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Hardware Configuration

The TS-439 Pro is one of the first NASes featuring the Intel Atom processor. It uses the N270 model, a single-core chip with a clock rate of 1.6GHz and HT technology. In fact, the mainboard is not much different from those of the numerous desktop PCs based on this platform: a processor, two chipset pieces, one memory slot (occupied by a 1GB DDR2-667 SO-DIMM), an IDE44 slot for a flash chip with OS (128MB capacity), a connector for a 4-disk SATA backplane, two eSATA ports, five USB 2.0 ports and even one VGA port. The CPU and two chipset pieces are covered with small heatsinks. Interestingly, the smallest chipset belongs to the Atom. The chipset is 945GSE consisting of 82945GSE and NH82801GBM (ICH7-M) chips. Besides, the mainboard carries a couple of 82574 Gigabit Ethernet controllers linked to the PCIe bus and a few more chips. Every connector is used, save for one fan plug – you can install and connect a second fan if you like. By the way, you can connect a VGA monitor and a USB keyboard to this NAS and get a nearly full-featured Linux box.

If you decide to replace the OS, the single problem is in choosing the boot device. You have to use something with IDE44 (e.g. a PATA disk with adapter) or a USB flash drive. You cannot boot up from the main HDDs as they are not visible in the BIOS. This is because the onboard 88SX7042 SATA controller from Marvell resides on the back-plane and connects via PCIe. Thus, both of the chipset’s SATA ports work as eSATA and can be used for an alternative OS, too.

This is all powered up by a SS-250SU power supply from Seasonic. Its output power of 250 watts is quite enough for all applications especially considering the low consumption of the main electronic components.

We checked out the consumption of the NAS in different modes using the integrated monitoring module of our UPS (manufactured by APC). The results were as follows: up to 80 watts when starting up the HDDs; 30 watts in idle mode; less than 5 watts in sleep model; 45 watts when all the HDDs were being accessed actively. Of course, these numbers are not quite accurate, yet they give you a general notion of how much power the NAS needs. The NAS is by far more economical than a classic PC.

The device was tested with firmware 2.1.1 build 0122T dated January 22. An update has been released before we post this review. It solves a few problems of the first version and has somewhat enhanced functionality.

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