Cheap NAS vs Expensive NAS (with examples) - what are the differences?

chris2922

Active Member
Im very new to the idea of NAS and have never even owned an external drive.
Im about to move into a house of my own though, and id like a central repository for my FLAC music files that can be accessed by a Squuzebox, or a Sonos or something like that.

My only requirement is that it supports RAID-1, because i dont want to spend ages ripping my music to FLAC and then to lose the data if my HDD dies.

So ive been looking through the forums and around the net and on here the concensus seems to be that QNAP are very good NAS products.

Id like to knowwhay they cost so much more than what 'appears' to be a similar product on eBay though. I know eBay is renound for crap, but id still like to know.

So here we go:

QNAP TS-209
http://www.store2go.net/shop/ultimatestorage/p/category/0708096495-QNAP+TS-209/
Price: £226.72 (incl. tax)

DUAL IDE HDD NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE ENCLOSURE FTP NAS
SERVE iTUNES VIDEOS WEB SITE PRINTER SERVER BRAND NEW!
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/DUAL-IDE-HDD-...ryZ86758QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
£86.98

So why the VAST difference in price?
 

badbob

Banned
You could get a Buffalo Linkstation Pro. Install Linux then slimserver. No need for a PC then. Mates done it, works ok although can't get startup script to work (need a PC attached to boot, but once it's on then it's ok)

I have a NAS , D-Link DNS-323. Great. And a Squeezebox, but music is stored locally not on the NAS.
 

BiffBoy

Active Member
OR you could even do a search on ebay or tinter´net and find a Linxsys NSLU2 (slug) which takes USB drives.

I use one with a 300GB IDE HDD & an IDE to USB cable. I´ve installed a different firmware and linux and it serves up my mp3´s and video´s a treat to my Xbox running XBMC and to my Palm TX PDA (as it´s attached to a wireless router too.)
 

chris2922

Active Member
Haha, woah there t72bogie, i think that £908.04 Incl. VAT is a bit extreme for my requirements! Nice though.

Im curious as to why the QNAP is £139.74 more expensive than the generic eBay example i found.

When i read the description for the eBay item it sounds like it ticks all the same boxes as the QNAP. Maybe other than the 'power down' function of the QNAP.

It cant be just that thats worth £139!... can it?
 

t72bogie

Novice Member
id get the QNAP - they should still be around in 6 months time for support - also it has better software for use as a media server later on
 

ntm1275

Active Member
The 2 bay QNAP comes in 2 different options, 209 and 209 Pro
The 209 is more of a SOHO device where as the Pro version is more of a business device

Both have a 500mhz CPU and 128mb DDR II

QNAP and Synology seem to be the current pioneers in providing excellent lower cost, feature rich NAS devices with excellent Customer Support

So depending on how much you want to spend, I would choose from the list below for a 2 bay NAS (no hard drives are included in the prices)

QNAP 209, about £230.00
QNAP 209 Pro, about £250.00
Synology 207, about £235.00

plus 2 hard drives
examples
Western Digital Caviar RE2 750GB £180.00 each
Western Digital Caviar SE16 750GB £140.00 each
Seagate Barracuda 750gb £130.00

So the total price would range from
£490.00 to £610.00 depending on the options chosen

One last thing which most people do not realise, do not expect a NAS with gigabit to get anywhere near gigabit network speeds unless you are willing to spend good money on Enterprise versions of these devices, and I mean £800 upwards for a box with no hard drives

The SOHO versions will work perfectly for home just don't expect to be able to transfer files a 125Mb/s

The average for SOHO devices is between 10Mb/s to 20Mb/s
If the NAS comes with its own Web File Manager that figure may increase a little bit, but if using Windows 10-20 is a good figure
 

pixelpidgeon

Distinguished Member
Ver interesting thread. Can someone in the know please explain what the main advantages are of a quality nas over a dell machine. As you can pick one up for £250, without monitor. Is it mainly that once the machine is on the NAS will consume alot less energy, and probbaly quieter, or is there more to it?
thanks, pixel
 

t72bogie

Novice Member
"The SOHO versions will work perfectly for home just don't expect to be able to transfer files a 125Mb/s

The average for SOHO devices is between 10Mb/s to 20Mb/s"

very true - and coming back to my "you get what you pay for" quote.
Depending in file size, then I can max out the Gig interface with my Netgear(Infrant) ReadyNAS box in RAID 5 with jumbo frames etc ...but then it costs about £900 with 2TB in it.....
 

Mark Grant

Novice Member
My only requirement is that it supports RAID-1, because i dont want to spend ages ripping my music to FLAC and then to lose the data if my HDD dies.

If the Data is important you still need to backup, a PSU failure can sometimes kill more than 1 drive in a NAS box, lightning strike may kill them all and theft of the NAS box has certainly lost all the data.

Far better to have a real backup than any RAID solution.

An old PC with a few drives in would do for a big backup device for NAS drives, store it in someone elses house and bring it home for backup every few months etc.

