We would like to thank QNAP for supplying the review sample.
We recently tested the QNAP TS-419P II
, the top of the line NAS of QNAP's Home & SOHO category. In today's review we will evaluate the TS-669 Pro, a NAS that belongs to a higher category and is suitable for Small and Medium-size Business environments. The TS-669 Pro offers all functionalities of a modern NAS, namely centralized storage and file sharing, a backup center, Cloud storage capabilities etc. and on top of that it is able to attain very high transfer speeds through the two Gigabit ports it is equipped with. QNAP claims 221 MB/sec reading and writing speeds, in our testing we will try to confirm that.
This NAS is powered by an Intel Atom Dual-core CPU that runs at 2.13 GHz, it is equipped with 1 GB RAM which can be expanded to 3 GB and can take up to six HDDs that are installed in hot-swappable and lockable trays. Since this device is intended for business environments and its HDDs might contain sensitive data, the locks are essential. Here we should note that like every NAS device this too needs a little attention to what HDDs you will use, since there are some that are incompatible with it and more specific with its RAID modes which almost every of its future purchasers will utilize. Thankfully QNAP's official product page provides a detailed HDD compatibility list. which you should check first, before you buy the drives.
|QNAP TS-669 Pro Specifications
|| Intel Atom 2.13 GHz Dual-core Processor
||1 GB RAM (Expandable RAM, up to 3 GB)
||6x 3.5"/2.5" SATA III
||Single Disk, JBOD,
RAID 0, 1, 5,
5 + Hot Spare, 6, 6 + Hot Spare, 10, 10 + Hot Spare
||up to 24 TB (disks not included)
||Target & Initiator
||2x 10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet
||2x USB 3.0, 5x USB 2.0, 2x eSATA
|| 175(H) x 257(W) x 235(D) mm
6.89(H) x 10.12(W) x 9.25(D) inch
|| 5.2 kg
||Sleep: 31.5 W
In operation: 63.6 W (with 6x 500GB HDD installed)
|| Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz, Output: 250W
|| 2x 90 mm
| Price excluding VAT
(at time of review)
A dual core Atom CPU is the brain of the NAS, which should be sufficient enough. The available memory is one GB and can be easily upgraded to two or three GBs. Regarding hot-swap, up to six can be installed into this NAS, something that most likely will empty your wallet since the prices of HDDs still remain high. Also before you purchase the HDDs you should better take a look at QNAP's HDD compatibility list
, because some disks are not compatible with the RAID levels that the TS-669 Pro supports, or simply cause a lot of trouble. Moreover you can search a little further in the official QNAP forum for opinions of other users who already bought the drives you are planning to get.
Jumping to the network part of the TS-669 Pro, we can see from the table above that it is equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which support LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol). However in order to take advantage of LACP's increased speeds you should connect the NAS to a switch that is also compatible with port trunking, otherwise you won't see any improvements in network transfer speeds. The same applies to Jumbo frames, and in addition you should configure the MTU value of your clients accordingly to fully exploit them.
This NAS is equipped with two USB 3.0 ports which greatly enhance its usability, but unfortunately both of them are located on its rear side. In our opinion at least one USB 3.0 port should be installed on the front, for easier access.
The dimensions of the NAS are not compact, that's for sure, simply because six 3.5" drive bays need lots of space. However you can't call it large either since it has about the same size as an SFF case. Despite the limited space, QNAP managed to squeeze a small PSU in there which can deliver up to 250W, more than enough power for the needs of the TS-669 Pro.
Finally the warranty is set to only two years, a short period in to our opinion, while the price looks highly intimidating at over $1000. However we should not forget that this NAS is not intended for home use but mainly for business environments where reliability and performance come first and cost follows (closely).
The NAS comes in a big, white package which is sturdy enough to handle abuse. On the front we find the model description, a front shot of the NAS itself with its LCD screen activated and a brief feature description. Also on the bottom there are many badges describing various characteristics of the TS-669 Pro.
On the rear side of the package we find more details about the product's features and some nice icons that illustrate its usability in various operations and tasks that an administrator can utilize it for.
On the remaining two sides of the box is a list of hardware and software specifications, along with a useful illustration that gives a detail description of buttons, indicator LEDs and I/O ports on the front and rear side of the NAS.
