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QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Too Niche?

8 décembre 2021 à 01:26

The QNAP TS-364 NAS Drive Review

QNAP are now very much in the process of slowly rolling out their new Prosumer and SMB series for 2022, but when it comes to the unit that they are slowly releasing, you can definitely see that they are being a great deal smarter (tactically) than previous generations. Alongside the release of the NVMe focused TBS-464 back in late October, the next unit in this series to arrive is the incredibly unique and unusual QNAP TS-364 NAS Drive. Today I want to review this rather different NA system and ultimately answer three main questions, 1) Is this a suitable alternative to a 2/4-Bay? 2) Is this TOO niche, even for a subject that is already as niche as NAS? And 3) Ultimately does it deserve your data? This 3x Hard drive and 2x NVMe SSD system (that 2nd storage detail is always way, way too overlooked) is formed in a similar shape to the previous 3-Bay systems before it but also arrives with the latest choices in internal/external hardware architecture that we have grown to expect in 2021/2022 from QNAP. With some users who look at 2-Bay solutions and the 50% storage loss of RAID 1 as a dealbreaker, whilst still looking at 4-Bay systems as capacity and price based overkill, is a 3-Bay NAS drive such as the TS-364 from QNAP what you have been searching for all this time? Let’s review the QNAP TS-364 and decide if this system is just right OR just a little too niche? Let’s go.

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Quick Conclusion

Once again, QNAP (in my opinion of course) are still very much the true innovators of the NAS hardware industry, seemingly exploring and almost always delivering on solutions that change what we expect private home/business servers to look like, support and provide. The TS-364 3-Bay (TECHNICALLY 5-Bay if you want to be accurate about it) has one heck of a balancing act to perform, providing more than the typical 2-Bay desktop chassis like the TS-253D and TS-264 are promising, whilst not leaning TOO heavily on the TS-453D and TS-464 to make itself or those redundant in price or approach. I think it MOSTLY sticks the landing and what you have here is the best example of this series that QNAP has ever produced, managing to balance the price point and value just right. In my introduction, I asked three questions. 1) Is this a suitable alternative to a 2/4-Bay? – It DEFINITELY is a good option, for those that are stuck between the rock and a hard place of 2 or 4 bays! 2) Is this TOO niche, even for a subject that is already as niche as NAS? – No, I think this system provides a valuable and till-now often overlooked section of the buying market. And 3) Ultimately does it deserve your data? – I think if you are a 2-Bay buyer, then spending the tiny bit extra for this 3-Bay is a no brainer, but if you are looking at 4-Bays, then the 3-Bay TS-364 might lack the extra storage potential, PCIe upgrades and base level connectivity long term of current prosumer 4-Bays like the TS-453D and TS-464. Overall, I like what the TS-364 is offering here and I think it fits well in the QNAP portfolio and solutions available to the end user.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻Best example of 3-Bay NAS series so far
👍🏻Quieter than I expected in use
👍🏻
👍🏻Newest Gen Intel Celeron CPU available on NAS right now
👍🏻
👍🏻2.5GbE Ready and has 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s)
👍🏻
👍🏻Good balance of HDD and SSD Storage Support
👍🏻
👍🏻VERY compact deployment
👍🏻
👍🏻4GB Memory by default and 16GB Max is good upgradability
👍🏻
👍🏻Surprisingly small, fo so much storage (long-ish though)
👍🏻
👍🏻QTS 5 has more 1st Party applications and services than any previous version
CONS
👎🏻The lack of 10GbE from the TS-332X is a shame (PCI Lane related)
👎🏻The NVMe SSD Bays are PCIe Gen 3 x2 (PCI Lane related)
👎🏻
👎🏻HDMI 1.4b not HDMI 2.0/a

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES

The retail box of the QNAP TS-364 NAS is fairly standard stuff, with the typical brown box design and a product-specific label. It is at this tier that a solution will almost exclusively be an eShop/Online only purchase, so therefore any concerns about packaging will be much more geared towards protection in transit from movement and shock damage. On that score, I would stay that the less than usual shaped TS-364 NAS chassis is well protected.

The TS-364 NAS chassis itself arrives in quite an impressive surrounding of hard foam from all corners. Indeed, this foam takes up more than 40% of the retail box and will amply protect this unit virtually completely in it’s transit from Taiwan to..well.. everywhere. Alongside the TS-364 unit itself, there is also a box of accessories in a separate kit carton.

The accessories that are included with the TS-364 are fairly typical of QNAP (with a small exception) and are pretty much everything you are going to need in order to get started with your NAS (with the exception of HDD/SSD media that you will need to buy separately).

The TS-364 features an external power supply unit, likely for reasons of space, easy replacement and maintaining better internal temperatures. The external PSU on this rather modest-sized NAS arrives is 65W and QNAP state that it has been recorded at 32.8W power use when in active use – this includes the internal fan in operation at all times.

The TS-364 also features the support of both Hard Drives and M.2 NVMe SSDs, something I will cover in more detail later. The accessory kit arrives with additional click’n’load HDDs install pods and two M.2 SSD heatsink panels that are adhesive-backed and designed to be applied directly onto the controller of any installed NVM.e SSDs in the NAS allocated bays.

As glad as I am that QNA has included heatsinks for the M.2 slot media that you might install in the TS-364, these are remarkably small and a bit underwhelming. On the one hand, the space for the M.2 bays inside the TS-364 is a little small, but there is still amply space for a larger full-2280 length heatsink. Whether this smaller m.2 heatsink is being provided because of space, overall active system temp provisioning or as it is a general part on their production line – it’s still a bit of an underwhelming inclusion, as in a heavy use 24×7 environment, I am unsure how effective these will be.

Overall, I am happy with the compact presentation and accessories, though I wonder how protected it is when shipped fully populated. Let’s take a look at the design of the QNAP TS-364 NAS.

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Design

The external chassis of the TS-364 is a rather unusual one that will almost certainly split opinion. For a start, it manages to be both smaller AND bigger than both your average 2-Bay and 4-Bay. As peculiar as that statement might sound, let me explain.

The front of the TS-364 NAS chassis is an almost perfect square, at 142mm x 150mm – shorter than more 2-Bay NAS systems that stack their HDD media vertically internally, as well as narrower than a 4-Bay that has that extra HDD bay. However, in depth/length, it’s a different story as the TS-364 is 260mm deep – that is noticeably deeper than more other desktop NAS chassis (even most 8-Bay systems). This is because the system clearly uses a vertically airflow system, which draws air through the system using a system of front-mounted vent holes and a large rear active fan. There are no holes/vents on the sides, in order to maintain and capitalize on this active airflow.

Alot of the ventilation o nthe front is surprisingly well hidden. The LED panel on the front of the device (which has lights that indicate system access, network activity, HDD health, HDD health and connectivity) neatly surrounds the larger side vent panel very well.

