Just a few years ago, NAS appliances were typically purchased to be used as simple storage solutions. However, this would quickly change as the market started to change. What started out as a less than stellar Marvell SoCs that would barely transfer data at rates of 70 MB/s, quickly turned into HDMI ports and Atom processors, which would show up behind the NAS appliances.
Now, just a few years later, most, and probably every NAS appliance will ship with an HDMI port as well as an Intel SoC or CPU. While many of these typically have a performance that is similar to the older Marvell setup, QNAP is trying to change that today when they release the TS-451.
This latest model is in response to the demand by customers for media. Most consumers today want to have the ability to record, play, and share their media. This is a new market demand as people really want to share their media with the world.
The newest QNAP appliance uses a design from the platform of Intel’s Bay Trail D; specifically, the design comes from Celeron J1800 System on Chip (SoC). The System on Chip has a clock speed of about 2.4 GHz. The turbo frequency is 2.58 GHz. While this is a great feature, it is not the major selling point for the platform. The majority of the customers who are buying this platform are doing so because of the Quick Sync technology from Intel.
Quick Sync is the hardware video decoding and encoding technology from Intel. This hardware was first released using the Sandy Bridge platform. It is currently in its 3rd generation. Quick sync will now support H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.262/MPEG-2 part 2, and VC-1 standards.
Additionally, virtualization station is launching with the new QNAP TS-451. Virtualization Station allows a virtualized desktop operation from the Turbo NAS, which allows remote access to the operating system of choice directly on your NAS. There are several modern operating systems that are supported including:
Linux: Fedora 11, Fedora 12, Fedora 13, Fedora 14, Fedora 15, Fedora 16, Fedora 17, Fedora 18, Fedora 19
Linux: CentOS 6.0, CentOS 6.1, CentOS 6.2, CentOS 6.3, CentOS 6.4
Linux: Ubuntu 10.04 Luci Lynx, Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander
Linux: Red Hat Enterprise
Linux: Suse Linux Enterprise
Linux OpenSUSE 11 and OpenSuse 12
Unix: FreeBSD 8.3
Unix: FreeBSD 9.1
Unix: Sun Solaris 10
Unix: Sun Solaris 11
Windows Server 2003 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2012 R2
This shows that almost every operating system is supported by the TS-451.
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CPU: Intel ™ Celeron™ with a 2.41 GHz dual core processor. Burst speeds are up to 2.58 GHz.
TS-451-4G: offers 4 GB DDR3L Ram
TS-451: 1G DDR3L ram
Both are expandable up to 8 GB. When you are installing 2 memory modules, it is important to make sure that they are the same size. Ideally they will use the same type of Ram for both of the memory slots.
Flash Memory: 512 MB DOM
Hard Disk: 4 by 3.5 inch or 2.5 inch SATA 6 Gb/s or SATA 3 Gb/s hard drive or an SSD
Hard Disk Note:
The system will be shipped without HDD.
Hard Disk Tray: 4 times Hot swappable tray
LAN port: 2 times gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port
LED Indicators: LAN, Status, USB, HDD 1 through 4
USB: 2 USB 3.0 ports, one in the front and one in the back and 2 USB 2.0 ports, both in the back. Support for pen drive, USB printers, etc.
Buttons: reset, USB back up with one touch, Power/Status
Alarm Buzzer: system warning
IR Receiver: compatible with MCE
Form Factor: tower
Weight: Net weight is 6.61 pounds, Gross weight is 9.48 pounds
Dimensions: 177 by 180 by 235 mm (6.97 by 7.09 by 9.25 inches)
Power Consumption: S3 sleep is 0.55 W, HDD standby is 15.85 W, while operating it is 31.07 W, when 4 by 1 TB HDD is installed.
Humidity: 5~95%, wet bulb is 27 degrees Celsius, RH non-condensing
Temperature: 0 to 40 degrees Celsius
Fan: One quiet cooling fan, it is 12 cm and 12 V DC
Security: There is a Kensington security slot in it to prevent theft
Power Supply: The external power adapter is 100 to 240 V, 90 W
Source: QNAP website
Pricing and Availability
The QNAP TS-451 is set with an MSRP is $699.99. This price includes a 2 year warranty. While the going price can fluctuate up and down, the current price for this unit in the United States is $699.00 at Amazon. The current price for the QNAP TS-451 at Amazon Canada is CDN $923.97. As mentioned, these prices are subject to change at any point in time.
QNAP TS-451 NAS: A Closer Look
The TS-451 packaging features a white design that is more consumer friendly. On the box, you will see an image of the NAS. There are features listed around the image. In the box you will find along with the TS-451, a power adapter, reading materials, drive screws, and dual Ethernet cables.