Contents & Bundle
Since many users skip directly to the installation of the device without reading the provided manual, unless they run into trouble, QNAP put some simple instructions on how to set it up quickly, on the rear side of the top flap. So once you open the flap you are greeted by the welcome message and the instructions. Clever move!
The NAS is well protected inside the sturdy box since both of its sides are fully covered by thick packing foam. On top of that it is wrapped in a heavy duty nylon bag.
The bundle includes a software CD including QNAP's applications, the user's manual, two Ethernet cables (CAT 5e), two bags of screws, the AC power cord and finally a card that informs the lucky buyer about the free firmware updates that QNAP provides. With such a high price it would be a real shame to charge extra for firmware updates.
The TS-669 Pro looks nice and well made. On the front side most of the real estate is occupied by the six removable HDD trays.
In the above photo you can see the front USB port which unfortunately is USB 2.0 compliant and not USB 3.0. Through the NAS software you can set the function of the copy button that surrounds the port (e.g. copy the contents of the USB external disk to the NAS storage or the opposite). Above the copy button resides the power switch which turns the unit on or off.
The two-line LCD screen of the TS-669 Pro shows useful information to the interested user and is de-activated automatically once the start up or reboot phase finishes, for energy saving purposes. It lits up again, once you press one of the two small buttons on its right side. Like on the TS-419P II through these buttons you can perform some basic administrative tasks or get informed about the IP address of the NAS in the network, the system temperature etc. Below the LCD screen there are four LED indicators and there are also four more right above each drive tray.
On the top of the NAS there are two small labels, the first is showing the sequence of the HDD caddies and the second informs that an Intel Atom is used. For some of you, this may sound like a weak processor but don't forget that we have a NAS here running a special and light version of Linux and not a desktop PC running Windows.
On one of the two sides of the NAS there is a small grill which allows air to enter. Afterwards it is removed from the back side with the help of two fans.
On the back side we find two 90 mm fans, which remove the hot air out of the case. There is also a smaller one, 40 mm, that is used to cool down the PSU. Regarding the I/O ports we find a VGA and an HDMI port with the second currently being reserved for future use. Further below are two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ones. Also two Gigabit Ethernet ports along with two eSATA ones can be found in this area. If you ever forget the password or you just want to restore the NAS to its factory defaults there is a Reset switch (highlighted in the last of the above pictures) and finally a K-Lock security slot completes the picture.
With six caddies available one thing is for sure, you are going to spend a serious amount on drives if you want to fill all of them. With all drives removed we have the chance to take a peek at the NAS internals and more specific at the PCIe expansion card that holds all SATA ports.
Besides 3.5" disks, each caddy can also accommodate 2.5" ones. In the bundle you will find the necessary screws to mount six disks.
A Look Inside
It's time now to strip down the NAS and discover what components it hides inside the casing.
As you can see we completely dismantled the NAS to show you its internals. Reaching so deep inside the TS-669 Pro isn't the easiest thing in the world but our experience with QNAP products made the whole process go smoothly. The fact alone that the price of this NAS exceeds $1000 should be reason enough for you to not try to take it apart, possibly breaking it in the process.
All you have to do to gain access to the internals is remove three screws in the back of the case and take out the one-piece top and side cover. The rear side of the small mainboard is protected by a thick plastic shield against shorts, since it is close to the metal casing. The second RAM slot is located on this side, in order to make the RAM upgrade process far easier. Also the plastic shield is cut around the slot so you don't have to completely remove it to install the memory module. This makes RAM upgrades a breeze.
After we removed a lot of screws, several cables and the rear side of the casing we finally gained access to the front side of the mainboard. The two big heatsinks cool down the Atom CPU and the chipset.
A close shot at the dual-core Atom CPU and its heatsink, passive cooling is enough for this low TDP processor.
There is one ADATA DDR3 1333 memory module (1 GB) already installed on the mainboard.
The two NICs are controlled by two Intel ICs.
The monitoring IC is an ITE ΙΤ8721F.
An Asmedia ASM1442
controls the HDMI port which currently is de-activated and reserved for future use.
The EEPROM IC is an Altera EPM3054A
The single PCIe slot and the battery of the mainboard. Right next to the battery we find a CY28400ZXI-2
IC which is the differential buffer for PCIe and SATA ports.
