QNAP TS-453 Pro-8G NAS Review

QNAP is a key player in the network-attached storage market. A while ago, the company introduced its TS-x53 line. Unlike the TS-x51, which centers around Intel’s dual-core Celeron J1800 CPU, the TS-x53 line utilizes the J1900 with four cores. The more powerful host processor is also equipped with 2MB of L2 cache, whereas the J1800 only has 1MB. In order to maintain a reasonable TDP, the J1900 operates at a lower clock rate. Still, the two additional cores offer better performance overall.

The TS-453 Pro-8G we're evaluating today comes with not only with a quad-core CPU, but also 8GB of DDR3 RAM. That gives it a huge advantage over other NAS servers equipped with 2 or 4GB.

Without a doubt, the major advantage of QNAP products is their QTS operating system, which is based on Linux and offers an intuitive, yet powerful interface that allows even inexperienced users to fully exploit the capabilities of the server. In addition, the TS-453 Pro supports the QNAP virtualized Personal Computer (QvPC) technology, which transforms the NAS into a fully usable PC. If you plug a monitor into the available HDMI port, along with a keyboard and mouse, you can operate the NAS through its "HybridDesk Station" application. In addition, QvPC features include Virtual Machine (VM) integration, multimedia transcoding, cloud integration and various other NAS connection technologies.

Obviously, network-attached storage isn't the best way to describe devices like the TS-453 Pro nowadays, since these servers provide much more functionality than simply adding networked storage space. For years now, companies like QNAP have equipped their NAS products with tons of features. Today, there is almost nothing that a modern NAS cannot do, at least as far as networking functions go.

The TS-453 Pro-8G's increased memory capacity, along with native support for Intel’s Virtualization Technology (VT-x), makes it ideal for QNAP’s Virtualization Station, through which the unit is transformed to a virtual platform supporting multiple operating systems. Another interesting feature that home users will likely appreciate is the server's HD video transcoding capability, which even covers 4K content.

Finally, the TS-453 Pro is compatible with QNAP's UX-800P and UX-500P expansion enclosures, which allow a total of 12 and nine HDDs, respectively (NAS + enclosure disks combined). 

Technical Specifications

Processor
Intel Celeron J1900, 2GHz, Quad-core, Maximum Turbo Boost: 2.41GHz
Operating System
Embedded Linux
Memory
8GB DDR3
Storage
4x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6Gb/s
RAID Levels
Single-disk, JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 5 + hot spare, 6, 10
Capacity
Up to 24TB (disks not included)
iSCSI
Target and initiator
Hot-Swap
4x
Networking
4x 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
Additional I/O
3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI
Dimensions
177(H) x 180(W) x 235(D) mm
6.97(H) x 7.09(W) x 9.25(D) inch
Weight
3.65kg
Power Consumption
S3 sleep: 0.8W
Hard drive standby: 20.71W
In operation: 33.13W (with 4 x 1TB HDDs installed)
Power Supply
Internal (DPS-250AB), 120W, 100-240V
Cooling
1x 120mm (FD121225LB)
Warranty
Two years
Price (at the time of review)
$863

Again, the TS-453 uses an Intel Bay Trail-D-based Celeron J1900 with four cores and 2MB of L2 cache. The base clock rate is 2GHz, though Turbo Boost can take lightly threaded workloads up to 2.41GHz. A low 10W TDP makes passive cooling possible, which helps reduce noise and increase reliability by minimizing the number of components with moving parts. The J1900 is manufactured using 22nm lithography, and contrary to the Rangeley CPU family that other NAS manufacturers leverage, it doesn’t support AES-NI.

The normal TS-453 Pro comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, while the TS-453 Pro-8G model includes 8GB to improve performance in intense usage scenarios. As far as storage goes, the unit can take up to four hard drives, so if you use 6TB disks, that's up to 24TB before formatting. All popular RAID configurations are supported, along with iSCSI. Briefly, that's a storage area network service enabling access to consolidated block-level data storage. To put this as simply as possible, iSCSI lets you "see" a remote storage location as a local one through your workstation, which makes expanding any system's storage space a simple task.

In the networking section, we get four GbE ports. Other I/O includes three USB 3.0 ports, one of which is located conveniently on the front of the NAS; two USB 2.0 ports; and an HDMI output. The only significant omission is eSATA, though you can achieve external expansion just as easily through USB 3.0.

