QNAP TS-251 High-Performance 2-Bay Prosumer NAS Review

Introduction


QNAP created their TS-251 Turbo NAS as a great high-performance solution for home users as well as small and medium-sized offices, and today I’m taking a closer look at what it has to offer and how well it performs in our testing area.

The TS-251 provides a high performance and high-capacity storage solution thanks to a great combination of QNAP’s advanced QTS operating system and some great hardware. It is an easy-to-use yet powerful NAS for data backup, file synchronization, remote access, home entertainment, and it is also ideal for users to build a personal cloud where they can access their data easily and secure, outside of the prying eyes of strangers and commercial hosting solutions.

The QNAP TS-251 is built with an Intel Celeron 2.41GHz dual-core processor that has a burst speed up to 2.58GHz. It comes with two DDR3L memory slots and is available in two models, one with 1GB RAM and the one I’m taking a look at today with 4GB DDR3L RAM in two 2GB modules. The TS-251 has 512 DOM storage for the system itself and comes with two hot-swappable trays.

Users of the TS-251 Turbo NAS get two Intel-powered Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet ports that support trunking and link aggregation. There is one USB 3.0 port on the front together with the One-Touch copy button and another USB 3.0 on the rear. You will also find two USB 2.0 ports there. The rear USB 3.0 port is excellent for expanding the capacity of the NAS with up to 8 more drives, making this a great starter NAS that can be expanded at a later time, should you need it. QNAP has the UX-500P and UX-800P expansion units that respectively provide 5 and 8 extra drive bays. They connect to the NAS through a single USB 3.0 cable, making it real easy to set up. That effectively means that you can have up to 60TB raw storage with a complete set of 6TB drives and the TS-251.

The two USB 2.0 ports are perfect for USB printers, pen drives, and USB UPS connection as well as for keyboard and mouse when you’re using the HD Station. This is also where the HDMI port comes into play, as you can hook the TS-251 directly up to a monitor and use it for direct media playback of 1080p videos with 7.1 channel surround sound as well as run virtualization systems.

The powerful Intel x86 processor in the TS-251 can transcode Full HD videos on-the-fly as well as offline, allowing you to play them smoothly on both PCs and smart devices. It allows for up to 5 devices to simultaneously view different videos stored on the TS-251 with on-the-fly hardware accelerated transcoding. Even devices that lack the computing power or have limited file format support will have a great experience and it doesn’t require any complicated and time-consuming file conversions done by yourself.

You can easily stream to all your devices whether they are Smart TVs, PlayStation, or Xbox systems as well as Hi-Fi systems that support streaming. Mobile devices, both Android and iOS, are supported and so is Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google TV. Plex Media server is also included which is one of the most popular ways to manage streaming content.

For the perfect media experience, you might also want to invest in the optional media remote. The TS-251 features an IR receiver and works like a charm with the QNAP RM-IR002 remote control as well as MCE remote controls. You can also turn your mobile devices into remote controls by installing the Qremote app. All in all, you’re covered when it comes to media features on the TS-251.

You can easily turn the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS into your own personal cloud solution thanks the myQNAPcloud. It provides an always-connected infrastructure for everyone, and all without complicated setups and extra services such as static IPs, redirects, and DNS setups. A few simple steps to register your NAS and it’s ready.

Constant synchronization is a breeze with Qsync where any file uploaded to the TS-251 will be made available for all linked devices, such as computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Qsync is especially useful for frequent travelers in managing files and ensuring that different devices have the most up-to-date files with great flexibility.

The TS-251 also offers various data recovery options such as Real-Time Remote Replication (RTRR) for real-time and scheduled data backup to remote Turbo NAS or FTP servers as well as synchronization of files to remote folders from local folders. The rsync protocol is also supported and it is a very popular and simple method to backup data to remote servers on a scheduled basis. Commercial and public cloud services are also supported for both backup and restoration from providers such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, ElephantDrive, Dropbox, and Google Cloud Storage.

Local backup is just as important and in many cases it is the main reason that people invest in an NAS. The TS-251 can do that thanks to QNAP’s NetBak Replicator that supports real-time and scheduled data backup on Windows, including Outlook email archiving. Mac OS X users can use Apple Time Machine for effortless backup, and both types of users can use the USB 3.0 port and one-touch backup button on the front to backup that external storage to the NAS. A wide range of third-party backup software such as Acronis True Image and Symantec Backup Exec are also supported.