It is only when you angle the chassis up that the ventilation on that front panel under the LEDs is exposed, as well as the base level vents under the HDD media bays and those that are going to pass air directly over the m.2 SSD bays. It’s a neat design move.

The actual chassis design itself might look a bit retro/naff for some and the plastic, white choice in colour/materials is another area that some might not be enormously keen on, but you cannot really fault the venting choices here. Likewise, if this chassis had been metal, it would have noticeably increased the ambient noise level. It is already reported at 20.5  bd(A) which is already higher than when I had it in operation for Plex and software testing – coming soon), so overall I like the design choices here.

The TS-364 also features a useful front-mounted USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) port that can be used for local backups (either direction), peripheral devices, network upgrades (up to 5GbE too, over USB, using QNAP’s own adapter) and more. I have always championed this remarkably underestimated and old skool’ connection of desktop devices and am pleased that this rather compact system still features it.

The overall design of the TS-364 is going to be of little importance to those that plan on setting up the devices in an unseen corner/attic/storage room – but for those that want to desk mount the system nearby, perhaps directly connecting using the aforementioned USB-to-5GbE adapter for high speed local work might find the TS-364’s oddly long shape to be problematic. Still, for what it is trying to achieve and in order to facilitate three hard drive bays and cool 2 M.2 NVMe bays, I think the system did the right thing. Now, let’s talk connectivity.

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Ports & Connections

The connectivity of the TS-364 NAS is something that I think falls somewhere between ‘good stuff’ and ‘just enough’. Remember that QNAP is currently the only brand to have a featured series of 3-Bay devices in their portfolio to fill a surprisingly user-ready middle ground between prosumer and business storage users. Alot of the external connectivity’s good and ‘meh’ comes down to those pesky CPU PCI lanes again. The fact that in order to maintain a good price vs performance point, brands tend to rely on Intel Celeron processors at this tier. These processors have a decent enough level of PCI lanes to spread across storage bays and connectivity, but it is still a finite amount. The result is that those two internal M.2 bays result in a tiny amount of ‘wing clipping’ in the external connectivity. Let’s go through them in a bit, but first, back to cooling!

As mentioned earlier, the TS-364 internal temperature handling comes down to well-placed vents, well placed internal heatsinks and that rear fan. The TS-364 features a 92mm single rear fan that takes up over 50% of the rear of the chassis, DIRECTLY behind those SATA HDD storage bays. It’s RPM can be adjusted of course, but it is recommended to leave it on automatic. Even in very light usage, any particularly noticeably noise came from the HDD media more than the fan.

The first cool thing in connectivity is that the TS-364 is one of the first Prosumer/lite-SMB solutions from QNAP at this scale that includes USB 3.2 gen 2 (10Gb/s) ports. Both are USB Type A and support everything from my powerful USB accessories and tools, to external storage drives of up to 1,000MB/s. It’s a bit odd that this is not the USB on the front of the chassis with 1-touch copying (where someone who regularly but ad hoc connects a drive for work/school to backup FAST), but better to have it than not at all.

Another nice connection choice is the default 2.5GbE network port on the TS-364. QNAP has pretty much set 2.5x standard gigabit connectivity as the standard on 80-85% of their hardware and almost certainly it will be 100% in the next year or so. The act that this is arriving at the same price point at 1GbE means, as well as being completely backwards compatible is a definite bonus.

There is the minor complaint that it is a single ethernet port (not the 2x 2.5G on the TBS-464 or the 2x ports that will almost certainly arrive in the likes of the TS-264, TS-262 or even TS-x53E series at some point far into the future no doubt), but again, at this price point, it’s a tough complaint to keep up with. Below is the reported maximum by QNAP in this connection, but also it is a shame that this system lacks the 10GbE (SFP+) port of the TS-332X before it. Though this is likely that blasted CPU PIC limitation again, plus the TS-332X had a shocking weaker CPU by comparison.

The QNAP TS-364 also features an HDMI output, much like the rest of the SMB Intel-powered devices from QNAP. This means that the system can support a parallel GUI via an HDMI TV or monitor, as well as Keyboard, Video Mouse (KVM) support with the use of USB wired peripherals, Bluetooth adapter connected wireless peripherals and several network remote controls (plus the QNAP QRemote application for Android and iOS). The TS-364 features HDMI 1.4b, so 1080p at 60FPS and 4K at 30FPS, which is a slight downgrade on the HDMI 2.0 available on other TS-x64 NAS systems revealed so far.

I am working on a 2021/2022 revisit of HD Station from QNAP, but below is the Setup guide and overview of the application from last year that still covers a lot of the platforms abilities and features:

The external connectivity of the TS-364 is a good mix of useful, if somewhat safe choices by QNAP. I like what is here but the bits that shine do seem to have the tiniest pinch of compromise about them (2.5G but a single port, 10G USB but not on the front, HDMI but 1.6b rev). Let’s open up this NAS system and take a look at media drive installation and those internal hardware specifications.

Accessing the inside of the TS-364 is easy, with the removal of three rear screws, the chassis comes apart in two halves, revealing the internal storage bays, the memory upgrade slots and the Intel Celeron CPU inside. Let’s discuss that internal hardware in detail.

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Internal Hardware

The TS-364 does not support any kind of hot swapping, as it does not use external removable trays. Instead, it features the three SATA storage media bays in a cage arrangement, with the two m.2 SSD media bays, SODIMM memory slots and CPU+heatsink neatly located underneath in the fan’s air path.

The three SATA hard Drive trays do not require a screw driver to install the media, though installation of SATA SSDs is going to prove difficult/impossible without an adapter. The trays themselves are also a little flimsier than those found in a system that supports hot-swapping (i.e removal whilst the system is in operation).

The trays are a U shaped surround that features four-pin clips each that hold the 3.5″ SATA Hard drive in place. Clearly the usual trays that QNAP use in their system’s would be unsuitable large in this chassis, but these still feel a little underwhelming. Your TS-364 NAS can be operated with as little as a single HDD inside, but with all three bays populated you can take advantage of RAID configurations like RAID 5 for a better balance of storage, performance and redundancy (i.e a safety net if a drive dies). The latest 18TB and 20TB drives slot neatly into the chassis, which means a potential 60TB of raw HDD storage can be achieved in the TS-364 – for such a small physical size and just three bays of storage – that IS impressive!

Revisiting the subject of CPU PCI lanes leads to one part of the TS-364 architecture that may disappoint. Each of the M.2 NVMe SSD slots is PCIe Gen 3 x2 in bandwidth. This means that each slot can provide a potential 2,000MB/s of performance. However, the majority of modern PCIe Gen 3 SSDs arrive in Gen 3×4, normally hitting the 3,000-3,400MB/s performance mark. It is still great to have the flexibility of Hard Drives AND NVMe SSD, but it is still a shame that each slot has this unavoidable bottleneck internally. The fact they are included is still a HUGE bonus overall though, with the system supporting the use of these M.2 SSD bays for caching, raw storage pools or tiered storage alongside the HDDs RAID.

