Storage Wars NAS Roundup: Thecus, QNAP, Netgear

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QNAP TS-569 Pro Design and Build Quality

QNAP's TS-569 Pro is the only NAS box in this roundup to ship with five drive bays; the rest have four. It's also the sole unit to skip an all-black motif in favor of a retro black and silver design with a lightly brushed aluminum aesthetic. We'd never suggest choosing a NAS box based on looks, though if your decision came down to this or another model, and you plan on plopping it in a visible area -- like a home theater setup --- you may want to consider how well one will blend in versus the other. We're far more interested in the actual hardware and feature-set, and the TS-569 Pro has the following:
  • 2.13GHz Intel Atom Dual Core processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 2 x 10/100/1000 LAN ports
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 5 + Hot Spare, 6, 6 + Hot Spare, and JBOD support
  • 2 x USB 3.0 (back); 5 x USB 2.0 (front: 1; back: 2); 2 x eSATA (back)
  • HDMI and VGA output
  • 5 drive bays

   

As the only NAS box to bring five drive bays to our storage party, QNAP's TS-569 Pro also drops the biggest footprint on the dance floor. The unit measures 8.29 inches (W) by 7.28 inches (H) by 9.27 inches (D) and weighs 11.24 pounds (sans drives). In case you don't feel like flipping back, Netgear's ReadyNAS Pro measures 5.28 inches (W) by 8.07 inches (H) by 8.78 inches (D), and the Thecus N4800 checks in at 6.77 inches (W) by 7.55 inches (H) by 9.84 inches (D). Comparison aside, it's still a compact cube about the size of a cheap subwoofer.

There's no door on the front like there are with the other two NAS boxes, which is either a plus (yay, for convenience) or a minus (boo, for dust accumulation) depending on how you look at it. Each of the five drive bays are lockable. Above the drive bays is a mono-LCD status panel with physical Select and Enter buttons to cycle through the functions, and you can setup a RAID array (with or without encryption) before you even hook it up to your desktop or notebook. That's pretty rad. There's actually quite a bit you can cycle through on the display.

Two more buttons adorn the lower left corner, including a power button and a copy button that surrounds the front-mounted USB 2.0 port for copying the contents of external devices.

A horizontal ventilation strip on the left side of the TS-569 Pro helps carry out passive cooling chores by allowing cool air to flow in. In the back is a large exhaust fan, above which sits a smaller fan. Despite the two-fan design, QNAP's box politely keeps noise to a minimum.

QNAP slapped a wealth of ports to the back of its NAS box. From top to bottom, there's an HDMI port, VGA port, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports (for a total of five, including the one up front), a pair of GbE LAN ports, and two eSATA ports. One thing the TS-569 Pro does not lack is connectivity, though like Netgear's product, it lacks a built-in battery backup like the Thecus N4800 has.

As previously mentioned, the TS-569 Pro has five drive bays, and the drive caddies support both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch form factor drives. Like the others, it's not totally tool-less (most NAS boxes aren't), but the box does support hot swapping.


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