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Quick review TerraMaster F2-221: network hard drive with high access speed, reasonable price

TerraMaster F2-221 is a brand of NAS network storage hard drives that specialize in manufacturing data storage devices such as NAS, rack and tower DAS. This is a product that offers a performance and cost-effective price when compared to many other brands on the market. The F2-221 version features a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, a LAN connection that supports two 1 Gbps ports, enabling read / write data above 200 MB / s.

Sturdy design, sure

In terms of design, TerraMaster F2-221 features a rugged metal case with a distinctive silver color. The overall size of the drive is 227 x 119 x 133 mm, the weight excluding the hard drive is 1.47 kg. The hard drive tray design is located on the front and is easy to remove to replace when needed.

Hard drive tray is designed with screws to fix the hard drive instead of using the joints as some other products. Although it takes a little longer to set up, using the screws will help the hard drive be fixed more firmly. You can also use a standard 2.5-inch hard drive besides a traditional 3.5-inch drive. NAS drive hardware can support up to 14 TB per hard drive.

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The design of the Terran Master F2-221 towards certainty, limiting dust leakage when there are no gaps around. The company designed air vents on the bottom to let air out with the fan protruding out at the back. The system's cooling fan has a diameter of 8 cm, featuring a solid protective shell with an outer shell, synchronized with the overall design of the NAS drive.

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F2-221 is equipped with 2 1 Gbps LAN ports, and the form-factor of this NAS drive shows that TerraMaster also has a version that supports up to 4 LAN ports. In addition, the machine also allows connecting external storage devices via USB 3.0 as well as HDMI port to connect the operating system interface screen via HDMI.

Strong configuration

TerraMaster F2-221 features a 2-core Intel Celeron J3355 CPU and 2 GB of RAM that can be expanded to 8 GB (up to 10 GB). With this hardware, NAS drives can decode H.265 video content (HEVC) supporting up to 4K @ 30fps. Dual LAN ports with bandwidth aggregation capability support support for read / write speeds of over 200 MB / s, meeting the needs for 200 SAMBA / AFP / FTP connections at the same time.

Configuration table:

  • CPU: Intel Celeron J3355, dual core 2.0 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB, expandable to 10 GB.
  • Ports: 2x LAN 1 Gbps, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI
  • Power consumption: 2.0W – 25.6W
  • Noise level estimated: 18.6 dB (A)
  • Hard drive: 2x 3.5 inch, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, up to 28 TB (2 combined drives)
  • Format the internal hard drive: Ext4, Btrfs
  • Format external hard drive (USB): Ext3, Ext4, NTFS, FAT32, HFS +

TOS 4.1.x operating system

TerraMaster F2-221 currently runs TOS 4.1.x operating system with console via web browser. In essence, TOS also owns a desktop interface that makes it easy to use like the operating system for PCs. TOS supports the Btrfs file system, which provides more security and reliability for data stored next to the Ext4 file. External hard drives support popular formats including NTFS, HFS + (macOS) but unfortunately, ExFAT is not supported.

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Setting up the use of TerraMaster F2-221 is very easy thanks to the TNAS PC application that helps search hard drives in the local network. From there the application will easily put users into the console of the operating system. While those who are familiar with the network can easily detect IP in the local network, do not need this application.

The TOS webUI interface has a function bar at the top, close to the address bar of the web browser. The desktop interface makes it easy to place frequently used applications on, convenient for quick access. With a strong configuration, the operation on the TOS is smooth, fast response level when accessing the interface of the application.

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NAS is now like a computer, but it is geared towards specialized tasks. TOS 4.1 operating system targets applications for the enterprise market: Mail server, Web server, MySQL, Docker … For home users, TOS also supports DLNA protocol, multimedia applications such as Plex Media Server. For data management, TOS also supports application syncing with online clouds like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

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Some quick experience of applications on TOS 4.1.x:

  • File Manager: a file manager application that supports drag / drop files and folders with a fast response level. The shared home directories easily assign permissions to different users or groups of users. In addition, the software also supports compressing files in ZIP format, suitable for wrapping data into a file to help the transmission to devices used more quickly.
  • Multimedia Server: this application helps to decode multimedia files, including lossless formats (FLAC / APE, ALAC / AAC, OGG, AIFF) or transmits 4K video to streaming devices via DLNA protocol in the intranet. For Smart TVs or entertainment applications, the multimedia content inside the NAS drive is easily accessible. You can customize a certain Shared Folder to use multimedia content transfer. However, they have not yet released entertainment applications via DLNA. You can use the entertainment applications of each phone company or specialized software to access the multimedia content store through mobile.
  • Cloud Sync: the application helps synchronize files from the cloud storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive. In addition, TOS also provides applications dedicated to these hosting services.
  • Transmission: file management application downloaded from the internet. If you're at work and want to enjoy high-quality movies when you get home at night, you can install the download before you leave home, or remotely control it via DDNS.
  • Backup: the application supports a variety of data backup methods, including backup via another TerraMaster NAS, backup via USB storage device, rsync protocol. Besides, Time Machine feature of macOS is also activated quickly without having to perform complex operations.

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TerraMaster also provides a mobile data management application called TNAS mobile that helps access NAS drives remotely. To enable this feature, select the Remote Access application to initially set up to open the door for hard drives that are accessible from the outside.

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In general, the TNAS mobile interface has a file management feature similar to the file managers on smartphones. The feature to transfer data between the phone and the NAS is run in the background in the Task List, so that users can still perform content browsing while cutting / copying data. In addition, TNAS mobile also allows users to customize a few parameters of the NAS remotely, including monitoring the status and temperature of the CPU, the overall temperature of the NAS.

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Thanks to a strong configuration compared to competitors in the segment, TerraMaster F2-221 easily gives data read / write speeds of 80 – 100 MB / s when using a single-port 1 Gbps LAN with WD Red hard drive running the configuration. RAID 0 image. Transfer speeds over Wi-Fi will depend a lot and your Access Point or Wi-Fi router. For optimal Wi-Fi throughput, the router needs to use ac 1.3 Gbps or higher standard (AC1750 or higher).

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When there are two LAN connections, users can set up features such as Self-adapting Load Balance, Link Aggregation, Balance XOR, Active / Standby to speed up hard drive access, better meet demand. for systems with multiple users, or support redundancy when necessary. I do not have the opportunity to test this feature because it requires a switch to be able to optimize the performance of the system.

Basically, the performance of NAS depends heavily on the local network connection as well as the services connected to the cloud like Dropbox, Google Drive. While the data transmission in the WLAN will depend on the connection of the Wi-Fi Router or Access Point to the device used.

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Compared to other products in the same segment, F2-221 lacks applications related to remote camera recording and retrieval. In fact, other NAS hard drives only support one to two cameras because they will still charge a fee when more cameras come in. The TOS app store allows the installation of additional external applications, so what will TerraMaster support in the future?

Overall, the TerraMaster F2-221 has good performance and price compared to the configuration that it represents. F2-221 has a price excluding hard drives of about 6.99 million. If you need a high-speed network hard drive, plenty of business applications, and the use of existing entertainment applications, this is a good choice.

Thanks to Taknet Systems Vietnam, genuine TerraMaster distributor in Vietnam, for lending me this product.

trungdt@tinhte.vn (Trung Dt)

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