Hardware Specifications and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS, you need to look at the extra I/O hardware and the mountain of potential software features.
At the heart of the TS-421 is a 2GHz Marvell processor optimized for low power and fed by 1GB of DDR3 DRAM. The DRAM is soldered to the motherboard, so you can't add more DRAM to the system. This reduces the overall cost of the TS-421. Nearly every other feature beyond the CPU and fixed DRAM is carried over from QNAP's higher priced products.
There are four hot swap drive bays keyed for either 3.5" or 2.5" form factor drives. Two external eSATA ports on the back of the NAS increase overall data capacity, beyond the 16TB available by internal storage. Three USB ports on the back of the NAS (two USB 3.0) further increase connectivity. The single USB 2.0 port on the front of the NAS has a unique data one touch copy button, making USB storage backup to the NAS very easy.
Two gigabyte Ethernet ports allow the NAS to connect to your network and from there your computers, TVs, Wi-Fi devices like smartphones and so on. If you happen to have an enterprise switch, you can run the NAS in 802.3ad mode to increase bandwidth to the client systems.
QNAP has a few other options that don't require an enterprise switch that can either increase bandwidth or add redundancy to the network. Another option is if you have two separate networks, the NAS can connect to both without issue.
QNAP released another product at the same time as the TS-421. The QNAP TS-420 uses a slower processor, has half of the DRAM and doesn't ship with the LED screen. The TS-420 costs roughly $70 less at Newegg.
The TS-421 that we're looking at today currently costs $499 at Newegg, but we managed to find it for $480 through Google shopping results. Moving up through the current QNAP product line, the TS-469L is the SMB model with an Intel Atom 2.13GHz processor and 1GB of DRAM.
Included with the NAS is an Ethernet cable, paper quick installation guide, power cord, power brick and screws for mounting drives in the NAS. You also get access to QNAP's resources page that added functionality to the NAS. Let's take a look at the software package and add-ons for the new QTS 4.0 firmware.