The PCIe expansion card that holds all SATA ports is directly connected to the PSU through a 20 pin connector. Nearby we find two SANYO (OS-CON) polymer caps. Three Marvell 88SE9125
controllers are installed on this card and among others also offer compatibility with the SATA 6 Gbps protocol.
The functions of the LCD screen are handled by a Microchip PIC16F73
The two cooling fans are provided by Y.S. Tech and their model number is FD129225LB
(90mm, 12V, 0.15A, 1900RPM, 40.2CFM, 80000 MTBF). They use ball bearings so they will last fairly long, definitely much longer than a sleeve bearings one. Exactly the same fans are used in TS-419II P and TS-469 Pro models (only one in each).
We left the SFF PSU that powers the NAS for last. Its model number is DPS-250AB and it is manufactured by the famous PSU OEM Delta Electronics
, one of the best in this area with highly reliable and good performing products. The 250W of power (17A max at +12V) it can deliver are more than enough for the needs of this NAS and according to the 80 PLUS organization
this PSU meets the 80 PLUS requirements. Finally the small 40mm fan it uses is very quiet and its output noise is totally overpowered by the noise of the two 90mm fans that cool the NAS.
The software disk that is included in the NAS bundle contains useful applications that you can install on your workstation and exploit through them many of the NAS features, or perform some administrative tasks. The most essential of all, at least in the beginning, is the QNAP Finder which allows you to discover the NAS in your network, check its details and set it up. Also this application informs you if there is a firmware upgrade available for your device and guides you through the upgrade process.
Through the NetBack Replicator you can easily back-up your data from the workstation unto the NAS.
With the MyCloudNAS application you are able to connect to your personal cloud service, which is offered for free by QNAP.
Through the QNAP Finder you are guided to a quick and easy to follow setup of your NAS. First you are asked to give a network name to your NAS and then you are prompted to change the default administrator password (essential).
In the next steps you are asked to enter the correct time and date and choose whether you want a static IP for the NAS or an automatic one via DHCP. Finally in "Step 5" you can select which services will be enabled on the NAS. If you want it to be visible in a Windows network then you should enable Microsoft Networking and for Apple and Unix/Linux networks you should tick the corresponding selections.
In the last step you select the disk configuration according to the installed disks and the file system in which they will be formatted. Finally the "Finish" tab shows the progress of the system's configuration process. After all changes are made the NAS is ready to be used.
The web interface looks rather simple but is nicely designed and easy to follow. Also the icons it uses are highly descriptive and on top of that they look good.
Through the web interface and the aforementioned icons you have access to the following interfaces: administrative, web server, download station and web file manager. Also there are three more icons that link you to the customer support, QNAP's wiki and the QNAP forum. Similar to the TS-419P II we had reviewed in the past the customer support link is not working probably because the URL changed, so you will have to find it manually from QNAP's site. To save you from searching, this
is the right link.
From the Home/Overview link of the administration interface you can access all available features and settings of the NAS. As you can see they are grouped into main categories in order to be easier to navigate.
The System Administration group holds the most crucial settings including the Network configuration which you have to visit first in the beginning of the set up. Through the Network link you have access to the TCP/IP settings and from there you can select the operating mode of the two NICs. If your switch supports Link Aggregation then you should enable the respective option from here to provide a higher bandwidth between the NAS and the switch. Of course LACP needs two Ethernet cables to be connected on both ports of the NAS. From this group of settings you can also set a DDNS Service that will inform you about the WAN IP, so you will be able to discover your NAS on the Internet. All in all, at the end you will be very familiar with all System Administration choices since you will use them frequently at least in the beginning.
The third category groups all Disk related settings. From here you can check the health of the installed disks, format them if needed or select the RAID levels that suit your needs. Also through these settings you can create an iSCSI target and LUN. Using iSCSI the storage you have on your NAS can be seen as local disks by any of the client PCs, however all data will be transferred over the network to/from them. LUN stands for Logical Unit Number and in essence LUNs are numbered disk drives, which the operating system of the client PC sees as volumes.
Access Right Management settings allow you to set the domain security, make new accounts or user groups, set access rights and also manage the shared folder of the NAS. From here you can also set the quotas of the NAS shared folders.
If you want the NAS to be visible from various types of networks then you have to enable the corresponding setting of the Network Services group. Moreover from this group of settings you can enable the FTP, Telnet and SSH server along with the Web Server, through which you are able to host webpage files on the NAS.
