NAS shoot-out: QNAP TS-659 Pro II Turbo NAS

The QNAP NAS leads the pack with a smooth Web GUI and excellent performance

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The back of the unit has an abundance of ports: a single USB 3.0 port, four USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a VGA port, and a Kensington security slot. The USB 3.0 ports allow you to connect an external USB hard drive to use for backup. By pressing the backup button, you can make a quick copy of certain folders and files to the attached drive. The eSATA ports are a bit of a head scratcher. These offer more flexibility for expansion and backup; they're nice to have, but I'm not sure they'd get much use in this market segment.

QNAP TS-659 Pro II Turbo NAS: Software and administration
I enjoyed using the QNAP Web interface, but having the ability to do some tasks via the display on the front of the unit was useful as well. I spent a considerable amount of time in front of the various Web interfaces for the NAS boxes in this test, and QNAP's was easily my favorite. Functions were well organized, the GUI was clean, and it was snappy. I spent much less time hunting and searching for the functions that I needed than in any of the other products.

For those who need more hand-holding, QNAP provides a software utility called QFinder that will help you set up the system. The amount of online help QNAP makes available is impressive as well. There is a live demo of the software and quite a few videos you can watch, as well as a very well-written help page available in the GUI and on the QNAP website. It is nice to see a vendor bending over backward to help the users as much as possible.

As I discussed in the introduction to this shoot-out, many of these NAS devices include everything but the kitchen sink. The QNAP falls in this camp, bundling many nonessential features such as an iTunes server, UPnP media server, torrent downloader, and IP camera surveillance system. I'm sure most businesses will ignore these features, even if home and power users might enjoy having them. You can get many more features by adding packages using QNAP's QPKG system.

QNAP TS-659 Pro II Turbo NAS: Backup and cloud services
QNAP is lighter on backup options than the Netgear and Iomega systems, but it's no slouch. Rsync and Apple Time Machine support are there as you'd expect, as is the ability to back up to an external device via USB or eSATA. QNAP also includes a feature it calls Real-time Remote Replication (RTRR), which allows two QNAP NAS boxes to do one-way syncing in either real time or on a schedule over the local network or the Internet. 

Cloud functionality is limited, but the basics are covered. You can back up to cloud storage solutions such as Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive. You can also easily access your QNAP NAS box via the Internet using QNAP's MyCloudNAS Service.

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