The NAS' dimensions are defined by the amount of space that the four hard drives take up. It's a compact enough unit, considering that the TS-453 Pro uses a fairly beefy internal Delta PSU, and not an external brick. Cooling is handled by one 120mm ball-bearing fan. It should be a reliable unit, not just because of its bearings, but also due to the low rotational speeds QNAP uses.

Although the almost-$1000 price tag looks intimidating, remember that this is an SMB-oriented NAS, so it's intended for customers who prioritize performance and reliability over cost. A NAS appliance typically operates continuously; under those conditions, two years of use exceed the normal utilization of a typical PC.

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22 comments
    Your comment
  • blackmagnum
    Don't leave your old PCs sitting around go to waste... make a NAS box today!
  • elbutchos
    I know it is not supposed to support 16GB RAM but please guys bust this myth.
    Thank you in advance.
  • Aris_Mp
    This is not the NAS mainboard's fault but the CPU cannot support more than 8 GB of RAM.

    Check here: http://ark.intel.com/products/78867/Intel-Celeron-Processor-J1900-2M-Cache-up-to-2_42-GHz
  • coolgus
    Cool review, lots of info to process!!
  • milkod2001
    Any chance you guys could review: Zyxel NAS540

    I'd love to see how above reviewed product stands against €226 Zyxel NAS540.

    @blackmagnum old computers usually have old big inefficient CPU(overkill for NAS), sitting in big old, ugly,dusty case.

    For NAS you want something small, efficient, cool & quite. It's better to sell old PC and get NAS ready to go solution or build your own from scratch.
  • nekromobo
    Could you please test the Ts-453 or ts-451 with all SSD's array? Or just try the 3x HDD + 1 SSD cache acceleration disk and add results. Im really thinking of buying a SSD cache disk for my Qnap but can't decide. Also recommend what SSD to buy for? I hear SSD would need DZAT, not sure if Intal or Samsung supports that. Please investigate!
  • Aris_Mp
    In the next reviews I will do this (use a single SSD as cache). However I don't know if any of my next NAS reviews will be posted here.
  • Rookie_MIB
    I have a mobo with one of the J1900 chips (ASRock Q1900M) and it's a surprisingly capable little chip. Since it has a few PCI-e slots I'm tempted to turn it into a NAS with some SATA adapters.

    Slap in FreeNAS or just a good Linux distro w/raid and it'd be good to go.
  • Eggz
    Why are these expensive NAS boxes still on 1 Gbps interfaces? That's such an old standard! Aren't there 10 Gbps solutions in a similar form factor? I am pretty certain I recall seeing some small 10 Gbps NAS solutions that would be much faster, and I think someone would be able to make one for less money than this.
  • ykki
    Wouldn't AMD's AM1 platform be better?
  • firefoxx04
    less than 100MB/s to a single client really? Most 1gigabit interfaces can do 120MB/s.. at least mine do and they are nothing special.
  • Aris_Mp
    it depends on the files you transfer. Also the charts don't depict the peak speed but the average through the entire transfer.
  • toadhammer
    Quote:
    Why are these expensive NAS boxes still on 1 Gbps interfaces?


    10Gbps is still expensive. If you want your whole network 10Gb, I don't think I've seen a "small" hub with less than 8 ports or less than $250. I suppose you could get a 1GB switch that happened to have a single 10Gb port for switch-to-switch uplink, but then you are talking about bigger switches (24 port) and it's still several hundred bucks.

    Not that you couldn't put all this together at bargain basement prices, but then you are building a 10Gb network architecture around a dinky 4 disk NAS. No business would be likely to do that....they'd be paying for a larger NAS and a fatter pipe.
  • the3kgt2
    Quote:
    Don't leave your old PCs sitting around go to waste... make a NAS box today!


    Electricity is very expensive. Power usage will make your custom NAS end up costing way more than a device like this. I had a custom Linux fileserver as our main storage server and a custom HTPC acting as both a media server and player. I tweaked all power savings settings as much as possible, yet combined they were eating 200watts idle, nearly 400w under full load. I just replaced both systems with a TS-451 and my lower electricity bill will pay for this thing within a couple months. The Kodi application via the built-in HDMI is flawless and plays anything I throw at it. A Windows VM in QTS runs Media Center Master, HDHomerun with WMC, etc. The built-in QNAP apps run my websites and e-mail servers. It's mind blowing how powerful this tiny thing is and how obsolete it makes dedicated servers at home.
  • Giannis Karagiannis
    Very comprehensive review!

