QNAP TS-251 High-Performance 2-Bay Prosumer NAS Review

Introduction


QNAP created their TS-251 Turbo NAS as a great high-performance solution for home users as well as small and medium-sized offices, and today I’m taking a closer look at what it has to offer and how well it performs in our testing area.

The TS-251 provides a high performance and high-capacity storage solution thanks to a great combination of QNAP’s advanced QTS operating system and some great hardware. It is an easy-to-use yet powerful NAS for data backup, file synchronization, remote access, home entertainment, and it is also ideal for users to build a personal cloud where they can access their data easily and secure, outside of the prying eyes of strangers and commercial hosting solutions.

The QNAP TS-251 is built with an Intel Celeron 2.41GHz dual-core processor that has a burst speed up to 2.58GHz. It comes with two DDR3L memory slots and is available in two models, one with 1GB RAM and the one I’m taking a look at today with 4GB DDR3L RAM in two 2GB modules. The TS-251 has 512 DOM storage for the system itself and comes with two hot-swappable trays.

Users of the TS-251 Turbo NAS get two Intel-powered Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet ports that support trunking and link aggregation. There is one USB 3.0 port on the front together with the One-Touch copy button and another USB 3.0 on the rear. You will also find two USB 2.0 ports there. The rear USB 3.0 port is excellent for expanding the capacity of the NAS with up to 8 more drives, making this a great starter NAS that can be expanded at a later time, should you need it. QNAP has the UX-500P and UX-800P expansion units that respectively provide 5 and 8 extra drive bays. They connect to the NAS through a single USB 3.0 cable, making it real easy to set up. That effectively means that you can have up to 60TB raw storage with a complete set of 6TB drives and the TS-251.

The two USB 2.0 ports are perfect for USB printers, pen drives, and USB UPS connection as well as for keyboard and mouse when you’re using the HD Station. This is also where the HDMI port comes into play, as you can hook the TS-251 directly up to a monitor and use it for direct media playback of 1080p videos with 7.1 channel surround sound as well as run virtualization systems.

The powerful Intel x86 processor in the TS-251 can transcode Full HD videos on-the-fly as well as offline, allowing you to play them smoothly on both PCs and smart devices. It allows for up to 5 devices to simultaneously view different videos stored on the TS-251 with on-the-fly hardware accelerated transcoding. Even devices that lack the computing power or have limited file format support will have a great experience and it doesn’t require any complicated and time-consuming file conversions done by yourself.

You can easily stream to all your devices whether they are Smart TVs, PlayStation, or Xbox systems as well as Hi-Fi systems that support streaming. Mobile devices, both Android and iOS, are supported and so is Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google TV. Plex Media server is also included which is one of the most popular ways to manage streaming content.

For the perfect media experience, you might also want to invest in the optional media remote. The TS-251 features an IR receiver and works like a charm with the QNAP RM-IR002 remote control as well as MCE remote controls. You can also turn your mobile devices into remote controls by installing the Qremote app. All in all, you’re covered when it comes to media features on the TS-251.

You can easily turn the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS into your own personal cloud solution thanks the myQNAPcloud. It provides an always-connected infrastructure for everyone, and all without complicated setups and extra services such as static IPs, redirects, and DNS setups. A few simple steps to register your NAS and it’s ready.

Constant synchronization is a breeze with Qsync where any file uploaded to the TS-251 will be made available for all linked devices, such as computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Qsync is especially useful for frequent travelers in managing files and ensuring that different devices have the most up-to-date files with great flexibility.

The TS-251 also offers various data recovery options such as Real-Time Remote Replication (RTRR) for real-time and scheduled data backup to remote Turbo NAS or FTP servers as well as synchronization of files to remote folders from local folders. The rsync protocol is also supported and it is a very popular and simple method to backup data to remote servers on a scheduled basis. Commercial and public cloud services are also supported for both backup and restoration from providers such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, ElephantDrive, Dropbox, and Google Cloud Storage.