I’ve previously mentioned the direct usage functionality of the TS-251 thanks to the USB and HDMI ports, and that all comes together thanks to QNAP’s exclusive QvPC Technology. It allows you to use the NAS directly as a PC with direct access to stored data, the ability to run multiple applications using Windows/Linux/UNIX/Android-based VMs, surf the web on Google Chrome, or enjoy Full HD videos with up to 7.1 channel audio via Kodi.

The Virtualization Station is another feature we get thanks to the QvPC technology and it transforms the TS-251 into a virtualization platform supporting multiple operating systems, fast virtual machine creation, virtual machine import/export, snapshot, and that enables desktop operations on web browsers. With the easy-to-use interface, you can centrally manage all of the virtual machines created on the TS-251 with minimal effort. You can also download VMs on demand from online VM markets and import them to TS-251 without any complex procedure. This feature requires at least 2GB of RAM, so the 1GB model is out of the running here. Thankfully I’ve got the 4GB model here. As previously mentioned, you can also upgrade the memory in the TS-251 at any point with standard SO-DIMM DDR3 modules.

The TS-251 can also be used as Surveillance Station and you can monitor this directly via the HDMI output in real-time with local display, and much more. Surveillance Station offers a professional surveillance solution with a user-friendly management interface, over 2,600 compatible IP cameras, and expandable IP camera channel licenses. Next to real-time monitoring it also supports video and audio recording as well as playback with a wide range of customizable settings. There are also Android and iOS apps available for this.

Downloading files can also be done directly by the NAS thanks to the download center. The new and improved Download center in QTS 4.2 means that the old QGet tool isn’t needed anymore and QNAP has ceased the support for this. The Download Station can download BT, Magnet, PT (Private Trackers), eMule, FTP, and HTTP, and all without the need to have a PC running. You can also install HappyGet app to back up abundant online videos to your TS-251.

QNAP NAS’ offer so much, it is tough to mention it all. In short, it does pretty much everything. There are a few things more worth highlighting such as the Signage Station that lets you creatively present your animated content such as personal animated resumes or life memory books. You get the Notes Station that gives you a private and secure way to share and collaborate on digital notes and Qsirch is probably the most efficient way to search for content on your NAS, it’s quick and effective, and it searches your content intelligently.

You also get the Photo Station and Music Station that help you share the photos and media you want while keeping other things private and limit the availability. Connect and stream internet radio, favorite songs from iTunes server and much more. The TS-251 can do it all.

Packaging and Accessories

The front of the packaging displays the NAS unit itself and the area of operation, in this case, High-Performance Home users and Small offices. Some of the main features are also presented right on the front and it is an overall great looking design. It’s simple, but not boring.

A personal cloud setup is getting more and more relevant as we are getting used to being connected everywhere we go. The rear of the box displays that and shows some of the ways that you can utilize that.

The two sides provide even more information, without being too cluttered. Overall a great package design from QNAP on the TS-251; I like it.

Inside the box, you’ll find a power supply and power cable from the region where it was bought, in this case, a UK power cable. There are two LAN cables so you can use both LAN ports right away as well as screws for 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. Two small manuals help you getting started, setting it up and connecting it for the first time.

QNAP Releases Official QTS 4.2 Version

QNAP started the beta version of their QTS 4.2 operating system a little while ago and it was very successful as well as received with positive feedback from users all around. Now the official version of QNAP’s QTS 4.2 has been released and I can say first hand, it is great. QTS 4.2 doesn’t just feature a refreshed user interface with a flat design, frameless media viewer and a general better browsing experience, it also comes with a row of new features and improvements.

A refined multimedia experience is provided thanks to the multi-zone multimedia controls that allow users to centrally manage media via various streaming protocols and services. The Photo Station got a major UI overhaul too while the HD Station got more useful apps with multilingual and multi-tasking support. The File Station adds remote connections to public cloud services and also shared folders from a remote NAS. myQNAPcloud provides a new dashboard for users to centrally manage multiple NAS with stronger security mechanisms such as myQNAPcloud ID control and SSL certificates.

The Storage Manager adds a snapshot tool for volume/LUN backup and restoration. Several enhancements are included to improve business efficiency and performance such as SSD cache acceleration, QJBOD (JBOD enclosure roaming), cloud sync support for Google Drive and Dropbox. QTS 4.2 also introduces an industry-leading hybrid virtualization solution allowing users to run complete OS VMs with Virtualization Station and lightweight virtualization with Container Station that supports both LXC and Docker. Fewer restrictions and more options are both things we all appreciate. QNAP also added several security mechanisms to ensure data security, including 2-step verification, shared folder encryption, instant notifications to mobile devices, and VPN server with L2TP/IPsec support.

