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Qnap TS-228A Review

Home users and SOHOs looking to take their first steps on the road to network attached storage (NAS) and private clouds could find Qnap’s TS-228A the perfect partner. This sleek little desktop box has room for a pair of SATA hard disks of up to 10TB capacity and with a price tag that’s on the right side of $200, it’s eminently affordable

The TS-228A may be small but under its glossy white exterior beats a decent quad-core 1.4GHz Realtek RTD1295 64-bit CPU partnered by 1GB of non-expandable DDR4 memory. This is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the TS-228, which has a dual-core 1.1GHz Realtek 32-bit CPU and 1GB of slower DDR3 memory.

The port count includes a single Gigabit at the back and the USB 2 count has been doubled over the TS-228. The USB 3 port at the front teams up with the one-touch copy button above and the only other physical change is Qnap has removed the front mounted SD Card slot.

The TS-228A is promoted as a home entertainment portal and although Qnap offers a great choice of multimedia apps, the appliance doesn’t have an HDMI port. If you want this on your Qnap appliance we suggest the TS-251A but this does cost around $319.

Drive fitting and installation

Qnap’s Qsync Central app lets you build your own backup cloud

For testing, we grabbed a pair of 4TB Seagate NAS hard disks and found it fairly easy to fit them in the appliance. The cover is removed by undoing a single thumbscrew in the base which reveals a couple of metal trays inside.

The hard disks are slotted into each tray and pushed forward to mate with the combined SATA and power connectors at the back. Plastic retaining clips are fitted on each side to secure the drives but note their designation markers as they’re quite flimsy and it’s easy to fit them incorrectly.

A small blower fan unit is located under the motherboard and we found it extremely quiet. With the TS-228A sitting in our quiet room, we watched the SPLnFTT iOS app on our iPad record a mere 35dB from one meter in front making it the perfect partner for your lounge.

Network installation is nicely handled as the QFinder Pro app discovered the appliance and took us to its web interface where a wizard installed the latest QTS software, helped secure administrative access and enable network file services. It presents three volume options, all clearly explained, and we also chose a RAID1 mirror to ensure our data was safe in the event of a drive failure.

Great storage features

Data backup and recovery tools include a handy snapshot service

The QTS web console is easy to use and NAS shared folders are simple to create where we chose a name, set user access privileges and enabled features such as the network recycle bin. The TS-228A offers tough AES-256 folder encryption but you need to create new encrypted volumes first and then add folders inside these.

Snapshots are a great first-line data protection option as these take ‘point-in-time’ backups of volumes you’ve enabled them on and use very little space. You can run them manually or use the Snapshot Manager to schedule them to run as often as every five minutes.

If you accidentally delete a file, choose the snapshot that was taken just before this and you can browse them for the lost files and copy them back to their original location or download them to your PC. However, if you value your data you’ll want to take a second copy and store it elsewhere and the Hyper Backup Sync app can do that for you.

Its backup wizard helps create jobs to copy selected folders to a local location, a remote Qnap appliance or to the cloud for offsite storage. For the best cloud choices use sync jobs that can copy data to a wide range of cloud providers including OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive or Amazon Drive.

You can create your own private backup cloud using with the Qsync Central app. On our Windows 10 PCs, we linked the Qsync desktop app with the appliance and ran jobs for real-time file syncing between folder pairs – Qnap also provides iOS and Android apps for backing up data and photos on your mobile devices.

Surprising performance

The QTS software includes multimedia and streaming apps for music, photos and videos

In our experience, low-cost NAS boxes generally deliver a mediocre performance but the TS-228A proved to be one of the fastest it its class. For testing, we called up a Window 10 PC equipped with a 3.5GHz Core i7-5930K CPU and 16GB of DDR4 memory.

With a share mapped to the PC, we saw Iometer report impressive raw sequential read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 111MB/sec. It cruised through our real world tests with drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file averaging read and write rates of 112MB/sec and 110MB/sec.

Our backup test posed few problems with a 22.4GB folder containing 10,500 small files secured to the share at a speedy 82MB/sec. Encryption performance was equally good as copying our 25GB test file to a share on an encrypted volume averaged 104MB/sec with the appliance’s CPU clocked at 52% utilization.

The TS-228A also supports IP SANs and if you decide to use them you won’t be disappointed. With the PC logged on to a 500GB iSCSI target, we watched Iometer return top raw sequential speeds of 113MB/sec for both read and write operations.

Conclusion

There’s little to fault Qnap’s TS-228A on making it a great choice for home users and small offices that want an affordable NAS appliance for file sharing, backup duties and maybe a bit of entertainment. It’s very easy to install and offers plenty of software features plus a few surprises in the performance department as well.

9 Total Score

There’s little to fault Qnap’s TS-228A on making it a great choice for home users and small offices that want an affordable NAS appliance for file sharing, backup duties and maybe a bit of entertainment. It’s very easy to install and offers plenty of software features plus a few surprises in the performance department as well.

Performance
9.5
Features
7.5
Build quality
8
Usability
9
Value
9
PROS
  • Surprisingly good performance
  • Good value
  • Great for home backup
  • Plenty of cloud features
  • Whisper quiet
CONS
  • Plastic drive clips a bit flimsy
  • No HDMI port
User Rating: 5 (2 votes)

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