TerraMaster F4-424 Pro NAS Product Review

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TerraMaster F4-424 Pro NAS Product Review

Image credit: Mark Pickavance

An all-new TerraMaster F4 series powerhouse

Now that they’ve released the fantastic F4-423, TerraMaster has released three more NAS models in the 424 series. This review has three models: the F2-424, the most affordable, the F4-424 Pro, and the most expensive, the F4-424 Pro, with dual bays.

The F4-424 uses an Intel N300 for eight cores and thread processing, while the lesser machines use Intel N95 CPUs. All three systems are Intel-based. It has the highest amount of DDR5 RAM that this platform supports, 32GB.

The 424 series is a standard issue with two USB 3.2 Gen 2 connections, one HDMI output, and two 2.5GbE LAN ports. The lack of a graphical user interface in TerraMaster makes the HDMI less valuable; instead, it just shows the Linux command line activity.

Except for the more robust platform, it’s comparable to the F4-423; nevertheless, the new design makes it much easier to access the RAM and M.2 NVMe slots. With the F4-424 Pro, you can access the mainboard by simply removing two screws, eliminating the need to disassemble the entire computer.

In terms of the hardware, the only real change between the F4-424 Pro and its sibling, the F4-424, is the superior processor; additionally, the Pro has 32 GB of RAM instead of 8 GB.
The CPU is mainly what you are paying extra for, as there is a $200 price differential, and a 32GB DDR5 SODIMM module is about $100 retail.

The lack of a PCIe slot and a 10GbE upgrade path is the one area where this machine needs to meet expectations, according to TerraMaster. While two 2.5GbE or even two 5GbE ports could be added via the USB ports, a PCIe connector would have been better.

Image credit: Mark Pickavance

While this NAS is generally robust, at $700, one could reasonably wonder if one could get more bang for the buck by purchasing a tiny PC equipped with an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen processor.
Pricing and Availability of the TerraMaster F4-424 PRO

Originally priced at USD 699, the F4-424 Pro is now available in the UK for £629.99 and in Europe for €729.99. Compared to the F4-424, it’s $200 more expensive, while the F2-424 is $320 more expensive still.
At $100 cheaper, the DiskStation DS923+ is the apparent competition from Synology. It has a 1GbE LAN connector, runs on an AMD Ryzen R1600 dual-core processor, and comes with 4 GB of RAM (upgradable to 32 GB). The good news is that a PCIe Gen3 x2 network upgrade slot makes it possible to upgrade to 10GbE.

Even with the additional network capacity provided by the about $110 Synology E10G22-T1-MINI Network Adapter, the DS923+ still has a somewhat weaker CPU and less memory than what comes standard.
The six-bay QNAP TS-673A-8G with two PCIe slots and two 2.5GbE LAN ports is available from QNAP for $899. The 8GB RAM is upgraded to 64GB, and the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1500B 4-core/8-thread 2.2 GHz CPU powers it all.

Three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports and one USB 1.1 port round up the TS-673A’s feature set.
While this fills a need where the unit’s processing capacity is paramount, the F4-424 Pro needs to meet the value its rival NAS offers.

Design

After years of using aluminum and silver plastic, TerraMaster is ditching that aesthetic in favor of a black pattern reminiscent of Synology’s.

The F4-424 Pro’s front is nearly devoid of features, but the four drive bays contribute to its impressively clean lines. The fact that the trays don’t lock is slightly unsettling, and removing a drive from a functioning machine with some strange manipulation is feasible.

Additionally, they are purely plastic and do not have any numerical value. While 2.5-inch drives still require screws for retention, 3.5-inch mechanical drives can be inserted in the trays tool-free.
Activation LEDs may be seen through several small holes beneath the label that reads “F4-424 Pro” on the right side of the face.

Despite having two 2.5GbE LAN connections, an HDMI output, and a 120mm fan to exhaust air from the mounted discs, the front of the device lacks any USB ports.

The specifications for both the USB-C and USB-A ports are USB 3.2 Gen 2. The HDMI output is the most useless of the available connections. Although TerraMaster lacks a graphical user interface, its output functions allow viewing the Linux scripts executed upon boot. Consequently, you can’t use the onboard GPU to send visual signals to an external display.

Unfortunately, a PCIe slot—which we had hoped for with the Pro moniker—is unavailable on this model.

Performance

Image credit: Mark Pickavance

•Fast 2.5GbE connections

• Unrivalled processing power

This NAS performs like a champ thanks to its 32 GB of DDR5 memory and N300 processor. It has more juice than required to power two four-drive RAID arrays, two M.2 NVMe modules, and 2.5GbE LAN ports. The question that follows is, does the N300 need to be there?

The solution is quite complex since it depends only on the NAS’s usage and the software installed on TOS.
The F4-424 Pro is identical to the F4-424 and F4-423 in serving raw files; once it reaches its maximum speed of approximately 280MB/s over a single 2.5GbE LAN port, there’s no going back. To sum up, even when channel-bonded together, these network adapters will be able to handle traffic from an N300 or even an N95.

Since the N300 cores will be idle most of the time, there is little use in purchasing the F4-424 Pro instead of the F4-424 if file serving is the primary purpose.

If the NAS employs M.2 modules for internal processing and runs numerous demanding applications, this logic starts to invert. Docker development is a prime example of this. The internal bandwidth and number of threads available on this device will likely aid localized processing and indexing.

The Bottom Line

For individuals needing a development tool with ample processing power, the F4-424 Pro—possibly the most powerful 4-bay NAS on the market—is an excellent choice. In hindsight, it seems like they forgot to include a PCIe slot, and compared to the plain old F4-424, it’s very pricey.

TerraMaster F4-424 Pro are ON SALE now on Amazon! Grab yours and
enjoy.🚀

As a affiliate I get a small fee from Amazon.

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F4-424 NASNASNetwork Attached StorageTerraMasterTerraMaster F4 series powerhouse
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