QNAP SilentNAS HS-251 2-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


This is not the typical every-day NAS we are testing today, it is a somewhat special device. When we usually think of NAS devices, it goes in the direction of tower and rack-systems; and that is not the thing you would like next to your well designed home-theatre system. Another thing that prevents most people from having their NAS in that particular location is the noise generated by fans to keep the device cooled; QNAP have tackled both these problems in the HS-251 silent and fanless NAS.

QNAP is one of the leading brands within NAS and storage, along with Synology and Thecus. Asustor have also grown into a bigger competitor in this market, and it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. QNAP is no stranger to this scenario and with the many years of experience they have in the bag, they packed this tiny 2-bay device with all sorts of useful features; this is far from the every-day NAS device.

This isn’t just a stylish and silent NAS either, it is also a HTPC at the same time. You can connect it directly to your TV or monitor via the built-in HDMI port to browse the web, stream media or play what you already have stored on the same device. There are three ways to control the HTPC part of this device, you can either attach a mouse and keyboard or use your mobile-phone or tablet with QNAP’s official control App. The third option is an extra remote control that can be bought separate.

Out of the box, the HS-251 has access to Google Chrome for your web browsing, while it features YouTube and Spotify application for your media on demand needs; best of all is probably the XMBC media player, allowing you to playback all your stored media files with more options and file support than most smart TV’s offer via the built-in DLNA player. The HS-251 of course supports DLNA too, for those who prefer it that way.

Being a QNAP device, it comes with a long list of installed applications and tools ranging from download manager to online photo albums and web-server. It also has the personal cloud feature to automatically synchronise all your files across your devices and keep an extra safe backup at home. The new QTS user interface is overall amazing and should give you pretty much any function and feature you could want from a NAS like this.

The QNAP HS-251 even has real-time and offline HD video transcoding to convert your videos to formats that can be smoothly played on PCs, mobile devices and Smart TVs. It allows multiple devices to simultaneously view different videos stored. This in return also allows to enjoy your videos, even on multiple devices, that lack computing power or have limited file format support.

The package content isn’t a big surprise and nothing special overall, but it does have everything we need to get our NAS up and running. Along with the quick installation guide there’s also a Getting Started guide. We get two Ethernet cables and a DC power brick with AC power cable depending on the region you bought your device. Of course the NAS is included too. Normally you’d also get 8 screws for 2½ inch drives and 8 for 3½ inch drives, to screw the drives into the caddies, but it looks like the packing robot however forgot to put those into this sample, so they aren’t shown below; if this should happen to you, I’m sure QNAP would be very quick to dispatch a new set to you.

Synology Launches DiskStation DS415+ 4-Bay Quad-Core NAS

Synology has launched their newest NAS today, the DiskStation DS415+. This is a 4-bay NAS targeted at small and medium sized businesses as well as enthusiast home users. Built with a Quad-core Intel Atom processor that runs at 2.4GHz and a hardware encryption engine, this NAS should deliver in all situations. This is Synology’s first desktop DiskStation model to include both a quad-core processor and AES-NI hardware encryption engine.

“Thanks to its best-in-class combination of hardware specs and DSM software integration, DS415+ handles data transfer and encryption at blazingly fast speeds, bringing peace of mind to businesses or individuals who wish to safeguard their data while maintaining excellent performance,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

The new 4-bay NAS has 2 GB DDR3 memory that runs at an unspecified speed. It has two USB 3.0 ports on the rear side and one USB 2.0 port on the front. It also has an eSATA port, and that is a big bonus in my opinion. Many manufacturers have started to cut it away, but I use it quite often on my own NAS’ and miss it when it isn’t there.

It wouldn’t be a NAS without the network ports and as such it has 2 Gigabit RJ45 ports that support Link Aggregation and Failover modes. It of course supports the current 6 TB Hard drives to give you the maximum storage capabilities and it can handle both 3½ and 2½ inch drives. The file system itself allows for a size up 108 TB, but that requires the extension devices.

