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.

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System Hardware
Test PlatformAsus 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 DriveSeagate Barracuda 7200.9, 160 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 8 MB Cache
Test Hard Drives5 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 CardGigabyte Radeon HD 3850 GV-RX385512HGPU: 670 MHz, Memory: 512 MB DDR3 (830 MHz, 256-Bit)
Network CardMarvell Yukon 88E8056 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Sound CardIntegraded
PSUCooler Master RS-850-EMBA, ATX 12 V V2.2, 850 Watt
System-Software & Treiber
Operating SystemWindows Vista Enterprise SP1
DirectX 10DirectX 10 (Vista-Standard)
DirectX 9Version: April 2007
Graphics DriversAMD Radeon Version 7.12
Network Drivers9.0.32.3 (Vista-Standard)
Intel Chipset DriversVersion (20/02/2008)
JMicron Chipset DriversVersion (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

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Header Cell - Column 0 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.

Marcel Binder
  • 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.