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Qnap TS-453B Review

Qnap’s TS-453B will take some beating for features as this little 4-bay desktop appliance is crammed to the gills with them. Along with great multimedia features, it offers plenty of business class capabilities and even has a spare PCI-Express expansion slot.

Powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Intel Celeron J3455 SoC (System on Chip), the TS-453B is offered with 4GB or 8GB of DDR3L memory and we have the latter on review. Costing $699 for a diskless model, it supports the latest 10TB SATA drives from Seagate and Western Digital so capacity won’t be an issue.

The appliance is clothed in a plastic chassis with smoky front panel and behind this lurks an OLED display providing plenty of system status information. Alongside are two capacitive touch buttons used to scroll through the various details.

The panel is easily removed to access the hot-swap plastic drive carriers. These are the tool-less variety and we had no problems slotting in a quartet of 10TB Seagate IronWolf drives for performance testing.

Hardware features and expansion

A peek round the back shows plenty of port-related goodness with dual Gigabit, four USB 3, dual 3.5mm audio-in and a 3.5mm audio-out. The J3455 Celeron has an integrated Intel 9th Gen HD Graphics 500 GPU piped through to dual HDMI ports for 4K H.264 video transcoding and playback.

At the front is another USB 3 port, an SD Card slot and Qnap’s USB QuickAccess port. The latter allows non-networked users to connect their laptop directly to the appliance and grab some files although you’ll need to source a cable with a Micro-B USB 3.0 connector at one end.

Qnap offers some interesting PCI-Express upgrade options including a dual-port USB 3.1 card, TP-Link wireless cards or a QM2 adapter which provides two actively cooled M.2 SATA SSD slots. For testing, we used Qnap’s top-of-the line QM2-2S10G1T card which cleverly combines dual M.2 SSD slots and a 10Gbase-T port.

Qnap’s appliances do support a wide range of industry standard 10GbE adapters but we recommend using Qnap’s own models for the TS-453B. This is because the appliance requires them to be fitted with a flat mounting bracket which most standard adapters don’t include.

QTS features galore

The QTS software provides plenty of multimedia features

To enable the multimedia features in Qnap’s QTS software, you install the HybridDesk Station app which activates the rear HDMI ports. With an HD TV attached, we could log in to the QTS local management interface and use the HD Player app to access our movies, music and photos.

The PhotoStation HD plug-in provides remote access to the Photo Station app where you can create slideshows accompanied by background music. The HybridDesk Station also presents a desktop on the attached TV with direct access to apps such Chrome and Firefox or YouTube and Facebook services.

Qnap puts forward a strong case for using the TS-453B in a small business environment. QTS provides plenty of data protection services including on-demand and scheduled snapshots for NAS volumes plus iSCSI LUNs partnered by simple recovery processes.

RRTR (real-time remote replication) offers one-way and two-way folder syncing with remote Qnap appliances while the slick Hybrid Backup app manages all your backup tasks. The TS-453B is a cloud in a box as the Qsync Central Station app provides remote real-time, two-way syncing with Windows and Mac clients while the Cloud Backup Sync app extends file syncing 11 cloud providers.

Good 10GbE performance

We tested the appliance with Qnap’s combined 10GbE and SSD caching expansion card

Hooking the appliance up to an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 Windows-powered rack server over 10GbE saw great NAS performance. A share mapped to the server delivered raw Iometer sequential read and write speeds of 5.4Gbits/sec and 3.5Gbits/sec.

Real world speeds were also fast with copies of a 25GB file returning average read and write speeds of 4.6Gbit/sec and 3.1Gbits/sec. Our backup test involves copying a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files to the share and this averaged a more modest 1.4Gbits/sec.

We then created a mirrored read/write SSD cache from the two M.2 SSDs and assigned it to the NAS share. Throughput using Iometer 4KB blocks without the cache was measured at 33,000 IOPS for read operations and 9,400 IOPS for writes and with the cache assigned, these jumped up to 38,000 IOPS and 14,000 IOPS.

We also tested cache efficacy for IP SANs and assigned it to a 500GB iSCSI target. Without caching, our test server reported read and write rates of 50,000 IOPS and 10,000 IOPS which the cache boosted to 55,000 IOPS and 15,000 IOPS.

The best of the rest

Qnap’s QIoT Suite Lite provides a quick start wizard for creating IoT

Opt for the 8GB model and you’ll easily be able to host other OSes on the TS-453B using Qnap’s slick Virtualization Station 3 app. We had no problems hosting a Windows Server 2016 VM and employed the Virtual Switch app to manage network access to it.

The updated Resource Monitor app provides a lot more information about system utilization and you can link up the appliance to the IFTTT (If This Then That) cloud service and use Qnap’s free agent to trigger actions based on a sequence of events. File management gets even easier as the Qfile app lets users remotely access files from their mobiles while the Qfiling app keeps them all neat and tidy.

Budding developers can call on Qnap’s QIoT Suite Lite app to create and test IoT applications for development boards connected to the NAS (don’t use Microsoft Edge as you’ll get service errors). And then there’s Qnap’s Surveillance Station which comes a very close second to Synology’s own version for features and IP camera support.

Conclusion

If you want a 4-bay desktop NAS appliance with every conceivable feature then look no further than Qnap’s TS-453B. It combines great storage capabilities with plenty of multimedia apps, Qnap offers a fine range of PCI-Express upgrade cards and the 8GB model we have on review is good value.

8.8 Total Score
New and Improved TS-453B

If you want a 4-bay desktop NAS appliance with every conceivable feature then look no further than Qnap’s TS-453B. It combines great storage capabilities with plenty of multimedia apps, Qnap offers a fine range of PCI-Express upgrade cards and the 8GB model we have on review is good value.

Performance
8.5
Features
9.5
Build Quality
8.5
Usability
9
Value
8.5
PROS
  • Feature packed QTS software
  • 10GbE and SSD cache upgrades
  • Integral Intel HD Graphics 500 GPU
  • Good 10GbE performance
  • Dual 4K HDMI ports
CONS
  • Expansion slot limited to Qnap adapters
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)
1 Comment
  1. Reply
    John October 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    great unit

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