Network Attached Storage devices are developing along the well-established guidelines set by other computer components – towards higher processor speeds, broader software functionality, and larger storage space. Popular models of early NASes used to have a Power or ARM processor clocked at 266 to 800MHz but now this speed is already not enough and it is not a wonder to see the dominating netbook platform come to the world of NASes. Besides x86 compatibility (which is not exactly critical since NASes’ firmware successfully transitioned to the Power and ARM architectures long ago), the performance/price factor may prove to be important for NASes just as it is for netbooks and mini-PCs. One of the earliest products of the new wave is a four-disk NAS from the market’s veteran QNAP. The model is called TS-439 Pro, and it is a top-end offering in the brand’s product range.
The device comes in a rather large box measuring 31.5x30x24 centimeters. It has a carry handle but you should be careful with it since the box is as heavy as 4 kilos. The kit includes everything necessary save for hard disk drives: a NAS, power cord, two network cables, HDD fasteners, keys for hot-swap cages, brief user guide, and a CD with software and descriptions.
The box itself is all covered with descriptions of the device’s features. The text is quite understandable but the 21 icons are somewhat harder to comprehend. There are also photographs of the NAS with labels for its various elements. As a result, you can learn quite a lot about this undoubtedly exciting device even without taking it out of its box.
The software bundle includes QNAP Finder (to search for the NAS on the local network and set it up), QGet (to work with the NAS’s autonomous download manager), and Replicator (a simple backup tool). The former two programs are available in Mac versions.