This NAS does not offer anything new in terms of assembly. The procedure is perfectly standard: install your HDDs on the frames, insert the frames into the NAS, connect the LAN cable and power adapter, and turn the NAS on.
The frames have two sets of mounting holes for both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch HDDs. You may want to use the latter drives to reduce the level of noise and power consumption, but 2.5-inch HDDs have lower storage capacities. There is usually no difference between the smaller and larger types of HDDs in terms of performance when it comes to using them in a NAS.
QNAP’s products use some space on the installed HDDs for storing firmware code. So, you need to initialize the device when you turn it on for the first time.
There are two ways to do that. You can use the included QNAP Finder tool or access the NAS via a browser. The second way is going to be useful for users of operating systems other than Windows and Mac OS X.
The Finder tool helps you set the NAS up quickly by answering a few questions (password, server name, network address, date and time, etc). Then the firmware is installed and you can get to work.
If you go the second way, you have to find the NAS’s IP address first (by looking up the logs of your home router) or use the name NASxxxxxx where xxxxxx is the last three bytes of the MAC address (indicated on the NAS’s case) and open this address in your web-browser. The mini-server integrated into the flash memory will install the full firmware code and initialize the HDDs. This method only takes a web-browser and can be performed on nearly any client computer. Then, you just browse through a few pages, similar to the Finder tool, to set up the basic parameters of the device.
I used firmware 3.1.2 build 1014 for this test session.
Starting from version 3.0, QNAP’s web-interface is based on Ajax technology, which makes it pretty and functional. The interface is available in multiple languages. You can choose the language to use manually or in your browser settings.
All active features of the device and a few links to Web resources can be seen in the start page. A minor inconvenience is that you have to reenter your name and password when switching between them.