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NAS Reviews

Turbo NAS
At a glanceNoRAID NAS Performance
September 2015
ProductQNAP Turbo NAS (TS-131)   [Website]
SummaryBYOD single bay Mindspeed-powered SATA NAS with Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0 and eSATA ports.
Pros• iSCSI target support
• USB 2.0, 3.0 and eSATA ports
• Broad feature set
Cons• USB backup problem with Startech dock

Typical Price: $148  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Many NAS manufacturers use a common operating system across their entire product line. If you're looking for a low cost single drive NAS, that's good news. With a common operating system, you get most, if not all the features of a manufacturer's far more expensive NASes. Of course, with a single drive NAS, you won't get the fault tolerance provided by RAID.

Earlier this year, we reviewed the QNAP TS-112P single drive Turbo NAS. Using QNAP's category description, the TS-x12P is aimed at the SOHO/Home (entry level) market. This review will focus on the single drive TS-131 Turbo NAS, a member of the Work Group/SOHO/Home category (middle-end) NASes.

Compared to the TS-112P, the TS-131 represents a significant step up in performance and features for $40 more than the TS-112P. The TS-131 has a hot-swappable, removable tray that supports both 3.5" and 2.5" disks, dual-core processor with support for hardware encryption, three USB 3.0 ports and can act as a domain controller. The TS-112P doesn't have a removable drive tray, supports only 3.5" disks, has a single core Marvell processor and two USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports. And, as we'll see in the performance section of this review, the TS-131 provides quite a bump in performance.

QNAP uses common instruction manuals that cover multiple products. I wasn't able to find callouts for the front and rear panels, but both are simple enough that you can easily identify the LED indicators and the ports in the panel views below.

The front panel has indicators for Status, LAN, USB and HDD. There's a single USB 3.0 port, a USB copy button, and the power switch. Unlike the TS-112P, there's not a status light for eSATA. The rear panel has a single Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, eSATA port, power connector and a Kensington security slot. Cooling is provided by a 5cm fan.

QNAP TS-131 front and rear panels

QNAP TS-131 front and rear panels

Inside

Below is the main board photo for the TS-131. In the center, you'll note the Mindspeed Comcerto processor. (Note: Mindspeed was acquired by Freescale in 2014, but the processor is still marked Mindspeed.)

In the upper left corner you can see, from the top moving toward the bottom, the power connector, eSATA port, the two USB 3.0 ports and the Gigabit Ethernet port. To the right of the ports is the eSATA connector that connects to the disk. Along the lower right edge of the PCB are the LED indicators.

QNAP TS-131 PCB

QNAP TS-131 PCB

Table 1 shows a comparison of key components for the TS-131 as well as the other two single bay NASes I'll be using for comparison in the performance section of this review.

  QNAP TS-131 QNAP TS-112P Synology DS115j
CPU Mindspeed Comcerto M68201G-12 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core SoC @ 1.2GHz Marvell 88F6282 Kirkwood SoC @ 1.6 GHz Marvell Armada 370 88F6707 @ 800 MHz
Ethernet Atheros AR8035-A Marvell Alaska 88E1318 Marvell Alaska 88E1512 (?)
RAM 512 MB DDR3 512 MB 256 MB
Flash 512 MB 16 MB 8 MB
Table 1: Key Component Summary

Testing was done with one of our WD Red 3 TB (WD30EFRX) drives. With the drive spun up, the total power consumption was 10 W. The power consumption dropped to 6 W with the drives spun down. Noise was rated Very Low.

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