We would like to thank QNAP for supplying the review sample.
It has been quite some time since we last reviewed a QNAP product, and an offering of the TS-431P2 from this company's HQ was a good chance to take a look at the new QTS operating system, which looks great! The TS-431P2 is a mid-level NAS for demanding users or small offices. It is equipped with a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.7 GHz and also features three USB 3.0 ports and a couple of Gigabit LAN ports, which can be teamed for faster network transfer speeds if you have a compatible switch. Another interesting feature of this NAS or, rather, a feature of its operating system, is that it supports Snapshots, which allow you to easily restore the NAS to a previous state should you happen to have encountered a hardware failure or lose some or all of your precious data for some other reason.
The AnnapurnaLabs Alpine AL-314 CPU supports hardware-accelerated encryption, which means encrypted network transfers won't be as painfully slow as with other NAS servers without hardware-accelerated encryption as a feature of their SoCs. We believe strong and fast encryption for office use to be a must, along with trays that feature locks. Unfortunately, the TS-431P2 comes with plain plastic trays that not only lack locks, but noise-/vibration-adsorbing material as well, which makes them a source of noise. QNAP apparently had to make some compromises in order to offer this NAS at a good price. With a price tag of $400, the TS-431P2 is in a very good spot in terms of price-to-performance when compared to the tough competition, which mostly comes from Synology.
|QNAP TS-431P2 Specifications|
|Processor:||Annapurna Labs AL-314, 4-core,1.7GHz|
|Operating System:||Embedded Linux|
|Memory:||4 GB SO-DIMM DDR3 (Expandable. Max 8 GB)|
|Flash Memory:||512 MB NAND flash|
|Storage:||4x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II/III|
|RAID Levels:||Single Disk, JBOD, |
RAID 0, 1, 5,
5 + Hot Spare, 6, 6 + Hot Spare, 10
|iSCSI:||Target & Initiator|
|Internal File System||EXT4|
|External File System:||EXT4, EXT3, NTFS, HFS+, FAT32|
|Video Surveillance:|| 2 free camera incenses|
support for up to 25 channels
|Networking:||2 x GbE RJ45|
|I/O Ports:||USB 3.0 port x3 (Front x1 ; Rear x2)|
|LED Indicators:||System Status, HDD, USB, LAN|
|Buttons:||Power, Reset, USB One-Touch-Copy|
|Dimensions:|| 169 (H) x 160 (W) x 219 (D) mm|
6.65 (H) x 6.3 (W) x 8.62 (D) inch
|Weight:||3 kg (6.61 lbs)|
|Power Consumption:||HDD standby: 10.62W|
In operation: 23.72W
(Maximum HDD loaded)
|Power Supply:||AC adapter, 90W, 100 - 240V|
|Fan:||1x 120 mm|
|Sound Level:||Operating Low speed: 19.5 dB(A)|
|Operating Temperature:||0 to 40C (32 to 104F)|
|Security Slot:||Kensington security slot|
| Price excluding VAT|
(at the time of the review):
This NAS uses a quad-core SoC with enough power to meet the demands of a home or small office environment. When it comes to NAS servers, it isn't only the power of the SoC that matters. Its energy consumption matters as well because such servers are meant to operate around the clock, which means power and low energy consumption have to be carefully balanced. QNAP paired this SoC with 4 GB of RAM, and that total can be upgraded to 8 GB as well. The only downside is that there is only a single RAM slot, so you will have to replace the 4 GB SO-DIMM with an 8 GB module. Finally, there is 512 MB of NAND flash memory exclusively for use by the operating system.
The TS-431P2 can take up to four HDDs, and you should be careful with the capacities you choose since this NAS doesn't support any of QNAP's expansion modules because it is only equipped with USB 3.0 ports and lacks an eSATA one, which these expansion modules require. Besides the USB 3.0 ports, the server is also equipped with a couple of Gigabit Ethernet ports that can be teamed for faster transfer speeds if combined with a compatible switch.
In the surveillance section are two free camera licenses and support for up to twenty-five, which means this NAS can easily play a central role in a mid-sized surveillance system. However, not being able to expand the storage capacity by adding an expansion module can be a problem if you need to keep the surveillance footage for longer periods of time. Finally, the power-consumption readings QNAP provides are pretty low, which is as expected since the AL-314 is very efficient. We will as always also take our own readings with our testing equipment.
The unit's cooling is handled by a 120 mm fan, which, according to the data QNAP provides, looks to be run with a very relaxed fan profile that can be configured through the server's operating system. Lastly, the warranty period is too short. QNAP should increase it to at least two years. Thankfully, pricing is pretty good at $400 for a sufficiently strong 4-bay NAS of high quality such as this one.