QNAP TS-453B 4-Bay NAS Review 9

QNAP TS-453B 4-Bay NAS Review


Value and Conclusion

  • The TS-453B-4G retails for $650, and the TS-453B-8G retails for $800.
  • Decent performance
  • Energy-efficient, strong-enough CPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Silent operation
  • Low power consumption
  • Operating system
  • Two Ethernet ports that can be teamed
  • Two HDMI (1.4b) ports
  • Audio in/out ports
  • Strong power adapter
  • Remote control included with the NAS
  • Rich multimedia capabilities
  • 4K support
  • Supports all popular RAID levels
  • 5x USB 3.0 ports (with one of them at the server's front side)
  • USB Type-C Port
  • Support for four hot-swappable disks
  • Lots of optional packages and apps for smartphones
  • Comes with licenses for four camera-recording channels and supports up to 40 cameras
  • Can take M.2 drives and a 10 Gbit controller through an optional PCIe expansion card
  • Price
  • Large price difference between the 4 GB and 8 GB versions of the TS-453B
  • Long boot time
  • Plastic trays without locks
  • Doesn't support a refresh rate above 30 Hz with UHD-1 (UHDTV) resolution
  • 2x 2 GB SODIMM modules, so you have to switch both out if you wish to upgrade to 8 GB RAM
  • A longer warranty would be nice
Compared to the TS-453A we reviewed in 2016, the TS-453B is equipped with a SOC that is a little more capable, especially in the multimedia section since it uses a next-generation GPU. The J3455 also supports faster DDR3L RAM, which is still restricted to a maximum of 8 GB though, and has six PCIe lanes instead of the four of the N3150. Both CPUs exploit the 14 nm lithography process, but the J3455 has a TDP of 10 W TDP instead of the 6 W TDP of the N3150. However, 10 W is still quite low, low enough to where it doesn't affect the TS-453B's operating temperatures, which uses passive cooling for the CPU. Another advantage of the TS-453B, besides its improved external design, is the extra PCIe slot one can use to expand the server's capabilities by installing one of QNAP's compatible PCIe cards. You can install M.2 drives and/or 10 Gbit Ethernet controllers by the way of these cards, which makes this a very interesting feature since it allows you to further expand the product's capabilities.

Not all is in favor of the TS-453B though, as compared to the older TS-453A. For starters, the trays are made out of plastic and the number of Gigabit ports is restricted to two, while the TS-453A has four. Yet the rather weak CPU of the TS-453A doesn't actually allow for the full utilization of all of its Ethernet ports, as we figured out during our testing sessions. The TS-453A does manage a higher overall performance score in our tests, but we also reviewed the model with 8 GB of RAM, while the TS-453B we evaluated in this review is the entry model with 4 GB of RAM. We don't think that the amount of RAM plays a great role in the performance difference between these models, though, since RAM utilization was pretty low in all cases.

Despite the performance difference between the TS-453B and the now one-year-old TS-453A, mostly in single-client scenarios, the new model is still better off because it offers more. It has that very useful SD card slot, an additional USB 3.0 port (five in total), is equipped with audio line out/in ports, and a pretty strong speaker; it even packs a USB Type-C port. Its OLED screen, although smaller than the LCD of the TS-453A, is more elegant, and the TS-453B has a much smaller footprint, which is probably incredibly important to a lot of people. The cherry on top is the lower power consumption. While only a few watts lower than that of the TS-453B if both are put through similar usage scenarios, it can still make a difference over the long run, and an around-the-clock operation.

The most notable disadvantage of the TS-453B is its increased price. Unfortunately, even mid-level SMB NAS servers like this one cost a bomb, which is not because of the hardware as many will probably assume, but, rather, the software and cost of its development and support. QNAP invested a lot into QTS, the operating system all of its servers use, and the extra application packages that support it. So naturally, their cost has to be covered. This is why NAS servers from brands with top-quality software cost way more than those of other brands that don't use such sophisticated operating systems. Still, such high prices are hard to swallow for the majority of buyers. I personally believe that they are justified since there are cases where the software can cost way more than the hardware. I happen to have a strong programming background, so I know first hand how hard it is to develop good software.
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