It has been a while since we had a look at one of TerraMaster‘s NAS devices, so it’s nice to have another one in the office. Today I’m taking a closer look at the F4-420 (Product Link) which is a 4-bay NAS powered by a quad-core Intel processor. That’s already a great base for anything, and the OS has also evolved since our last review.
TerraMaster’s F4-420 is built with an Intel Celeron J1900 (Bay-Trail) processor. It is a quad-core processor with 2GHz and a 10W TDP. That makes it perfect for NAS usage. With 4 cores, you’re free to multi-task with multiple services without the risk of one thread blocking another. At the same time, the low TDP keeps the temperature low while also offering power efficiency and low running costs. TerraMaster also gave the F4-420 4GB DDR3 memory, which again, allows for a lot of things to run simultaneously. Whether you’re developing your websites on it, running intranet features, an email server, or use it for media streaming, it should handle it all with ease.
The NAS supports the latest hard disk drives on the market, including 12TB and up. With 4 drive bays, that’s easily 48TB of raw storage capacity. The unit also supports 2.5-inch drives and caching through SSD drives. So you have a lot of storage options.
TerraMaster added the connectivity needed, and a little more. There are two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports which support link aggregation for increased throughput and failover. You also get a single USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port. Both USB ports are located on the rear of the unit, so there’s no front access for quick portable-storage connections. While that can be considered a downside, it does give the unit a cleaner look. The USB ports also support the use of wireless USB dongles for more network connectivity.
Let us get back to the physical design for a bit. As such, there isn’t a whole lot of surprises when it comes to the design. The F4-420 looks like all other TerraMaster devices. You get a silver device with a thick aluminium casing. The front and rear panels are plastic, but still look good and blend well with the aluminium. You get front-access to all drives with hot-swap ability of the drive caddies.
The aluminium enclosure helps with the cooling of the device as the material is a great heat conductor. It isn’t enough to keep everything cool, especially since mechanical drives do generate some heat. So the F4-420 has two 80mm fans to draw in air through the bottom vents and between the drive trays. The fan speed can be adjusted in the setup, or you can let the NAS handle it based on the temperature (Smart mode).
Another great-looking feature is the use of the LEDs. There is one for each drive bay, one for each LAN port, and one for the power of the system. They’re all green and shine brightly through the small pinholes made for them. Now, that doesn’t sound like a particular feature as such, and it isn’t. But it looks great!
Both the noise level and the power consumption are important factors for any headless device that’s going to be running 24/7. Both of these are, of course, impacted by your choice of installed drives. The official noise rating is 19.8 dBA which is measure with 1TB 3.5-inch Western Digital RED drives.
During data access, the NAS will consume about 36.6 Watts, but again, it will depend on the drives installed. When the disks enter hibernation mode, the TerraMaster F4’s power consumption will drop to a mear 2 Watts.
TerraMaster’s packaging is simple, a blue box with the logo on all sides. There isn’t a whole lot to say to it as such, but why should there be. It’s just a box that you throw out once you’ve unpacked it.
You do need to know what’s inside and that you’ll find on the attached label. There isn’t a whole lot of information on the label, but the important things are there.
What is important is what’s inside the box. There is, of course, the device itself, but also a great accessory bundle. You get a power supply brick with a cable that fits the region where you purchased it. In my case, there is an EU/DE and a UK cable included.
You also get an RJ45 cable for the network connection. After all, a network attached storage device isn’t much use without a network connection.
TerraMaster’s NAS’ support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, and you get screws for both types. There are more screws than you need, so you can afford to drop or lose a few of them. There’s also a screwdriver included, so while the installation isn’t tool-less, you don’t need anything that isn’t in the box. You also get a couple of extra rubber feet if you break some of the pre-mounted off.
You also get a couple of notes, such as the warranty guide and quick installation instructions. As a bonus, you also get two sheets of stickers which you can attach to the drive trays themselves. With them, there is no need to remember what you put on which drives. Just stick them on, label them, and never forget which drive holds which of your data.
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