The QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo is a fast two-bay network-attached storage (NAS) device with powerful guts and plenty of features.
Backup support is a strong point of the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo, but media streaming and third-party software features could be further refined.
QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo: Enclosure
The QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo has a sturdy enclosure with two hot-swappable drive bays that are individually lockable. You'll need to have a screwdriver handy when swapping out drives, however.
The front panel features a single USB 2.0 port and a one touch copy button that can be configured to back up data to or from external storage. There's also an array of LED indicators which replace the display found on larger QNAP NAS devices. While this cuts down the enclosure's footprint, we would have preferred a fully featured display to see the NAS device's status and for initially configuring the TS-259 Pro Turbo without using a PC.
The back of the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo has four additional USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports that support failover and load balancing over a single IP address. A VGA port is also present.
The QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS device is powered by the same Intel Atom D510 processor and 1GB of DDR2 memory found in both the four-bay TS-459 and six-bay TS-659 models. Since this NAS device only has to power two drives at a time, this should mean faster performance.
We found power consumption was slightly different to the other two models. With two Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB hard drives in a RAID 0 array, the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS device consumed between 34.1 Watts and 39.1W during use, and as little as 17.6W when both drives were asleep. This is reasonable for a network-attached storage device.
QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo: Performance
We test all NAS devices by connecting them through a Gigabit Ethernet network to a testbed PC with a 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor hard drive. We run Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit, which determines how the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS device performs when streaming 720p high-definition media from the device, as well as the ability to record the same video while performing backup operations.
We also run two file transfer tests to see how the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS device performs in the real word. One file transfer test is made up of 3000 1MB files; this is intensive for both the hard drives and the embedded processor, and a good test of how it will perform when backing up your computer. We also transfer 20GB worth of 3-4GB files, a faster test that is more typical when dealing with large videos, disk images or database files.
Though the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS device is certainly speedy, it isn't head and shoulders above the rest. In fact, it was slightly slower than the QNAP TS-239 Pro Turbo in some of the small file tests, and significantly slower when writing large files. For the most part, though, the new Atom platform makes this the fastest two-bay NAS device we have tested so far.
QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo: User interface
As with most modern NAS devices, the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo uses an AJAX-based Web interface. It isn't as simple as the BlackArmor NAS440's or software-based solutions like Windows Home Server, but there are plenty of tutorials to help out those who aren't technologically minded.
The NAS device supports RAID levels 0 and 1, as well as single disk or JBOD drive configurations. There are network protocols to suit Windows (SMB), Apple (AFP/Bonjour) and Linux (NFS) workgroups, as well as FTP and secure HTTP servers.
For the home, the QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS device offers an iTunes server, as well as a Twonky Media-powered UPnP server that can stream music, videos and photos over a network to DLNA-compliant devices such as networked DVD players, media players and even some televisions. You can access a separate media browser through the web interface, though this is little more than a file list; QNAP promises better functionality and even iPhone support with the next firmware update, though we'll have to wait and see.
Backup support is definitely a strong point, with support for USB 2.0/eSATA external storage devices, rsync-compatible remote servers and Amazon's S3 cloud storage platform. QNAP also allows Mac users to back up directly to Apple's Time Machine, a feature which was previously difficult to set up on the company's NAS devices. Along with AES encryption for individual volumes, small businesses should benefit from an IP block-out system that can be configured for each network protocol, and a customisable firewall.
The iSCSI target feature isn't out of the ordinary, although we appreciate the ability to use the NAS device as an iSCSI server itself; simply enable the "Virtual Disk" feature to use other iSCSI targets as local storage.
The QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo can take advantage of the Linux-based QPKG community, which allows you to add basic web server features to the NAS device. While these packages are easy to install, they aren't as simple to configure.
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