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QNAP TS-451 Review with Toshiba 5TB HDDs (MD04ACA500)

  • 07 min read
  • 06 Jul, 2014
QNAP TS-451 Review with Toshiba 5TB HDDs (MD04ACA500)
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TS-451 Packaging

Introducing the recently announced QNAP TS-451 high performance home or small office NAS. The TS-451 supports up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s HDDs (2.5" or 3.5"). TRIM support is also included so you can also use your favourite SSDs. Using the current compatibility list, the TS-451 NAS can provide up to 20TB capacity and an additional 60TB and 45TB through the use of supported RAID expansion enclosures. These are of course maximum raw capacity, the actual usable capacity would be determined by the level of RAID used.

One noticeable change from previous models is the departure of the Intel Atom processor. This unit comes powered by a 64-bit dual core Intel Celeron 2.41Ghz processor.  Supporting Intel Turbo Boost, the processor should be capable of clocking up to 2.58Ghz under CPU intensive tasks. Also gone are the minimum RAM specs, whilst the TS-451 ships with just 1GB of RAM, this is user upgradable to 8GB (DDR3 SO-DIMM). The extra CPU power and RAM support will no doubt come in handy when utilising the new virtual machine support.

In short, this looks to be one little powerful NAS to review.

What’s in the Box?

Included in the box was:

  • QNAp TS-451 NAS
  • 2 x ethernet cables
  • Power brick and cable
  • HDD screws
  • Getting started guide
  • Quick install guide

Specifications

CPU Intel® Celeron® 2.41GHz dual-core processor (Intel Turbo Boost to 2.58GHz)
RAM 1GB DDR3L SO-DIMM RAM (expandable up to 8GB)

Optional 4GB version will also be available | | Hard Disk Drive | 4 x 3.5” or 2.5” SATA 6Gb/s, SATA 3Gb/s HDD or SSD | | LAN Port | 2 x Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet (supports trunking) | | LED Indicators | Status, LAN, USB, HDDs | | USB | 2 x USB 3.0 port (Front: 1, Rear: 1) 2 x USB 2.0 port (Rear: 2)  Support USB printer, pen drive, and USB UPS etc. | | HDMI | Rear - 1 | | IR Receiver | MCE-compatible | | Dimensions | 177mm (H) x 180mm (W) x 235mm (D) | | Power Consumption (W) | HDD standby: 15.85W S3 sleep: 0.55W In use: 31.07W with 4 x 1TB HDD installed |

Looks fairly compact next to the HP MicroServer

TS-451 next to HP MicroServer
TS-451 next to HP MicroServer

Hard Disk Drive

The TS-451 supports up to 4 x 2.5" or 3.5" drives. The current list of supported drives can be found on the QNAP website. I tested with the Toshiba 5TB (MD04ACA500) drive. There aren’t on the supported list yet but had them available so thought why not. One thing to note is that build quality of the drive caddy, it feels a lot more plasticy than what I am used to from QNAP.

Upgrading the RAM

Upgrading the RAM is a fairly easy process if you are familiar with taking apart (and putting back together) computers. If you are unsure about which screws to take out, you can follow the guide from QNAP. The super short version of the guide is as follows:

Case off:

TS-451 Case Off
TS-451 Case Off

HDD tray unscrewed and removed. Locate RAM modules and replace:

TS-451 Motherboard
TS-451 Motherboard

The 2nd module is a little more tricky to replace but you certainly can do it without having to remove anything else. Looks like the review unit I received was the one tailored for running virtual machines as it came with 4GB RAM. That’s good as the TS-451 did not like the Corsair Value Select CMS04GX3M1A1333C9 8GB kit I had. Not sure why but I’ve asked QNAP to see whether they can get a supported RAM list started. For the moment, QNAP have recommended that I try either Adata or Apacer branded modules.