The CPU and memory used in the TS-364 are also of a good standard for a 2021/2022 Prosumer/SMB NAS release. Alongside an Intel Celeron CPU, it also arrives with 4GB of DDR4 2666Mhz memory (which can be upgraded to the maximum 16GB supported by the CPU). 4GB is still very decent about of base-level memory on this NAS and the fact that QNAP has included 2666Mhz memory (when older-gen units have always had 2400Mhz) is also a good sign for the brand’s future releases too. But the CPU is where I really want to focus.

The Celeron series is one that is generally refreshed every 18-24months by Intel on their production line. However, because of semi-conductor shortages and the effects of the pandemic in 2020/2021 on production lines, the result is that the Intel Celeron series most recent revisions have been remarkably erratic and the result is that the Celeron CPU of the newest TS-x64 series from QNAP actually spans three different (but VERY similar CPUs).

In the case of the TS-364, it arrives with the Intel N5105 or N5095. Both are 2.0Ghz in architecture that can be boosted to 2.9Ghz by the system when needed, as well as supporting on-broad graphics (so the support of transcoding and handling graphical data like 4K media and 3D images) to the same degree, AES-NI inline encryption and a great floating point. Aside from very minor differences around encoding/decoding and a slightly raised TDP (so, the amount of heat vs power draw) on the N5095, they are pretty much identical. Both are a nice jump up from the 2017/18 generation Intel Celeron J4115/J4125 that is used in the previous generation and at this price point, I am happy with this chip. Expect Plex testing and Virtual Machine testing soon.

Overall, the internal architecture of the QNAP TS-364 NAS at its £350-400 price (TBC at launch), which will almost certainly be lower on most e-retailers, seems a reasonable price for the architecture here. Let’s talk a little bit about the software included with the TS-364, known as QTS 5.

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Software & Services

Alongside the hardware of the TS-364 NAS, you also receive the complete software and services package of QNAP QTS (currently in version 5.0). This is a complete operating system. similar in design and presentation to Android OS, it runs hundreds of applications, services and functions, as well as arriving with many mobile and desktop client applications that allow you to interact with the data on your NAS in a much more tailored way. Alongside this, the QNAP QTS software on the TS-364 also includes a few extra SSD tools for anti-wearing on the SSDs, better SSD profiling and even options to separate the media into storage, caching or tiered storage where appropriate. The performance and services of QTS have been covered many times on this channel, so reviewing it’s individual performance on the TS-364 NAS is a difficult task, as we have to look at two key things. Is QTS a good software platform and is QTS 5.0 a substantial update on QTS 4.5? On the first score, I can comfortably say that QNAP NAS software and services have truly come into their own and the balancing act of supplying the end-user with the flexibility to use the system ‘their way’, whilst still keeping it user friendly is the best it has ever been. Is it perfect, no. In its efforts to make itself customizable in every way possible, QTS develops an inadvertent learning curve that may catch some novice users unaware. Likewise, although QTS 5 has done a lot of work on its presentation of information and notifications, there is still the odd moment of ‘TMI’ when switching between services on the fly. QNAP’s NAS software is still easily one of the most adaptable in the market right now and allows users to have a truly unique storage environment if they choose and although not quite as user-friendly as Synology DSM, it counters this by being fantastically flexibly by comparison (from file/folder structure to 3rd party services support and connectivity). In order to see the extent of the latest version of QNAP TS 5.0 use the links below to the written review and video below released in late 2021:

FULL Written QNAP QTS 5 Review FULL Video Review of QNAP QTS 5

Tests of the QNAP TS-364 on how it performs as a Plex Media Server, host for Virtual Machines and more will be conducted shortly over on NASCompares YouTube channel. I recommend visiting there to learn more. Below is the video review for the QNAP TS-364 NAS

QNAP TS-364 NAS Review – Conclusion & Verdict

Once again, QNAP (in my opinion of course) are still very much the true innovators of the NAS hardware industry, seemingly exploring and almost always delivering on solutions that change what we expect private home/business servers to look like, support and provide. The TS-364 3-Bay (TECHNICALLY 5-Bay if you want to be accurate about it) has one heck of a balancing act to perform, providing more than the typical 2-Bay desktop chassis like the TS-253D and TS-264 are promising, whilst not leaning TOO heavily on the TS-453D and TS-464 to make itself or those redundant in price or approach. I think it MOSTLY sticks the landing and what you have here is the best example of this series that QNAP has ever produced, managing to balance the price point and value just right. In my introduction, I asked three questions. 1) Is this a suitable alternative to a 2/4-Bay? – It DEFINITELY is a good option, for those that are stuck between the rock and a hard place of 2 or 4 bays! 2) Is this TOO niche, even for a subject that is already as niche as NAS? – No, I think this system provides a valuable and till-now often overlooked section of the buying market. And 3) Ultimately does it deserve your data? – I think if you are a 2-Bay buyer, then spending the tiny bit extra for this 3-Bay is a no brainer, but if you are looking at 4-Bays, then the 3-Bay TS-364 might lack the extra storage potential, PCIe upgrades and base level connectivity long term of current prosumer 4-Bays like the TS-453D and TS-464. Overall, I like what the TS-364 is offering here and I think it fits well in the QNAP portfolio and solutions available to the end-user.

PROs of the QNAP TS-364 NAS CONs of the QNAP TS-364 NAS
Best example of 3-Bay NAS series so far

Quieter than I expected in use

Newest Gen Intel Celeron CPU available on NAS right now

2.5GbE Ready and has 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s)

Good balance of HDD and SSD Storage Support

VERY compact deployment

4GB Memory by default and 16GB Max is good upgradability

Surprisingly small, fo so much storage (long-ish though)

QTS 5 has more 1st Party applications and services than any previous version

The lack of 10GbE from the TS-332X is a shame (PCI Lane related)

The NVMe SSD Bays are PCIe Gen 3 x2 (PCI Lane related)

HDMI 1.4b not HDMI 2.0/a

 


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QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Storage Done Differently?

17 novembre 2021 à 01:08

The QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Drive Review

The new NVMe SSD focused NAS Drive from QNAP, the TBS-464, is the first entry by the brand in their largely 2022 focused TS-x64 series and one that certainly left me a tad surprised when it was revealed. The use of SSDs in NAS servers is by no means a new thing, with several ‘flash’ produced NAS systems released over the years that focused on 2.5″ SATA/SAS or U.2 SSD in rackmount and desktop form. Likewise, the inclusion of dedicated NVMe Slots in NAS drives has now been around for around well over half a decade, either for use as cache or individual storage pools. However, combining these two concepts of NVMe SSDs and SSD only desktop NAS systems is something that has never really been done and that is what makes the QNAP TS-464 so interesting. Arriving in a spectacularly compact fashion, RAID support over 4 PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe slots and an intel powered architecture, this new NASBook release has a great deal of potential to live up to for both home and business users alike. So, let’s take a good look at the TBS-464, the hardware, the software and ultimately decide if this new NVMe SSD focused NAS drive is worth your data.

