Final Words & Conclusion
TerraMaster provides reasonable value for money with this product. This five-bay network-attached storage (NAS) drive comes with a slew of business-friendly features, including a fast 10GbE LAN interface, link aggregation, and a variety of RAID configuration options. The NAS is equipped with a sturdy SoC, 4GB of RAM, and that additional 10 Gbit/sec port. As a result, it is future-proof. The hardware of a NAS device is no longer the most crucial aspect to consider these days. The operating system's ability to work together continues to be the secret sauce of it all, and TOS (the NAS operating software) has definitely improved over prior generations we've examined, according to our findings.
SSDs or HDDs?
I feel HDDs are passing out slowly in the consumer space. Prices for solid-state drives (SSDs) are dropping all the time, and are already at 10 to 15 cents per gigabyte (GB). Personally, if you do not need large storage capacities, I would strongly recommend solid-state drives (SSDs), not only for their durability and the elimination of mechanical moving parts, but also because these devices consume less power, allowing you to conserve energy. It would be beneficial if you considered the fact that a NAS is almost certainly on all of the time. QLC NAND-based SSDs are an excellent choice for a NAS since storage frequently is cold data, which means it will remain there for a lengthy period of time without overwriting valuable NAND cell cycles. If you purchase the unit, hard disks are not included, but you may utilize 2.5- and 3.5-inch drives with capacities of up to 18TB to combine with the available bays to generate nearly 90TB of hot-swappable storage in total by filling the available slots. The F5-422 supports a range of file systems, including Btrfs and EXT4, as well as a number of RAID levels, including RAID 0 (no RAID), RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10, as well as JBOD and Single storage configurations.
The fact that this unit does not support NVMe SSDs is a disappointment, as these are less expensive to purchase in larger volume quantities than SATA3 storage units.
The TerraMaster F5-422 ($599.99) is a network-attached storage (NAS) device with five storage bays that is intended for small to medium-sized businesses. Besides supporting 4K video transcoding, it also includes a multi-gigabit LAN connector for high-speed networking connectivity. The NAS performed admirably in our tests but has a limited app library compared to say what Asustor is offering with a larger app library. At the time of writing, this NAS unit is released at give or take $549 for this model with quad-core proc, 4GB, and 10 Gbps jacks. It is a really fair amount of money to spend for a consumer, for SOHO/business, usage rather affordable. You do, of course, need to factor in the extra costs for HDD/SSDs. If you want to make your LAN infrastructure compatible with multi-GigE, you will need to invest in a compatible 2.5/5/10 Gbps switch. Long-term, though, that's an investment that will last you many many many years. Client wise; if not all .. most high-end motherboards already have some form of an Intel/Marvell/Aquantia 2.5, 5, or 10 Gbps Ethernet jack, saving the additional cost on the client-side of things a 10 Gbps Ethernet NIC.
In a single SSD/HDD setup, the NAS in its entirety consumes roughly 12~17 Watts, which is okay for any NAS unit these days. We did hope for a sub-10 Watt consumption in idle., but it's slightly higher. Add to that extra SSDs or HDDs, and you will get a pretty clear idea of power consumption. If your HDDs are not used for, say, 30 minutes (or your own configured sleep time), they'll go into sleep mode and thus do not use any superfluous power. This is disabled by default, please do enable it as especially with HDDs, that will save you lots of energy in idle time. If I do some really rough math here, let's say we consume 15 watts averaged out based on two HDDs/SSDs. ((0.015 Watt x 24 hrs) x 365 days) x 0.21 KWh/Eur = 26 Euros cost per year.
Close, but no cigar. See, this unit ticks most right boxes, and that 10 GigE is really what this NAS is all about. Unfortunately, you'll achieve just over 5 Gbps of throughput, 675 MB/sec is the top read/write performance. Now certainly that's not slow at all, but it is half the throughput. Likely it is SoC related or lacking PCIe Lanes for the NICs.
Despite that fact; the TerraMaster F5-422 5-Bay 10GbE is a NAS that leaves us with overall positive feelings. You get quite a lot for the money. The software suite perhaps remains a little on the shy side. A bit of a miss is support for an NVMe SSD unit(s), at 10 GigE we really would like something faster inside the NAS other than slow HDDs and SATA3 SSDs. Times are shifting, and NVMe is the future (and is getting cheaper as well). The F5-422 offers SSD caching, albeit at the expense of a drive bay, which will reduce storage capacity.
When we wrote this evaluation, the TerraMaster F5-422 was available for $569, which was roughly $100 less expensive than the other solutions we studied. In terms of the cost of entry into the 5-Bay 10GbE market, TerraMaster is offering extremely competitive pricing. Its capabilities are sufficient to suit a wide range of requirements. We like the fact that we can add another 4 GB of RAM (up to 8GB). Overall the performance was good, my choice in SATA3 SSDs was a bit poor, and that showed in the write results, however, the throughput on reads are close to 675 MB/sec. All things considered, the TerraMaster F5-422 NAS offers good value for the money. If you are seeking to purchase your first NAS, but want to make sure that you receive the most features for the least amount of money, you would be hard-pressed to find a better option than the TerraMaster F5-422 at this time. Having said that, there is no disputing that some cost-cutting measures have been implemented, as seen by the HDMI status-only connector, the lack of a USB Copy Button on the device, and soldered RAM. Next to that, you need to forfeit a slot for SSD caching and the unit lacks NVMe support. All trivial at best though. With hardware at this price point that still offers 10GigE the TerraMaster F5-422 serves as an excellent midpoint for users looking to take their first steps into the world of network-attached storage while also maintaining higher speeds going forward. In addition to supporting hardware encryption for stored files and 4K video transcoding for media files, the CPU also has other features that are beneficial to both professionals and home users. RAID remains a great feature, especially when combined with an extra hot-spare spare drive that can be configured with a 5-bay NAS. With its snapshot technology, the Btrfs file system comes in handy in situations you need quickly recovering, as well. Another thing to note is that TerraMaster is constantly improving the operating system, as evidenced by the recent release of yet another significant update. While the NAS cannot fill that 10 GigE throughput it still is among the fastest units we have tested to date priced very reasonably. Recommended for sure.