All extra applications that augment the NAS with enhanced usability and features that normally can be found in a normal PC, are grouped into this category. Without any doubt the most interesting choice here is the QPKG center through which you can install custom made applications to the NAS that are similar to the various programs we install to our PCs. These QPKG packages are either released by QNAP or by third party developers and all are checked and approved by QNAP prior release. You can read more about QPKGs here
The Backup group provides access to all back up settings and features of the TS-669 Pro. You can conduct remote replication to another NAS, back up to Cloud storage, to an Apple PC or to an external disk. Here you can set also the functionality of the front copy button.
The External device folder provides control to the external devices that are attached to the NAS through USB interfaces. You can format the external storage devices to a variety of file systems, share a USB printer to the network and set up a UPS.
Through these selections you can set up the MyCloudNAS service, which is offered for free by QNAP to all QNAP NAS owners. Here you will find only three icons.
The last folder of settings is highly interesting since you can access crucial information about the NAS and check on the system resources. The latter shows you CPU, memory, disk and bandwidth usage and also lists all running processes.
Before we proceed to the test sessions, if you want to check on TS-669 Pro interactivity with mobile phones read this
page of our previous TS-419P II review and if you need some useful tips on how to install IPKG packages or increase the RAID rebuilding/synchronization speed check here
Our test system (client PC) is a Shuttle SX58H7 PRO and consists of the following components:
|Shuttle SX58H7 PRO Test System Configuration
||CPU Intel Core i7-960
(8M Cache, 3.20 GHz, 4.80 GT/s QPI)
|| SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 Vapor-X
|| Intel X58 + ICH10R
||12 GB G.SKILL Sniper DDR3 1600 MHz (3x 4 GB)
||SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB
HDD: Samsung F4 2000 GB
||2x Realtek 8111E
||Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1
||6x Seagate ST500DM005 500 GB
(HD502HJ, Serial ATA II, 7200 RPM, 16 MB)
||Seagate Barracuda ST350063 in USB 3.0 enclosure
||3.6.1 Build 0319T
||TL-SG3216 16-port Gigabit managed switch
(LACP and Jumbo frames support)
||CAT 6e, 2 m
We use three different programs to evaluate the performance of the NAS. The first is Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit. Intel was kind enough to build a NAS performance toolkit and not only release it for free to the public, but also provide its source code. The only problem of this toolkit is that if you use a client PC with more than 2 GB of memory then the results of two tests ("HD Video Record" and "File Copy to NAS") are heavily affected since they actually measure the client's RAM buffer speed and not the network speed, so in our test PC via msconfig advanced options we set the max. memory to 2GB. During all tests with this toolkit we exploit its batch run function, which repeats the selected tests for five turns and uses the average readings as final results.
The second program is a custom made program which performs ten basic file transfer tests and for each measures the average MB/s speed. To extract as accurate as possible results we run all selected tests ten times and in the end we use the average as the final result.
The third program we use in our test sessions is ATTO, a well known program for storage benchmarks. In order to use ATTO for benchmarking we are forced to map a shared folder of the NAS to a local drive, since ATTO cannot directly access network devices.
Intel NAS Performance Toolkit - Internal Storage
Intel NAS Performance Toolkit - External Storage
TechPowerUp NAS Test Suite - Internal Storage
TechPowerUp NAS Test Suite - External Storage
ATTO - Internal Storage
RAID 5 Four Disks
RAID 6 Four Disks
RAID 5 Six Disks
RAID 6 Six Disks
ATTO - External Storage
Performance Summary - Internal & External Storage
The following graph shows the overall performance of the NAS on all tests we conducted using our custom made software.
RAID 1 as you can see is the slowest configuration while overall performance with only one disk installed is really good! Finally the average speed that the USB 3.0 disk achieved in both file formats is high enough and will cover most needs, so if you want the external disk to be accessible also by a Windows PC then NTFS will provide the desirable compatibility and at the same time you won't lose any performance compared to EXT4.
Performance Comparison Graphs
Now let's check the performance of the TS-669 Pro against other NAS devices. Currently we have measurements of few NAS devices but after more reviews the following graphs will become much richer. Also we should note that the TS-469 Pro and the TS-419P II were tested with the older Samsung T166 SpinPoint HDDs (HD501LJ, Serial ATA II, 7200 RPM, 16 MB) and although these HDDs share the same characteristics with the newer HD502HJ model they are not as fast. This however makes a difference only in the single disk measurements where the HDD may be not able to pass the max speed that the Gigabit network can attain.