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Quick Conclusion

The QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS is a genuinely groundbreaking and unique piece of kit that is slightly hampered by its own price tag! Easily the most compact NAS currently available from this (and indeed almost any other) brand, it brings the majority of NAS software, services and features that buyers want in a NAS that shifts focus to SSD storage media and does it whilst maintaining an incredibly small footprint. The appeal of a RAID 5, NVMe powered NAS for your data, when the price of such media (in Gen 3 at least) becomes significantly more affordable is also a smart move. As a first physical reveal of QNAP’s planned X64 and X62 series, it hits all the right notes for me and as long as you understand that keeping this device Prosumer (whilst not tiptoeing into the enterprise) means that occasional hardware scaling is required, it’s a great piece of kit. A unique joy to play with.

SOFTWARE - 9/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 7/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻World’s First NVMe SSD Desktop NAS (at least as far I can find!)
👍🏻VERY quiet, even with the fan on internally
👍🏻
👍🏻Newest Gen Intel Celeron CPU available on NAS right now
👍🏻
👍🏻2x 2.5GbE and 4K 60FPS are always welcome
👍🏻
👍🏻Numerous considerations included/visible for heat dissipation and Anti-wear
👍🏻
👍🏻VERY compact deployment
👍🏻
👍🏻8GB DDR4 Memory included by default
👍🏻
👍🏻Four NVMes in a RAID 5 = Good speed and Performance
👍🏻
👍🏻QTS 5 has more 1st Party applications and services than any previous version
CONS
👎🏻The lack of 10GbE from the TBS-453DX is a shame (PCI Lane related)
👎🏻The NVMe SSD Bays are PCIe Gen 3 x2 (PCI Lane related)
👎🏻
👎🏻Memory cannot physically be upgraded beyond 8GB

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES

The first thing that hit me when I unpacked the shipping carton to get my hands on the TBS-464 is the size of the box. I was aware that this would be a small NAS, given the NVMe media choice, but the retail box is easily one of the smallest that I have received from QNAP. I was a little surprised to think that this box contained the TS-464 and accessories (will get to those later – because there is more than usual) and was a tiny bit concerned about damage in transit. Keen followers of this blog know that I will judge a brand that doesn’t protect their kit in transit quite harshly and this one might be toeing the line a bit.

Removing the outer box shows that the unit is held in a cardboard framework (the TBS-464 in plastic) and the accessories are held in a smaller compartment underneath the unit. Normally I would be quite critical of this (highlighting that hard/rigid foam be used) as shock/motion damage in transit is a greater hardware killer than most think, but I also have to factor in that the TBS-464 is very, VERY light. The unit itself only weighing in at 700grams and the complete box and accessories barely crossed the 1.5KG mark means that this level of protection in transit (unpopulated) is sufficient.

Laying out the accessories and unit on the table, there are the usual bits that you might expect (the external PSU, the mains power cable, the RJ45 Cat 5e cable, setup guide and 2yr warranty information), but there are also some dedicated M.2 NVMe extras too.

The external PSU on this rather modest-sized NAS arrives is 65W (unsurprising for much more power-efficient M.2) and QNAP state that it has been recorded at 18W power use in idle and 28W when in active use – this includes the internal fan in operation at all times.

Those M.2 SSD focused accessories are also of significant importance too, with 12 thermal pads and 4 metal heatsinks that are adhesively applied to the M.2 SSDs inside. NVMe SSDs, although lacking the slower moving parts of traditional hard drives, are formed of multiple cells that are attached to a length of PCB. These consist of the Controller (the brains, like the CPU of a computer), the memory and the NAND (where your data lives), with electricity passed through the SSD to read/write data. This results in the individual chips getting quite hot. The NAND can usually operate better when its a little ‘warm’, but the controller will work worse, the hotter it gets (also known as throttling, to preserve the life of the drive) and that is why there is a lot of accessories here for dissipating the heat from these SSDs. There is an internal fan and unique cooling system (at least, for NAS) that I will touch on later, but these accessories are primarily included to draw heat AWAY from the SSDs. They are of good build quality and are a nice indicator that QNAP didn’t just shove this thing out the door.

Overall, I am happy with the compact presentation and accessories, though I wonder how protected it is when shipped fully populated. Let’s take a look at the design of the QNAP TS-464 NAS.

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Design

As mentioned earlier, the TBS-464 is a remarkably small NAS drive. Indeed this NAS series (known as the NASBook series) has been around in different forms over the years, tough previous generations used m.2 SATA SSDs. This NAS, when deployed on the table takes up next to no room. Below is how the TBS-464 scaled up against my Google Pixel 2XL, a 2280 SSD and a pencil. Do remember that although this is a network-attached storage device, users CAN directly connect with this device point-to-point with a LAN cable, USB-to-Ethernet adapter (available in 2.5GbE and 5GbE) and even wirelessly with several USB-WiFi dongles supported. Therefore it is not impossible to imagine carrying this NAS system portable for home, school or business work, creating a portable, super fast RAID system.

The height of the TBS-464 is also quite impressive too, at just 3cm/30mm, it is a very petite NAS indeed. The drive installation does not involve trays or any form of hot-swapping (as you might expect, as M.2 NVMe does not support that kind of re-injection), with installation involving removing the base panel to access the slots.

The front of the TBS-464 features 4 LEDs that are used to denote SSD media activity on each bay internally. Unlike traditional HDD focused NAS systems, you are not going to hear any kind of activity from the storage media (the only noise coming from that internal single fan) resulting in a very, very low ambient noise level when in use that QNAP report at 25db(A) in full access mode.

Alongside those LEDs are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) ports, as well as a 1-touch-copy button that can be used to manually action a pre-set backup routine (that you set up in Hybrid Backup Sync 3 with QTS 5). It’s a shame that this system does not take advantage of USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s), given the wide variety of support we have seen of it on other TS-x64 devices in QNAP’s portfolio, but this is almost certainly down to those NVMe M.2 SSD slots taking up the lion share of the available PCI lanes of the CPU nad chipset.

On the side of the TBS-464, next to a vent, we find an additional USB 2.0 port. More USB ports are always going to be a good thing, but aside from the support of keyboards, mice, UPS heartbeats and a few other peripherals, USB 2.0 has limited use in 2021/2022 and I am surprised that it is still here (and arguably in abundance, as you will see).

