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Published on December 20th, 2011 | by Greg

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QNAP TS-419 PII: So Much Data, So Easy

Most home users will end up with a full hard drive at some point. If you’re like us, you’ve al­ready got­ten a stack of USB 2 or USB 3 ex­ter­nal drives, slap­ping the lat­est pho­to col­lec­tions and videos and doc­u­ments on them, one ter­abyte or so at a time. At some point, it was clear that our stor­age needs were out­pac­ing our drives, and we need­ed shared stor­age in­stead of the con­stant strug­gle of find­ing and plug­ging in and hand­ing over the right drives, un­se­cure­ly. If you have a small of­fice, or take RAW pho­tos, or do video edit­ing, or even down­load a lot of stuff- you prob­a­bly should get a NAS.

NAS- net­work-at­tached stor­age. Ba­si­cal­ly, it com­bines a small com­put­er with a few hard drives and puts them all in­to a con­ve­nient bread­box pack­age. Meant to run con­tin­u­ous­ly, for al­ways-on ac­cess, we’ve tried out sev­er­al. Our go-to stor­age serv­er is the Drobo, which is sim­ple and fast and easy- but pri­cy, and with sev­er­al down­sides that make it im­per­fect for ev­ery­one. And we’ve seen some that try hard, but don’t quite of­fer the sta­bil­i­ty and speed that we ex­pect. But a small­er, less­er-known brand con­tin­ues to put out some of the best on the mar­ket,like we not­ed in our re­view of a sim­i­lar old­er mod­el about two years ago. Their cat­a­log can be a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing- lots of mod­els with sim­i­lar names con­fuse even us.

We sug­gest the TS-419P II for most home or SO­HO users. Small busi­ness as well could well-con­sid­er this one- it’s got enough stor­age for all but the heav­i­est users, and enough pow­er for small­er en­ter­pris­es. Sure, there’s a wifi don­gle that sup­ports wire­less-N, but we didn’t try it- you just plug in­to your home net­work and add drives. That’s an im­por­tant note: you’ll need to add hard drives to this one, since they aren’t in­clud­ed by de­fault. They are hot-swap­pable though. The 2.0 GHz pro­ces­sor is in­cred­i­bly zip­py, which was great for run­ning apps on the NAS. Where­as some sys­tems have lots of hoops you’ll jump through to get apps run­ning or run­ning well (Drobo, we’re look­ing at you), the in­ter­face and ap­pli­ca­tion set­up pro­cess from QNAP was re­fresh­ing.

We have a mixed net­work- Win­dows sys­tems on three OS ver­sions, Mac OSX com­put­ers, iOS and An­droid de­vices, tablets. In short, plen­ty of com­pli­ca­tions. But the QNAP TS-419P II was able to eas­i­ly work with all of them. We even put it through the paces serv­ing as a UP­nP me­dia serv­er, play­ing our files through our XBox 360 and Sony PS3. We pre­fer a low­er-pro­tec­tion RAID 1 or 3 con­fig­u­ra­tion, but RAID 5 is avail­able, un­like many sys­tems. RAID is a type of da­ta pro­tec­tion- ba­si­cal­ly, sav­ing some space on each drive to du­pli­cate da­ta on the oth­er drives, shar­ing the work and en­sur­ing that even if a drive dies or fails that you’ll be able to re­cov­er it all with­out los­ing a file. We didn’t try all of the im­pres­sive fea­ture set- in­te­gra­tion with cloud ser­vices like Ama­zon’s S3, Time Ma­chine sup­port, se­cure FTP. But we did set­up some pri­vate shares, pro­tect­ing some fold­ers from oth­ers on our net­work. And we en­joyed the Squeeze­box serv­er abil­i­ty, as well as iTunes li­brary serv­er.

Blaz­ing speeds- up to 100 Mbps- made quick work of file trans­fers, and there are even easy con­nec­tions for up to three shared print­ers or USB stor­age de­vices that you can eas­i­ly copy. The front USB port was quite handy. Plus, low pow­er con­sump­tion and fair­ly qui­et op­er­a­tion (35-40 deci­bels, no­tice­able in a silent room but qui­eter than most com­put­ers) were nec­es­sary when run­ning a de­vice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And eMule (tor­rent) is avail­able as a QP­KG, their app sys­tem- so you can down­load tor­rent­ed files silent­ly and quick­ly straight to a gi­ant shared drive… not that we en­cour­age this.

We do, how­ev­er, en­cour­age you to check out QNAP, and their TS-419 PII. Max­i­mum ca­pac­i­ty is 12TB, de­pend­ing on the drive you choose and your back­up/pro­tec­tion set­tings. The on­ly re­al down­sides- the fair­ly pedes­tri­an looks, and some def­i­nite con­fig­u­ra­tion be­ing nec­es­sary. Plus, their re­designed in­ter­face is slick, and much bet­ter than it used to be. If you need su­per-qui­et, you might want to look at a NAS like their SS-439 that bet­ter sup­ports SS­Ds (sol­id state drives), which run cool­er. And those in need of less stor­age space, maybe six or so ter­abytes, can con­sid­er the very sim­i­lar TS-219P II. All in all though, this is a well-made and quite im­pres­sive unit and worth the $540 price tag.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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