With the popularization of cloud storage and the proliferation of more and better offers for users, it is difficult for the average user to see the advantages of a NAS as a system for backing up and storing multimedia content. There is an initial outlay, there are configurations to make and there is one more device to keep at home.
Although a NAS will always be more versatile, powerful and private than any third-party cloud the current market chooses for cloud services. Hence the NAS is taking another path, much more focused on professionals and people who need to make constant backups or work with files on multiple devices. For these professionals, and for a small niche market we continue to enjoy controlling our own content from a system configured by and for us.
On this occasion, however, QNAP’s TS-453B is a NAS focused on the professional world. With four bays, a quad-core and the possibilities offered by your PCIe port the TS-453B is a safe bet in your work area. But safe bets have a high price, in this case about 700 dollars, according to the store where you buy.
Specifications and Features
QNAP TS-453B is a medium-sized NAS, considering that it has four hard disk bays, the space occupied by all other components is acceptable. At the front we find a shiny and semitransparent surface through which we can see a small screen with processing information. On the side of the front is the start button, several status LEDs and a pair of common ports for not continuously accessing the rear. To give you an idea, it has a size of 168 x 170 x 226 mm.
Inside the NAS we find what makes this QNAP really powerful: an Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core 1.5 GHz, Intel HD Graphics 500 graphics and a 4GB DDR3L RAM, which can be exchanged for 8GB DDR3L (with its corresponding price rise). Be that as it may, the NAS has two DDR3L slots so we can put the RAM configuration we want, as long as it does not exceed 8 GB.
The loading and unloading speeds can be up to 225 MB / s if you look at the theoretical specifications of the brand. As always, these speeds have been achieved in optimum conditions with an up-to-date equipment, a perfect network and hard drives capable of supporting this performance. Interesting, it has Intel AES-NI encryption accelerated by hardware, thanks to this can achieve the speeds mentioned above but with AES 256-bit encryption. It is always advisable to work in a safe environment, and to facilitate this is appreciated.
The TS-453B comes with two GbE LAN ports, five USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C, two HDMI ports, two audio jacks and one output and one SD card slot. But most interesting of all, it has a PCIe 2.0 port that extends the possibilities of the NAS by adding for example a wireless network card or an SSD. A curious detail, the TS-453B comes with remote control if you want to connect it to a monitor and use it as a multimedia center . Be that as it may, here is the full specification table.
|PROCESSOR||Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core 1.5 GHz, Intel HD Graphics Graphics 500|
|RAM||4 GB DDR3L or 8 GB DDR3L|
|INTERNAL CAPACITY||4 bays|
|PORTS||5x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C, 2x HDMI, 2x audio inputs per jack and 1x output, 2x SD card slot and 1x PCIe 2.0 slot|
|CONNECTION||2 GbE LAN ports, possibility to add a wireless network card by PCIe|
|LOADING / UNLOADING SPEEDS||Up to 225 MB / s upload and download|
|DIMENSIONS||168 x 170 x 226 mm|
|ELECTRICAL CONSUMPTION||Disks at rest: 15.00W Normal operations: 30.04W|
Installation and configuration
A key section when deciding on a NAS is its installation and configuration. The sooner you get it working better, and for this it is important for the manufacturer to make things easier. But the first thing is to mount it, for this the TS-453B of QNAP requires to open the front cover and to remove the different slots to put the hard disks. You do not have to fill in the four bays, you can use one, two or three if you want, it always depends on how much memory you are looking for.
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In this case, the four QNAP TS-453B bays have been populated with four WD Red hard drives from 1TB SATA to 6 GB / s and 64 MB cache. They are disks made specifically to mount them on NAS devices and you can find them for less than 70 dollars each.
When we put the hard disks back in place, we plug the NAS into the power outlet with the power cable and place the RJ45 in the port of QNAP and the router to connect to the network. This done, the hardware installation process is over, and no screwdriver or other tool has been needed for this. I recommend however to hold the disk well to the slot by adding three screws on the bottom, both the hard disk and the slot has the holes prepared for it.
