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David Murphy Sep 09, 2008

Qnap TS-209 Pro II

At A Glance

DUNDER MIFFLIN

Faster transfer rates than average, absurd number of features, informative front display.

WERNHAM-HOGG

Not the fastest NAS box we've tested, features not at all different from previous models, only USB connections for external backup.

Based on the name alone, one would expect Qnap’s TS-209 Pro II NAS box to offer more features than its predecessors—particularly our leader in this storage category, Qnap’s TS-109 Pro. And while the former does allow for increased capacity, it does not provide significant improvements in performance or offer more features than the TS-109 Pro, which has been out for more than a year.

The TS-209 Pro II differs from the TS-109 Pro in two fundamental ways: First, the TS-209 Pro II is a two-bay device that only requires you to remove a faceplate to access the hot-swap drive bays, a much simpler process than the disassembly required to stick a new drive in the single-bay TS-109 Pro. Second, the TS-209 Pro II sports 256MB of internal DDR II RAM, double the internal memory of the TS-109 Pro.

We assumed—perhaps incorrectly—that this additional memory would do something , anything, for the TS-209 Pro II’s benchmark performance. It does not. In fact, even after we added a speedy Velociraptor drive to the unit to eliminate any kind of hard drive bottleneck, the TS-209 Pro II was still unable to top the TS-109 Pro in any benchmark. The TS-209 Pro II took an extra 18 seconds to transfer 659MB (180 files) from our computer to our NAS in our small-file test. In our large-file test, the TS-209 Pro II took more than a minute longer than the TS-109 Pro to transfer a single 2.79-gigabyte file.

The TS-209 Pro II is fast when compared against the entire category of NAS devices. But it’s not faster than our speed champion, the TS-109 Pro. Nor do any compelling features push it above and beyond its predecessor. The latest firmware update to the TS-109 Pro gives that device the same features and options as the TS-209 Pro II, including a BitTorrent downloading application, a networked webcam surveillance application, and an iTunes streaming service. The TS-209 Pro II differs only in its RAID offerings, due to its support for two hard drives versus the TS-109 Pro’s one.

We dislike that the TS-209 Pro II drops the eSATA connection that was included with the TS-109 Pro. It’s not a mission-critical deletion, but we’d still much prefer to back up the contents of our NAS box over a speedy SATA connection rather than USB. It would also be nice to have a friendlier hot-swap setup in the front of the TS-209 Pro II. Removing the front bezel doesn’t pain us, but in a perfect world, we'd be able to insert drive without having to take anything off of the device first.

The TS-209 Pro II is a fast product with a bounty of features beyond what we typically see in NAS products, it’s just not among the speediest NAS devices we’ve tested. If you don’t need the increased storage that a second drive bay brings, you’re better off purchasing one of the company’s faster single-drive options—like the TS-109 Pro.

Benchmarks

Qnap TS-209 Pro II Qnap TS-109 Pro
Size N/A
N/A
PC to NAS, small (min:sec)
0:55 0:37
PC to NAS, large (min:sec)
3:45 2:30
NAS to PC, small (min:sec)
0:39 0:38
NAS to PC, large (min:sec) 2:34
2:25
Best scores are bolded. We used the contents of Maximum PC’s November 2007 CD for the small-file testing, and a single 2.79GB file for the large-file testing. All scores are averages of three transfer trials.
THE VERDICT

Qnap TS-209 Pro II

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