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NAS Reviews

QNAP TS-x20 NAS series

At a Glance
Product QNAP TS-x20 Turbo NAS Series [Website]
Summary Marvell-powered Home and SOHO NAS line
Pros • USB 3.0 & eSATA ports
• Cloud backup to Amazon S3, ElephantDrive, Symform
Cons • Pricey compared to other Marvell-based NASes

Introduction

Now that we have the NAS Ranker, it's SmallNetBuilder's mission to get more NASes into our database so that you have more products to compare when it's time to go shopping. QNAP made it a bit easier for me with the launch of its TS-x20 and TS-x21 NASes in April.

The six desktop models in the two lines share a common Marvell-powered platform with only processor clock speed separating them. So I figured I'd use the four-bay versions of each line and run tests with one, two and four drives to cover the entire line.

This review applies to the TS-120, TS-220 and TS-420 one, two and four-bay models. The TS-421 review covers only that product because I wasn't so smart a few weeks ago when I posted that review. So I'll be following up with a short review of the TS-121 and 221 soon. In the meantime, all six models are already in the NAS Charts, Finder and Ranker.

All four members of the TS-x20 series models have 1.6 GHz single-core Marvell CPUs with 512 MB of DDR3 RAM and 16 MB of flash. Both lines include four-bay rackmount servers (TS-420U, TS-421U).

For the most part, the TS-X20s look similar to their TS-X21 cousins. The differences are that the TS-420 has no LCD status panel and the TS-220 and TS-120 are white instead of black.

Front and rear panel callouts

QNAP TS-420 Front and rear panel callouts

The TS-420's callouts are in the image above and the rear panels of the three models are arranged side-by-side below.

QNAP TS-x20 & x21 series rear panels

QNAP TS-x20 & x21 series rear panels

A summary of the each model's ports is in Table 1.

  TS-120 / 121 TS-220 / 221 TS-420 / 421
USB 2.0 1 1 2
USB 3.0 2 2 2
eSATA 1 2 2
Ethernet 1 1 2
Table 1: Port summary

Inside

I didn't bother trying to wrestle the TS-420's main board from its cabinet. A quick peek after I removed the cover told me it was the same as the TS-421's main board with a 1.6 GHz Marvell 88F6282 Kirkwood SoC substituted for the 2.0 GHz version used in the x21 models and 512 GB of onboard DDR3 RAM vs. the 1 GB in the x21s.

Partial view of QNAP TS-421 / TS-420 board

Partial view of QNAP TS-421 / TS-420 board

Both the TS-420 and TS-421's CPUs have a heatsink. Table 2 summarizes key components for the TS-420, TS-421 and older TS-412.

  TS-421 TS-420 TS-412
CPU Marvell 88F6282 Kirkwood SoC @ 2 GHz Marvell 88F6282 Kirkwood SoC @ 1.6 GHz Marvell 88F6281 Kirkwood SoC @ 1.2 GHz
RAM 1 GB DDR3 512 MB DDR3 256 MB DDR2
Flash 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB
Ethernet Marvell Alaska 88E1318 (x2) Marvell Alaska 88E1318 (x2) Marvell Alaska 88E1116R (x2)
USB 3.0 Etron Tech EJ168A Etron Tech EJ168A N/A
SATA Marvell 88SX7042 Marvell 88SX7042 Marvell 88SX7042
Table 2: Key component summary and comparison

The NAS was equipped for testing with our standard four Western Digital Red 3TB drives (WD30EFRX). Power consumption measured 27 W with the 4 drives spun up and 13 W with them spun down. Fan and drive noise could be classified as low, i.e. barely audible in my quiet home office.

Features

See the TS-421 review and Craig's in-depth look at QTS 4.0.

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