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QNAP TS-563 NAS Review

Conclusion

The four- and five-bay NAS market is saturated with options. This is the entry point for enthusiasts serious about storing copious data. QNAP alone offers 18 products in this segment, and there's no shortage of models from competing manufacturers. With so much competition out there, you'll find lots of value and innovative functionality. Even products like the TS-563, devoid of multimedia I/O, deliver plenty of differentiation to set stand out in a crowded field.

We've tested appliances with built-in battery backup, exceptional SMB performance and even an advanced file system and cache. QNAP's killer feature is its operating system with support for more than 100 applications. To be fair, other manufacturers also publish add-on libraries, though only a few offer more than a handful. What makes QNAP really stand out is the quality and uniqueness of its software features. Old favorites include the ability to run a guest operating system in a VMware-like environment; that's still unmatched more than a year after release.

QNAP also breaks ground on the hardware side. Its TS-563 uses an AMD G-series SoC, and we've yet to identify an issue with the new processor. Beyond its host platform, QNAP was one of the first companies to offer 10GbE-attached appliances. That support is trickling down to lower-cost devices like the one we tested today.

You can see that QNAP's pace on new features is aggressive. Two years ago, a 10GbE network card sold for as much as the TS-563 itself. When QNAP started pushing 10GbE, building up the network was very expensive. The switches still aren't cheap by any measure. Fortunately, the add-in cards are much more affordable (including Intel's X520, a supported model in the QTS operating system). What you'll pay today is more a less a third of what it would have taken to construct a 10GbE network two years ago. What we're trying to convey is that QNAP may seem ahead of its time─the company has everything in place before you know you need it. Another example of that is SSD caching; QNAP had it before most other manufacturers.

I'm impressed with the TS-563. Home users may prefer a NAS with multimedia functionality. But small businesses rarely use those features. The system is priced competitively with other products in its class. However, it offers an upgrade path through 10GbE and USB-based expansion. Both considerations make the TS-563 more attractive than many four- and five-bay appliances selling next to it.

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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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  • tridon
    Bought a QNAP just over a month ago. Didn't find one sporting hardware from AMD, and I didn't think it would come anytime soon. Good to see that it actually performs well and isn't just the good old "cheap and slow AMD stuff". Will still be a while before I buy a new NAS though, sorry AMD. I do try to support you from time to time.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    With such a powerful SOC, can it do Movie transcoding to DLNA?? So i can easily watch things on my TV via wifi?
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    Maybe I missed it, but I don't see test setup info on how you are fairly comparing 4-bay and 5-bay devices? For instance, QNAPs own 453 vs 563.
    Reply
  • ozicom
    If just a memory is different between $542 to $709 seems so much difference. There should be some other features missing on the cheap one.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    Four, five and six bay NAS are all tested in RAID 5 and with a single gigabit connection back to the network. Those systems are all grouped together and it's easy to spot overlap in the pricing as well.

    The only difference is the memory.
    Reply
  • ozicom
    I think 8GB model comes with more camera license or different RAID configurations or something else. Because 2x4GB SO-DIMM memory doesn't make that much difference.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    I thought we would see power consumption comparisons, or did I just missed it?
    Reply
  • getochkn
    If these things always use cheap SOC's and opensource software, why are they are always so much more expensive than a PC I could build that would many times faster for less. I would love a NAS, but until they are more reasonable priced, I will stick with cheaper PC's that can do more and are faster. $700 will buy you a monster CPU, way more RAM than 8GB, etc. Ya, no hot swap case, but whatever. How often do you have to swap out dead drives.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    So what you are asking for is a free operating system, software plugins, optimizations, fast / redundant file systems and so on for little to no cost?

    They are not just about the hardware and support.
    Reply
  • Niva
    He has a point though. The price is high, and for people who like to tinker with old machines/cases they can build a NAS/server for their own office on the cheap that could be significantly more powerful from leftover components. These things are all running some variant of linux anyways, so don't even get us started on that.
    Reply