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Thread: Qnap TR-004

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    Qnap TR-004

    Introduction

    DAS devices or drives are great for back-up purposes or super-fast storage. Contrary to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device available for an entire network since it is connected to a switch, a Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) device is directly connected to a PC, usually through a cable (USB or Thunderbolt). Although a DAS offers less flexibility than a NAS, it is easier to use because it is immediately recognized by your system as an external drive and costs less because it doesn't have the capabilities of a NAS. QNAP has a new 4-bay Direct Attached Storage (DAS) box they are calling the TR-004. Unveiled back in 2018, the QNAP TR-004 is finally available for purchase. This uses USB 3.1 Gen.1 and supports up to four 3.5-inch SATA drives inside. As the name suggests, a DAS box allows users to directly connect external drives to the PC. In this case, it also offers flexible RAID options that are simple to setup. Much simpler than NAS since users can just flip the dip switches to their preferred RAID settings. Users have the option of running it in Individual Mode, JBOD mode, RAID 0, RAID 1/10, RAID 5 and Software Ctrl Mode. This solution is quite flexible and can also be used to expand NAS storage further. Although the QNAP TR-004 does not support the following: the TS-128, TS-228, TS-131, TS-231, TS-431, TS-431U, and NAS models that cannot be updated to QTS 4.3.6 (or later).



    Specifications.




    Packaging & Contents

    The QNAP TR-004 comes in a compact box with an sticker on the top the unit. Under the image there are a couple of lines of text describing some of the features of the QNAP TR-004. Under the text sits a row of icons displaying yet more of the unit's features while under the icons there are a couple of lines stating the dimensions and weight of the RAID expansion enclosure and what's in the box bundle.



    The rear of the box has Qnap icons and logo.



    Both sides of the box has has a group of transportation icons in the top left hand corner with a SSD/HDD compatibility panel on the bottom.



    You will also find its UPC code, EAN code and serial but there is not much beyond that.



    A welcome message will greet you once you open the top flap of the box. QNAP always tries to be as friendly and appreciative as possible towards its customers. There are multiple resources available to get you up and running in no time. Most of the helpful resources are listed on the internal flap of the shipping box.



    Inside, the unit is well-protected by two large foam spacers. It is also inside a plastic bag for some additional protection.



    The box bundle has everything you need to get started with the QNAP TR-004: a USB Type C to Type A connecting cable, quick start guide, enough screws to fit either 3.5in or 2.5in drives, a power supply and its cable and a key set to lock the racks. The USB cable clip keeps the cable close to the case at the back.




    A Closer Look-Outside

    The TR-004 looks a lot like a NAS. We've already seen this type of plastic chassis used for other QNAP NAS devices.



    This RAID expansion enclosure looks modern due to its black finish and black piano-colored plastic piece on front, which hosts the status LEDs, fast copy and ejection buttons.



    The system status LED will turn off when the hard disks are on standby. Each independent hard drive has its own status LED as well.QNAP TR-004 storage system include lockable hard drive trays to prevent accidental drive removal.



    If we looked at the right side of the QNAP TR-004, we find additional ventilation to keep airflow within the device constant.



    A sticker on top shows the individual configurations that will help you set up the correct RAID setup for you.



    At the back, there is a 120mm fan and a kensington security slot. On the right , we have the SET button to validate the selected RAID configuration, DIP switches to choose your configuration, the USB 3.0 Type-C port, the on / off button as well as the power input. The TR-004A is equipped with a DIP switch on the back panel, which changes the disk configuration of the device.



    You can configure RAID settings manually using the Mode switch on the rear panel of the RAID enclosure bymoving the switches to the corresponding positions as illustrated below.



    On the bottom are four rubber feet and a sticker with the RAID expansion enclosure's power specifications. At the base of the device, we find further ventilation for the hard drive or SSD media.




    Installation Process

    The QNAP TR-004 supports up to four 3.5-inch SATA hard drives as well as 2.5-inch SSDs. The drive trays are removed by pulling up on the locking handle and sliding them out.



    A new feature that we see here over the QNAP TR-004 is the inclusion of drive locks to prevented unauthorised removal of individual drive trays.



    They sport a screwless design with a body made entirely of plastic.



    The TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure supports JBOD, individual, and RAID 0 / 1 / 5 / 10 storage setups.




    A Closer Look-Inside

    Three screws hold the outside shell in place, removing these screws allows the side case removal to access the inside.



    Looking inside the drive bays, we can see the four pairs of rails that the trays run in and at the back, the PCB with all the SATA headers on. Looking further, we can just get a glimpse of the fan that keep the system cool.



    The main PCB doesn?t feature a lot. The PCB features power stabilisers and two USB to SATA bridge controllers. The two ASmedia bridge controllers can control up to 2 drives each, and that?s why we need two of them. The SATA card hosts a couple of voltage-regulation modules.



    Fan and LEDs are all connected to this part of PCB.



    As per usual for QNAP, the primary fan is by YS. Tech, and its model number is FD121225LB (120 mm, 12 V, 0.18 A, 1800 RPM, 73 CFM, 34 dBA, 80,000 h MTBF). It uses ball bearings and will, as such, last fairly long.




