The TerraMaster F5-422 5-Bay NAS for Affordable 4K Media, Plex and 10Gbe
Before we discuss the TerraMaster F5-422 NAS, let’s take a moment to talk about the brand in question. With the Home and Business NAS industry being split into three distinct classes, it is very easy to pigeon hole some brands into the wrong category. At the very top bracket, with elite class hardware and service led software that is a cluster of data center, SAN and Brand led, you have companies like HP, NetApp and the like. In the middle, pushing into the top more and more is NAS companies like Synology and QNAP. Then you have alot of other companies fighting in 3rd position – Drobo, Asustor, Thecus, WD MyCloud etc. Whilst this continues in earnest, one brand that is somehow pushing through all of this is Terramaster NAS (TNAS).
I have talked here on NASCompares and on YouTube previously about how this band has managed to evolve into a reliable platform so, so much faster than any of the other brands – with features, factors and functionality available on most of the other platforms, but not all in a single brand (BTRFS, SSD Caching, HDMI, slick easy GUI, affordable, etc). They are by no means perfect (their chassis design still needs a little work and the 1st party apps, though reliable and attractive, are fewer than many), but I have been a fan of Terramaster for several years now. Whilst visiting the popular Computex 2019 show in Taipei I was able to learn about a brand new 5-Bay NAS from TerraMaster, the F5-422, that once again manages to give you a drive that combines everything you guys want at that moment from other brands, but in a single Terramaster NAS Drive. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Why Should You Be Excited About the TerraMaster F5-422 NAS?
There are lots of hardware reasons that you should factor into your NAS purchase and from what I am learning about the Terramaster F5-422 NAS, this device ticks most of those boxes. Arriving with an Intel Quad Core CPU, 8GB of Memory, multiple network connections (we will discuss this more later) and arriving with the Terramaster NAS Operating System (TOS), what you are getting here is a very competent NAS Drive that will likely retail at less than it’s competitors. If you are unfamiliar with the brand of the software, I recommend you check out my software review below. What makes this device so damn appealing to me is that it finds a good line between 3 very, VERY popular factors for first time NAS buyers – Ease of use, Powerful Hardware and Affordability. This will not be the lowest prices Terramaster NAS you are going to come across when it is released, in fact, it is going to comparable to both a Synology and QNAP when released, but the point is that if you compare it against another NAS with the SAME hardware, then it will definitely be the winner!
What are the Hardware Specifications of the TerraMaster F5-422 NAS Drive?
Right, to business! For your PC builder types and those who know the importance of a good hardware platform, I am pleased to say that the Terramaster F5-422 delivers very well. Given that, the F5-422 will need to be on 24×7, as most NAS drives are, they have chosen the Intel J3455 Quad Core CPU (1.5Ghz that can be burst upto 2.3Ghz per core) and 8GB of memory. The CPU is a very popular choice with current NAS brands and performs very well for both home and business, Plex and general 4K Media watching and transcoding. Likewise, that CPU and large 8GB of memory mean that it will support a good platform for business class file hosting, network drive sharing and large scale backups – but more on software later.
The ports on the rear of the F5-422 are definitely worth your attention. Yes, there is the dual controllable fans to maintain the system temperature, the USB ports for connecting compatible accessories and 2 1Gbe LAN RJ45 ports for network connectivity that can also be link aggregated. But it’s the fact this is a 10Gbe (10GBASE-T, so Copper) that really steals the show here. This combined with the impressive software/file system updates to TOS 4 in the last year means that this can now be considered a very attractive NAS drive for photo editors, video editors and content creators in general to editor work directly on, over 10Gbe or with a supported switch. with file sizes getting bigger and bigger, meanwhile network connectivity of 1Gbe starting to be insufficient, it is a tremendously forward-thinking idea to include 10Gbe on their flagship 5-Bay NAS.
What are the Software Specifications of the TerraMaster F5-422 NAS?
Like most NAS device, the Terramaster F5-422 arrives with it’s own operating system and graphical user interface (GUI) that can be accessed via your web browser (via the network or internet) and mobile apps for Android and iOS. The latest version of TOS arrives with support for a number of cool applications, some produced by themselves and some are supported 3rd party applications. In its current version, the software runs very smoothly and is very fluid (somewhere between Synology and QNAP in it’s responsiveness – very close indeed). They have maintained a very simple approach to the options and configurations (hiding alot of the complex stuff in the backend). That said, they have not shy’d away from more techie ideas like Virtual Machines (Java Based), Containers with Docker, Snapshot backups, Remote Replication and Sync, multiple tiers of RAID support concurrently, cluster file architecture for dual system redundancy, 3rd party cloud support, FTP servers and MySQL. Yep, terramaster (that brand people seemingly overlook)and it’s F5-422 can do ALOT of stuff! Just head over to the app centre (as you would find on Synology and QNAP – sorry, another comparison!) and install all these applications for free at the click of a button
The support fo the BTRFS file system is another very cool feature and something taht only Synology (and now Asustor NAS have moved into). The Btrfs file system provides advanced data protection, prevention of data corruption, and minimal maintenance expenses compared with the EXT4 system found in other NAS devices. Use of this file system promotes high data integrity, all the while promoting flexibility and efficiency in the areas of data protection and data recovery. As well as optimised snapshot technology that generates 512 snapshots for every shared folder, and up to 8,192 overall system snapshots in total – that’s ALOT of safety nets! In this way, F5-422 NAS users can benefit from flexible, storage-saving data protection with less of the system impact fo your resources getting eaten up in the background. Since data recovery takes place at the file or folder level, businesses can also benefit from enhanced flexibility and efficient data recovery at a very precise level, without the need to completely restore an entire volume.
When will the TerraMaster F5-422 NAS Be Released and How Much?
Right now we have little or no idea about the eventual release and price of the Terramaster F5-422 NAS. However, Terramaster is not a brand taht sits of their hardware for very long and I think it likely that this device will arrive quite soon. Likewise, the price tag is something we can certainly speculate. The non-10Gbe version of this device that features 4x 1Gbe as an alternative is available for around £550-600. Compare this against the Synology DS1019+ at £660-680 (depending on where you buy) and you can see these two similar devices (with the odd difference of course) are around £100 different, and that is without 10Gbe. Whereas a QNAP comparison is tougher, as you can get 10Gbe NAS, 5-bays and that CPU in a number of their range – but all in different units (the TS-951X, TS-453Be, HS-453DX).