Qnap has introduced the industry's first 4-bay NAS with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and 10GbE connectivity. The TS-464T4 NAS can house four 20TB 3.5-inch hard drives (80TB in JBOD mode), uses Intel's quad-core Jasper Lake system-on-chip, has two M.2 slots with a PCIe interface for SSDs as well as 2.5GbE and 10GbE connectivity. Perhaps the most critical improvement over TB3-supporting NAS is that this one promises to improve Thunderbolt bandwidth significantly.
Modern 4-bay NAS devices with RAID 5 and SSD caching support tend to offer relatively high performance with premium drives. Still, when you need to load a large amount of data on them, their network interface becomes a performance bottleneck. Therefore, Thunderbolt 3/4-enabled NAS comes into play with their 40 Gbps interface. The problem is that some TB3-supporting NAS (including Qnap's previous-generation TS-453BT3) utilize outdated SoCs that can provide a TB3 controller with only about 1.6 GB/s of usable bandwidth (PCIe 2.0 offers 5 GT/s per lane and uses an 8b/10b encoding with a 20% overhead). It's far from saturating TB3's peak usable bandwidth of 25.92 GT/s (3.24 GB/s).
Qnap's TS-464T4 brings numerous significant improvements over its predecessor in pretty much every aspect possible, including enabling higher TB3/TB4 bandwidth thanks to its eight PCIe 3.0 lanes.
The new unit employs Intel's quad-core Celeron N5105/N5095 'Jasper Lake' SoC that has four Tremont cores at 2.0 – 2.9 GHz with 4MB of L3 and supports 16GB of dual-channel DDR4-2933. Other attributes include a Gen11 GPU, HEVC, H.264, VP9 encoding/decoding for 4Kp60 videos, eight PCIe Gen3 lanes, 2.5GbE MAC, and 10/15W TDP. As a result, it features considerably higher general-purpose performance than Apollo Lake (Goldmont) and Gemini Lake (Goldmont Plus) SoCs used for Qnap's more or less recent 4-bay NAS. That extra performance, along with support for 16GB of DDR4-2933 memory, will likely make performance-demanding workloads like rebuilding a RAID array faster.
While eight PCIe 3.0 lanes is a significant improvement over six PCIe 2.0 lanes on the TS-453BT3, there are still some caveats. Assuming that Qnap uses four PCIe 3.0 lanes for its TB4 controller (Intel's JHL8440/Goshen Ridge, we presume), there are only four lanes left for the 10GbE controller and two M.2 slots for caching/Qtier SSDs. Probably, one PCIe 3.0 lane (8 GT/s or 0.985 GB/s with a 128b/130b encoding) is enough for the 10GbE controller, and we can speculate that one M.2 slot uses a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface, while another uses a PCIe 3.0 x1 interface. Even TB4 provides 25.92 GT/s, but the actual bandwidth available will be limited to 16 GT/s to the end-user if this drive becomes a medium for writing/reading.
Like other modern 4-bay NAS from Qnap, this one comes with an HDMI 2.0 output and may be equipped with a remote to work as an HTPC. In addition to two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the front, it also has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port near them.
Unlike some other Qnap NAS, the TS-464T4 no longer has a PCIe slot for expansion cards. It's a logical compromise as there are no spare PCIe lanes left, but this is a good thing since original Qnap accessories (10GbE adapter or M.2 to PCIe card converter) are pretty expensive. Besides, nobody guarantees that third-party hardware will work with Qnap's QTS operating system.
Speaking of QTS, the manufacturer will ship the TS-464T4 with the latest QTS 5 version that improves performance, enhances security. It also supports Coral Edge TPU that can do image recognition and even attempt to predict hardware failures using cloud-based AI.
Unfortunately, QNAP has neither announced its official MSRP for the TS-464T4 nor disclosed its launch window.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.
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