Assume Synology and QNAP NAS drives are far too costly? You aren’t alone, and there are some higher methods to spend your money if you happen to want a less expensive NAS with a lot of options. The TerraMaster F5-422 is a wonderful instance of a broadly out there design with some hidden potential at a bargain-basement value.
Is it price the additional over the F4-422 or the even cheaper F2-422? Briefly, ‘yes’, and I’ll clarify why.
Design & Construct
The F5-422 is a silver field manufactured from plastic and steel, and describing it as way more can be making extra of the restricted styling than is important. In order for you neo-classical storage enclosures, then TerraMaster isn’t for you, as its designs are all about stable development and sensible performance.
To be blunt, this design is drive bays and LEDs on the entrance, ports and cooling on the again, nothing on the perimeters.
The dearth of a entrance USB port or any button to switch contents from exterior storage to the array would possibly put some off, as that is widespread on another manufacturers.
What the F5-422 will get proper it that the drive bays are straightforward to take away and mount the drives on, both three.5- or 2.5in drives, however there isn’t any locking mechanism on the trays, regrettably. Whereas I like tool-less tray designs, TerraMaster offers a wide variety of screws and a very good high quality screwdriver within the field to finish a process you’ll most definitely solely do as soon as.
Any drives you put in inside could be there for years, working 24/7, so crucial consideration is cooling and this NAS has a superb design to realize that. Air is drawn from slots within the underside up over the drives and the side-mounted mainboard after which pumped out the again with two 80mm followers.
The velocity of those is thermostatically managed, and at full velocity, they’ll transfer loads of air by this enclosure. The one method that this may feasibly go fallacious is that if the followers fail, the temperature sensor reads incorrectly or the ambient air across the NAS will get too heat, because the cooling for 5 drives and a passively cooled Celeron is greater than sufficient.
One slight oddity I observed is that early variations of this machine had an HDMI port that was disabled, however this newest manufacturing revision has the place for this output sealed, and it has no port. I’ve used TerraMaster machines with an lively HDMI port, however they lack the software program interface to make it really helpful, so its omission right here isn’t a lot of a loss.
The headline act of this hardware are the three LAN ports on the again, however I’ll speak about that in additional element later.
Specs & Options
Once I’m taking a look at NAS bins and meander by their specs, I usually expertise a level of déjà vu. And, studying the F5-422 specification is a visit down reminiscence lane, because it has an nearly similar platform spec to its four-bay brother, the TerraMaster F4-422, but additionally the QNAP TS-453Be and Synology’s DS1019+, DS918+ and DS718+.
These had been all constructed on the Apollo Lake platform and use the Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core CPU with a base clock of 1.5GHz and a burst velocity of two.3GHz.
Having the ability to deal with 4 threads, this CPU permits these machines to carry out a number of concurrent jobs comparatively simply and higher service a number of related customers extra effectively than a twin or single-core configuration.
Synology has moved on to utilizing the newer Intel Celeron J4125 in its subsequent designs, however QNAP nonetheless makes use of this platform on the TS-453BT3 and has additionally switched to the J4125 in its TS-453D fashions.
From a NAS perspective, the Celeron J3455 is a wonderful selection since it’s an exceptionally dependable machine with an built-in GPU that may transcode 4K video and helps AES 256bit encryption. That makes the F5-422 effectively suited to being a video repository or any medium which may have to be processed together with being served.
What contributes to that situation, and some others, is the LAN connections which might be higher than nearly another NAS field at this value level.
For common use, two 1GbE ports are included that with an aggregation succesful router could be mixed to supply 2000Mbit/s of throughput to and from the community. These are the low price means to assist extra customers and nonetheless ship respectable efficiency, as a small swap supporting aggregation prices lower than $30.
However for better consumer numbers and even higher efficiency, TerraMaster has additionally included a 10GbE port that by itself can assist as much as 800-1000MB/s transfers.
With an acceptable swap, a minimum of ten customers might be supported concurrently, offering 1GbE efficiency to all of them. And in a real-world scenario, 20-30 customers may simply be serviced by this hardware with little considerable loss in velocity.
The evaluation machine makes use of the most recent OS from TerraMaster, TOS Four.2, and this can be a Linux-based distro that has been tweaked for NAS use utilizing a web-based interface.
Whereas the third-party purposes that run on TOS aren’t as polished as these by Synology, they supply all the everyday capabilities that the majority NAS house owners would possibly set up, and it has assist for Docker, Virtualisation, Dev environments and media presentation (Plex) within the 89 apps the system provides to put in for you.
A few of these apps are in ‘Beta’, however you even have the choice to put in ones that aren’t within the assortment for these assured in compiling and putting in Linux apps.
Whereas Synology nonetheless has an edge on this division, TerraMaster has come a substantial method with TOS in recent times, and until you particularly need Synology branded apps or performance unique to them, the ecosystem the F5-422 has is efficient and effectively provisioned.
