QNAP TVS-863+ 8-Bay NAS Review

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Technical Specifications

NAS products should be treated as complete system solutions rather than components. That said, the hardware allows users to run more software features at the same time and plays a role in the user experience.

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The TVS-x63 product series consists of four models that range from four to eight drive bays. The TVS-863+ leads the series in features, while the TVS-863 nonplus model is nearly identical but lacks 10GbE connectivity out of the box and ships with either 4GB or 8GB of low-power DDR3 DRAM. All TVS-x63 products include a user-accessible PCIe 2.0 x4 expansion slot for 10GbE add-in-cards and two DDR3 memory slots that accept up to 8GB memory sticks each.

Today, we're testing the TVS-863+ -16GB, the flagship of the series with every hardware option included right out of the box. This series is considered an affordable way to give users access to 10GbE network capabilities and up to eight drives in a storage pool. The next tier up in the QNAP product line is the TVS-871, which costs $2,199 (Newegg) and is configured with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of DRAM and 4x gigabit Ethernet ports (optional 10GbE, but not included). The affordable AMD-powered TVS-863+ allows the system to be used for more virtual machine storage, thanks to the 10GbE network.

QNAP is an innovation leader in hardware features. The TVS-x63 product series can use any two drive bays for SSD cache. When enabled, SSD cache increases read and write performance and can be tuned to accelerate small random files or all file types.

The heart of the system is an AMD 64-bit APU that features Radeon HD graphics technology for hardware-accelerated transcoding. The processor also provides a hardware-accelerated encryption engine with AES-NI that is full AES 256-bit.

I've always felt the increased video capabilities are out of place on many of the SMB NAS products but this market is all about filling in boxes with check marks. The system can be used for digital signage, playing videos like presentations in conference rooms and so on. The transcoding features paired with the always connected software does give the video features some legs. Businesses can keep sensitive presentations in house on the NAS but allow company representatives to play them in remote locations without the digital data actually moving to insecure offsite computer systems.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • basroil
    If it wasn't for the price (expensive, though justifiable) I would snap one up, seems to be a great option for photo/video storage and playback, and if you have a 10gigE network, even photo editing from it is going to feel snappy!
  • CRamseyer
    I have a few disk drive reviews coming out soon and the iSCSI performance from this system is actually faster than a local disk.
  • "iSCSI is an amazing technology that allows users to mount a volume to a host computer and have it control the volume as a local drive. You can even set the computer up to boot from the iSCSI share, just like a SAN."

    A massive over-simplification which is almost up there with "I want to buy an internet for my PC". It's not a technology, it's a protocol which runs over dead-basic Ethernet connectivity. The technology is "Ethernet", not iSCSI.

    You can't boot ALL computers from an iSCSI mounted volume unless you NIC supports it - and most integrated NICs don't.

    The "Con" of only having a single 10GbE interface isn't really a con for this type of device - if you need dual 10GbE then it's more likely to be for path diversity than performance, in which case you'll be wanting multiple switches and you're then into the realms of enterprise requirements, and if that's the case you wouldn't buy one of these in any case.
  • basroil
    "It's not a technology, it's a protocol which runs over dead-basic Ethernet connectivity. The technology is "Ethernet", not iSCSI."

    iSCSI is technology, bridging two different protocols, and it doesn't need to be done over ethernet (though most commonly done over ethernet). Sure it's not "network technology" in the sense of low level protocols and physical devices, but it's still just as much a separate technology as TCP/IP, TLS, etc. (i.e. not all technology even has to have the same purpose or independent from others)

    "You can't boot ALL computers from an iSCSI mounted volume unless you NIC supports it - and most integrated NICs don't."
    Pretty sure all newer vPro systems support it, and definitely anything with PRO series NIC from Intel (and of course server grade NICs). Considering this device is 10gigE, I don't think they meant consumer grade computers booting over it!

    As for single 10gigE not being an issue, the only case in which I think people would see it as an issue is in the case of a legacy network still running gigE, in which case two teamed adapters running gigE would certainly still have a benefit. Other than legacy networks, you're right on the ball there.
  • Marko Ravnjak
    "With HGST's new He8 drives with 8GB density, users can easily store up to 64GB of data."

    That's not really that much... ;)
  • CRamseyer
    The comments really show just how far NAS system have come. You can do so much with them. I wouldn't go as far as to say one size fits all (not even close) but a small inexpensive system like this can easily serve 20 office systems over VDI.

    Dual 10gbE is nice for redundancy in a large network but I'm referring to performance increases against cost. A dual port 10GbE NIC has a very small price premium over a single port 10GbE NIC. QNAP sells both dual and single port 10GbE NICs but only offers the TVS-863+ with a single port.
  • nekromobo
    Did you test the cache with 1 or 2 SSD's? Because with only 1 SSD you can only have read accelerated and need 2 SSD's to get read/write benefits.
  • willgart
    "With HGST's new He8 drives with 8GB density, users can easily store up to 64GB of data. After RAID 6 overhead, that comes out to about 48GB of usable space with dual disk failure redundancy. "

    pretty small ;-)
    I prefer the other solutions where we talk about TB not GB... ;-)
  • VfiftyV
    The 8GB DRAM model cost $1,399, while the 16GB model was $100 higher, at $1,400. Because math.
  • SirGCal
    "The TVS-863+ with eight drive bays is a little too large for most home theater installations"

    WHAT? I currently have two 8-drive setups running RAID 6. A 12TB and a 24TB setup (2G and 4G drives respectively). And I'm almost full (89%). I have a large movie collection (all legal and no, you can't get any... ;-) and I also use about 8TB of that for (fake) work data storage. So I'm up to 28TB of movie and music storage that is just about full. I'd happily retire them for a single 48TB solution.

    Although building them myself is far cheaper, it's not as small. This is the first unit I'd actually consider buying that I've seen thus far. I'd for sure be excited to test it and see if it'll do everything else I need also (seems like it should).