

    EDIT: They have corrected it now... :-)
  • Zoidman
    I set a TS-459 up at my work, and that machine is a piece of beauty! It runs a copy of linux on it which is root accessible by SSH thus unlocking all the potentials you could ever want! It adds a huge amount of value to the devices in my opinion and would recommend it to a business looking for a basic backup system.
  • Reynod
    I would need to sell a kidney.

  • ProDigit10
    Who would want to pay that for a nas server?
    Just purchase a micro atx board + case + Atom N550/D525 and 2GB of ram, and install 2 or 4 harddrives in RAID.
    It'll cost you less than $400!

    5 drives and up is indeed harder to get, but definitely NOT worth trice the price!

    Besides, the Atom is a very small CPU which would bottleneck when 2 or 3 drives are copy/moving data. I don't think it's even wise from performance standpoint of view to buy any Atom NAS server with more than 3 or 4 drives!

    comment made before reading article.
  • Agges
    Supporting ProDigit10's sentiment..

    How about adding a 'building your own NAS/server' guide, including testing the sweet-spot for price/performance for various set-ups..?
  • mjw
    It looks like the network may be a bottleneck in a number of your tests. It would be interesting to see if the performance increases when the dual gigabit NICs are run in teaming mode.
  • KentC
    I bought an Acer Home Server with 4 hot swap drive bays and one drive bay with a 1tb drive with the server OS for $350. It looks like these units provide less and cost almost three times as much. Why are they so expensive? What does 3x the cost buy me?
  • noblerabbit
    I just shove 5 harddrives in my PC for my storage needs.
  • joex444
    I'm with mjw here. If the highest number you ever achieved is 116MB/s you're limited by GbE rather than anything else. When a 2 drive RAID1 performs the same as a 5 drive RAID5 you have some other problem.

    I run an external 8 bay unit, all drives filled with 2x250GB drives for OS and 6x750GB drives for RAID5. The biggest problem I have in terms of getting an idea of the true transfer rates capable is the fact that the RAID5 can write faster than the other array reads. And copying from an array to itself always has issues. So in real-world apps, my write speeds are limited by the read speed of other devices. The only logical way to untangle the two is to run a separate 6 drive RAID5 array, but I'm out of PCIe 8x slots to do so (as well as money).
  • mikem_90
    Part of what you pay for is the software development for all the features they give out of the box. Sure you could build your own, but it might not be as compact while offering hot swap and have an well designed interface with the well integrated features.

    These systems offer some very nice features I don't mind paying for.

    Keep in mind that this is the corporate version, it has a much beefier CPU than the cheaper ones that cost a few hundred dollars less. They don't offer the same performance, but not everyone needs to use volume based encryption and send the files back and forth over SSL encrypted links.
  • mikem_90
    mjwIt looks like the network may be a bottleneck in a number of your tests. It would be interesting to see if the performance increases when the dual gigabit NICs are run in teaming mode.

    I just noticed that. It looks like they only tested with one port, not both with port trunking. It would be a lot better and truer to the spirit of testing this for performance if they had bothered to get a port trunking switch and a workstation that could do the same. Dual port Intel boards are only around $150 or so.

    Its also handy to have two ports when you have a separate SAN. Keep data traffic away from regular traffic.

    But if you're needing more performance than dual Gigiabit ports can provide, you need to buy a larger SAN system.
  • KentC
    Part of what you pay for is the software development for all the features they give out of the box. Sure you could build your own, but it might not be as compact while offering hot swap and have an well designed interface with the well integrated features.

    mikem_90, like I said, I paid $350 for a box that had 4 hot swappable drive bays and Windows Home Server included. So again, the value that one of these that costs almost 3 times as much as that escapes me.
  • chovav
    I also don't understand why you didn't test is with the two Ethernet ports. If not teamed, at least as two separate networks running the test at the same time.

    Was it also not possible to connect the other esata ports and see if that makes any difference in transfer rates? be a bit more technical and try some tweaks, that's why we're here at Tom's!

    A system administrator in a small company might want to buy this nas if he knew that by using some sort of tweak or setup he can get much more out of it.
  • Shouldn't you also see how additional drivers impact IOPS? This is a pretty naive conclusion = not the whole truth.
  • palladin9479
    "NAS" type devices are rarely worth it. Their nothing but linux file servers that try to disguise their front end so "anyone" can configure them. This works ~ok~ in a home environment where your average user doesn't know enough to properly configure a file server, but they cost so much money relative to what they offer that an "average" user wouldn't buy one. Business's would be better served by actually building a real file server and tailoring it to their needs. A NAS's security can not be integrated into an enterprise's security architecture, not without heavy rebuilding and modification which defeats the concept of a NAS to begin with. Go ahead, try to get a basic linux installation to work with AD security principles and use those permissions to apply access control of the files. Its possible, just not with the build your going to get on a COTS NAS device. And the moment you want to talk file encryption *boom* your performance on an Intel platform goes out the window.

