QNAP NMP-1000 Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Performance and Conclusion

Audio/Video Performance

Multimedia handling and output quality of QNAP's NMP-1000 is generally excellent. As far as video streaming is concerned, the media player works as advertised -- it plays almost every video file in my library that I've thrown at it, and I noticed no lag or drops when streaming videos over my central wired network. Conditions for network test setup include files located on my QNAP TS-439 Pro network attached storage as the source drive. Video playback is very smooth and consistent regardless of the source files, from standard definition videos and all the way up to 1080p high definition files, with the Ethernet cable attached. Since QNAP does not produce any official wireless network adapters compatible with the NMP-1000, streaming performance over Wi-Fi is not tested. However, according to the QNAP, a handful of compatible N-based USB adapters are available in the market for use with this network media player.

As far as audio quality is concerned, I performed subjective audio testing with the digital optical output to my Yamaha receiver, and then constantly switched between its component analog inputs as well. A digital connection is not necessarily dependent on the device itself, because the signal is converted to analog on your receiver rather than relying on the DAC and operational amplifiers on your QNAP NMP-1000. While the Patriot Box Office we recently reviewed provided surprisingly excellent performance in this area thanks to its Cirrus Logic CS4352CZZ DAC, I performed the same double blinded test on the QNAP NMP-1000. The Patriot Box Office required half an hour of careful listening with multiple people on the double blinded test to come up with a result due to its close performance -- but the same was not necessary for the NMP-1000. The analog output was clearly inferior to the conversion on my receiver, and the difference was obvious enough that everyone here at APH Networks took no longer than a minute to notice the difference and come up with the corresponding conclusion.

Network Performance

I tested the QNAP NMP-1000's maximum network throughput with a CAT5e cable connected to my Gigabit switch. The QNAP NMP-1000 is equipped with onboard Gigabit LAN, so that is the speed it was configured to run at. The performance results were obtained from an in-house developed real life file benchmarking set. Generally speaking, for a company like QNAP who knows how to design truly excellent, high performing network attached storage devices, pulling 4.8MB/s (38.4Mbps) maximum network throughput over a Gigabit connection on the NMP-1000 is thoroughly disappointing. Even the $100 Patriot Box Office with a 100Mbps network adapter outperformed the QNAP NMP-1000! For your reference, the company's TS-439 Pro dedicated network attached storage system pulled 61.5MB/s (492Mbps) over the same network. While 4.8MB/s is sufficient for streaming high bandwidth media files (The most probably being 1080p videos and this is certainly not a problem), if you are planning to buy the NMP-1000 for its NAS functions, just forget about it. Not that we expect 60MB/s+, but at least 20-30MB/s should be relatively reasonable. 4.8MB/s is much too slow by today's standards to serve a practical purpose in this regard.

USB Performance

On the positive side, its USB performance as a mass storage device is surprisingly good. Since the best USB 2.0 controllers today are limited to around 38MB/s, the NMP-1000 certainly did not fall behind in this area. If you are looking to copy large amounts of data to your QNAP network media player's internal hard disk, take out an USB cable and connect it to your computer -- this is by far the fastest method if you don't have an eSATA port. Speaking of which, I did not test the eSATA performance, since this interface is dependent on limits of your installed hard drive and your computer's Serial ATA controller, and not the device itself.


It is clear that QNAP's NMP-1000 is a brilliant network media player. From its excellent industrial design that will go well with any modern living room, features every connector you can possibly ask for at the back of the system, and relatively good specifications in terms of internal hardware, the NMP-1000 certainly lacks very little on paper. Its onboard software is equally as commendable. Great graphical user interface, wide array of features, excellent media handing, and not to mention important but often overlooked features like file indexing and album art to make the overall usage experience very positive for me. Of course, there are small issues regarding its software here and there that can be fixed. I believe refining the current firmware and ironing out some bugs would not be too much of a challenge to QNAP's developers in the near future. To be honest, I would have easily recommended the QNAP NMP-1000 for solely for its design, usage experience, and promised versatility. But once you benchmark it, the poor network throughput in conjunction with lower than expected analog audio output performance as demonstrated above made me change my mind. The reason is because for $400 USD at press time, it is already pushing the limit for something that promises to be a network media player that can double as a network drive. The primary problem is that its network performance is simply too slow to make the latter even practical, so we are down one very important selling point of the product. Basically, what we have here is a very pretty system that provides an excellent usage experience for four times the price of something such as the Patriot Box Office, which doesn't look nearly as good, doesn't offer as many features hardware wise, and has an otherwise primitive graphical user interface, but does pretty much the same thing at a fraction of the cost. For the $400 price tag the NMP-1000 commands, I would expect it to pull at least 20-30MB/s over Gigabit to make the price justifiable in my books. In the end, it is your money, and I believe all the facts have been presented in this review -- so it is really up to you to decide whether the QNAP NMP-1000 is worth it or not!

Special thanks to Vera and Siimon over at QNAP for making this review possible.

APH Review Focus Summary:
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.7/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

The QNAP NMP-1000 is an excellent network media player that looks great and provides a commendable usage experience. However, its network performance and analog audio quality suffers, thus making its price tag a bit high for what you get.

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Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. A Closer Look - Software
4. Performance and Conclusion