Desktop NAS appliances are getting ever more sophisticated and QNAP’s latest TS-109 Pro Turbo Station claims to deliver no less than twelve key functions and ultra high speed performance to boot. It’s also the first appliance we’ve seen that doesn’t have an internal fan allowing it to offer completely silent running.
This compact box accepts a single SATA hard disk and its sleek brushed aluminium chassis not only looks good but it is also designed to aid with heat dissipation. It’s endowed with a good specification as it sports a low power embedded 500MHz SoC (System on Chip) processor partnered by 128MB of DDR2 and 8MB of Flash memory. Gigabit Ethernet is on the menu as are a triplet of USB ports that can be used for adding external storage devices or for sharing printers and there’s a high-speed eSATA port to play with as well.
We reviewed the diskless version and dropped in a 150GB Western Digital Raptor 1500ADFD drive. Hard disk installation is simple enough as after unpacking the appliance you pull apart the two halves of the cover to reveal a tray in one side. The hard disk is easily secured using the supplied screws and you then slide the two pieces together and use two more supplied screws to fix them in place.
During testing we found the appliance to be a good silent partner with it occasionally chirping to itself when the disk was being accessed. The casing does get quite toasty during use but this is hardly surprising as it is essentially acting as a heat sink. The bundled Finder software gets you up and running with the minimum of fuss as it automatically locates the appliance on the network and provides a quick start wizard to set up network parameters, initialise the hard disk and download the firmware. For the latter we used the latest v1.1 which adds some extra goodies including secure logins, FTP transfers and remote replication, UPS support and IP address blocking.
For a single drive appliance, the TS-109 has a very good turn of speed although it’s not quite as fast as QNAP claims. We copied a 690MB video file from a Supermicro Pentium D 3.2GHz PC to the appliance and back again over Gigabit Ethernet in 41 seconds and 36 seconds for write and read rates of 16.9MB/sec and 19.1MB/sec respectively. FTP speeds were better as using the FileZilla utility we uploaded and downloaded the same file at rates of 18.2MB/sec and 23.8MB/sec. Expect speed to drop as files sizes increase as FTP operations with a 2.52GB video clip returned 17.8MB.sec and 10.1MB/sec for read and write operations.