    Ohh and network trunking of multiple ethernet ports requires an expensive (relatively speaking) managed switch. On the switch you must set the two (or four in my case) ports into bonded mode (not fcking trunk), then set the bonding on the host. Otherwise you only get port failover for when once cable gets unplugged.

    My suggestion if you want a network accessible linux based file server.

    MiniITX Via Nano / C7 + 2GB DDR2 memory. I suggest one of the Jetway boards coupled with a 3x1Gb daughter board, you can then bond the three ports together for 3Gbps data access and use the onboard port as a network management port. Appropriate expandable case, might have to acquire an external enclosure and use eSATA for access depending on how crazy you want to get.

    Then install CentOS 5 (Community ENTerprise OS) onto the system, CENTOS is the Open Source Red Hat Enterprise Linux distro without the propriety tools. It comes with just about everything you possible need for an Enterprise server including tools to integrate it into AD and read / write NTFS partitions. Also comes with clustering support if your into that kind of thing.

    After you build it, configure the device to use the padlock (Via integrated AES encryption) engine for cryptofs and suddenly you got full file system encryption without any performance penalty. The Via C7 / Nano can encrypt AES data in the Tbps range, easily enough to saturate any reasonable drive architecture. You can do all this for under the cost of the above four drive NAS, get much better performance, better security control, better integration tools, and more flexibility.
  • jblack
    kentcmikem_90, like I said, I paid $350 for a box that had 4 hot swappable drive bays and Windows Home Server included. So again, the value that one of these that costs almost 3 times as much as that escapes me.

    Yah, but can you run Radius with that NAS and authenticate clients connecting to your WPA2-Enterprise wireless network?

    Can you run a DNS server on it, and have it serve as a slave to several other DNS servers you have running on the network? I bet you can't do iSCSI targets with that box either.
  • junixophobia
    A real system admin would go for stability than overclocking capability.
    It may go very fast but it is a peace of shit if it ruins my holiday.

    Although the review is incomplete and lacking.

    1st, it did not use port trunking. two 1GB LAN port would really be a big difference
    2nd, it did not enable jumbo frame to crank out the real gig transfer that that Gig Lan port is capable of
  • palladin9479

    Its port bonding not trunking. Trunking is when you have multiple VLAN's accessible / routeable through a single switching port. Bonding is when you have multiple switching ports configured to aggregate packets together, in essence they act as a single ethernet port. In both scenarios you require a managed switch configured for this, you can't just log into a box and check a box and it magically works.

    Yes jumbo frames would be amazing but somehow I doubt this box supports this out the box.
  • junixophobia

    Well... That is what they said in the actual web config screen...
    Port trunking. They even define it.

    "Port Trunking provides network load balancing and fault tolerance by combining two Ethernet interfaces into one to increase the bandwidth beyond the limits of any one single interface at the same time offers the redundancy for higher availability when both interfaces are connected to the same switch that supports 'Port Trunking'."

    Additionally, you can increase the frames 1500/4074/7418/9000 and I have seen the benefits but never bothered to take statistical analysis.

    And it does have iscsi and download station aside from the usual upnp and itunes service and etc...
  • palladin9479
    Yeah their just taking liberties with marketing terms. Its just regular linux build, not even the custom ARM builds used for SOHO routers.
  • palladin9479
    802.3ad is what specifies port bonding through link aggregation.


    The switch still needs to support this which means its an expensive (relatively) managed switch. You have to console into the switch and configure it to bond the two ports, or turn on LACP for the ports in question.
  • junixophobia
    Still this review should mention and include the Gigabit speed and Jumbo frames. Watching a WideScreen High resolution Movie is not even possible with a NAS without gigabit...? And QNAP features is not superficial.

    Most also forget that this is a hotswap capable device. if you are building a similar, you have to include that

    I do have to agree that this device TS-659 is not for ordinary man. But if money is not a problem, I would say that it is a good investment.
  • Many of you are missing 2 important factors in my opinion...
    1. These NAS boxes typically consume a lot LESS power
    2. It is NOT inside your computer -- gives you redundancy to your data
  • TeKEffect
    I got a LG with a networked ISCSI blu-ray drive for like $250. Does what I need it todo