Local backup is just as important and in many cases it is the main reason that people invest in an NAS. The TS-251 can do that thanks to QNAP’s NetBak Replicator that supports real-time and scheduled data backup on Windows, including Outlook email archiving. Mac OS X users can use Apple Time Machine for effortless backup, and both types of users can use the USB 3.0 port and one-touch backup button on the front to backup that external storage to the NAS. A wide range of third-party backup software such as Acronis True Image and Symantec Backup Exec are also supported.

I’ve previously mentioned the direct usage functionality of the TS-251 thanks to the USB and HDMI ports, and that all comes together thanks to QNAP’s exclusive QvPC Technology. It allows you to use the NAS directly as a PC with direct access to stored data, the ability to run multiple applications using Windows/Linux/UNIX/Android-based VMs, surf the web on Google Chrome, or enjoy Full HD videos with up to 7.1 channel audio via Kodi.

The Virtualization Station is another feature we get thanks to the QvPC technology and it transforms the TS-251 into a virtualization platform supporting multiple operating systems, fast virtual machine creation, virtual machine import/export, snapshot, and that enables desktop operations on web browsers. With the easy-to-use interface, you can centrally manage all of the virtual machines created on the TS-251 with minimal effort. You can also download VMs on demand from online VM markets and import them to TS-251 without any complex procedure. This feature requires at least 2GB of RAM, so the 1GB model is out of the running here. Thankfully I’ve got the 4GB model here. As previously mentioned, you can also upgrade the memory in the TS-251 at any point with standard SO-DIMM DDR3 modules.

The TS-251 can also be used as Surveillance Station and you can monitor this directly via the HDMI output in real-time with local display, and much more. Surveillance Station offers a professional surveillance solution with a user-friendly management interface, over 2,600 compatible IP cameras, and expandable IP camera channel licenses. Next to real-time monitoring it also supports video and audio recording as well as playback with a wide range of customizable settings. There are also Android and iOS apps available for this.

Downloading files can also be done directly by the NAS thanks to the download center. The new and improved Download center in QTS 4.2 means that the old QGet tool isn’t needed anymore and QNAP has ceased the support for this. The Download Station can download BT, Magnet, PT (Private Trackers), eMule, FTP, and HTTP, and all without the need to have a PC running. You can also install HappyGet app to back up abundant online videos to your TS-251.

QNAP NAS’ offer so much, it is tough to mention it all. In short, it does pretty much everything. There are a few things more worth highlighting such as the Signage Station that lets you creatively present your animated content such as personal animated resumes or life memory books. You get the Notes Station that gives you a private and secure way to share and collaborate on digital notes and Qsirch is probably the most efficient way to search for content on your NAS, it’s quick and effective, and it searches your content intelligently.

You also get the Photo Station and Music Station that help you share the photos and media you want while keeping other things private and limit the availability. Connect and stream internet radio, favorite songs from iTunes server and much more. The TS-251 can do it all.

Packaging and Accessories

The front of the packaging displays the NAS unit itself and the area of operation, in this case, High-Performance Home users and Small offices. Some of the main features are also presented right on the front and it is an overall great looking design. It’s simple, but not boring.

A personal cloud setup is getting more and more relevant as we are getting used to being connected everywhere we go. The rear of the box displays that and shows some of the ways that you can utilize that.

The two sides provide even more information, without being too cluttered. Overall a great package design from QNAP on the TS-251; I like it.

Inside the box, you’ll find a power supply and power cable from the region where it was bought, in this case, a UK power cable. There are two LAN cables so you can use both LAN ports right away as well as screws for 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. Two small manuals help you getting started, setting it up and connecting it for the first time.

QNAP Launches AMD-Powered TS-x63U Series Rackmount NAS

QNAP announced a new NAS series and this time it is built around an AMD G-Series quad-core processor, the TS-x63U Turbo NAS. These new NAS units come as 4-bay, 8-bay, and 12-bay version and can be had with single or redundant power supplies. I for one love this and am pleased to see more NAS units being built around an AMD chip, something that can be highly beneficial for many people. The new TS-x63U NAS units feature four normal Gigabit Ethernet connections as well as a single-port SFP+ network adapter that provides 10 GbE connectivity for that extra speed.

