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Qnap's 4-Bay NAS Gets 80TB, Thunderbolt 4, 10GbE Connectivity

(Image credit: Qnap)

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 The problem is that some TB3-supporting NAS (including Qnap's previous-generation TS-453BT3) utilize outdated SoCs that can provide a TB3 controller with only about 1.6 GB/s of usable bandwidth (PCIe 2.0 offers 5 GT/s per lane and uses an 8b/10b encoding with a 20%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.