Built for homes and small offices, QNAP's TS-239 Pro Turbo provides two drive bays that can house up to 4TB of network-attached storage (NAS). It's a small and easy to use NAS device with lightning-fast transfer speeds; it even has iSCSI functionality. It's more expensive than the QNAP TS-219P Turbo, but it's faster and offers better connectivity.
The TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS device looks almost identical to the less expensive TS-219P Turbo, with the same exposed, hot-swappable drive bays that can be individually locked. Latches on the drive caddies pull out to extract the drives, but we found that without a catch release (as found on the QNAP SS-439 Pro Turbo NAS) the latches can be difficult to pull.
A single USB port on the TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS device's front panel can be configured to backup either to or from an attached external hard drive. On the back panel there are two more USB ports and two eSATA ports. You also get two Gigabit Ethernet ports — the TS-219P Turbo only has one — which support failover (if one Ethernet port fails) and load balancing over multiple IP addresses. A VGA port on the back panel can be used to directly monitor the NAS device's status and any errors; we would prefer an LCD on the front panel.
The biggest differences between this NAS device and the TS-219P Turbo are on the inside. The TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS device is configured with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU and 1GB of DDR2 memory; a significant upgrade over the 1.2GHz Marvell CPU and 512MB of RAM that are installed in the TS-219P. The beefier specifications mean that the TS-239 Pro Turbo consumes more power. When running two 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives, the TS-239 Pro Turbo consumed 35 Watts when idle compared to the TS-219P Turbo's 24.5W when the same drives were installed.
We tested the TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS device by transferring files to our testbed (equipped with a 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor internal hard drive), which was connected to a network using Belkin's N+ Wireless Storage Router. The NAS device wrote 20GB of 3-4GB files at a rate of 70.8 megabytes per second (MBps). It read the same files at 67.6MBps and performed a simultaneous read/write operation at a rate of 33.9MBps. When transferring 3GB of 1MB files — which requires more drive operations — the TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS device's write speeds averaged 34.5MBps. Read speeds for the same test were 44.1MBps and read/write speeds averaged 10MBps. Overall, the TS-239 Pro Turbo is significantly faster than the TS-219P Turbo, with write speeds double that of the cheaper NAS in both tests.
The TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS can do more than just store files; it’s a fairly capable server for the home and office as well. Home users can configure a DLNA-compliant UPnP server, which uses TwonkyMedia to serve pictures, movies and music. You can also share an iTunes music library from the NAS device. A download manager allows you to schedule BitTorrent, HTTP and FTP tasks directly from the TS-239 Pro Turbo's Web interface.
For office users, the TS-239 Pro Turbo's iSCSI capabilities mean you can attach the NAS device to an iSCSI server in order to improve file transfer performance and create a virtual drive on networked computers. QNAP's latest firmware also allows you assign other iSCSI targets to the TS-239P Turbo NAS device as virtual drives.
The NAS device's security features are impressive: you can secure the Web interface through SSL authentication, IP filtering and timed lockouts for individual access protocols. Individual drive volumes on the TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS can be encrypted using 256-bit AES security; there is no password recovery function.
Back up methods include remote replication over LAN and Internet, scheduled backups to an external hard drive, and user-initiated backups using the one-touch copy button.
Each of these functions require minimal configuration and are easily accessible through the TS-239 Pro Turbo's simplified Web-based interface. User and data quota management is also available through the interface. Our only disappointment is that the UPnP and Bonjour network service discovery functions are disabled by default, making it initially difficult to discover the TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS in some network browsers.
Its ease of use and fantastic file transfer speeds make the QNAP TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS device is one of our favourite ways to store 4TB of data on a network.
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