The growing cost of electricity and how much you need to factor this into your budget is quite a valid concern. Due to any one of about a hundred different global factors (local conflict, slow renewable energy uptake, monopolizing energy companies with powerful lobbying – take your pick!) most of us in 2022/2023 have seen increases in energy costs. In this energy-aware climate, it can be appreciated that a NAS drive (a 24×7 appliance) seemingly has its cost to the end user in terms of electricity as something of a vague number. With so many kinds of NAS available in the market, featuring a mix of CPUs, PSUs, Bays and utilities, PLUS the wide range of HDD/SSD drives in the market to choose from – there are just so many variables when trying to work out how much power your NAS drive is using and how much that is translating to in your monthly energy bill! So, today’s article is about working out how much electricity the new 2022/2023 generation QNAP TS-453E NAS and four (current maximum capacity in the NAS HDD world) WD Red Plus 4TB HDDs will consume, as well as how much that equals to you in £, $ or € per day, month and year! Let’s begin.
The QNAP TS-453E NAS
Current Price/Availability on Amazon –$699+
The WD Red Plus 4TB HDD (x4)
Current Price/Availability on Amazon –$79
Intel J6412 CPU, 4-Core 2.0-2.6Ghz Celeron CPU
8GB 3200Mhz non-ECC Memory, 2.5GbE
4 Terabyte Capacity – SATA 3.5″ Form Factor
5400RPM – 64MB Cache – 4x 1TB Platters
Choosing the appropriate NAS drive for these tests was always going to be tough. I DO intend on repeating these tests with several different NAS drives after this in some follow-up articles (the larger article that I will be adding to can be found HERE), but wanted this test to be focused on one of the newest releases for home users by QNAP (and the TS-453E is their latest prosumer devices and already quite popular). This NAS has been paired with the WD Red Plus 4TB HDD, by far (even in 2022) the most popular storage tier/scale in the HDD lineup. The aim here is to identify the difference between using newer gen CPUs and Larger drives vs using older-generation devices and smaller-capacity media. This will involve 2x tests on each NAS+Media configuration. Here is a breakdown of the hardware configurations and test architectures:
The initial 24 hours (used for system initialization and RAID configuration) were NOT included in the power usage monitoring, as although they appear on the graph they are one-off single-event scenarios. Each test (Active vs Idle) was conducted for 24hrs and the overall electricity usage was displayed in kw (kilowatt). But what is the difference between Active and Idle activity? Why does it matter?
Although a NAS is designed to be in operation 24×7 and is consuming electricity when running, the actual reality of this and the extent to which it is consuming it is actually alot more nuanced. Most home users who have a NAS system will use the NAS directly for a significant;y smaller portion of time per day than it is actually powered on for. Perhaps to stream a movie or a couple of TV episodes, run a daily backup, have a couple of cameras in/outside their home that are sending recordings (or more likely just alerts and associated captures) to the NAS and that is about it. They will periodically do more than these, maybe a VM, more sophisticated backup or use some of the other services ad hoc, but the result is that in most domestic/bog standard home scenarios, a NAS will be switched internally to Idle/Standby after no pro-active use quite quickly and spend 80-90% of the time in low power modes. Business users might well be using the system 24×7 for sync’d tasks and on-going camera recording, but even then, this will be a lower % of system resources in use. So, in order to find a comparable and relative means to study the electricity use of a NAS and it’s cost, I have conducted two tests per NAS+HDD configuration. The first, a 24 Hour Active test, with the system using a decent % of it’s CPU+Memory, a swell as the HDDs not being given the chance to switch to Idle/Standy (by constantly writing AND performing S.M.A.R.T tests hourly). The idle tests involve all of those apps, services and scheduled operations being cancelled and the network cable being disconnected from the NAS (for another 24hrs). From here we can work out the cost of an hour of power usage by either setup in high activity and near-zero activity. But how can we work out the COST of the electricity used by the NAS in that time period?
The results of the energy usage are then cross-referenced by ‘sust-it.net’ and calculations of the cost of the used electricity per day, month and year was calculated for the UK, U.S, Germany, Australia and Canada. Now, using a select energy tariff is much harder, as there are quite literally thousands of different energy providers globally, each with their own pricing on the cost of energy per ‘kWh’. So, I used the national average calculations that were provided by ‘sust-it’ for each of those areas. Some are clearly more up-to-date than others (i.e the United Kingdom Avg Energy cost tariff is dated October 2022, whereas the Canada’s average energy cost is from way back in March 2020), however, these will still provide a good basis for understanding what a NAS drive is going to cost you in electricity when it is in operation. The national tariff averages used in this article for each region are as follows:
UK: Energy Price (October 2022) electricity rate of 34.00 pence per kWh.
USA: Average (Feb 2022) electricity rate of 14.80 cents per kWh.
Germany: Average (June 2021) electricity rate of 31.93 Eurocents per kWh.
Australia: Average (March 2022) electricity rate of 23.59 cents per kWh.
Canada: Average (2020) electricity rate of 8.50 cents per kWh.
Source – https://www.sust-it.net
There are the rates that we will be using to calculate the running costs of the QNAP NAS system (and more importantly its WD Drive setup and CPU usage).Click to view slideshow.
I set the QNAP TS-453E NAS and WD Red 4TB Hard drives up in the following configuration for the Active tests:
Let’s see how those results translated into your potential energy bills.
QNAP TS-453E NAS and WD Red Plus 4TB HDD Test Results:
0.03125kW use per Hour in full access/use and 0.0204166kW use per Hour in idle/standby:
|1hr Active Use (KW)||UK Power Use £||U.S Power Use $||Germany Power Use €||Australia AU$||Canada CA$|
|1hr Idle Use (KW)||UK Power Use £||U.S Power Use $||Germany Power Use €||Australia AU$||Canada CA$|
Here are the results for 24 HOURS OF ACTIVITY (no standby time or drive hibernation)
|24hr Active Use (KW)||UK Power Use £||U.S Power Use $||Germany Power Use €||Australia AU$||Canada CA$|
|Cost Per Day||£0.25||0.1104||0.24||0.1776||0.0648|
|Cost per Month||7.738||3.358||7.3||5.402||1.971|
|Cost Per Year||92.856||40.296||87.6||64.824||23.652|
Here are the results for 24 HOURS OF IDLE/STANDBY with no system use and ethernet/network connection disconnected
|24hr Idle Use (KW)||UK Power Use £||U.S Power Use $||Germany Power Use €||Australia AU$||Canada CA$|
|Cost Per Day||£0.17||0.072||0.156||0.1152||0.0408|
|Cost per Month||5.037||2.19||4.745||3.504||1.241|
|Cost Per Year||60.444||26.28||56.94||42.048||14.892|
So, what about if you were to only use the NAS at active use for around 25% of the day (i.e 6hrs of active with backups, multimedia, etc) and 75% of the day as idle (i.e 18hrs unused):
|6hr Active Use and 18hr Idle Use (KW)||UK Power Use £||U.S Power Use $||Germany Power Use €||Australia AU$||Canada CA$|
|Cost Per Day||£0.19||0.0816||0.177||0.1308||0.0468|
|Cost per Month||5.71225||2.482||5.38375||3.9785||1.4235|
|Cost Per Year||68.547||29.784||64.605||47.742||17.082|
Stay tuned, check below to see if other NAS power tests have been published and recommended to you, or watch the video version of these tests (which goes into more detail on the current predicaments in the energy crisis facing many of us in 2022, 2023 and beyond.
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