Mark.
 

ntm1275

Active Member
Ver interesting thread. Can someone in the know please explain what the main advantages are of a quality nas over a dell machine. As you can pick one up for £250, without monitor. Is it mainly that once the machine is on the NAS will consume alot less energy, and probbaly quieter, or is there more to it?
thanks, pixel

The main reason why NAS devices are becoming popular in the home and even office situations is space and power savings

NAS devices are primarily used as file servers, so you do not need a full PC for just sharing files
A business will probably use a PC Server with Windows Server 2003 for example as it's main Server PC for Internet connections, email server etc etc, and just attach a rack of NAS devices for the file server part of the network
Dedicated NAS devices are less power hungry (and quieter)
Enterprise version have proper gigabit network devices built in (not a £10 one bought from ebay!!), but probably £200+ worth of LAN card

I had a Dell P4 running 24/7 as a file server until I got my electricity bill, that then forced me to change to a Synology NAS which hibernates after 10 mins using a fraction of the power of the PC
I also had problems with the Wake up from LAN with the PC as well
 

pixelpidgeon

Distinguished Member
Hi Thanks for takeing the time to explain. So i see its the power consumption from Hibernation, and the waking from Lan, and generally quieter. So NAS's should provide these abilities straight out the box. Rather than pc's which usually require a fair bit of tinkering. It still seems strange to me why good quality NAS's cost sometimes alot more than a decent new pc. I mean from the aspect of the sum of the hardware thats involved. If you see what i mean? cheers, pixel


The main reason why NAS devices are becoming popular in the home and even office situations is space and power savings

NAS devices are primarily used as file servers, so you do not need a full PC for just sharing files
A business will probably use a PC Server with Windows Server 2003 for example as it's main Server PC for Internet connections, email server etc etc, and just attach a rack of NAS devices for the file server part of the network
Dedicated NAS devices are less power hungry (and quieter)
Enterprise version have proper gigabit network devices built in (not a £10 one bought from ebay!!), but probably £200+ worth of LAN card

I had a Dell P4 running 24/7 as a file server until I got my electricity bill, that then forced me to change to a Synology NAS which hibernates after 10 mins using a fraction of the power of the PC
I also had problems with the Wake up from LAN with the PC as well
 

ntm1275

Active Member
The beauty of a NAS is the simplicity with very little user configuration needed

A PC based server would need the user to manually instal server software (Linux or Microsoft based) and would have to be completely configured from scratch

With a PC there are hidden costs that may already be built into the NAS price

Say for instance you were to buy Microsoft Server 2003, that alone could cost more than the total price of the NAS, add to that a decent Gigabit network card etc etc and the price of your PC suddenly is pushing you towards £2000+

Yes you could use a free Linux distro as a base for the OS, but unless you have experience with Linux, you could end up with more problems

Most NAS devices use Linux as there OS, but it has already been set up for you, you just need to enter a few settings and your NAS is up and running, but more importantly it is secure from unwanted intrusions
A NAS uses a simple web configuration page

How many people would be confident in configuring Windows Server or Linux on a PC and know that it is secure to the outside world

With my Synology (or QNAP for that matter) I get a Web Server, Photo Server, iTunes Server, FTP Server, Multimedia Server, Print Server, File Server etc etc and it took me half an hour to get it up and running
My favourite feature is the Download Station where I can be away from my home and I can access the NAS and tell it to start downloading a file (eg bitorrent) and it works great
Recently they added a File Station, so now I can copy, move, delete files from within a web interface making it faster
Previously if you asked it to copy a file from one folder to another using a PC, it would have to travel from the NAS to the PC and then back to the NAS again
 

pixelpidgeon

Distinguished Member
Thanks yet ahain for enlightening me, and many otherswho read this thread. I currently use an old Dell laptop to serve music to my roku using firefly and/or wmp11. As you say, it did take some time and thought to get things up and running. opening ports in firwalls etc. But now its working, it does the job very well. I have set the screen to switch off after 5mins. As i only really use the laptop to convert my cd's to flac. Sometimes for media center purposes as its in the living room connected to the main tv. I can definately see the advantages of a decent nas as you have kindly taken the time to share your knowledge. I will probably no doubt end up going the QNAP route sometime in future.

just a question regarding windows server 2003. Whay would i need this on a pc for networking, when XP does the job ok?

Thanks again. Pixel :thumbsup:

The beauty of a NAS is the simplicity with very little user configuration needed

A PC based server would need the user to manually instal server software (Linux or Microsoft based) and would have to be completely configured from scratch

With a PC there are hidden costs that may already be built into the NAS price

Say for instance you were to buy Microsoft Server 2003, that alone could cost more than the total price of the NAS, add to that a decent Gigabit network card etc etc and the price of your PC suddenly is pushing you towards £2000+

Yes you could use a free Linux distro as a base for the OS, but unless you have experience with Linux, you could end up with more problems

Most NAS devices use Linux as there OS, but it has already been set up for you, you just need to enter a few settings and your NAS is up and running, but more importantly it is secure from unwanted intrusions
A NAS uses a simple web configuration page

How many people would be confident in configuring Windows Server or Linux on a PC and know that it is secure to the outside world

With my Synology (or QNAP for that matter) I get a Web Server, Photo Server, iTunes Server, FTP Server, Multimedia Server, Print Server, File Server etc etc and it took me half an hour to get it up and running
My favourite feature is the Download Station where I can be away from my home and I can access the NAS and tell it to start downloading a file (eg bitorrent) and it works great
Recently they added a File Station, so now I can copy, move, delete files from within a web interface making it faster
Previously if you asked it to copy a file from one folder to another using a PC, it would have to travel from the NAS to the PC and then back to the NAS again
 

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