QNAP Turbo Station TS-431 4-Bay SOHO NAS Review

Introduction


I loved what the QNAPs TS-x31 series sports right from the first time that I heard of it. It just sounded like the perfect SOHO device for people who want a lot of features, easy setup, simple maintenance and a reasonable price.

Today I’m taking a closer look at the QNAP TurboNAS TS-431 4-bay Personal Cloud Storage for Home and SOHO users. It features an ARM Cortex A9 1.2GHz dual-core processor that delivers performance enough for multitasking, creating your personal cloud for digital notes, and multimedia streaming via DLNA & AirPlay.

With the TS-431 you can build a private cloud-based notebook and share it with friends and colleagues with Notes Station and Qnotes mobile App. It allows you to easily organize and manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location and synchronize files between computers, laptops, tablets, phones and other devices. You can archive, manage, watch and share your media collections with the dedicated Photo Station, Video Station and Music Station apps as well as enjoy all these moments on the big screen via DLNA and AirPlay streaming.

That is all pretty much default for QNAP devices, just as the 24/7 surveillance center you can create for your home or small office. The CPU in the TS-431 also allows you to transcode videos offline and enjoy smooth video streaming even when your network connection or playback possibilities are restricted.

The Freescale ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU runs at 1.2GHz and gives the NAS a great performance ratio. It can provide transfer speeds up to 110MB/s reading and 80MB/s at writing. Maybe you need to increase your data safety to prevent unauthorized access to the files, well QNAP has that covered too with full NAS volume encryption with speeds of over 30MB/s with AES-256 bit.

The network connectivity on this device is safeguarded with dual Gigabit LAN and support for the latest 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi adapters. It further features three USB 3.0 ports and one eSATA for attaching high-speed external storage. The LAN ports support multiple port-trunking modes, allowing you to set up link aggregation to increase data transmission capabilities, as well as failover and dual IP for continuous system operation. The supported port-trunking modes include: Balance-rr (Round-Robin), Active Backup, Balance XOR, Broadcast, IEEE 802.3ad, Balance-tlb (Adaptive Transmit Load Balancing) and Balance-alb (Adaptive Load Balancing).

QNAPs operating system is better than ever and it keeps improving. The ‘intelligent’ desktop allows you to find the desired functions quickly and it allows you to create shortcuts of your choice for even quicker access. You can monitor the NAS’ vitals, install new function or change in your user setup with just a few clicks. Automated backup function can be set to kick in as soon as recognized devices are connected, creating backups to and from your drives and NAS, this includes rsync, QNAP’s NetBack Replicator and works equally well with Windows and Mac OS X Time Machine systems.

The new myQNAPcloud allows you to setup your NAS even easier and quicker than before. Just connect and power on the NAS and go to the URL from the sticker either manually or by scanning the QR-Code. Enter the key (partially whitened in the above image) and you’ll have your NAS setup in a couple of minutes, ready to use. Thumbs up to QNAP, the system works like a charm. You will of course need a network where the NAS gets it IP automatically and an internet connection. Don’t worry if you don’t, the old-fashioned way to initialize it works just as well as it always has.

The cross-platform file-sharing covers all sides with SMB/CIFS, NFS, and AFP protocols for sharing across Windows, Mac and Linux/UNIX. Data, logs and ISO image of CDs and DVDs can be centrally stored in the TS-431 and protected by an integrated antivirus solution. You can even manage your files via the internet by use of the File Station. It brings conventional desktop styled file operation to web browsers, allowing you to easily upload, download and manage your files no matter where you are, as long as you got a connection via LAN or the internet. It even supports file extraction, smart search as well as sharing specific files with friends and family via unique URLs.

One of the key aspects of this device is the capabilities for your private cloud. I’ve mentioned some functions above, but most of all it gives you a lot more space without a monthly cost. It also eliminates security concerns you might have by using public cloud services. The TS-431 is ready to establish a secure and large-capacity private cloud just for you and the myQNAPcloud service allows remote access without any tricky setups and router configurations.

Qnap Releases Three New Turbo NAS for SOHO and Home Users

QNAP have just announced the three latest models in their high quality NAS line-up, the brand new TS-x31 Home NAS series for personal cloud and a versatile multimedia experience. While this isn’t really that new and all their other devices also support this, the new line-up is specially designed for this and as such should do a greater job by being more efficient at these tasks.

Storing your data is one thing, all that takes is a hard disk and a file sharing protocol, it’s the rest of the features that set the different network attached storage devices apart. The relatively new ARM Cortex A9 CPU with floating point is simply perfect for NAS’ work loads like these. The built-in hardware encryption engine will further help to keep your data safe without having a heavy workload on the hardware and end up in turtle mode when transferring files. It’s also worth noting here that QNAP released a new firmware just a day earlier supporting full NAS encryption by volume-based technology.

The personal cloud system in these devices sounds really great and the Notes Station will be a useful feature for many. It allows you to easily create digital notes on your private cloud and share those with friends and colleagues at no extra cost. No need to have a subscription based cloud storage with these features. The devices also feature all the other function we know and love from Qnap, from the automatic download manager to the online photo album and media streaming via DLNA and AirPlay. There aren’t many scenarios that aren’t covered with the QTS operating system in your back.

The three new NAS devices also feature offline transcoding. So if you’re only able to connect to a slow, limited or restricted Internet connection, you can still enjoy smooth video streaming by playing a version of the video with a pre-rendered, optimized resolution. By setting an automatic transcoding folder, the NAS will automatically convert the videos in this folder to a range of resolutions for use on many different devices and internet speeds. As this transcoding works as a background task, you can schedule it to work during off-peak hours such as when you are at work or asleep.

Hardware wise, all three models are pretty much the same; they all have the same ARM Cortext A9 dual-core processor that runs on 1.2GHz and features the hardware encryption, they have 512 MB DDR3 RAM and a 512MB eMMC memory module for the operating system, all three models have three USB 3.0 ports and 1 eSATA external connections. The 1-bay model has one RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port where the 2 and 4-bay models have two each. There’s of course also the obligatory Kensington lock and a fan in each. The fan size depends on the model and are 50, 70 and 120 mm of size. All three models also support both 2.5 and 3.5-inch drives

Power consumption varies between the models as well. Hard drive standby modes variate from 6.26 to 14.82 watts and operation draw is between 13.31 and 33.75 watts depending on model. These figures are measured with 2 TB HDD’s loaded in the devices. Transfer speeds for all three models are 110 MB/s read and 80 MB/s write without encryption and between 30 and 39 MB/s with full AES 256-bit FULL NAS Volume Encryption. This is about double the encryption speed that previous dual-core Atom CPU’s could do.

The new three NAS devices should be available now, meaning they are on the way to the shops and should start to be listed within a few days. The current early listings can’t be fully trusted as the variate up to 100% on the price of the 4-bay model.

 Thank you Qnap for providing us with these information

Images courtesy of Qnap