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QNAP TS-453A NAS Review

QNAP isn't a stranger to specialty NAS systems, but the new TS-453A introduces an entirely new feature that will have you singing with joy.

Conclusion

We have several systems in the lab and more on the way with Intel's new Celeron N3150. So far, we're impressed with its low power consumption, performance and feature set. The connectivity offered by the platform's PCIe opens the door to more functionality, too.

Many NAS vendors load their systems with 10GbE as a differentiator. That's a safe choice for networked storage. QNAP does have several configurations available with 10GbE in the SMB segment, so there's little reason to do another one (especially with four drive bays).

The TS-453A is much more unique with its dual dynamic microphone inputs and high bit-rate audio output. The appliance should really fall into the high-end home/media server category. It does offer good value in the small business space, and includes the features to attract those customers. But we think the extras beg for a place in your living room.

This tug of war is the dilemma we face with a lot of QNAP products. Their feature sets are so broad, and the TS-453A extends out to an entirely new market. Of course, if we had to pay a premium for the A/V-based extras, we'd probably pass. But QNAP adds them as a value; they don't increase the TS-453A's price. It actually costs less than many other Celeron N3150-based systems. At the time of writing, you can find it with 4GB of RAM for $60 less than Asustor's AS204T. 

The 8GB version sells for $70 more on one site. However, we found it with a $250 mark-up on another. As enthusiasts, this makes us gravitate toward the lower-capacity model with an eye to upgrading it ourselves. Besides, we found 4GB sufficient to deliver a satisfying experience with many of the advanced features like Linux Station active. The more applications you load up, the more memory you'll want. At a certain point, it'll naturally make sense to pop another 4GB in to max out Intel's SoC.

QNAP delivers more software features than any other NAS manufacturer. Each package installs with just a few clicks, and a large support forum provides answers to questions that spring up along the way. Some applications focus on consumer tasks like video transcoding. Other applications focus on business requirements. But our favorites, such as CloudLink, land somewhere in between.

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

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Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.