Either side of the TBS-464 chassis features a large vent panel that is used in conjunction with the internal fan to draw in and then push air throughout the NAS. This will be discussed in a little more detail in a bit, but I did want to highlight that the previous generation of this NAS family (the m.2 SATA TBS-453DX) also featured stereo speakers in these vents – a very quirky and unique extra that added to it’s localized deployment. Although its inclusion was INCREDIBLY niche and almost completely overlooked, I am still a pinch sad that it is absent in the TBS-464.

The base of the TBS-464 NAS has vent holes under each m.2 2280 storage bay, but nowhere else. This is clearly intended as a means of ensuring the airflow is controlled internally to be drawn over each of the heatsinks and chips in a single wave.

To access the storage media bays of the TBS-464, you need to remove the rubber foot on the base of the chassis as shown, to reveal an available screw. The internals of this NAS are surprisingly well crafted in terms of how things are compartmentalized. But before we get to that, let’s discuss the ports and connections.

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Ports & Connections

Looking at the rear of the TBS-464, we can see an interesting mix of ports and connections available. The previous generation of this NAS family, the TBS-453DX released in 2018, featured an arguably more appealing 10GbE connection (made possible by only supporting SATA SSDs). The TBS-464  features 2x 2.5G connections, which might seem a bit of a step down for some, but the reality of this needs a little closer examination.

The two 2.5GbE RJ45 ports support link aggregation of course, so 5GbE connectivity via a supported managed switch is possible (as well as support of USB-to-5GbE adapters like the QNA-UC5G1T) and this allows up to 586MB/s read performance and 574MB/s write performance. Now, many might argue that this is quite a bottleneck for those internal PCIe M.2 NVMe SSDs – something we will go into more detail on later on), but such external bottlenecks of NAS are hardly new, given that most NAS hard drives these days can comfortably output 200MB/s, but are all bottlenecked to 1GbE anyway and worse still in RAID configs). I do still wish we had 10GbE on this device (even if it means removing all other ports except a single USB 3.0 port) but likely this was not possible technically anyway via the Intel Celeron inside.

QNAP themselves have tested the performance of the TBS-464 in a RAID 5 over 4 NAS SSDs from Seagate and reached max external bandwidth of 294MB/s Upload and 287MB/s Download.

The TBS-464 also features two HDMI 2.0 video output poets. These work in conjunction with the parallel running GUI called HD Station, to allow users to interact with the NAS and many applications using an HDMI TV/Monitor, as well as connecting a keyboard and mouse (or using a Bluetooth dongle, IR remote or WiFi remote) to interact with the system. This can be used as a standalone windows PC (using QVM), a Linux PC (using Ubuntu Station), a standalone surveillance system with camera control, support of Skype, Spotify, LibreOffice, chrome, Facebook and more. There is also a large homebrew community over on QNAPClub that supports lots of existing windows and linux tools that are converted over to the QNAP platform. As good as this all sounds, it is worth remembering that these two HDMI ports cannot be used independently and are only used for mirroring each other or creating a shared-wider single screen.

I am working on a 2021/2022 revisit of HD Station from QNAP, but below is the Setup guide and overview of the application from last year that still covers a lot of the platforms abilities and features:

One sour point on the TBS-464 that I will continue to come back to is the surprising number of USB 2.0 ports, with 2 more here on the back of the NAS chassis. I understand that this system has support of KVM for those visual ports and some connected client hardware, such as UPS’, external optical drives and Printers do not need USB 3, but given that QNAP has a large number of USB expansion devices, network adapters and supported USB devices like webcams, these ports seem a bit of old. Perhaps the chipset would not allow the swapping of these three ports in favour of a single extra USB 3 port (the truth is I do not know) but even having the USB 3 ports on the front (awkward for expansions) and the USB on the rear, seems a strange choice.

Overall, as long as you understand how QNAP have had to work within a given scope of the CPU and it’s PCI lanes, most of the TBS-464 NAS’ ports and connections make a lot of sense. But let’s take a look at the internal hardware of the TBS-464 and see how the system intended to deploy those super-fast NVMe SSDs.

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Internal Hardware

Removing the base plate of the TBS-464 reveals an internal framework that looks much less like a typical NAS and much more like a prosumer laptop. The components are clearly separated into individual sections, as well as the components also featuring an additional cover layer that helps the air flow through the system and over the components that need it most.

The four NVMe M.2 SSD ports are arranged in a deeper cavity and a 3+1 physical configuration. Each has ample room for single and double-sided SSDs (as well as the included thermal pads and heatsinks) and the system can be used with as little as a single NVMe SSD (allowing you to add drives later as your capacity or redundancy requirements grow). These bays are located directly next to the first side vent panel and the single internal fan is pulling air through this vent and over the SSDs. As long as you attach the thermal pads and heatsinks to dissipate (draw) the heat from the SSDs, the air will cool them down and then push air out the other side.

Revisiting the subject of CPU PCI lanes leads to one part of the TBS-464 architecture that may disappoint. Each of the M.2 NVMe SSD slots is PCIe Gen 3 x2 in bandwidth. This means that each slot can provide a potential 2,000MB/s of performance. However, the majority of modern PCIe Gen 3 SSDs arrive in Gen 3×4, normally hitting the 3,000-3,400MB/s performance mark. Although the TBS-464 is pretty much the ONLY desktop NVMe SSD NAS in the world, it is still a shame that each slot has this unavoidable bottleneck internally. This is still very, VERY high performance internally however that hugely dwarfs many other NAS of similar CPU architecture and something taht you would need a much larger arrangement of STA HDD or SSD to match.

That internal fan. once it has drawn air over the NVMe SSD media+heatsinks, will theN push air out over the CPU heatsink and out the other vent. It does this with very little ambient noise (as long as you utilize appropriate heatsink and pad installation) and ensures that this little NAS makes little to no impact on your hardware environment.

The TBS-464 uses a negative pressure cooling system, with large vents on either side of the compact chassis to pull air in one way over the storage media, then out through the other side. Below is a graphic:

The CPU and memory used in the TBS-464 are also of a good standard for a 2021/2022 Prosumer/SMB NAS release. Alongside an Intel Celeron CPU, it also arrives with 8GB of DDR4 2400Mhz memory (which sadly cannot be upgraded to the maximum 16GB supported by the CPU). 8GB is still a very decent about of base-level memory on this NAS. But the CPU is where I really want to focus.

The Celeron series is one that is generally refreshed every 18-24months by Intel on their production line. However, because of semi-conductor shortages and the effects of the pandemic in 2020/2021 on production lines, the result is that the Intel Celeron series most recent revisions have been remarkably erratic and the result is that the Celeron CPU of the newest TS-x64 series from QNAP actually spans three different (but  VERY similar CPUs).