As a storage reviewed it also happens that I’m currently reviewing a QNAP NAS and had the chance to try the new QTS 4.2 myself in its final version, and it is great. It will take you about 2 minutes to get used to the new look after which you’ll love it.

Compatible QNAP models:

  • 24-bay: SS-EC2479U-SAS-RP, TS-EC2480U-RP, TVS-EC2480U-SAS-RP
  • 18-bay: SS-EC1879U-SAS-RP
  • 16-bay: TVS-EC1680U-SAS-RP, TS-EC1680U-RP, TS-EC1679U-SAS-RP, TS-EC1679U-RP, TS-1679U-RP
  • 15-bay: TVS-EC1580MU-SAS-RP
  • 12-bay: SS-EC1279U-SAS-RP, TVS-EC1280U-SAS-RP, TVS-1271U-RP, TS-EC1280U-RP, TS-EC1279U-SAS-RP, TS-EC1279U-RP, TS-1279U-RP, TS-1270U-RP, TS-1269U-RP, TS-1253U-RP, TS-1253U, TS-1263U-RP, TS-1263U
  • 10-bay: TS-1079 Pro, TVS-EC1080+, TVS-EC1080, TS-EC1080 Pro
  • 8-bay: TVS-EC880, TVS-871U-RP, TVS-871, TVS-870, TVS-863+, TVS-863, TS-EC880U-RP, TS-EC880 Pro, TS-EC879U-RP, TS-879U-RP, TS-879 Pro, TS-870U-RP, TS-870 Pro, TS-870, TS-869U-RP, TS-869L, TS-869 Pro, TS-859U-RP+, TS-859U-RP, TS-859 Pro+, TS-859 Pro, TS-853U-RP, TS-853U, TS-853S Pro, TS-853 Pro, TS-851, SS-839 Pro, TVS-871T, TS-863U-RP, TS-863U
  • 6-bay: TVS-671, TVS-670, TVS-663, TS-670 Pro, TS-670, TS-669L, TS-669 Pro, TS-659 Pro+, TS-659 Pro II, TS-659 Pro, TS-653 Pro, TS-651, TS-639 Pro
  • 5-bay: TS-569L, TS-569 Pro, TS-563, TS-559 Pro+, TS-559 Pro II, TS-559 Pro
  • 4-bay: TVS-471U-RP, TVS-471U, TVS-471, TVS-470, TVS-463, TS-470U-SP, TS-470U-RP, TS-470 Pro, TS-470, TS-469U-SP, TS-469U-RP, TS-469L, TS-469 Pro, TS-459U-RP+/SP+, TS-459U-RP/SP, TS-459 Pro+, TS-459 Pro II, TS-459 Pro, TS-453U-RP, TS-453U, TS-453S Pro, TS-453mini, TS-453 Pro, TS-451U, TS-451S, TS-451, TS-439U-RP/SP, TS-439 Pro II+, TS-439 Pro II, TS-439 Pro, TS-431U, TS-431+, TS-431, TS-421U, TS-421, TS-420U, TS-420-D, TS-420, TS-419U+, TS-419U II, TS-419U, TS-419P+, TS-419P II, TS-419P, TS-412U, TS-412, TS-410U, TS-410, SS-439 Pro, IS-400 Pro, TS-463U-RP, TS-463U
  • 2-bay: TS-269L, TS-269H, TS-269 Pro, TS-259 Pro+, TS-259 Pro, TS-253 Pro, TS-251C, TS-251, TS-239H, TS-239 Pro II+, TS-239 Pro II, TS-239 Pro, TS-231+, TS-231, TS-221, TS-220, TS-219P+, TS-219P II, TS-219P, TS-219, TS-212P, TS-212-E, TS-212, TS-210, HS-251, HS-210
  • 1-bay: TS-131, TS-121, TS-120, TS-119P+, TS-119P II, TS-119, TS-112P, TS-112, TS-110

QNAP Launches AMD-Powered TS-x63U Series Rackmount NAS

QNAP announced a new NAS series and this time it is built around an AMD G-Series quad-core processor, the TS-x63U Turbo NAS. These new NAS units come as 4-bay, 8-bay, and 12-bay version and can be had with single or redundant power supplies. I for one love this and am pleased to see more NAS units being built around an AMD chip, something that can be highly beneficial for many people. The new TS-x63U NAS units feature four normal Gigabit Ethernet connections as well as a single-port SFP+ network adapter that provides 10 GbE connectivity for that extra speed.