If the F5-422 has a weak spot, it’s the improve path of this machine.
The one means to boost the inventory configuration includes dismantling the machine to entry a single SO-DIMM reminiscence slot on the mainboard. That there isn’t a panel to take away or entry by way of the drive bays demonstrates that TerraMaster didn’t contemplate this a precedence. Presumably, it doesn’t consider that many shoppers will trouble to do that improve.
And, as a result of the default 4GB of system reminiscence is wired on to the mainboard, and the utmost that the SO-DIMM slot will take is 8GB, the utmost RAM is 12GB, and never the 16GB that the chipset is able to.
This cost-saving measure is a minor mark in opposition to this design.
What might need elevated the F5-422 would have been a PCIe slot or some means to develop the inner storage by way of Thunderbolt. However the one choices are two USB three.zero ports.
The F5-422 could be sourced immediately from TerraMaster for £499.99 within the UK and $599.99 within the USA, excluding supply.
A typical Amazon value is round £20 greater than RRP within the UK, however that does embody delivery. American prospects can get it from Amazon with free delivery, making it a greater plan to purchase it on-line.
The price is both £100 or $100 greater than the F4-422 mannequin. That hardware has the identical processor, RAM, LAN ports and utility set, however solely has 4 bays and never the 5 of the F5-422.
The most affordable Synology NAS with 10GbE networking inherently is the six-bay DS1621+ at round $799 or over £800, however a 10GbE community card is required costing one other $338.95 for the dual-port mannequin.
QNAP has a four-bay design, the QNAP TS-431KX-2G, for simply round £400/$400, nevertheless it makes use of a much less highly effective quad-cored ARM CPU and solely comes with 2GB of RAM (upgradable to 8GB).
For roughly the identical cash because the F5-422, QNAP additionally provides the TS-932PX-4G with twin 10GbE and twin 2.5 GbE LAN, 5 three.5-inch bays and 4 2.5-inch. This design makes use of the AnnapurnaLabs Alpine AL324 ARM Cortex-A57 quad-core 1.7GHz processor and could be upgraded from 4GB of RAM to 16GB.
Test our chart of one of the best NAS drives to see extra choices.
Wanting solely on the specs, the F5-422 is merely the F4-422 with an additional drive bay and a 20% value improve, however that misses the logic of people who designed this hardware.
With this variety of typical drives exploiting the networking functionality of this machine can be virtually inconceivable. As even with Enterprise-class drive efficiency, the throughput gained’t add as much as the 1250MB/s that the mixed LAN ports can maintain.
However, and that is the F5-422 ace-in-the-hole, if you happen to sacrifice a kind of ports by together with an affordable SSD set for use as cache, then it could actually hit these learn and write peaks. In hindsight, this design may have been even higher had TerraMaster included an NVMe slot permitting all 5 bays for use for storage, however at this value level, that’s maybe unrealistic.
There are a number of traditional eventualities the place this design is completely suited past the everyday backup server and small crew server roles. Considered one of these is to be a bridging NAS that’s each a neighborhood storage machine for a workstation and a network-accessible useful resource.
Plug a 10GbE LAN community adapter into the workstation or use a Thunderbolt to 10GbE gizmo, and that system could have a big native storage facility with as much as 1000MB/s for each studying and writing and can be community related by way of the aggregated 1GbE ports for centralised backup or venture distribution.
This set up may have an enormous capability and inherent drive resilience, excellent for a mission-critical workstation.
There are a lot of different potential makes use of for this hardware, however that fifth drive choice mixed with the inherent 10GbE LAN, at this price, might be the decisive deal issue for these not keen to pay a premium for Synology or QNAP hardware.
For the modest asking value TerraMaster is asking, the F5-422 provides excellent worth.
TerraMaster F5-422 NAS: Specs
Processor: Intel Celeron J3455 Four-core 1.5 GHz, burst as much as 2.three GHz
Reminiscence: 4GB DDR3L onboard (expandable to 12GB)
Drives: 5x three.5in or 2.5in SATA HDD/SSD (drives not included)
Raid Modes: Single, JBOD, RAID zero, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 6, RAID 10
Networking: 2x 1GbE LAN port, 1x 10GbE LAN port
Networking Protocols: CIFS/SAMBA, NFS, FTP, TFTP, HTTPS, SSH, iSCSI, SNMP, SMTP
USB ports: 2x USB three.zero Sort A
OS: TOS Four.2
OS Languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Magyar, Chinese language, Japanese, Korean
Most capability: 80TB (5x 16TB)
Most Single Quantity: 108TB
Inner drive codecs: EXT4, BTRFS
Exterior drive codecs: EXT3, EXT4, NTFS, FAT32, HFS+
Measurement (HxWxD): 227 x 225 x 136mm
Guarantee: 2 years