In the case of the TBS-464, it arrives with the Intel N5105 or N5095. Both are 2.0Ghz in architecture that can be boosted to 2.99Ghz by the system when needed, as well as supporting on-broad graphics (so the support of transcoding and handling graphical data like 4K media and 3D images) to the same degree, AES-NI inline encryption and a great floating point. Aside from very minor differences around encoding/decoding and a slightly raised TDP (so, the amount of heat vs power draw) on the N5095, they are pretty much identical. Both are a nice jump up from the 2017/18 generation Intel Celeron J4115 that is used in the previous generation and at this price point, I am happy with this chip. Expect Plex testing and Virtual Machine testing soon.

Overall, the internal architecture of the QNAP TBS-464 NAS at it’s £499 RRP (579 Euros), which will almost certainly be lower on most e-retailers, seems a reasonable price for the architecture here. Let’s talk a little bit about the software included with the TBS-464, known as QTS 5.

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Software & Services

Alongside the hardware of the TBS-464 NAS, you also receive the complete software and services package of QNAP QTS (currently in version 5.0). This is a complete operating system. similar in design and presentation to Android OS, it runs hundreds of applications, services and functions, as well as arriving with many mobile and desktop client applications that allow you to interact with the data on your NAS in a much more tailored way. Alongside this, the QNAP QTS software on the TBS-464 also includes a few extra SSD tools for anti-wearing on the SSDs, better SSD profiling and even options to separate the media into storage, caching or tiered storage where appropriate. The performance and services of QTS have been covered many times on this channel, so reviewing it’s individual performance on the TBS-464 NAS is a difficult task, as we have to look at two key things. Is QTS a good software platform and is QTS 5.0 a substantial update on QTS 4.5? On the first score, I can comfortably say that QNAP NAS software and services have truly come into their own and the balancing act of supplying the end-user with the flexibility to use the system ‘their way’, whilst still keeping it user friendly is the best it has ever been. Is it perfect, no. In its efforts to make itself customizable in every way possible, QTS develops an inadvertent learning curve that may catch some novice users unaware. Likewise, although QTS 5 has done a lot of work on its presentation of information and notifications, there is still the odd moment of ‘TMI’ when switching between services on the fly. QNAP’s NAS software is still easily one of the most adaptable in the market right now and allows users to have a truly unique storage environment if they choose and although not quite as user-friendly as Synology DSM, it counters this by being fantastically flexibly by comparison (from file/folder structure to 3rd party services support and connectivity). In order to see the extent of the latest version of QNAP TS 5.0M use the links below to the written review and video below released in late 2021:

FULL Written QNAP QTS 5 Review FULL Video Review of QNAP QTS 5

Tests of the QNAP TBS-464 on how it performs as a Plex Media Server, host for Virtual Machines and more will be conducted shortly over on NASCompares YouTube channel. I recommend visiting there to learn more. Below is the video review for the QNAP TBS-464 NAS

QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS Review – Conclusion & Verdict

The QNAP TBS-464 NVMe SSD NAS is a genuinely groundbreaking and unique piece of kit that is slightly hampered by its own price tag! Easily the most compact NAS currently available from this (and indeed almost any other) brand, it brings the majority of NAS software, services and features that buyers want in a NAS that shifts focus to SSD storage media and does it whilst maintaining an incredibly small footprint. The appeal of a RAID 5, NVMe powered NAS for your data, when the price of such media (in Gen 3 at least) becomes significantly more affordable is also a smart move. As a first physical reveal of QNAP’s planned X64 and X62 series, it hits all the right notes for me and as long as you understand that keeping this device Prosumer (whilst not tiptoeing into the enterprise) means that occasional hardware scaling is required, it’s a great piece of kit. A unique joy to play with.

PROs of the QNAP TBS-464 NAS CONs of the QNAP TBS-464 NAS
World’s First NVMe SSD Desktop NAS (at least as far I can find!)

VERY quiet, even with the fan on internally

Newest Gen Intel Celeron CPU available on NAS right now

2x 2.5GbE and 4K 60FPS are always welcome

Numerous considerations included/visible for heat dissipation and Anti-wear

VERY compact deployment

8GB DDR4 Memory included by default

Four NVMes in a RAID 5 = Good speed and Performance

QTS 5 has more 1st Party applications and services than any previous version

The lack of 10GbE from the TBS-453DX is a shame (PCI Lane related)

The NVMe SSD Bays are PCIe Gen 3 x2 (PCI Lane related)

Memory cannot physically be upgraded beyond 8GB

 


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A Guide to 1-Bay NAS Drives – Get it Right First Time

27 septembre 2021 à 01:48

Choosing the Best 1-Bay NAS Drive from Synology & QNAP

Choosing the best NAS drive for your needs can often be a difficult or imposing job. Network Attached Storage has evolved a lot over the years to a point now where they are less like basic storage devices and more like fully functioning computers, with operating systems, applications and a complete graphical user interface. Two of the biggest brands in their field are Synology and QNAP NAS, who have been in the business of producing NAS solutions for a number of years and in the field of desktop 1 drive (hard drive or solid-state drive) NAS systems, that are pretty well established as a reliable, user-friendly and fully featured brand provider. With an impressive selection of NAS solutions currently available in their 2021/2022 range of devices, it can often be difficult to choose the best 1-Bay NAS for your needs. Never fear, below is a quick and easy guide to the best NAS for Plex Media Server, Backups, Media Streaming, Surveillance, Office work or all of them together! Before you go ahead, below are what BOTH brands and their 1-HDD NAS provide:

 

Synology DS118

Synology DS120j

QNAP TS-131K

QNAP TS-130

Price/Buy HERE – $199 / £179 / AU$299 HERE – $99 / £89 / AU$199 HERE – $220 / £190 / AU$320 HERE – $140 / £130 / AU$250
CPU Model Realtek RTD1296 Marvell Armada 3700 88F3720 AnnapurnaLabs AL214 Realtek RTD1295
CPU Quantity 1 1 1
CPU Architecture 64-bit ARM 64-bit ARM 32bit ARM 64-bit ARM
CPU Frequency 4-core 1.4 GHz 2-core 800 MHz 4-core 1.7 GHz 4-core 1.4 GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine Yes Yes Yes Yes
System Memory 1 GB DDR4 non-ECC 512 MB DDR3L non-ECC 1GB DDR3 1 GB DDR4, not expandable
RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port 1 1 1 1
USB 2.0 Port 0 2 0 1 GB DDR4, not expandable
USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port* 2 0 2 1
Noise Level* 16.7 dB(A) 16.9 dB(A) 15.8 db(A) 15.2 db(A)
Power Consumption* 9.4 W (Access)
4.22 W (HDD Hibernation)
9.81 W (Access)
4.68 W (HDD Hibernation)
11.62 W (Access)
7.29 W (HDD Hibernation)
7.29 W (Access)
3.45 W (HDD Hibernation)
Warranty 2 Years 2 Years 2 Years 2 Years
  • Support of over 100 Applications that can be installed on the Synology DSM and QNAP QTS user interface
  • Access from over the network or anywhere in the world (with encryption) via Windows, Mac, Android and iOS systems
  • Many client applications for Mobile and Desktop Computer systems for tailored access
  • DLNA Media streaming support to Smart TVs, Consoles, Audio to Amazon Alexa, FireStick Streaming and more (some third-party apps might be needed, such as ‘MyMedia’)
  • Plex Media Server Support (in some cases)
  • Although lacking RAID, many 1-Bay NAS support Storage Snapshots, as well as numerous backup systems
  • AI-Powered Photo Recognition (extent of support is very dependant on the model/CPU)
  • Apple Time Machine Supported services
  • Supporting multiple users and multiple security credentials at once
  • Business-class Surveillance software (Surveillance Station) and 2 cameras licences with every NAS 1-Bay
  • Backup Software for USB, Cloud, NAS-to-NAS and general file servers with Hyper Backup/HBS 3
  • Cloud and Remote server Synchronization Services (to connect your existing cloud account as an available storage area
  • iTunes Media Server and support of most DLNA streaming hardware