The CPU used is a 64-bit AMD Embedded G-Series quad-core 2.0GHz SoC processor and the units come with 4GB DDR3L RAM pre-installed, but you can upgrade that to 16GB if it shouldn’t be enough for your needs. The NAS units also feature AES-NI hardware encryption engine that allows unmatched sequential read performance that exceeds 780MB/s with AES 256-bit full NAS volume encryption. Without encryption, the units can perform with up to 1090MB/s sequential throughput.

The TS-X63U Turbo NAS units run the latest QTS 4.2 operating system and they’re also able to run multiple applications on Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android-based virtual machines. You can operate multiple isolated Linux systems on the NAS as well as download apps from the built-in Docker Hub Registry by using the Container Station which integrates LXC and Docker lightweight virtualisation technologies. They also allow you to simplify virtual storage management for VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix virtualization solutions.

You can also expand the units with QNAP’s 12-bay and 8-bay expansion units and add up to 24 extra drive bays on top of the ones already built-in. The new NAS units should be available as of now, so all that’s left is to pick the one that suits your needs the best.

Redundant power supply:

  • TS-463U-RP:4-bay rackmount model
  • TS-863U-RP:8-bay rackmount model
  • TS-1263U-RP:12-bay rackmount model

Single power supply:

  • TS-463U:4-bay rackmount model
  • TS-863U:8-bay rackmount model
  • TS-1263U:12-bay rackmount model

Thecus N5810 Pro Zero-Crash 5-Bay High-Performance NAS Review

Introduction


Thecus have created a new NAS that is something just a little bit special, if not a lot of special. It looks pretty normal on the surface, but it comes packed full of great features, plenty of storage abilities, and with connectivity options as they’re rarely seen.

The new Thecus Zero-Crash N5810 Pro isn’t your everyday NAS, it is one that comes with superior performance, unmatched security, and with built-in mini-UPS. The N5810 Pro is a 5-bay unit and this is an NAS form-factor that is increasing in popularity due to the option for an extra hot-spare, or just the extra capacity.

Let us dive right into the hardware specification, because they are worth highlighting. At the core of the unit we find an Intel Celeron J1900 quad-core SoC processor with 2GHz and the N5810 Pro comes equipped with 4GB DDR3 RAM right out the box. You don’t need to worry about having to upgrade your NAS right away with that kind of RAM, it is easily enough to run all the apps and service you want at the same time.

Where other NAS devices come with two and sometimes four LAN ports, Thecus added one extra and equipped this unit with a total of five Gigabit Ethernet ports. There is full support for all types of Link Aggregation and Fail-over, leaving the setup completely up to you. Maximum performance, redundancy, or you could even use it as an access point if you wanted to.

It has three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is located on the front for quick and easy backups. The last two are on the rear side with the rest of the connections such as two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, and a Line-Out 3.5mm audio jack.

Thecus equipped the N5810 Pro with an internal 130W power supply. I really like the use of internal power supplies over the external power bricks, although the bricks are easier to replace if they should fail. Thecus also thought about that and made the PSU removable from the rear of the unit. It isn’t as easy as getting a new universal AC/DC adapter, but it’s close.

Another really awesome feature in this high-end NAS is the built-in mini-UPS with a removable battery. Again you save yourself having to get another piece of hardware and find room to place it near the NAS. You also save yourself the connecting and setting it up as everything is built-in. If the NAS should lose power, it will safely shut down without loss or corruption of your data. You can define the settings whether it should stay off or resume where it left off once the power is back.

The N5810 Pro NAS is placed on four large rubber feet that prevent any vibration from the mechanical hard drives to move onto whatever piece of furniture the NAS is placed on. They lift the unit far enough off the ground that it also has some extra air vents on the bottom that help to draw in more fresh and cold air for the system. The stickers with serial and product numbers are hidden away on the bottom if you should need those.

