We would like to thank QNAP for supplying the review sample.
The last networking device featuring Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) ports I reviewed was a TerraMaster DAS (Direct Attached Storage). DAS devices are directly connected to a PC, while NAS servers are connected to the network, which means a NAS can be accessed simultaneously by every clients with the permissions to do so. A NAS featuring Thunderbolt ports is a hybrid device since it can also act as a DAS, meaning it can be available to all networking clients while providing an ultra-fast data channel to a client it is directly connected to through Thunderbolt 3.
Who needs a NAS featuring TB3 ports? The user group that comes to mind consists of video editors in need of lots of readily available storage space and fast transfer speeds, especially if they work with high resolution media. Fast storage (SSDs or M.2 drives, for instance) prices might have dropped notably within the last few years, but every video editor knows that only HDDs can provide the necessary storage capacity without spending a fortune. On top of that, it is good to use a proper RAID array for sensitive data, which consequently means that a notable portion of your available storage capacity is lost.
QNAP is one of the most popular NAS manufacturers. Its products are known for their high quality, increased usability, and unfortunately stiff prices. Speaking of high prices, I believe we should address the elephant in the room right at the start of this review because I am tired of hearing complaints about how expensive branded NAS servers are. You cannot expect people, possibly many, to work for free, and in this particular case, QNAP has devoted years of work and tons of resources to bringing its QTS operating system (and entire ecosystem) up to the level at which it is now. There is nothing you cannot do in QTS, and the good part is that QTS can be used effectively even without any prior experience with NAS servers. QNAP's documentation and tutorials cover every facet, and provided support is there should you need it. So yes, you have to pay a lot for such a highly capable NAS server as the TVS-472XT, but don't just judge it by its hardware. You should also take into account the topnotch software it uses, as well as the provided support, of course. If you are a video editor, you have most likely spent $200–$500 on a decent video editing suite, and even more on plugins, which makes the cost of a capable TB3 NAS a reasonable proposition instead of a scary one.
|QNAP TVS-472XT Specifications|
|Processor||Intel® Pentium G5400T 2-core 3.1 GHz Processor|
|Operating System||Embedded Linux|
|Memory||4 GB (2 x 2 GB) SODIMM DDR4 (expandable to a maximum of 32 GB)|
|Flash Memory||4 GB (dual boot OS protection)|
|Hot-swappable Storage||4x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II/III|
|M.2 SSD Slots||2 x M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3|
|RAID Levels||RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD, Single|
|Capacity||up to 56 TB (disks not included)|
|iSCSI||Target & Initiator|
|Gigabit Ethernet Port (RJ45)||2x 10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet|
|10 Gigabit Ethernet Port||1x 10GBASE-T (10G/5G/2.5G/1G/100M)|
|Thunderbolt 3 Ports||2x|
|PCIe Slot||Slot 1: PCIe Gen3 x16 (CPU) *occupied|
Slot 2: PCIe Gen3 x4 (PCH)
|USB 3.0 Port||1x (at the face of the NAS)|
|USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Port||2 x Type-C USB 3.1 Gen2 5 V / 3 A 10 Gbps|
2x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen2 5 V / 1 A 10 Gbps
|HDMI Output||1x HDMI 2.0 (up to 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz)|
|Audio||1 x 3.5 mm microphone|
1x 3.5 mm line-out jack
|IR Sensor||(QNAP RM-IR004 & MCE)|
|Free Camera Licenses||8x|
|Max Supported Camera Channels||128|
|Dimensions||188.2 (H) x 199.3 (W) x 279.6 (D) mm|
|Power Consumption||In operation: 37.32 W|
Disk hibernation: 24.14 W
(with 4x WD10EFRX HDDs installed)
|Power Supply||Delta DPS-250AB, 250 W, 100–240 V|
|Fan|| System: 1x 12 cm fan|
CPU: 2x 6 cm blower fans
|Price excluding VAT|
(at the time of the review)
The TVS-472XT is a four-bay NAS that can also be equipped with two M.2 NVMe SSDs for faster transfer speeds. A PCIe slot is available for a graphics card, faster media transcoding, or Ethernet adapters with up to 40 Gbit speeds. The other PCIe slot is occupied by an expansion card with a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. Besides TB3 ports, this NAS also comes with a 10 Gbit and two 1 Gbit ports, all of which can be teamed if you have a compatible switch. There is also an HDMI 2.0 port for 4K media playback with a refresh rate of up to 60 Hz. If you don't want to use the HDMI to pass on audio, the NAS is equipped with an audio out port, and it also has a MIC in port.
The Intel Pentium G5400T dual-core processor might not look impressive but will perform well with QTS, which isn't very resource hungry. The same goes for the upgradable 4 GB of RAM.