The Bottom LineQNAP's TS-233 is an entry-level platform that holds quite significant value as a pure storage solution.
As the market for DIY NAS has matured further over the last few years, vendors have taken note of the entry-level market more than ever before. With that, we now see more ARM-powered solutions stacking the entry-level where Intel SoCs were in heavy use for all segments in the past.
With the introduction of ARM-powered chipset, costs have decreased significantly alongside power consumption and overall platform cost. This is reflected most in the abundance of low-cost options available, one of them being the TS-233 from QNAP.
Hardware for the TS-233 relies on an ARM-powered platform, in this case, a quad-core Cortex A55, which operates at 2GHz and is paired with 2GB of memory, soldered to the board. Additional hardware specs include a single gigabit LAN port and two-USB 2.0 ports, and QNAP has included a single USB 3.2 port for quick backups.
The MSRP for the QNAP TS-233 comes in at $199.99 with a one-year warranty.
Packaging and the Hardware
Packaging is simple but bold, with an image of the NAS included alongside a large letter for the model number.
The back includes a full diagram of the NAS alongside specifications.
Scope of delivery includes reading materials, ethernet cable, and power adapter.
Up close, the TS-233 carries its activity LEDs along the left side. These include power, LAN, and drive activity.
The backside of the NAS includes a cooling fan above with the entire I/O below. I/O includes gigabit LAN and USB 2.0 power input at the bottom.
The NAS splits in half for drive installation.
Internally, the TS-233 support two drive trays; they are plastic with a tool-less setup.
Using QFinder, we were able to discover and begin the setup of the TS-233.
The initial setup allows you to configure admin credentials.
After the initial steps, QTS will pop up with the desktop, as seen above. This includes icons for some of the more common options, while a drop-down top left will open the full menu.
The Control Panel breaks things down into categories.
Configuration of your storage can be set up in the menu above. Things are broken down into categories on the left.
Options on this NAS include JBOD, RAID 0, and RAID 1.
Alongside array options, the user can choose block size and file system.
App Center allows the management of a huge library of applications to enhance the capabilities of the NAS further. Some of the more popular apps QNAP apps are seen in the image above.
Test System and Results
- System: Lenovo ThinkPad X1
- Networking: Sabrent 10Gbe Thunderbolt Adapter
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro (buy from Amazon)
I did test the TS-233 in both SMB, mapped drive mode, and with iSCSI with a mapped LUN. All testing was done with a 1GBE connection.
I initialized testing on the TS-233 with a RAID 1 array on the NAS. In SMB, mapped drive mode, we ran through with a read speed of 118 MB/s and write speed of 79 MB/s.
Using this same setup, we set up a LUN on the NAS and used iSCSI to see if we would get any performance increase. In this scenario, we grabbed 117 MB/s read and 113 MB/s write.
Testing was switched over to a RAID 0 array, with the same drive, after testing was complete with RAID 1. In this new setup, we tested the TS-233 at 118 MB/s read and write.
Setting up our LUN, the RAID 0 array brought in 117 MB/s read and 112 MB/s write.
The TS-233 is one of the lowest-cost platforms we have had in the lab for review regarding NAS appliances. That said, the hardware platform of the TS-233 is quite good at this price point and its target audience, and while not as capable as a media transcoding platform compared to Intel-based counterparts, it is a base storage solution quite good.
In our testing, the TS-233 was more than capable of delivering enough performance sequentially to meet the limit of its 1Gbe LAN connection in both RAID 0 and RAID 1. It was also nice to see an entry-level platform maintain the features of much more expensive solutions, with iSCSI being one we don't normally see.
With the MSRP coming in at $199, this could be the best solution under that $200 price point as it serves fantastically as a cost-effective storage solution for beginners new to the DIY NAS market. That said, the price point is close to solutions like the TS-253D that offer the better Intel platform and 2.5GBe for $349.
The Bottom Line
QNAP's TS-233 is an entry-level platform that holds quite significant value as a pure storage solution.
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