Now, let's check how much power the TS-669 Pro needs in sleep, idle mode and during heavy throughput.
For all power consumption measurements we use two professional power analyzers, a Prova WM-01 and a GW Instek GPM-8212.
Sleep, Idle and Load
The maximum power consumption that our equipment recorded was 65.4W, a very low reading considering that the NAS was loaded with six HDDs which were working overtime.
Power Consumption in Standby Mode
Vampire power or phantom load is the amount of power that a device consumes when it is switched off but still plugged into the power grid. According to the ErP Lot 6 2010 directive it should be below 1W and the future 2013 directive lowers this threshold to 0.5W.
With ErP activated from the settings page the TS-669 Pro needs 0.52W, a power level that is compatible with the ErP Lot 6 2010 requirements.
Power Consumption Comparison Graphs
Strangely enough the TS-669 Pro consumes less power than the TS-469 Pro at heavy load!
For these measurements we used a high quality CEM-8852 Sound DB Meter which was installed 50 cm away from the NAS. The ambient noise in our lab during noise measurements was close to 30 dBA.
With the fans working at low speed the noise is minimal but at full speed things change and the output noise increases dramatically. Nevertheless during our entire time with the TS-669 Pro, its fans never operated at full speed (with fan speed control set to auto mode), on the contrary, they were spinning at low RPMs so the noise output was low.
Output Noise Comparison Graphs
The following graphs show the output noise of TS-669 Pro in comparison with other units we have tested in the past.
The following graph shows the total performance rating of the NAS in comparison with other units. The comparison is pretty straight forward, the tested unit is shown as 100% and all other units' performance is relative to it. Please note that we measure only raw performance in the graph below and not available features and functionality of each unit. Also the QNAP TS-419P II and the TS-469 Pro were tested with Samsung T166 SpinPoint HDDs so they had a handicap in single disk measurements.
Performance per Dollar
For most of you probably the following graph will be the most interesting, since it shows how much it will set you back the performance of the NAS you want to buy. We looked up the current USD price of each NAS on the popular online shop Newegg and used it along with the relative performance numbers to calculate the Performance per Dollar Index. In case Newegg doesn’t stock a specific unit then we search for it at other popular online shops (Tigerdirect, Amazon) and finally if the unit is not sold in the U.S. we search in popular EU shops (e.g. Caseking) and we convert its price to dollars.
Value and Conclusion
- The QNAP TS-669 Pro retails for $1049.
- Processor easily handles all tasks
- Upgradeable RAM
- Support for six, hot-swap, disks
- Tons of features
- Nice and intuitive administration interface
- Can act as a fully featured download station
- Compatible with all popular RAID levels
- Dual Gigabit ports (with LACP support)
- USB 3.0 ports
- LCD display
- Optional QPKG packages boost functionality
- High price
- Long boot time
- Small warranty
||Today I had the chance to test a NAS that certainly doesn't address the average user but the enthusiasts and small to medium sized companies that seek a highly reliable and feature-rich Network Attached Storage solution that will fully cover their needs. So it is natural that the TS-669 Pro comes at a high price, since it has a lot to offer and on top of that it is supported by QNAP with constant firmware updates and their active official forum.|
Besides the high speeds that the TS-669 Pro managed to achieve, although I didn't manage to get LACP working from the client side, even with a managed switch, I was left very satisfied by its reliability and the low noise. Normally equipment that is intended for bussiness environments doesn't feature quiet operation but apparently in this case this is not true. Also QNAP's operating system proved to be rock stable and never crashed or even stalled during all the tests I conducted, which lasted many days during which I had the NAS running at heavy load continuously (24/7).
The only problem with devices that support so many HDDs, is the high price of drives. But if you can afford the TS-669 Pro then most likely you can afford six HDDs too, or you would buy the smaller TS-469 Pro.
To sum up, if you need a lot of storage and features, and you can pay the high price then go for it and you will be left very satisfied. It needs no Linux knowledge, you can set it up in a few minutes using its intuitive interface and the network speeds it achieves are very good. I also recommend to check QNAP's official HDD compability list, so you have the best drives for your NAS and pair it with a good switch to maximize its potential.