Security is an ever-growing issue and Thecus has this side of things handled with both their choice hardware, software and the physical build. Thecus has partnered with McAfee and bundled their Antivirus with the unit to keep the NAS save from itself. Those who prefer the private connections don’t need to worry either as the NAS fully supports VPN connections with the built-in server module.

Keeping the files safe means more than just to protect them from viruses and malware, and Thecus also has all the other sides of the story covered. The N5810 Pro supports scheduled Rsync backups and also comes bundled with Acronis True Image software for advanced one-click protection. Snapshot backup is equally supported with BTRFS support for subvolumes and easy rollback or restoration.

Those who wish to store their backup in the cloud are covered with support for DropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive. If that still isn’t enough, Thecus also supports data burn directly to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disks with Data Burn. You can also choose to just ‘burn’ ISO files as another way of backing up your files. You can even clone entire disks with the NAS.

The five drive caddies can all be locked individually and Thecus included a total of four keys with this unit. Enough for even the most clumsy people that forget or lose them. The caddie’s base is built from steel and covered with a plastic encasing that holds the locking system and two LEDs. Thecus places padding inside the caddies to prevent damage to your drives and possible short-outs from the PCB touching the caddy. They support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, so you’re covered no matter what drive you want to use, whether it’s small or big hard disks or even solid state drivers.

Thecus also built in a LCM display with four buttons on the front: enter, escape, up, and down. This not only allows you to view the current configuration, but also change settings. Not to worry, you’ll have to enter a password via the buttons in order to access that part.

Mobile connectivity is also supported with the T-OnTheGo and T-Dashboard apps. When I read those names I always think of Telecom first, but the T stands for Thecus in this case. You can connect from your iOS or Android device for up and downloading files, streaming media, or just to keep an eye on the device itself.

You can even turn the N5810 Pro into a direct multimedia hub for your living toom with the built-in HDMI. Connect it directly to your TV for device management, web browsing with Flash support, and also the most important function, HD video playback. No need to watch your movies on the PC monitor or have an extra HTPC running, just use your NAS. It also features a line-out connection to get the sound out to other devices if your monitor doesn’t have built-in speakers.

Lenovo Rolls Out N21 Chromebook

The rumoured N21 Chrome book is here at last! Looking at its specs, the N21 appears to come with a 11.6-inch display, Intel’s Celeron N2840 Bay Trail CPU, 16GB storage space and up to 4GB of RAM. Connectivity-wise, the Chromebook has a 802.11ac wireless adapter, comes with HDMI, SD card reader, one USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port.

The battery life is also promising, having Lenovo stating that the N21 eats up 36 Wh. This means that users should expect a battery life of up to 9.5 hours, give or take, depending on the number of applications running on the device.

The N21 Chromebook appears to come in a rugged case and is available for purchase at stores at a starting price of $219.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Thecus Announces New Zero-Crash 5-Bay NAS, the N5810PRO

Thecus announced their newest NAS device, and what an amazing one it is. The new Thecus N5810PRO is built around a quad-core Intel Celeron processor with 2 GHz and comes with built-in Mini-UPS battery and five LAN ports. The N5810PRO doesn’t look like it’s missing anything and looks to be a NAS that could satisfy even the most demanding users.

“In today’s ever-evolving digital environment, businesses require robust storage solutions that provide premium performance with peace of mind that their data will always be secure,” said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology. “The N5810PRO is designed to equip users with a comprehensive set of applications that will optimize their business environment while addressing the needs for performance and security.”

Besides the quad-core SoC, the N5810PRO comes with 4 GB DDR3 RAM and is expandable to 8GB. The five Gigabit LAN ports allow it to reach blazing throughput speeds of up to 500 MB/s. The N5810PRO supports seven modes of link aggregation including fault tolerance for resilience and port-trunking modes for increased performance. Expandable up to 40TB and support for VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft Hyper-V allow for seamless integration into a businesses’ virtualization environment for quite some time.