On one side of the QNAP TS-453B you will see a sticker with basic instructions for installing the NAS software . The first thing is to access install.qnap.com from a computer, then write the key that appears on the sticker also and will offer us the download of Qfinder Pro, the program with which we will install the NAS.
With the program installed and started, it will look for the NAS within the local network, to find it will notify us that it is a NAS that has not yet been initialized, is the first step of the installation. After choosing a name, an access password, the correct time, the local network or the configuration of the disks, among other things, the operating system of the NAS will be installed. It is a process that can take you from five minutes to half an hour, everything depends on the connection you have.
With the operating system installed, we can access the NAS whenever we want directly from the browser through its local IP. This IP is provided by Qfinder Pro and within the NAS website we will access it using our username and password. In the NAS we find an interface similar to any operating system: sidebar with options and access, grid with applications, app store … I recommend you take a look at the Control Panel and configure everything to your liking, after this, try to install a couple of AppCenter applications that will help you get the most out of the NAS.
The extra contribution of QNAP to its NAS is called QTS and myQNAPcloud, the first one by name is not very intuitive, but it is the operating system of the NAS of QNAP and currently it is by version 4.3.3, moreover, myQNAPcloud is the personal cloud that offers us QNAP creating an account and adding all the NAS that we want both our own and friends.
QTS 4.3.3 is the version I tested with the QNAP TS-453B, has its lights and shadows …
- The interface is slow and inconsistent for a non-advanced user, typical of a Linux system, after all it is a Linux version. However, it allows you quick access to the control panel from a sidebar, as well as the applications that interest you most by means of an icon grid on the main screen.
- The ControlPanel allows us to configure all the settings of the NAS and our account, is complete and does not miss any adjustments. We can change privileges, connections to network services and files, application servers and of course have basic settings such as notifications, power expenditure, system logs or a storage manager.
- AppCenter is the app store of QNAP, more than a store is an application directory, since none are bought, all are free. In any case, the key of an application store is that it has sufficient third-party applications and is compatible with the maximum number of services possible. Failure in this regard, as few applications are available and gives the impression that there are integrations in the air .
- The resource monitor, as well as the storage manager, offer a variety of options to know the state of our system and NAS at all times.
myQNAPcloud, unlike the QTS, is not indispensable. You create the account if you want to get extra functions in your NAS, if not, you can forget about it. The main advantage in my case of using myQNAPcloud is being able to use mobile applications. Like QTS, they require a good face-lift and update to both current design trends and current devices. Note that this is not a field where QNAP tries, possibly for the few users who have these apps. But those who want to upload and access files, photos, music and videos easily from the mobile, do us a disservice.
QNAP TS-453B Speed and Performance
Currently the storage of an electronic device no longer matters so much by quantity as by speed. For example, on a computer that we want to buy when we reach the storage section we are more interested in knowing if it is SSD or HD than if it has 256 GB or 500 GB. In a NAS also this happens, the hard disks you put is your thing, what you want to know is how fast they reach in reading and writing thanks to the NAS.
The speed tests for loading and unloading files on the QNAP TS-453B have been performed with four 1TB Western Digital 10EFRX hard drives each. To do this, the same file has been uploaded and downloaded three times, either on a secure connection using 256-bit AES or without. The average of the results obtained is that reflected in the table.
As you can see, there is practically no difference between speeds with encryption and no encryption. Of course, it is not approaching the optimum loading and unloading that QNAP promises. Possibly with an SSD connected via PCIe if possible, but not the average user of this NAS. However, loading and unloading speeds are more than acceptable for day-to-day operations. As a detail, the fan makes a rather annoying noise when you are forced to upload and download many files. It’s annoying if you have the NAS near your desk or where you work, if it’s some distance, no problem.