This NAS promises performance you’d otherwise only find in the enterprise series of servers. The Synology DS415+ can archive read and write speeds that exceed 228 MB/s and 233 MB/s in unencrypted mode. With the hardware encryption enabled, the NAS still performs great at reading and writing with 232 MB/s and 206 MB/s.

The DS415+ doesn’t have a heavy power consumption either, so you don’t have to compromise between running costs and performance level. It only requires 17.3 watts with the hard drives hibernating and peaks at 46.2 watts during maximum usage. The two 92mm system fans should barely be audible at 20.2 dB(A) and the devices come with a 2-year warranty.

The new Synology DS415+ NAS is shipping globally now and local retailers should have stock soon. Having a look around the different web shops, some have started to take pre-orders already and have set the estimated time of arrival on three weeks. As usual, the German shops and the Geizhals price-comparison site are some of the first to list the new products, and as such it can be found on German e-Tailors for just €420.

We aren’t so lucky here in the U.K, unless you want to get screwed from the looks of it. Amazon UK has the device in stock via a couple of third party merchants, it however costs a heavy £543.13 and up. I’m sure we’ll see some more reasonable prices as soon as the stock arrives at the other shops too. This might just be a few trying to take advantage of the situation. I couldn’t find it at any of my known U.S. sites at the time of writing.

As a little bonus information, I can add that Synology have also released the latest Beta version of their DiskStation Manager today. Version 5.1 Beta can be downloaded and tested from the official page, however users should keep in mind that it has the beta tag for a reason. It might contain undiscovered bugs, but also a long range of new features and apps that will enrich every Synology owners experience.

Thank you Synology for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Synology

TeamGroup Announces New USB 2.0 and 3.0 Flash Drives

The most energetic days are collected during the summer vacation. Team Group enjoys the summer vacation with students by promoting two visual Flash drives C141/C145. C141 and C145 are in the form of retractable USB design without cap-loss issues. They have the streamlined design of American roadster, in addition to bright/matted inter-coating. Finished with a colourful push button and delicate stripping, to convey a colourful concept and create a fine and high level individual style.

That is how TeamGroup presents their new line of Flash Drives. The C141 is a USB 2.0 stick while the C145 is a USB 3.0 stick. Both models are available in sizes from 8 to 64GB. The read and write speeds are the same for both, rated at 10 MB/s for reading and 2.5 MB/s for writing.

Team Group is the leader vendor for storage and mobile computing peripheral products. In order to meet comprehensive needs of consumers and provide consumers with storage and sharing of videos and data without constraint, perfect warranty and maintenance and exchange services are provided for Team Group full series of products. For any product related information, please visit Team Group official website: www.teamgroup.com.tw, or Team Group Brand Fans Group: www.facebook.com/teamgroupinc

There isn’t that much spectacular to say about these two new drives, but they do come with a lifetime warranty. The design is also pretty nice, so if the price is set to match, why not.

Thank you TeamGroup for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TeamGroup.

Biostar Ready to Launch Hi-Fi Z97Z7 Motherboard

BIOSTAR has announced that they’re getting ready to launch the newest member of their Hi-Fi motherboard series, the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z97Z7. With a name that already has Hi-Fi in it, we expect it to be have some solid audio functions. And it has, packed with Gold Plated Audio Connectors and Hi-Fi 7.1 channel Blu-Ray Audio.

The board is ATX form factor and features the Z97 chipset and LGA 1150 CPU socket and has 4x DDR3 2900(OC) memory slots. An 8 Phase Power Design and Super Conductive Heat sinks as well as Super Durable Solid Capacitors are among the assets of this board.

The I/O area looks to have 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet and 6x Audio connectors for the surround sound. HDMI 4k is also supported and there are DVI and D-SUB connectors as well.

In addition, the board will feature new BIOSTAR innovations that improve durability and stability such as Super Rapid Debug3, Super Durable Box Headers, Super Durable Solid Capacitors and Super Durable Ferrite Chokes.

Other features worth mentioning are the PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot and an M.2 slot wired through PCI Express. The press release was very short, but I’m sure we’ll see more news on this board very soon. No word on price or availability yet.

Thank you BIOSTAR for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of BIOSTAR.