The CPU used is a 64-bit AMD Embedded G-Series quad-core 2.0GHz SoC processor and the units come with 4GB DDR3L RAM pre-installed, but you can upgrade that to 16GB if it shouldn’t be enough for your needs. The NAS units also feature AES-NI hardware encryption engine that allows unmatched sequential read performance that exceeds 780MB/s with AES 256-bit full NAS volume encryption. Without encryption, the units can perform with up to 1090MB/s sequential throughput.

The TS-X63U Turbo NAS units run the latest QTS 4.2 operating system and they’re also able to run multiple applications on Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android-based virtual machines. You can operate multiple isolated Linux systems on the NAS as well as download apps from the built-in Docker Hub Registry by using the Container Station which integrates LXC and Docker lightweight virtualisation technologies. They also allow you to simplify virtual storage management for VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix virtualization solutions.

You can also expand the units with QNAP’s 12-bay and 8-bay expansion units and add up to 24 extra drive bays on top of the ones already built-in. The new NAS units should be available as of now, so all that’s left is to pick the one that suits your needs the best.

Redundant power supply:

  • TS-463U-RP:4-bay rackmount model
  • TS-863U-RP:8-bay rackmount model
  • TS-1263U-RP:12-bay rackmount model

Single power supply:

  • TS-463U:4-bay rackmount model
  • TS-863U:8-bay rackmount model
  • TS-1263U:12-bay rackmount model

QNAP Turbo NAS TS-453 Pro 4-Bay Enthusiast and SMB NAS Review

Introduction


Today I’m taking a look at one of QNAP’s bestsellers, the TurboStation TS-453 Pro NAS. The TS-453 Pro isn’t just an ordinary NAS and it is one that can carry the Pro label with pride. It is a powerful, reliable and scalable NAS for SMBs and power users alike.

Built around the Intel Celeron 2.0GHz quad-core processor with a burst speed of up to 2.41GHz, we know that the TS453 Pro won’t limit it on the CPU side. There is plenty of performance at its disposal to run a lot of simultaneous apps, features and functions without the risk of slow-downs or bottlenecks.

RAM wise QNAP offers two versions, the standard one with 2GB that should be sufficient for most users but also a model that comes factory equipped with 8GB RAM in two 4GB modules and that is the one that I’m having a look at today. Users can also upgrade and switch memory modules themselves and it’s as simple as sliding the top cover off.

QNAP built the TS-453 Pro with an internal power supply, a thing that has ups and down depending on how you look at it. The internal PSU allows for better distribution of the power as well as run optimized with better efficiency, whereas the external power brick seen in other devices helps when something breaks since you can replace it with a universal brick that has the right power output from your local electronics store. Since we’re dealing with a pro model from QNAP, you shouldn’t expect any failures here, but it’s still something to consider when purchasing your network storage.

Since we’re dealing with a pro model from QNAP, you shouldn’t expect any failures here, but it’s still something to consider when purchasing your network storage.

Quad-Gigabit Ethernet allows you to set up both fast and redundant connections, connect the NAS to multiple subnets at the same time, or use some of them for virtual servers. Two USB 2.0 and three USB 3.0 ports allow you to connect external storage just as peripherals like keyboard and mouse when using it at an HTPC.

You can easily expand the storage capacity when your needs grow with the UX-800P and UX-500P external enclosures. They can provide a lot more capacity with additional 8 and 5 drive bays respectively.

Thanks to the HDMI port and the ability to connect mouse and keyboard to the device as well as QNAPs awesome QvPC technology, this unit doesn’t just work as an NAS. It also allows you to to run any system from Android to Windows via the Virtualization system and use it directly as HTPC with built-in apps such as Kodi, XMBC, and Browsers.

A relative new feature on QNAP’s NAS devices is the myQNAPcloud quick setup that allows you to set up your new device in a much more convenient way. It requires the device to be connected, but other than that you just need to either scan the QR-Code or navigate to the mentioned URL in and enter your code manually. Follow a few steps and enter your details and the system is ready to use.

