Recently, QNAP has come out and said 30% of their users choose RAID 5 arrays for the increased data protection and system performance. Working with this QNAP has recently released a new cost-effective solution aimed at RAID 5 users that still want the benefits of auto-tiered storage and QTS.
The TS-351 is a 3-bay NAS platform aimed at getting users into RAID 5 with the fewest disks possible. This platform mitigates the typical performance loss associated with RAID 5 by enabling auto-tiered storage and offering dual m.2 slots that support NVMe with a PCIe Gen 2 x1 link.
The hardware platform for the TS-351 is Intel Bay-Trail and more specifically, the Celeron J1800. This SoC is a dual-core operating at 2.4GHz with a boost rating of 2.6GHz. QNAP has paired this unit with 2 or 4GB depending on the model ordered and is upgradable to a peak of 8GB with DDR3L SO-DIMM. We have three 3.5" drive bays, two of which operate at SATA II and the third at SATA III, as mentioned above we also have dual m.2 slots rounding out storage.
Additional connectivity is provided by Gigabit ethernet, 2x USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 and HDMI out supporting 1080p. MSRP of the TS-351 in the 4G configuration comes in at $339.99 while the 2G model can be had for $299.99. Both models include a two-year warranty.
With packaging we have a sticker top left offering model identification along with features listed below.
Scope of delivery includes, the power adapter, ethernet cable and reading materials.
The front panel offers drive activity indicators for all three bays and two m.2 slot. We also have power and network activity at the top.
On the backside, we have a large cooling fan and to the right; reset, audio and HDMI followed by Gigabit ethernet, and USB 2.0.
Opening the unit to install drives you will find all three trays are plastic and offer tool less installation.
The m.2 slots line up next to the SODIMMs and offer temp sensors and tool-free installation.
Moving into setup. we use QFinder to locate and connect to the TS351.
Seen above, there are 7 steps to complete the setup process. We start by setting up the admin user.
A few steps later we can choose the platforms we are working with and file sharing services.
Finishing setup lands us on the dashboard and even though it has been quite some time since we last looked at a QNAP its very familiar. On the desktop we have several icons to aide in navigating so let's move to control panel and check out what we have there.
The aesthetic of control panel has been updated to look more like Server 2012. This groups items together to speed up navigating the menu system.
The storage menu offers a sidebar to the left for quick navigation. On the right we have the overview, volumes and utilization.
QNAP has always had one of the best app centers possible and this extends now to the TS351.
File Station 5 is a local "explorer" allowing you to manage your files on the NAS.
Single Client testing did quite well for the 351. We were able to get 118 MB/s in Playback and File Copy Read with 116MB/s for File Copy Write.
Using iSCSI, we reached peak read performance quickly starting at 76 MB/s QD1 and at QD8 118 MB/s.
Write performance started out at 58 MB/s QD1 but again quickly ramped up peaking at 112 MB/s QD4.
Putting the 351 through our workload testing, performance for all setups starting between 1200 and 2000 IOPS QD1. As we move through QD2 and 4 we see the workloads separate with Database touching 5400 IOPS and Web Server at 2900 IOPS. QD16 we see things start to flatten out with Database reaching 8200 IOPs and Web Server at 4200 IOPS.
After spending a few weeks with the TS-351 I can certainly say this unit can be a solid option for those on a budget. Build quality isn't that of a top tier of SMB NAS from QNAP but does fit the home gamer quite well. The 351 enjoys a metal chassis with tool-less bays and m.2 and even though you must disassemble the unit to get to all these slots, it's just a few screws and the unit slides apart.
As far as function, this unit works as any QNAP would and uses the same QTS operating system as the SMB and Enterprise units. This means you have access to the full library of features and apps, which for QNAP is easily the largest on the market. Performance of this unit was able to max out the gigabit ethernet connection, thanks to the SSDs used in testing. Single client saw 118 MB/s for file copy and playback operations while sequential read and write saw 118 MB/s and 112 MB/s respectively. Workload testing found Workstation to perform the best with 8900 IOPS at QD128 and Database right behind at 8600 IOPS.
As far as pricing goes, the TS351 is in a league of its own as really the only 3-bay platform available. That said for users serious about purchasing this platform, id recommended the 2G version as it can be had for $299.99 allowing you to use that extra $40 you would spend on the 4G version to upgrade your unit to 8G, saving you money.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
QNAP delivers with the TS-351, offering RAID 5 access and ample performance to the entry-level market.