This latest product is taking a new approach when it comes to NAS appliances as the white design is more modern and a move away from the standard brushed aluminum or black aesthetic that was the norm for QNAP products in the past.
On the back of the NAS a rather large 120 mm cooling fan is housed. The HDMI is located next to the cooling fan. There is also a dual Gigabit LAN, a single USB 3.0 port, and a dual USB.
There is an unlocked symbol and a locked symbol located on the bottom of the NAS. On the bottom right of the motherboard you will find a single PCIe connection that is used for the storage backplane. On the left side there is a single stick ADATA DDR3L with 4 GB. On the top right corner, tucked away, is the ASMedia 1442. This enables support for the HDMI 1.3a.
Test System Setup
In this particular test the following was used:
Board: Gigabyte Z97X UD7 TH
CPU: Intel Core i74770
Memory: 4 by 4 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum
Storage: 2 Samsung 840 pro, 256 GB SSDs
VGA: NVIDIA Ge Force GTX 760
Connectivity: 2 Thunderbolt II/6x USB 3.0
The test system setup would be similar to that found in most homes. The base is from a gigabyte Z97X UD7, which houses an intel core i7 4770 and includes 16 GB of Ram. The operating system that was used is Windows 8 x64 Enterprise. All of the updates and patches were installed on a couple of Samsung 840 SSDs.
For networking, the Intel Pro 1000 server adapter was used along with a direct connection for each of the NAS appliance. This means that no switch is needed and there also will not be any bottlenecks that could occur.
When setting up the QNAP TS-451, you will be offered the choice of a quick set up or a manual set up. The quick set up will provide you with all of the basics that you need. If you feel more comfortable making sure that it is set up exactly how you want it to be, you can choose to manually set it up.
During the set up process you will be prompted to set up the virtualization station. You will first see a warning screen that you will need to verify before you can begin the set up process. The first step will be to choose a default folder. When you are first running through the steps to set up the virtualization station you probably should avoid using internet explorer. Internet explorer tends to prevent certain screens from correctly functioning.
Once you complete the initial options, you will then be able to choose from several profiles. There are several profiles available for several sizes of VMs. You will also be given the option of customizing the VM as well.
Once the VM is completely set up you will see the memory usage and the idle CPU. One tip when using a VM is to use a remote for getting into the machine. When you use the console it tends to be somewhat laggy. Using RDC provides a more seamless environment.
CodexPack is the hardware transcoding technology of QNAP. From the information that has been gathered about it so far, it seems that CodexPack is what enables Quick Sync to transcode the VA-API of Intel.
You can use CodexPack to transcode different folders and files so that they can then be used on your other machines. For example, you could create a folder of videos transcoded into 1080 p so that they can then be played back on your MacBook Pro or a laptop. Depending on the size of your list, it can take a bit of time to transcode. Additionally, depending on how far away the video is from 1080 p, the longer it seems to take. For example, a standard DVD film quality will take about one or two minutes to complete.
Overall, the TS-451 provides great real time video transcoding in full HD to convert videos to formats that will be smoothly played on smart televisions, PCs, and mobile devices. There can be up to 5 devices that can view different videos simultaneously from the TS-451 using hardware accelerated transcoding on the fly. In addition, you can enjoy instant videos across several devices, even ones that do not have computing power or have a file format with limited support, without needing any type of complicated or time consuming file conversion being necessary.
With the offline transcoding benefit, if you have an internet connection that has a restricted or limited bandwidth, you will still be able to watch videos smoothly by using a lower resolution to play each video using the video station, Qfile app, or file station, without affecting the performance of the TS-451 running the other applications. This will allow more people to stream the video. In addition, you can set a dedicated folder that can be used for video transcoding automatically.
The TS-451 provides a high capacity storage unit with a high performance. It can be used for home, businesses, work groups, SMB and SOHO users. It is powered with the QTS operating system and performs as a powerful, yet easy to use NAS for file synchronizations, data backup, home entertainment, and remote access. It is ideal for people to use to create a personal cloud where they can access their data easily.
In review of what you can use the TS-451 for:
• Transcoding full HD videos either offline or on the fly
• Playing 1080 p videos with a 7.1 channel surround pass through using an HDMI output
• To create your own personal cloud
• Streaming your multimedia library using AirPlay, Plex, and DLNA
• Centralizing your file backup, storage, and sharing.
• Ability to run a virtual machine
• Extend the NAS functionality
• Expanding the total storage capacity to 60 TB, with a maximum of 12 hard drives
The overall performance of the QNAP TS-451 is quite impressive. It is powered by the 22 nm 64 bit dual core Celeron ™ from Intel ™. This is combined with a DDR3L Ram, which is energy efficient and can be upgraded to 8 GB. There are also HDMI and LAN ports, which makes the TS-451 quite powerful.