So, there is ALOT that you can do with any of the desktop 1-Bay solutions in today’s article that I want to discuss today, however, some of them are better at some tasks than others and with limitations ranging from the amount of memory they have, the proficiency of the CPU and design choices along the way, let’s take a look at the currently available 2 Bay NAS you can buy from.

 

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Performance

Most 1-bay NAS devices will provide a pretty low level of performance if compared with bigger and more established NAS drives. There are lots of reasons for this and one of the common is simply that a 1 HDD/SSD solution is classed as a cost-effective solution, all too often used as a network backup (due to its lack of a RAID system for failover), or as a home media server for use in Plex Media Server or over DLNA to home consoles, smart TVs, Amazon firesticks and more. Of the 1-Bay NAS that Synology and QNAP NAS have available, the DS118 from Synology is still the most powerful in terms of hardware+software (despite being released quote some time ago), whereas QNAP offers the TS-130 which has very similar hardware (though a fractionally less able CPU), but better port options on day 1 and later in the systems life via supported ethernet adapters. Whereas, at the budget end of the scale, the QNAP TS-131K easily outperforms the Synology DS120j, which twice the memory available and over double the power and cores in terms of CPU. The rest are either too low in power to make an impact (providing a poor user experience of what DSM and QTS have to offer) or are too close in price to the recommended 1 bay previously mentioned to make them a viable alternative at this price point.

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

Realtek RTD1296 4-Core 1.4Ghz CPU

1GB DDR4 Memory

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Realtek RTD1295 4-Core 1.4Ghz CPU

1GB DDR4 Memory

QNAP TS-131K NAS

Annapurna Labs, AL214, 4-core, 1.7GHz

1GB DDR4 Memory

Great CPU and Slick GUI =

Best Performance!


Good Internal Hardware =

Good Value Speed Option


Great internal and External Hardware =

Good Performance!

 

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Ports and Connections

Unsurprisingly, when a NAS is designed to hold just a single Hard Drive or Solid State Drive, the manufacturer will often not go overboard on the connectivity. This is because the media inside will already be at a severe bottleneck of jsut being a single drive that is being read/written to at any time. Bigger NAS units that feature RAID will be able to use multiple drives being accessed at once to channel great speeds, so manufacturers will add more connectivity. Sadly for the 1-Bay NAS, this is just not profitable or useful. So, you will see that ALL 1-Bay NAS will have a single RJ45 LAN port. However, after that, there are a few differences between NAS drive makers and how they approach connectivity on this micro-scale.  For a start, the more expensive 1-Bay NAS devices, like the Synology DS118 and TS-131K arrive with USB 3.0 Ports and even 1-touch copy buttons in the case of the QNAP NAS. Although the USB 3.0 on these more expensive devices may seem like a bit of a ‘meh’ factor compared with the USB 2.0 on the cheaper DS120j and TS-230, as these 1-Bays do not have RAID, they will only have 2 ways to backup. Either using a 3rd party clouds (discussing later in the software and features section) or only a connected USB Drive. If you choose the latter, you will DEFINITELY see a difference in backup times when using a USB 3.0 Drive in a USB 3.0 Port, compared with that of USB 2.0.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

QNAP TS-131K NAS

3x USB 3.1, SD Card, 1 Touch Copy, 1Gbe, Lockable Tray

QNAP TS-130 NAS

1x USB 3.1, 1x USB 2.0, 1Gbe

Synology DS118 NAS

1Gbe & USB 3.1 – Good Software Connectivity

Good Selection of Connectivity =

Most Adaptive 1-Bay!

Good, petite and connectible =

Good all rounder!


More Focused on Software Connectivity =

Beginner Choice


Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Upgrades and Expansions

Sadly, even though this is a single Bay NAS system, very few of them can actually be expanded. This is normally because connecting a NAS expansion is more than just connecting a USB drive and in most cases, the user will want to expand the storage pool of the NAS to include the extra drives in an expansion into a RAID pool. The issue is that the CPU found in most 1-Bay NAS is just not strong enough to do this (or more likely low memory amounts). There is also the slight suspicion that some brands do this to ensure buyers go for a 2/4 Bay device instead, but that is never certain. Currently, none of the Synology 1-Bays can be expanded (DS119j, DS120j and DS118), but the QNAP TS-130 and TS-131K can have their storage increased by connecting the 2-Bay TR-002 and 4-Bay TR-004 NAS Expansions devices. This is because these devices are HARDWARE RAID enclosures and the handling of the RAID is done by the expansion, not the NAS. However, as you would expect, these cannot really be used the expand an existing storage pool/volume and merely bolt on additional storage areas for use inside the QNAP NAS system.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

QNAP TS-131K NAS

3x USB forTR-002/TR-004 Expansion, Supports the QNAP 5Gbe to USB Adapter

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Can connect the TR-002 and TR-004 Expansion, but cannot spread the RAID pool/volume

Synology DS118 NAS

No Official Expandability but uses USB Storage as external drive Storage

Can be upgraded and expanded

in a number of ways =

Most Future Proof!

Lightly Expandability =

Good Affordable Pick

Functional and Can have Storage bolt ons =

Good Value


Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Noise and Power Use

Of course, one of the reasons people buy 1-Bay NAS drives is because they consume considerably less power than the majority of NAS devices (down to the single SATA bay and more value series internal hardware), as well as being a great deal quieter than most other NAS drives and having a considerably smaller hardware footprint on your environment. Pretty much all of 1 Bay NAS servers from QNAP and Synology have low power consumption in both access and in standby, as well as having alow noise levels. However, it will not surprise you to know that as you scale up through the prices, the power consumed and the noise generated also go up, as the hardware inside and out is going to be a little more rugged and a little more capable, so this results in a growth in heat, noise and power consumption – all of which are still incredibly low compared with bigger 2/4/6/8 Bay devices, but still do scale appropriately, with the DS119j and DS120j at the bottom end, and the DS118, TS-130 and TS-131K at the top.