    Initialization

    Configuring QNAP TR-004 via software is very simple, after downloading the free application. The operation must take place after mounting the disks and taking care to move the switches to the "software controlled" position.



    At this point it will be sufficient to open QNAP External RAID Manager, and turn on the unit with the switch.The software immediately detects the device, providing a user interface similar to those of the NAS. It can be seen how the four disks inserted are correctly detected, which will then be configured by the user as desired.



    We recommend having hard disks completely formatted , otherwise, we will see as many hard disks as partitions have these. In this regard, the QNAP TR-004 will behave exactly like an external hard drive, and we can format the hard drives directly from the Windows disk manager.



    Once done, it tells us to go to the disk manager to format the hard drives. Very important is the fact that we initialize them as a GPT partition , if we have a storage capacity greater than 2 TB, since in MBR format we will be limited to that space.



    With QNAP External RAID Manager we can create a RAID in the units that we have installed, we just have to select the level that we want, the hard disks involved and click on " create ".



    In this software we will also have a section to update the DAS firmware and a Log of actions.




    Test System & Methology

    I now begin the benchmark portion of this article, but first let me show you my test system:

    For the single-client tests, we used a Dell XPS 13 9360 equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.




    Using four Samsung 850 EVO 1TB NAS Internal SSD Drives at RaidO mode for testing the DAS via Qnap's TS-932X-2G.




    Performance

    Using CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 x64 we were able to hit 395.3 MB/s Read and 436.6 MB/s Write. We are hitting close to 440 MB/s Write in RAID 0 mode, so we are happy with that.



    We fired up the ATTO disk benchmark utility and found that we were topping out at 453 MB/s Read and 453 MB/s Write, so it looks like our two Samsung SSD 850 EVO drives in RAID 0 do really well in this system on the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type-C interface.

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    In Windows 10 we copy/pasted four MKV movie files that totaled 11.0GB in size from our Dell XPS 13 9360 laptop to the DAS. We found that we were getting 332 MB/s writing to the attached RAID 0 array and then we were getting up to 392 MB/s when pulling items from the QNAP TR-004 DAS. These are solid performance results that we are more than happy with!




    Power Consumption-Noise Level-Temperature

    QNAP says that the TR-004 is energy efficient and we were getting 12.7W of power draw at idle and up to 19.3W when both drives were being used. If you use more drives the power draw will go up as we were getting over 26 Watts at idle with five 2TB drives in the system when we were playing around with it.



    The fan doesn't spin much at lower loads, meaning the DAS is very quiet. At full load, the fan spins much higher, and noise levels hit 44dBa.The hard drives were also very quiet and could be heard rustling away under load if you listened very, very carefully.



    During my test period all hard drives were held at 32c-Idle (room environment was 24c).




    Conclusion

    QNAP envisions the TR-004 in a variety of setups, including as a NAS expansion enclosure or as direct attached storage for a NAS, desktop workstation or laptop. As a direct attached storage solution for NAS or PC, the TR-004 can be used to back up data or move large data collections between devices. The TR-004 can also be used to move files between various devices and file systems as a cross-platform file sharing solution. The system is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux computers. This flexibility extends to the available RAID configurations. These include Individual mode, JBOB, RAID 0, RAID 1/10 and RAID 5. The TR-004 even supports the partitioning of drives for multiple RAID configurations. The enclosure?s Software Crtl mode allows RAID configuration to be controlled through a QNAP NAS or a computer with the QNAP External RAID Manager utility. This utility can also be used to monitor the health and status of the enclosure and installed drives. The QNAP TR-004 is a simple way to add drives to a system for those that want a reliable, stable and quiet device that is offline. We has no issues streaming videos and had fast data transfer speeds between this device and our Dell XPS 13 9360 laptop. Other major advantages aside from its high performance are the low noise output, simple installation, and straightforward operation. If you are looking for a media server or mass storage server that is directly connected look no further! The build quality of the device was found to be fine and we liked the quiet fan on the back of the unit that keeps hard drives nice and cool. The low power consumption is also a big plus, especially if you plan on using the TR-004 for longer sessions on a regular basis. There is no RAID migration like the NAS units at this time but once QNAP polishes its software/firmware for this device and addresses this limitation, this unit will be even more powerful than it already is..



    The QNAP TR-004 4-Bay Direct Attached Storage (DAS) device is a diskless model that is priced at $199 shipped and backed by a 2-year warranty. If you?ve got a bunch of spare hard drives kicking around, or external hard drives with busted enclosures just gathering dust, this may very well be the solution for you to utilize storage that you already own. Would I recommend it to others? Yes... if you need a flexible large volume storage solution for your media, backups, or NAS duties. If you are looking for a DAS solution with a USB Type-C connection that makes mass storage with RAID easy this might be it! What caught my attention was that it could be configured by either software or hardware switches making it portable to either use on a computer or NAS unit as well as being directly supported by the QTS software for storage expansion. It works well, is easy to setup and offers quick data transfers with speeds of up to 453 MB/s according to our own independent benchmark tests. There?s no doubt that the QNAP TR-004 is an outstanding device, and its unique RAID configuration does not limit its appeal.

    Last edited by testman78; 09-10-2019 at 06:45 AM.

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