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Qnap TVS-1282T3 Review

Qnap’s drive to be the go-to vendor for Thunderbolt-equipped NAS appliances shows no signs of slowing down. Designed for video producers that want it all, Qnap’s mighty TVS-1282T3 is the first to deliver not one, but four 40Gbits/sec Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) ports.

There’s more as the price includes Qnap’s LAN-10G2T-X550 PCIe card which augments the appliance’s quad Gigabit with dual 10GBase-T ports. Add in Qnap’s T2E (Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet) technology and you can allow devices such as Macbooks to access 10GbE speeds over their Thunderbolt ports without the need for expensive external network adapters.

As a standard NAS appliance, the TVS-1282T3 has a lot offer businesses with our review unit equipped with a speedy 3.4GHz Core i5-7500 CPU teamed up with 16GB of DDR4 memory expandable to 64GB. Qnap also offers models with a more powerful 3.6GHz Core i7-7700 CPU with either 32GB or 64GB of memory.

Storage choices look good too, as the appliance has eight LFF hot-swap drive bays for general data storage and four SFF bays which can be fitted with SSDs for a caching performance boost. It also has dual M.2 SATA SSD slots inside which can also be used for caching duties or with Qnap’s QTier feature which manages HDD, SFF SSD and M.2 SSD storage tiers and migrates data blocks across them based on usage.

Design and hardware features

The Network & Virtual Switch app allows you to create multiple virtual and physical network connections

The appliance is very well built with a solid steel chassis, drive carriers incorporating locking tabs and a backlit LCD status display across the front which can show the IP addresses of the network adapters and TB3 ports. It’s just as tidy inside with the CPU fitted with a chunky passive heatsink and serviced by two large blower fans, underneath which can be found the four DIMM and dual M.2 slots.

General drive and chassis cooling is handled by a further three fans at the rear and noise levels are surprisingly low with the SPLnFTT iOS app on our iPad recording only 37dB from one meter in front. The TB3 ports are provisioned with two dual-port PCIe cards fitted in the outer slots on the motherboard while the longer 10GbE card occupies the remaining inner slot.

The TVS-1282T3 offers a veritable port-fest as you get four USB 3 at the back, another at the front teamed up with Qnap’s One-Touch Copy button, 3.5mm audio-out and two 6.3mm Karaoke mike ports for entertaining your co-workers. The Core i5-7500 CPU has an integrated Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU which is piped through to no less than three rear HDMI ports for 4K H.264 video transcoding and playback.

Super 10GbE performance

The TVS-1282T3 supports the new Seagate IHM drive monitoring feature in QTS 4.3.5

For testing, we loaded up four 10TB Seagate IronWolf SATA drives and created a large 27.3TB RAID5 array. Hooking the appliance up to a Dell EMC PowerEdge T640 dual Xeon Scalable Windows 2016 tower server over 10GbE saw a superb NAS performance.

A share mapped to the server delivered raw Iometer sequential read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 9.1Gbits/sec. Real world speeds were also very fast with drag and drop copies of a 25GB file returning average read and write speeds of 5.1Gbit/sec and 4.6Gbits/sec.

Our backup test involves copying a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files to the share and this averaged an equally impressive 2.1Gbits/sec. Encryption performance for the Core i5-7550 is another winner with our 25GB test file copied to a share on an encrypted volume at an average of 3Gbits/sec.

The TVS-1282T3 delivers great IP SAN performance as well, with a 500GB target reporting Iometer read and write rates of 9.2Gbits/sec and 9.1GBits/sec. To test maximum speed, we created a dual 10GbE MPIO link to the target and saw a doubling in both read and write rates to 18.4Gbits/sec.

QTS 4.3.5 features

Virtualization features simply don’t get any better than this

After our performance tests, we upgraded the appliance to the QTS 4.3.5 public beta. This offers some interesting new features and the star player is the enhanced Network & Virtual Switch app.

It allows you to create software-defined networks for provisioning virtualized apps or containers and automatically creates a default bridge network connection for all four Thunderbolt ports. Basic and advanced modes are available for virtual switch configuration where you can select physical adapters and link them to virtual adapters on VMs.

We used the slick Virtualization Station to create a VM running the Windows Server 2019 preview edition and assigned its virtual adapter to one of the appliance’s 10GbE ports via the Network & Virtual Switch app. We also loaded up the Linux Station and Container Station apps and were able to assign them to dedicated virtual switches that were isolated from the rest of the network.

Other new features in QTS 4.3.5 include the smart Security Counselor app which scans the appliance, applies security policies and regularly checks your settings to keep your data safe from attack. Alerting gets a major update with the new Notification Center and the TVS-1282T3 fully supports Seagate’s IronWolf Health Management (IHM) allowing us to test our drives, view logs of the results, run daily read/write statistics analysis tasks and load historical graphs of drive usage over time.

Conclusion

Qnap’s TVS-1282T3 really is the NAS host with the most as the wealth of hardware features makes it extremely versatile. The quartet of Thunderbolt 3 ports bring Mac users firmly into the storage equation and the new Network & Virtual Switch app allows you to easily provision them with 10GbE network speeds.

It’s a fine choice for anyone involved in video production and editing as it has plenty of storage capacity to hand while the triple HDMI ports can be used for direct display of 4K video. With the diskless TVS-1282T3-i5-16G on review costing $2,929, it’s also comparatively good value and we found NAS and IP SAN performance over 10GbE to be impeccable.

7.5 Total Score

Qnap’s TVS-1282T3 really is the NAS host with the most as the wealth of hardware features makes it extremely versatile. The quartet of Thunderbolt 3 ports bring Mac users firmly into the storage equation and the new Network & Virtual Switch app allows you to easily provision them with 10GbE network speeds.

Performance
9
Features
9.5
Build quality
8.5
Usability
9
Value
9
PROS
  • Quad Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Dual 10GBase-T ports
  • Superb 10GbE performance
  • LFF and SFF drive bays
  • Triple 4K HDMI ports
CONS
  • No spare PCIe slots left
User Rating: 3.25 (4 votes)

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