1ST 2ND 3RD

QNAP TS-130 NAS

7.06 W (Live Access)
2.9 W (Hibernation)

15.7 dB(A) Noise Level

 

Synology DS120j NAS

9.81 W (Live Access)
4.68 W (Hibernation)

16.9 dB(A) Noise Level

Synology DS118 NAS

9.4 W (Live Access)
4.22 W (Hibernation)

16.7 dB(A) Noise Level

Lowest Power Used and Noise Generated=

Best Choice in this area!

Very Low Environmental Impact=

Good Performance

Good Power at a Low Impact, higher price =

Best Performance Choice


Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Features and Software

Because of the hardware being rather modest inside the single media bay NAS drives, you will expect them to arrive with a more streamlined version of the DSM and QTS software on board. That said, although the DS119j, DS120j, TS-230 and TS-112P all arrive with more scaled-down versions of the hardware, they can still support backups, 3rd party cloud sync, media tools like Photo Station, Music Station and File Station, as well as a few of the Surveillance tools in Surveillance Station and QVR Elite. However, in the more powerful(and expensive) DS118 and TS-131K, you find that over 70% of the software and functionality from Synology and QNAP is available in DSM and QTS respectively. That means that you can use more cameras, use the storage snapshots, have more active users and can even install PLEX Media Server – though without transcoding and it will consume the bulk of the hardware available whilst in operation.

The speed of the 1-Bay NAS selection from QNAP and Synology is a difficult one. For a start, they ALL have 1Gbe LAN ports, so none of them can exceed 100-110MB/s upload and download speeds. However, the amount of system resources that are consumed by the device whilst read and write actions take place makes ALOT of difference, with the DS118 and TS-131K maxing out that 1Gbe connection at even busy file use, whilst the lesser NAS devices will either only hit as high as 70MB/s or so, OR can only hit 100MB/s if they use practically ALL their resources, or have perfect file environments to test with and SSDs inside – which is rare/unlikely. Finally, you can see that the range of 1-Bay devices all supports different numbers of maximum users ad folders. This is because then differing hardware will support a different depth of file and index structure, so the more powerful the NAS, the more files and folders it can support. Likewise, the number of active users (so, users connected at once) and created users (so, users total) will be lower if you have a smaller amount of memory or a less powerful CPU for multi-tasking. The DS118 arrives with a Realtek 64bit ARM 4 Core Processor and 1GB of DDR4 memory, so it is pretty much the strongest NAS here in this area.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

Synology Drive, Moments, Mail, Calendar, Hyper Backup, Chat, Office, Plex Media Server and more

QNAP TS-131K NAS

Photo, Video and Music Station, QuMagie, Hybrid BackupSync 3, Plex Media Server, Streaming Apps, Hybrid Mount and Cloud Apps

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Photo, Video and Music Station, Hybrid BackupSync 3, Streaming Apps and Cloud Apps

Great Apps and Fluid GUI =

Best Option for Mac/New NAS Users!


Good Selection of Apps, Great GUI=

Best for Android/Windows Users

Good Budget choice of Apps =

Affordable NAS App Entry Point

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Plex and Media Streaming

In terms of multimedia playback, any of these 1-Bay NAS drives from Synology or QNAP will support you as a DLNA media server device to share locally to your Smart TV, Amazon Firestick, Media Box, Home console and network sound system. However, after the initial confirmation, I am afraid things get a little murky. For a start, even without transcoding or Plex Media Server, all of these devices are designed with smaller streaming groups in mind, with the DS120j and DS119j supporting only 1 or 2 simultaneous streams with it’s low hardware. In fact, all of these one bays should not be considered if you are going to access media from more than about 3 devices at once, and especially if one or more of them are accessing the data over the internet. In terms of NATIVE transcoding (so when you are accessing media on the Synology/QNAP NAS using a client app for the viewing device from Synology/QNAP, only the DS118 and TS-230 will provide transcoding.

However, in terms of Plex Media Server, only the DS118, TS-230 and TS-131K will actually let you install Plex comfortably and run – even then WITHOUT transcoding and using a large % of the system memory and CPU whilst in operation. In short, none of the Synology or QNAP 1-Bay range should be considered for a stable Plex Media server, but if you are looking at native transcoding and network/internet streaming to several devices, then you should fix your sights on the QNAP TS-230, TS-131K and Synology DS118 only.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

1080p Transcoding Natively

4K Transcoding Natively

Plex Media Server NO TRANSCODING

QNAP TS-131K NAS

1080p Playback Natively

4K Playback Natively

Plex Media Server NO TRANSCODING

QNAP TS-130 NAS

1080p Playback Natively

Plex Media Server NO TRANSCODING

1080P and 4K Playback =

Best 1-Bay for Basic Plex and Native Transcoding!


Basic Plex Playback and DLNA Streaming =

Best for Budget NAS Streaming

Low end Multimedia Use =

Value choice for Multimedia Streaming

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Surveillance, NVR and CCTV

I am pleased to confirm that all of the 1-Bay NAS drives from Synology and QNAP arrive with support of their Surveillance Station platforms within DSM and QTS Respectively. However, the extent to which you can use this surveillance application will differ wildly. None of them can really be considered ideal solutions to show of the surveillance software that each brand provides with their operating systems, with the QNAP solution only supporting Surveillance Station and not QVR Pro, due to hardware limitations. All of these solutions arrive with 2 camera licences and often users will include considerations of CCTV and NVR use of a NAS to maximize the investment they have made in a NAS (alongside backups, media streaming, etc). You can generally consider a 1-Bay NAS to be used for upto 5 cameras comfortably. Although the Synology DS118 and QNAP TS-230 both state you can have 10+ cameras, you would need to be using pretty low resolution/FPS settings in order for the NAS to cope – ESPECIALLY if you plan on using the NAS Drive for other things whilst it is still working. This is both because of the modest CPUs in use, and MAINLY because of the maximum 1GB of memory available (with as little as 512MB in the DS120j and 256MB in the DS119j).

In short, if you are going to use the Synology or QNAP 1-Bay NAS for ONLY Surveillance/NVR use, then you can get away with the budget class DS120j and TS-230, but if you want a smoother surveillance experience, or plan on using this 1-Bay NAS for Surveillance AND other tasks, then you should look a little higher at the Synology DS118 and QNAP TS-230 NAS.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

Surveillance Station

Upto 15 Cameras

2 Licenses

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Surveillance Station/QVR Elite

Upto 10 Cameras

2 Licenses

Synology DS120j NAS

Surveillance Station

Upto 5 Cameras

2 Licenses

Good all round low-end CCTV Support =

Best 1-Bay for Surveillance Overall!


Suitable for a Small Office =

Discreet NVR Option for an Office

Small and Very Low Impact=

Best choice for a shop, home environment

 

 


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