There’s also a sticker on the top that will help you identify what drive bay is which so you easier know what bay the operating system is referring too. This and the quick-setup are both things that you primarily need when first connecting it, so you can remove the stickers once done – or leave them for later convenience.

Security is always an important factor to consider, after all the device will store all your precious data. QNAP added locks to all four drive bays to prevent sticky fingers from running away with the drives thanks to them being so easily swappable and you find an option for a Kensington Lock on the rear of the unit.

The TS-453 Pro provides numerous security options, such as encrypted access, IP blocking, and more. It has also been validated with military-level FIPS 140-2 AES 256-bit encryption so people won’t be able to access your actual data even though they should get hands on your drives. Antivirus is also part of the deal so you don’t get nasty small buggers nesting in your data.

Intrusion and theft are just one part of security, but QNAP has it all covered. You find plenty of options for local and remote backup of your files, both privately and to the public cloud. You can also synchronize and backup your files across all sorts of platforms, from smartphones to workstations and servers.

The display on the front allows you to easily get an overview of the device’s status, temperatures, fan speeds and important information such as network settings and configurations.

The units weight is about 4 kilo and that will make it stand great and secure on the 4 large feet that are fitted with rubber to absorb additional vibrations from either side.

A pro-model also requires great drive trays, and QNAP doesn’t disappoint here either. The four drive trays are made from solid steel with a plastic front. They are individually lockable for added security and to prevent you from accidentally ejecting them. the latches have no spring inside as sometimes seen on drive trays, but whether that’s a good or bad thing is really down to everyone’s personal taste.

Included in the package is everything you need to get started. The proper power cable for your geographical location, two LAN cables, two keys for the drive bays, and 16 screws to mount either 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. There’s also a small ‘getting started’ guide to help you get going with everything and if it should be your first NAS.

The QvPC technology previously mentioned allows you to use your NAS as much more than just a central storage location, you can run virtual systems such as Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android, directly access all aspects of your NAS’ configuration, use it as a HTPC to watch movies, stream music, and surf the internet.

The Hybrid Station makes it all possible and you’ll get familiar interfaces from Firefox and Chrome, over XMBC to YouTube and Spotify. You can also monitor your security cameras in live feeds and connect your IoT devices.

This unit is so much more than NAS, it’s something that has to be experienced first hand to fully grasp the amount of possibilities you have.

Next to all these advanced functions, QNAP’s TS-453 Pro also covers all the basic functions such as FTP, Web, Radius, VPN, and Print servers, but also real-time and offline HD file transcoding and you can control the HybridDesk Station with the optional remote control. Streaming to media players and devices is also supported and so much more. It’s hard to cover every single aspect of such a unit.

It’s hard to cover every single aspect of such a unit, you can keep exploring new apps and find new uses for it for months.

QNAP Introduces TS-451S 4-Bay NAS for High-Performance 2.5″ SSDs

Speed, speed, speed. Everybody wants speed and that includes QNAP’s users. The company listened to their customers feedback and created the TS-451S Turbo NAS, a 4-bay NAS that is optimized for high-capacity 2.5-inch SSD drives. The new NAS is built around the Celeron 2.41GHz processor and has 4GB DDR memory.

To avoid confusion in product labels, QNAP are renaming the current SS-x53 Pro series into SS-x53S Pro to assist users in quickly recognizing different options in the same product category. Compared to the 3.5″-drive-designed TS-453 Pro, the TS-453S Pro provides a more affordable price, takes up half the physical space, and when exclusively using SSDs delivers 4,000+ IOPS (random read/write) at the equivalent total cost of a non-SSD NAS.

“Users can enjoy numerous benefits when using SSDs in a Turbo NAS, including a smaller physical size to host at least 4 SSDs, higher-density storage capacity, RAID 5 configuration for data protection, quieter system operations, a home theater multimedia experience with the HD Station, and the exclusive QvPC Technology that allows the Turbo NAS to be used as a PC,” said Jason Hsu, product manager of QNAP. “The TS-x53S Pro series can also work silently and reliably with 2.5″ hard drives as well”.

While there isn’t a product page for the new TS-451S NAS yet, we do get some information from the photos provided. It appears that  it has dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual HDMI or HDMI and DisplayPort, two USB 3 ports and 3.5mm audio jacks. It has easy accessible memory slots so you just have to open the cover to upgrade. No need to take out the PCB as so often needed in the past.

The TS-451S is being distributed to worldwide sales channels immediately and should be available for end users within a month.

Thanks to QNAP for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of QNAP