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

Test System And Details

Test Configuration

System Hardware
PlatformAsus P5E3 Deluxe, Rev.1.03G; Intel X38, BIOS: 0810 (02/11/2007)
CPUIntel Core 2 Duo E6750 (65 nm Conroe core) @ 2.26 GHz
RAM2 x 1,024MB Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600
eSATA ControllerJMicron JMB363
System Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda 7200.9, 160GB 7,200 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 8MB Cache
Test Hard Drives4 x 3.5" Samsung Spinpoint HD321KJ 320GB, 7,200 RPM, SATA/300, 16MB Cache
DVD-ROMSamsung SH-D163A , SATA150
Video CardGigabyte Radeon HD 3850 GV-RX385512H GPU: 670 MHz; Memory: 512MB DDR3 (830 MHz, 256-bit)
Network CardMarvell Yukon 88E8056 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Sound CardIntegrated
Power SupplyCooler Master RS-850-EMBA, ATX 12V V2.2, 850 Watt
System Software
Operating SystemWindows Vista Enterprise SP1
DirectX 10DirectX 10 (Vista-Standard)
DirectX 9Version: April 2007
Graphic DriversATI Radeon Version 7.12
Network Drivers9.0.32.3 (Vista Standard)
Intel Chipset DriversVersion 6.9.1.1001 (20/02/2008)
JMicron Chipset DriversVersion 1.17.15.0 (24/03/2007)

Intel NAS Performance Toolkit 

We tested the NAS devices using the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit. For a more detailed description of the benchmarks, see the article Benchmarking With Intel's NAS Toolkit.

The Thecus N4200 used the firmware version 3.00.12 in our tests, while the QNAP TS-459 Pro used the firmware version 323 (0209T).

Power and Noise (Subjective)

Both NAS devices consume about the same amount of power, which should come as no surprise considering their almost identical hardware. The noise of both units was subjectively measured, and while they seem rather equal, the QNAP TS-459 Pro didn't do quite as good a job at dampening hard drive vibrations. This resulted in a slight but annoying humming sound. Gently pressing on the hard drive housing made the humming go away permanently. The plastic rails used in the Thecus N4200 drive bays are the better solution. Both NAS units are quiet enough to keep next to you while you work without being a bother.

Thecus N4200QNAP TS-459 Pro
Off1.7W0.7W
Peak105.6W110.5W
Sleep23.7W24.4W
Idle45.7W45.1W
Rebuild56.5W52.2W
  • 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
    Reply
  • performance I would wager
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • ipp
    More super expensive NAS evaluated at tomshardware. Woo!
    Reply
  • jeffunit
    NAS without ECC is foolish.
    These are foolish and expensive.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply