Building an Array
The plastic front neatly opens to the TS-409 and the large thumbscrews make the hard drive trays easy to remove. In this day and age it's only natural that SATA hard drives are solely accepted, but there are no cables to worry about - the drive and trays slide straight in and connect right up.
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In the front there are several LEDs to show which hard drives are currently installed and working, as well as network, status and USB activity. There's also an auto-copy button for the USB that can be assigned specific directories or functions through the web interface.
In the back there's a single Gigabit Ethernet socket, two USB 2.0 ports, the power connector and a Kensington lock socket to make sure it doesn't go walkies. The 500MHz Marvell ARM CPU should be ample, and the 256MB of DDRII memory seems pretty beefy but both are non-upgradable unfortunately.
The internal 80mm is officially rated at a noisy 36.4 dB in standby and then turns up a notch to 40.6 dB when the NAS is in use - that's far
too loud for home users, however in a busy office or stashed in a server room you'll probably never notice it. The thing is, we feel these numbers are completely overzealous, because by our ears while the unit was in standby and the fan was hardly intrusive to the office and when being used the Seagate 7200.11 1TB hard drives were evidently louder - and these drives are normally considered "quiet". In fact, we'd argue that of all things QNAP needs to insulate the hard drives in the TS-409 Pro because the whole thing vibrates and over everything we could clearly hear four drives going "BRRRRRRRRR" when it was in use. The TS-409 has rubber feet to isolate it from the desk or other hard surfaces, but some basic sound deadening in the interior and rubber gromits inside between the hard drive and trays will certainly help minimise the vibration.
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Aesthetics are always a subjective feature but we think it looks pretty neat. It's not Drobo
level of sheer sheek and cool, it is
a bit plasticy and the black front could certainly do with matching the grey aluminium shell, but it's certainly subtle and unoffensive to the eye, unlike a lot of the Thecus products