A Closer Look
QNAP's TS-453A ships in a brown package with a sticker that shows the model. The company actually got quite a bit of information on the small label. Most of these systems sell online, and several companies have moved away from full-color boxes to save money.
Inside the box, we find a well-secured NAS with accessories in a separate compartment.
After the initial setup, you mostly interact with the system's front. An LCD warns you of any errors that might crop up, in addition to conveying health status and network information. A series of status lights show system, USB and network activity. And an LED just above each drive sled reports individual drive activity with a green light. If a disk fails or has a problem, the green turns red, showing you where the issue is.
There's also a power button and special USB 3.0 port up front. Another button surrounding that port lets you connect a thumb drive, for instance, and copy data from it to a special backup folder on the NAS. The front USB port also charges mobile devices quickly.
Structurally, the system is built well using a steel frame and a brushed aluminum cover. The four feet on the bottom use foam rubber to isolate vibration. And a removable sticker up top gives you the access code for cloud functions.
Most of the I/O is naturally found around back, including four GbE ports and three additional USB 3.0 ports. Two HDMI 1.4a ports support 4K video at 30Hz, and again, both work independently so you can use the appliance as a desktop computer and run another application in the HybridDesk Station.
A single 120mm fan keeps installed disks and internal electronics cool. The platform is very quiet; the only noise you'll hear comes from the hard drives.
Finally, there are the 6.3mm microphone inputs we've been talking about. On the same PCIe card is a high bit-rate audio output to connect to an amplifier.