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NAS Reviews

10 GbE NAS
At a glance
ProductQNAP TS-431X 10 GbE NAS   [Website]
SummaryFour-bay RAID5 class NAS with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and built-in 10GbE SFP+ port. Powered by dual-core Annapurna Labs CPU.
Pros• Relatively inexpensive for a 10 GbE NAS
• Three USB 3.0 ports
• Many cloud backup options
Cons• Relatively slow network backup performance

Typical Price: $382  Shop Amazon

Introduction

Recent reviews of QNAP products have covered the four-bay TS-431P and its two-bay sibling, the TS-231P. Both of those products are part of QNAP's "Home-middle range" product lines. The next step above that category is a fairly recent addition by QNAP - the "Entry-level SMB" category. For this review, we'll be focusing on the TS-431X.

The chart below shows that it's very similar to the TS-431P, with both using the same Annapurna Labs processor clocked at 1.7 GHz. The two main differences are the amount of memory and the built-in 10 GbE SFP+ port. The TS-431X is available with 2 GB (TS-431X-2G) or 8 GB (TS-431X-8G) of DDR3 RAM vs. a non-expandable 1 GB on the TS-431P. QNAP sent the TS-431X-2G for review.

The chart also includes the QNAP TS-563, which we'll be using to compare 10 GbE performance. The TS-563-8g (reviewed) has a quad core processor and 8 GB of RAM, compared to the TS-431X's dual core-processor. So we might expect to see some large performance differences.

QNAP TS-431X comparison

QNAP TS-431X comparison

The callouts below show the front and rear panel of the TS-431X. There's a single USB 3.0 port on the front panel located just below the One Touch Copy button. The rear panel has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one 10 GbE SFP+ port, and two additional USB 3.0 ports.

QNAP TS-431X front and rear panel callouts

QNAP TS-431X front and rear panel callouts

Inside

The photo below shows the component side of the board. The CPU is covered with a large heat sink. In the lower right corner, there's a connector for the riser card for the drive backplane.

QNAP TS-431X main PCB

QNAP TS-431X main PCB

The table below summarizes the key components for the TS-431X, TS-431P and TS-563 I'll be comparing later in the performance section. Note the 10 GbE port connects directly to the AL-212 processor; no 10 GbE PHY was required.

  QNAP TS-431X QNAP TS-431P QNAP TS-563-8G
CPU Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-212 @ 1.7 GHz dual-core Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-212 @ 1.7 GHz dual-core AMD x86 G-Series Quad-core 2.0 GHz processor (GX-420CA)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 Transcend SoDIMM (expandable to 8 GB - 1 slot) 1 GB DDR3 Micron MT41K256M8DA-125 (x4) 8 GB DDR3 SoDIMM(upgradeable to 16 GB total)
Flash 512 MB Macronix MX30UF4G18AB 512 MB Macronix MX30UF4G18AB 512 MB USB DoM
Ethernet Atheros AR8035A Gigabit Ethernet PHY (x2) Atheros AR8035A Gigabit Ethernet PHY (x2) Intel WG1210AT (x2)
USB 3.0 Etron Tech EJ188H USB 3.0 host controller Etron Tech EJ188H USB 3.0 host controller Asmedia 1074 4 port USB 3.0 controller
SATA In AL-212 In AL-212 Marvell 88SE9215 SATA 6Gb/s Host Controller (x3 on drive backplane)
Table 1: Key component summary

Power consumption with four SNB-provided WD Red 1TB (WD10EFRX) drives was 22 W (active) and 13 W power save. Fan and drive noise was rated as low (mostly drive noise).

Features

As we pointed out in our review of the TS-431P, QNAP NASes share a common operating system, whose latest version is QTS 4.3. You can read or download a comprehensive brochure here. QTS 4.3 continues QTS 4.2.2's look and feel with some minor visual tweaks. You still can't resize many of the windows, whose default width is more than 1024px. The screenshot below shows the "hamburger" menu and dashboard flyouts exposed.

QNAP QTS 4.3 desktop

QNAP QTS 4.3 desktop

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