QNAP TS-879 Pro Review: Massive NAS Box Offers Terrific Capacity and Performance, for a Price
At a Glance
If your shared data or storage needs are greater than a four-bay box will handle, the eight-bay QNAP TS-879 Pro is just what the doctor ordered. With 2GB of memory and an Intel Core i3-2120 CPU, it's fast and then some. It also sports dual gigabit ethernet ports for failover protection and aggregation, plus QNAP's feature-rich operating system. But it's expensive: $2199 (as of March 23, 2012) without drives, and $2920 with 6TB of hard drives.
The TS-879 Pro is built like a tank, with eight front-mounted bays. In our roundup of 11 NAS boxes, only it and its cousin, the QNAP TS-459 Pro II, support 6GB/s SATA as well as drives with capacities greater than 2.2TB. The front of the unit contains a status display and a rocker selection/enter button for configuring the RAID array on the first run. Also on the front are a USB 3.0 port and a quick-copy button for transferring data onto the box from attached drives.
The back of the TS-879 Pro houses the ethernet ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a second USB 3.0 port, two eSATA ports, and three relatively unusual port types: a VGA connector for proprietary diagnostics, an HDMI port that lets you attach a monitor to display the output from video surveillance cameras, and an opening for the box's expansion slot that supports gigabit and 10 gigabit ethernet cards.
Though it finished third out of 11 NAS boxes on the task of writing a 10GB mix of files and folders (its speed was 54.2 megabytes per second), the TS-879 Pro was in other respects the fastest box we tested. It read the same mixed group of files and folders at a whopping 71.3 MBps, and it read our single large 10GB file at 111.6 MBps. Most impressively of all, it wrote that large file at 111.3 MBps. If you need to back up a lot of PCs in a hurry, this box can do it.
QNAP packs a lot of features into its very usable operating system--far too many to list here (QNAP has posted an online demo of the options)--but a short list includes DLNA-certified and iTunes media serving, Web serving, a wide array of remote-access protocols, and the ability to function as an LDAP or VPN server. QNAP already supported populating its user lists with LDAP. As on all QNAP boxes, the video surveillance access is strictly browser-based without the HDMI port provided by the TS-879 Pro for direct viewing.
At $2920 with its full complement of drives in place, the TS-879 Pro is clearly not intended for the average small-office or home-office user; small- and medium-size businesses, however, should take note. If you need the amount of storage that eight bays provide, along with top performance and advanced features, there's no better multibay NAS box to be had.