QNAP TS-879 Pro

The TS-879 Pro spans 217.5mm (H) x 327mm (W) x 321.2mm (D) (8.56" x 12.87" x 12.64") and weighs 8.39kg (18.49lbs) empty. With eight hard drives installed, QNAP says the TS-879 Pro generates just 27.4dB when operating and consumes 101 watts.

Opening the TS-879 Pro is easy, which is fortunate for (or maybe because of) those who want to install the optional 10GbE network card. QNAP has gone with a traditional tower case design. A single case lid can be removed to access the internal hardware.

With the lid removed, you'll see an FSP Group FSP350-710UJ 350w power supply and one PCI Express x8 slot for the 10GbE network card. For testing, we installed an Intel Ethernet Server Adapter X520-DA2, which required us to remove the standard bracket as QNAP provides its own custom bracket design to fit the TS-879 Pro.

Moving past the PCIe slot and PSU, we stripped the TS-879 Pro down to its critical components. There are two large blue PCBs in the TS-879 Pro: the motherboard and the hot-swappable SATA module, which has eight ports.

The SATA module also has a Xilinx Spartan XC3S50A chip, as well as four Marvell 88SE9125-NAA2 controllers. The Spartan XC3S50A is a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) designed by Xilinx, who invented the FPGA and remains the biggest name in the industry. The Spartan-3A family is a very low cost, high-performance logic solution for high-volume, cost-conscious applications.

The Marvell 88SE9125-NAA2 controllers each support two SATA 6Gb/s ports which are backwards compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s. They each require a single PCIe x1 interface and offer hardware RAID support.

There is much to see on the primary PCB, which we're calling the motherboard. The most prominent component is its large passive heatsink, designed to cool the Intel Core i3-2120 processor, a 32nm Sandy Bridge chip with two cores and four threads via Hyper-Threading. It operates at 3.3GHz, features a 3MB L3 cache and HD 2000 graphics engine, and it has a TDP rating of 65 watts.

Considering the i3-2120 is in a standard LGA1155 socket, you could theoretically upgrade it, though you'd void your warranty. Opposite the processor are two DDR3 DIMM slots populated with a pair of ADATA SU3U1333B1G9-B (DDR3-1333) 1GB memory modules for a total capacity of 2GB. Again, it's possible to upgrade these modules if you don't care about the TS-879 Pro's warranty.

The motherboard also contains a NEC D720200F1 controller for two USB 3.0 ports. The front panel connector plugs into a USB 3.0 port onboard using an extension lead. Next to the USB 3.0 controller is a small expansion PCB board with one memory module that contains QNAP's software.

There are also two Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers, the WG82579LM and WG82574L. The first is a PHY chip that connects directly to the chipset, while the second is a standalone network controller that uses the PCIe interface.

The I/O panel has two eSATA ports that presumably connect to the chipset, four USB 2.0 ports that also connect to the chipset, and a USB 3.0 port. There are also two Gigabit Ethernet connections along with a VGA and HDMI output. The display outputs are reserved for system maintenance.