It's been over a year since I last tested a QNAP product. Even though the company released several SMB and enterprise models, in 2014, QNAP mainly focused on consumer and entry-level products. The new TS-x53 product series allows QNAP to once again focus on the SMB market, and take a different path than competitors this time.
For this series, QNAP chose Intel's Bay Trail SoC processor line, rather than Avoton or Evansport processors that are widely adapted by the NAS market. The higher spec Bay Trail quad-core Celeron allows QNAP to take advantage of advanced functions and features. These include the ability to configure a NAS with up to four gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI 1.4 with hardware accelerated transcoding (that actually works), and even the ability to run a Windows or Linux installation through a virtual environment.
QNAP's QTS operating system has progressed since the last time I tested a QNAP SMB system. Now up to version 4.1.1, the OS works seamlessly with the latest generation hardware, and enhances the system with features like SSD cache, real-time remote replication, remote access to the system through the cloud, and a seemingly endless number of third-party applications.
Hardware Specifications and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS, you need to look at the extra I/O interfaces, and the mountains of software features.
The QNAP TS-653 Pro we're testing today uses an Intel Celeron quad-core processor running at 2GHz. The processor can burst to 2.41GHz, like most desktop processors can increase speed through Turbo. The TS-653 Pro is offered in two memory configurations, 2GB and 8GB. QNAP recommends the 8GB model for users taking advantage of virtualization functions. Purchasers of the 2GB model can also opt to add a DRAM to the system.
The system has six native SATA 6Gbps drive bays with locks on each drive sled. IO options come in the form of four gigabit Ethernet ports, and five USB ports, three 3.0 and two 2.0. The system also has an HDMI 1.4a port that can be used with XMBC, or for the QvPC virtualization.
We found the QNAP TS-653 Pro online for just $899 with a two-year warranty via the U.S. Newegg website. Both the 2GB model ($900.99) and the 8GB DRAM model ($1,255.29) are also available at the time of writing. This model carries a two-year warranty.
PRICING: You can find the QNAP TS-653 Pro for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The QNAP TS-653 Pro (2GB RAM) retails for $900.99 at Amazon, and the QNAP TS-653 Pro (8GB RAM) retails for $1,044.99 at Amazon.
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