Update:

Thanks to Kurt for sending in these model #’s for compatible modules:

  • Kingston KVR16LS11/4 4GB PC3L 12800 CL11 204 pin SO-DIMM) – single or in a pair
  • CRUCIAL CT51264BF160B 4 GB SO-DIMM DDR3L 1.35 V PC3-12800 (1600 Mhz) CL11 – single or in a pair
My 8GB Corsair Value Select kit didn't work
My 8GB Corsair Value Select kit didn’t work

Configuring

Once you have added the HDDs and extra RAM (if you are upgrading the RAM), plug it all in, patch it into your network and power up. If it fails to POST or the NICs are only connecting at 10Mbps, it may be your RAM. Put the stock RAM back in and try again. If you know the IP address of the newly booted TS-451, you can access it directly via a web browser. Alternatively, download Qfinder from the QNAP website to help you get started.

Use Qfinder to find QNAP
Use Qfinder to find QNAP
Quick Setup Wizard
Quick Setup Wizard

Clicking on Yes will guide you through the quick setup process via the QNAP’s web portal. The storage array can be configured during this process as well:

Once the NAS has been configured you will be greeted by the colourful login screen. Initial login credentials will be admin\admin:

QNAP Login
QNAP Login

Even though my TS-451 shipped with 4.1.0 of the QTS operating system, a newer build was found. Updating was as easy as accepting the request:

Firmware Notification
Firmware Notification

The firmware update happened without any issues. Once logged back in we were presented with the QTS home screen:

QNAP Home Screen
QNAP Home Screen

Storage Manager

Storage on the TS-451 is configured and managed in the Storage Manager which is accessible via the Control Panel. As you can see, the Toshiba 5TB HDDs were detected without any issues:

5TB HDDs Recognised
5TB HDDs Recognised

One interesting observation in Storage Manager was the Cache Acceleration section. The QNAP TS-451 allows you to configure an SSD as a cache drive to speed up performance:

Cache Acceleration
Cache Acceleration

Configuring Port Trunking

If you are pumping a lot of data through the NAS, you will want to look at port trunking. The TS-451 supports a range of trunking modes but the one we tested was IEEE 802.3ad (link aggregation) as we have a switch that supports this. The mode you choose will largely depend on the supporting infrastructure you have. Not all switches are capable of supporting all the modes. Incorrectly configuring this could render your NAS unreachable on the network.

Software

The QTS software supports a range of applications which is listed briefly below. We’ll be reviewing these in a little more detail shortly.

HD Station

The HD Station is capable of giving the user a total home media and entertainment experience. The HDMI port paired with the iR sensor and XBMC can turn the TS-451 into a media PC with mega storage capabilities.

HD Station
HD Station

Virtual Machines

QNAP have brought virtualization to the NAS allowing you to configure and run Windows and *nix virtual machines on the TS-451. The RAM will need to be upgraded from the stock 1GB in order to be able to use this application.

See our mini review on the Virtualization Station for additional information.

Virtualization Station
Virtualization Station

Photo Station

Simple yet effective photo sharing solution for the family. The photo station also offers user access controls to users and enables sharing with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Station
Photo Station

Music Station

The Music Station is the iTunes equivalent for the QNAP NAS, the main difference being that you are unable to purchase new music via this application.

Music Station
Music Station

Backup Solutions

The QNAP offers a range of backup solutions. Shortly, I’ll be writing up how you setup RSYNC between the QNAP and a FreeNAS box.

Backup Station
Backup Station

Qsync

Qsync is QNAPs solution to fileshare sites such as Dropbox.

Qsync
Qsync

myQNAPcloud

If you are looking at running your own private cloud similar to OneDrive or Google Drive, myQNAPcloud could be the solution for you.

myQNAPcloud
myQNAPcloud

Summary

This ends the first part of our review on the QNAP TS-451. The hardware is compact, light and extremely quiet to run. My only concern is how the plastic case will cope during our summers during peak use of the drives. For the moment the TS-451 runs cools and the fans seems to be doing it’s job. The QTS system is fairly responsive and simple to use. Subsequent reviews will focus on the software mentioned above in more detail.

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