As for the server's support for IP cameras, we tried it with a LevelOne WCS-2030 wireless IP camera and weren't able to set up the camera with the surveillance feature. The setup process felt like the feature was still in beta and gave incomprehensible error messages, such as "-1." After about an hour of trying we gave up. This is rather disappointing as we were able to try out this feature with the TS-259, and it worked well. We also had a completely different experience with Synology's NAS servers, on which Synology's Surveillance Station worked flawlessly and was very easy to set up. Synology and QNAP are currently two NAS vendors that offer comprehensive surveillance features in their products. Judging from the TS-412, Synology is currently way ahead of QNAP in the field.
All this made the server's operating system seem buggy at times, and hopefully this will be fixed via an update. Other standard features of the QNAP worked well, however, and we liked the way user account and network share folders are managed.
For example, if you want to add more users, you can use the "Create User" wizard to walk you through various steps for creating a username and password and assigning privileges to different folders of the internal storage. There are similar wizards for other functions and features of the server.
Like most advanced NAS servers, the QNAP has built-in support for Apple's Time Machine, meaning Mac computers running run OS X 10.5 or later can use the server's storage for backup the way they would an external hard drive. As a storage server the TS-412 can be easily be accessed on a local network, just as you would access any other workstation. You can browse for shares on a Windows computer using a network browser, such as Windows Explorer, while a Mac OS X computer in the network will find the TS-412 automatically and add it to the storage device list in the Finder.
The TS-412 also supports Active Directory, which enables it to join a Windows Server domain and serve as a storage extension of the domain controller.
While the QNAP TS-412 Turbo NAS was very fast in our testing, it could still be better, especially when compared with the Synology DiskStation DS410.
We tested the device in both RAID 5 and RAID 0 configurations. In RAID 5, which is the most popular RAID, designed to balance performance and storage space while protecting the data against single-drive failure, the server scored 26.2MBps and 59.6MB for writing and reading, respectively. For comparison, the DiskStation DS410 scored 43.4MBps and 105.4MBps for writing and reading respectively, noticeably faster.
In RAID 0, which is optimized for performance at the expensive of data safety, the TS-412 did better with 42.7MBps for writing and 80.8MBps for reading. Still, that's quite far behind the DS410's 53.7MBps and 108.4MBps.
Nonetheless, the QNAP is fast enough for most heavy data sharing, backing up, and media streaming, and remains cool. In our testing, we found the server also remains quiet even during heavy operations, despite the large ventilation fan on the back.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
QNAP backs the TS-412 Turbo NAS with a one-year warranty, which is short, albeit standard for most NAS servers. The company's technical support by phone is available from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday. At its Web site, there are also downloads of new firmware and applications as well as a forum where you can find help from other users or search for existing solutions.
We loved the QNAP TS-412 Turbo NAS' hardware design but were let down by its rather buggy operating system and lower-than-expected throughput performance. In its current state, however, it can still easily make a very good advanced NAS server for a home or a small business.