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NAS Reviews

High-performance Turbo vNAS
At a glance
ProductQNAP High-performance Turbo vNAS (TS-453mini-8G)   [Website]
SummaryFour-bay quad-core Intel Celeron powered SATA NAS with dual Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0 and HDMI ports in compact vertical format.
Pros• SSD Cache option
• USB 3.0 & HDMI ports
• Very fast attached backup
• Quiet
Cons• Relatively expensive

Typical Price: $669  Shop Amazon  Buy Direct

Introduction

If your physical desktop space is limited, QNAP's TS-453mini could be the NAS for you. It's essentially a physically reimagined TS-453 Pro with top-loading drive bays. It measures 8.27" x 5.95" x 7.87" / 210mm X 151mm x 200mm (HWD) vs. the TS-453 Pro's 6.97" x 7.09" x 9.25" / 177mm x 180mm x 235mm, giving the mini a 29% smaller footprint.

Because the TS-453mini and TS-453 Pro share most of the same hardware and have very similar pricing for the same amount of RAM, I'll be comparing them throughout this review. I'll also be looking at the somewhat lower priced ASUSTOR AS5104T, which is powered by the same quad core Intel J1900 Core Celeron processor.

Our test unit was the TS-453mini-8G which, as the name suggests, has 8 GB of RAM and Amazon currently sells for $669. The TS-453mini-2G with 2 GB of RAM is currently selling on Amazon for $529.

The table below, taken from data in a comparison I generated on QNAP's site, shows the major differences between the TS-453mini and the TS-453 Pro.

FeatureQNAP TS-453miniQNAP TS-453 Pro
Operating Temperature0-35C0-40C
Power Supply90 W externalATX 250 W internal
Power - operating (Watts)3033
Power - sleep (Watts)1720
PC-Less setupNY
LCD PanelNY
Gigabit Ethernet ports24
Drive tray key locksNY
Table 1: Differences between the TS-453mini an the TS-453 Pro

The image below shows the front and rear panel callouts for the TS-453mini. The new Skyline LED indicator (#3) flashes to indicate the NAS is in S3 sleep mode. You can control the brightness of all system indicators (from 0 to 100 in 20-step increments) and can also schedule the LEDs to dim at a specified time. This could make the mini more user friendly if used in a living room or a sleeping area.

The front panel has the rest of the normal LED indicators (status, HDD1-4, LAN and USB), power button, One touch Copy button and single use 3.0 port. You don't give up any USB ports compared to the TS-453 Pro. The rear panel has two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. You do, however, give up two Gigabit Ethernet ports - the TS-453 Pro has four. Both NASes have an HDMI port which supports HDMI 1.4. Neither of the TS-453 NASes have an eSATA port.

QNAP TS-453mini front and rear callouts

QNAP TS-453mini front and rear callouts

Inside

The photo below shows the TS-453mini's main board that mounts horizontally in the bottom of the case. The connectors on the left are the rear panel ports. Four SATA slots for the disk are in the center of the PCB. The heatsink sticking out from the right side of the board extends across the bottom of the board and is thermally coupled to the processor.

QNAP TS-453mini PCB

QNAP TS-453mini PCB

The image below is the inside view of the bottom of the NAS, showing easy access to the two DDR3 RAM slots. You can save some money by buying the 2 GB model and upgrading memory to 8 GB (maximum) yourself by following QNAP's instruction video. The cover to the right protects the USB Flash DoM.

QNAP TS-453mini inside bottom view

QNAP TS-453mini inside bottom view

Table 1 compares key components for the TS-453mini as well as the other two NASes I'll be using for comparison in the Performance section later.

ComponentQNAP TS-453mini-8GQNAP TS-x53 ProASUSTOR AS5104T
CPUIntel Celeron J1900 quad-core processor at 2.0 GHz (Burst to 2.41 GHzIntel Celeron J1900 quad-core processor at 2.0 GHz (Burst to 2.41 GHzIntel Celeron J1900 quad-core processor at 2.0 GHz (Burst to 2.41 GHz
RAM8 GB DDR3 (8 GB max. Also available as 2 GB TS-453mini-2G)2 GB DDR3 SoDIMM (expandable to 8 GB)2 GB DDR3 SoDIMM (expandable to 8 GB)
Flash512 MB USB DoM512 MB USB DoMADATA IUM01-001GFHL (128 MB USB DOM)
EthernetIntel WG1210AT (x2)Intel WG1210AT (x4)Broadcom BCM57781 (x2)
USB 3.0Asmedia ASM1074 USB 3.0 4 port HubGensys Logic GL3522 USB 3.0 quad port hubAsmedia ASM1074 USB 3.0 4 port Hub
SATAMarvell 88SE9215 SATA 6 Gb/s Host Controller 4 port (x2)Marvell 88SE9215 SATA 6 Gb/s Host Controller 4 port (x2)ASM1061 (x2); ASM1466 (X2)
HDMIAsmedia ASM1442 level shifterAsmedia ASM1442 level shifterUnknown part marked DP139
Table 1: Key component summary and comparison

Testing was done with four of SNB-provided WD Red 3 TB (WD30EFRX) drives. With all drives spun up, the total power consumption was 27 W. Power consumption dropped to 14 Wwith the drives spun down. Noise was rated medium low, with most noise drive-related. The system fan spun up to high during the 8 hour, 50 minute RAID 10 format process (4 X 3 TB array) due to high drive 3 temperature.

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