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Updated 6/3/2009 Corrected SODIMM slot info.

QNAP TS-639 Pro

At a Glance
Product QNAP Turbo NAS (TS-639 Pro)
Summary Six-drive server-like Intel Atom-based BYOD NAS with support for single drives, JBOD and RAID 0, 1, 5, 5+ hot spare and 6.
Pros • Online volume expansion and RAID migration
• iSCSI target
• Local console and remote SSH root access
• Built-in LAMP server, DLNA multimedia server, FTP, iTunes
• Fast attached backup to USB and eSATA drives
Cons • Relatively expensive

QNAP's introduction of the TS-639 Pro has put many higher-end NAS buyers in a bit of a pickle. They are tempted by the additional disk and see that its Intel Atom-fueled performance can deliver almost 100 MB/s in our Vista SP1 File Copy test. But the five-drive TS-509 Pro has proven itself able to deliver throughput in the 80 MB/s range in real-world use and even more when teamed with a Gigabit switch supporting 802.3ad link aggregation and multiple sufficiently fast workstations.

Fortunately, QNAP finally sent the TS-509 Pro in for retesting with our new testbed when they sent the TS-639 Pro. So you'll be able to finally do an apples-to-apples comparison using our NAS Chart data. The results, however, might not make your choice any easier!

Product Tour

The 639 Pro's enclosure design opts for a bigger footprint on your desk than the 509 Pro by using a horizontal profile. I sorta liked the look, although it does take up more space. Figure 1 shows the front and rear panels and calls out key features.

Front and Rear Panels

Figure 1: Front and Rear Panels

There is definitely a family resemblance between the 509 and 639 (I'll omit the "Pro" until I hit the wrapup), with LCD status display, two-button navigation, and individually-lockable drive trays. The rear panels are cut from the same cloth, too, with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports that can be configured for failover or 802.3ad link aggregation, four of the five total USB 2.0 ports and a VGA connector that, along with a USB keyboard and mouse, provide console root access.

But there are differences, including the 639's two eSATA ports vs. the 509's one, no serial port on the 639 and no jumbo frame support on the 509. The 639's horizontal format also forces the use of two smaller case fans vs. the 509's one. But I didn't notice a significant noise difference between the two. I will note that both products emitted annoying buzzes from time to time that quieted down after a gentle whack or two.

Internal Details

Figure 2 shows a view of the 639 from the top with the cover removed. The layout is clean with plenty of room. The power supply looks easy enough to replace, but you'll need to remove the cover, then unscrew the back panel to replace the case fans. A more serviceable design would put the fans on a removable panel that didn't require so much disassembly.

TS-639 Pro top inside view
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: TS-639 Pro top inside view

There isn't much to see in the left and right views, but click the links if you want to see them anyway.

The 639 uses an Intel N270 Atom clocked at 1.6 GHz. Figure 3 shows a shot of the board, which has the three key components covered with heatsinks. I'm guessing the CPU is under the smallest heatsink and the North and Southbridges are under the larger black heatsinks. From what I could decipher by logging in as root after attaching a display and USB keyboard, the Southbridge is an Intel 82801GBM ICH7-M.

QNAP TS-639 Pro main board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: QNAP TS-639 Pro main board
Updated 6/3/2009 Corrected SODIMM slot info.

There is one SODIMM slot holding 1 GB of DDRII 667 RAM. A generous 128 MB of flash comes in the form of an IDE DOM that you can see at the lower right.

That's an ITE IT8718F "Super I/O" near the center and two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet Controllers are near the two Ethernet jacks. Unlike the Broadcom BCM5787s used in the 509, the Intel controllers support up to 9K jumbo frames, which QNAP lets you set in 1000 Byte increments.

You don't see any SATA controllers because the two Marvell 88SX7042 PCI-e 4-port SATA-II devices sit on the backplane that connects to the main board via the black connector to the left of the SODIMM.

QNAP is sticking with Ubuntu, as shown in the command output below (obtained via SSH login).

[~] # cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.24 (root@NasX86-3) (gcc version 4.1.3 20070929 (prerelease) (Ubuntu 4.1.2-16ubuntu2)) #1 SMP Wed Apr 8 03:37:09 CST 2009

The drives are formatted using the EXT3 filesystem, with no tweaks that could prevent drives from being removed and read by another EXT3-capable system.

Even with six Samsung HE103UJ 1 TB drives provided by QNAP with the review unit, the 639 uses less power than the 509: 73 W active and 34 W with drives spun down vs. 95 W / 52 W for the 509.

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