It offers a superb value combined with this excellent performance as it can deliver reading and writing speeds of up to 220 megabytes per second. In addition, it can increase the clock rate of the processor from 2.41 gigahertz up to 2.58 gigahertz when this is needed for tasks that are CPU intensive. The fast encryption and decryption provides transfer speeds of nearly 68 megabytes per second. It has AES 256 bit volume encryption, which boosts the performance and the security while also ensuring that all of your sensitive personal data is kept safe when it is stored using the TS-451.
The user interface is quite intuitive, which makes the system operation smooth and handy. The intelligent desktop will allow you to quickly be able to find your desired functions. You can easily create group shortcuts and desktop shortcuts and monitor all of the important system information in real time. In addition, you can open a number of application windows at the same time so that you can run several tasks all at once. This brings a greater operating efficiency.
Building your Personal Cloud
The myQNAPcloud from the company provides an infrastructure for home and business users that are always connected. This allows users of all types the ability to build their personal or private cloud quite easily. Using any web browser or by using the free mobile app that is available, the TS-451 is your personal cloud so that you always have access to your data, wherever you may be. You should take advantage of the myQNAPcloud service as it allows you to remotely access your device from anywhere. You can instantly share or stream any of your multimedia content with your friends or co-workers at any time.
QNAP Ram Module Guide for Installation
Installing the TS-451 is best completed by a professional. The steps outlined below will help you install the TS-451 RAM module for the NAS.
First, you will need to turn off the NAS and disconnect the network cables, power adaptor, and any of the other cables and connectors from the NAS. Next, remove the installed hard drives from NAS. Before you install the memory module you will need to put an antistatic wrist strap on in order to prevent any type of electrostatic discharge. You will need to make sure that the crocodile clip is grounded. The screws will then need to be removed from the top and the bottom. There are 2 on the 2 bay NAS and 4 on the 4 Bay NAS.
The case cover of the NAS can then be removed by sliding it apart. The 4 inner screws will need to be removed. Next you will gently take out the hard drive cage by lifting it out of its area from the NAS. It is important to make sure that the memory module is installed in the red slot, this is the primary slot. If there is no memory module in this slot then the system is not going to start. If you are installing 2 memory modules they need to be the same size and ideally have the same RAM type for each of the memory slots. The maximum amount of memory that is supported is 8 GB.
Next you will reattach the hard drive to the NAS. Make sure that it is plugged into the slot correctly. Fasten the inner screws in place and then put the case cover back on and reattach it. Reinsert the outer screws and then put your hard drive in the NAS. Reconnect all of the cables and the power adapter to the NAS. You will then want to make sure that your memory module will be recognized by the NAS. Turn on the NAS and then login as the administrator to the web interface. You will then go to system status, to system information, and then check to see what the total memory is in hardware information.
When it comes to innovation, the QNAP TS-451 is one of the most exciting NAS available on the market. The processor is more than capable of delivering high speeds and can handle playing 1080 content through Windows without any issue. The speeds put it next to the AMD A8-7600.
When the J1800 was used with the QNAP TS-451, the power consumption was quite impressive. Under a full load system of 100% CPU, it uses only 28 watts and performance all across the board was extremely strong. When tested, the TS-451 set up using an HTPC/NAS combo with the HDMI connector, 1080 p content could be streamed across several devices without losing frames.
If the larger 4 GB model is purchased or if you upgrade the memory for the TS-451, you will have the ability to use the virtualization app. This will allow you to create a virtual machine and opens up a large number of options as it allows users to run Linux, Unix, or Windows. the virtualization app can then be used to open any file that the NAS cannot open directly. Windows XP can also be installed in order to use legacy applications. This is a ground breaking feature, which provides a whole new purpose for the NAS. Since this product is relatively new, the VM app has not been checked out in detail as of yet.
Overall, the TS-451 offers a plethora of new and exciting developments and it seems to do all of these extremely well. However, the basics have not been forgotten. When it comes to performance, the TS-451 delivers and provides some of the best results currently available. The current biggest rival on the market would be the DS414. The Synology NAS was a bit faster when downloading files, but the TS-451 could beat it in some of the upload tests that have been conducted.
One of the concerns about the TS-451 is the cost. The new features are quite exciting, but you need to make sure that they are something that you are going to use because the cost for the 4 GB version is $760, which is not cheap. In comparison, the Synology DS414 runs at about $480, which makes it nearly 40% cheaper. In addition, that extra money could purchase you 8 TB more storage. This makes the price factor even more drastic.
In order to fully release all of the great new features you really need to choose the 4 GB option. While this is the most expensive 4 Bay NAS currently on the market, it is a great system.
Read more reviews and check the latest price from Amazon here.