    J1900 seems just perfect for a NAS in this category. Solid performance combined with very low power.
  • stevenrix
    <I> As far as storage goes, the unit can take up to four hard drives, so if you use 6TB disks, that's up to 24TB before formatting </I>
    Yeah right, a dummy would take the risk to run in a RAID 0 configuration, then he loses 1 drive and he loses all his data.
    Most likely the guy will be on RAID 5, he will lost 1 drive or RAID 10 and loses 2 drives, so the real maximum capacity is 18TB in RAID5 or 12TB in RAID10.
  • Tolek
    Quote:
    I know it is not supposed to support 16GB RAM but please guys bust this myth. Thank you in advance.

    Is working perfectly with 16GB or RAM :)
  • ykki
    1934426 said:
    my best friend's step-aunt makes $82 hourly on the computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her payment was $18632 just working on the computer for a few hours. pop over to this web-site, w­­­w­­­w­­­.­­­w­­­o­­­r­­­k­­­-­­­r­­­e­­­v­­­i­­­e­­­w­­­s­­­.­­­c­­­o­­­m


    Yeah, we GET it.:fou:
  • Eggz
    964465 said:
    Quote:
    Why are these expensive NAS boxes still on 1 Gbps interfaces?
    10Gbps is still expensive. If you want your whole network 10Gb, I don't think I've seen a "small" hub with less than 8 ports or less than $250. I suppose you could get a 1GB switch that happened to have a single 10Gb port for switch-to-switch uplink, but then you are talking about bigger switches (24 port) and it's still several hundred bucks. Not that you couldn't put all this together at bargain basement prices, but then you are building a 10Gb network architecture around a dinky 4 disk NAS. No business would be likely to do that....they'd be paying for a larger NAS and a fatter pipe.



    Quantenna is making a 10 gbe router in the home FF due out later this year. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/04/15/the-insanely-fast-wi-fi-router-youll-probably-never-need/

    You could just pop a 10 Gbe PCI-e card in machines, as well as the NAS, and - BOOM - all of a sudden you have a small post production studio editing 4K content from a little NAS server box. You could even fill it with TB SSDs if you wanted.

    Even before that comes out, though, you could network computers directly in a small office without a switch.

    But, I agree, that it'll be exotic for a while.
  • elbutchos
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I know it is not supposed to support 16GB RAM but please guys bust this myth. Thank you in advance.
    Is working perfectly with 16GB or RAM :)


    Many Thanks. What memory did you use ?
    I'm planning to get Kingston KVR16LS11/8 but not sure if it will work and I don't want to throw the money out the window.
  • toadhammer
    1406980 said:
    964465 said:
    Quote:
    Why are these expensive NAS boxes still on 1 Gbps interfaces?
    10Gbps is still expensive. If you want your whole network 10Gb, I don't think I've seen a "small" hub with less than 8 ports or less than $250. I suppose you could get a 1GB switch that happened to have a single 10Gb port for switch-to-switch uplink, but then you are talking about bigger switches (24 port) and it's still several hundred bucks. Not that you couldn't put all this together at bargain basement prices, but then you are building a 10Gb network architecture around a dinky 4 disk NAS. No business would be likely to do that....they'd be paying for a larger NAS and a fatter pipe.
    Quantenna is making a 10 gbe router in the home FF due out later this year. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/04/15/the-insanely-fast-wi-fi-router-youll-probably-never-need/ You could just pop a 10 Gbe PCI-e card in machines, as well as the NAS, and - BOOM - all of a sudden you have a small post production studio editing 4K content from a little NAS server box. You could even fill it with TB SSDs if you wanted. Even before that comes out, though, you could network computers directly in a small office without a switch. But, I agree, that it'll be exotic for a while.


    Hey, sounds like you have a business model!
  • radzio
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I know it is not supposed to support 16GB RAM but please guys bust this myth. Thank you in advance.
    Is working perfectly with 16GB or RAM :)
    Many Thanks. What memory did you use ? I'm planning to get Kingston KVR16LS11/8 but not sure if it will work and I don't want to throw the money out the window.


    Did you buy and test this RAM :>?