Most of us would prefer to have our NAS run on a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Aupply), but it’s an extra box to have on the shelve, extra expense and extra work to find the one that matches your needs. Having it directly built into the NAS like with the N5810PRO is amazing and the lithium-ion battery makes sure your data is flushed to the drives and that the device is shut down properly in case of a power-outage. The new 5-bay NAS also supports an array of backup features including Data Guard for local and remote backups, Data Burn, and Snapshot Backup using the Btrfs file system.

The N5810PRO runs on the intuitive and easy-to-use Thecus OS5 operating system. The re-tooled software includes VPN Server for secure remote access and Disk Clone and Wipe for convenient data management. Users will also be able to enjoy a comprehensive set of entertainment features facilitated by HDMI output and Kodi for multimedia playback and mobile access with the powerful Thecus mobile app, T-OnTheGo.

Units will begin shipping globally at the end of April, 2015 and we’ll also have a review of the device ready for you as soon as possible.

Thanks to Thecus for providing us with this information

Zotac To Release Another Haswell ZBOX mini-PC, Cheaper This Time

Some changes have been made recently in Zotac’s ZBOX nettop line-up, having added three new SKUs based on Intel’s new Haswell silicon. However, all three models feature high-priced Intel processors spanning from the Core i3-4130T to the quad-core Core i7-4770T.

Zotac has apparently worked on a cheaper SKU version called the ZBOX Nano ID67. It is said to be powered by a cheaper and cooler Haswell chip, the Core i3-4010U, being a 15W dual-core clocked at 1700MHz and somewhat faster than the higher clocked Ivy-based Core i3-3217U which was used in plenty of cheap ultrathin notebooks and some netbooks. The Core i3-4010U features the HD Graphics 4400, making the GPU a little faster as well.

So far the Core i3-4010U was only available in Intel NUC and Gigabyte Brix barebones, which are rather compact, but also quite expensive and also they can’t handle 2.5-inch drives, as the small form factor needs to use the mSATA storage type. Zotac is offering the ID as a full system, with the Plus moniker, or are barebones model. The Plus features 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, but if you want a hybrid drive or an SSD, the barebone is clearly a better choice.

An official price has yet to be released, but according to sources, it was listed on an US site for $324 / €236 / £199. Prices of Zotac’s other Haswell ZBOX models range from $521 / €380 / £320 to over $783 / €570 / £480, therefore the estimated price of the latest SKU is expected to be a bit cheaper.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Fudzilla

Dell Chromebook 11 To Arrive In January 2014 For Less Than $300

Dell announced its education-focused notebook called Chromebook 11 at Dell World 2013, having it be the first Dell device with Chrome OS. The new Dell Chromebook 11 is an affordable and highly portable device, having an education-focused notebook designed to facilitate integration of technology in the classroom and at home for teachers, students and administrators. The chromebook is fast, secure and allows easy-to-manage access to Google apps for education with Dell resources, services and support.

In terms of specs, the 2.9 pounds Chromebook 11 has an Intel HD graphics display with a resolution of 1366×768, 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U processor, 16GB internal memory, 2GB or 4GB RAM depending on your preference, front-facing 720p webcam and up to 10-hours of battery life, having its embedded 16GB Solid State Drive feature a fast boot-time of less than 8.4 seconds.

“Dell believes that when implemented successfully, teachers, students and technology work together to enrich the learning process,” said Neil Hand, vice president, Tablet and Performance PC Group, Dell. “The Dell Chromebook 11 will give schools and districts another tool to consider as they plan their digital content and curriculum strategies, and its competitive pricing will help open access to technology for more students around the country.”

The Dell Chromebook 11 will be available in two models, One 11 model shipping with 4GB of internal DDR3 RAM in January 2014. The Second model will have only 2GB of RAM and is expected to arrive later on during the first quarter of 2014. Both of these models will provide options for the education ecosystem. It will allow students, teachers and administrators to access, create and collaborate throughout the day at a price point that makes widespread student computing initiatives affordable.

Now in terms of pricing, the Dell Chromebook 11 is expected to hit the retail stores at a price somewhere below $300 in the US, and should be available for around £180 or below for the UK.

Thank you I4U for providing us with this information
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