QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS Server Review
By Bruce Normann
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by QNAP Systems, Inc.
The QNAP TVS-863+ Turbo vNAS is part of a new hardware platform for QNAP that brings a high level of performance to the small tower-based format, at a lower cost than was possible before. That’s not an uncommon theme for NAS product announcements, but this is. The TVS-x63 series is based on a System-On-Chip (SOC) offering from AMD. Stunned…? I know I was when I first heard it. After years of suffering with multiple generations of Intel Atom-based NAS devices with lackluster performance, from every NAS manufacturer in the market, finally we have a low power replacement that rocks the world. The Intel Bay Trail-D CPU is a great little replacement for the Atom, but the new AMD GX-424CC is in another league altogether. The Radeon graphics section inside, plus four CPU cores running at 2.4 GHz, and a well-developed APU architecture that marries the two together for challenging loads, provides a sea change in computing performance for the low-power, low-cost NAS segment.
The four new TVS-x63 towers (4,5,6, or 8 bays) are being promoted as small-medium business NAS servers, based on their high performance, low cost, and a bunch of software functionality that is ideal for the modern business. Recent QNAP launches have leveraged the tremendous potential of 10GbE networking for the business user, and the TVS-863+ comes standard with a 10GbE network card in a PCI Express expansion slot. The home and the SOHO market aren’t quite there yet, in terms of 10GbE adoption, so all four form factors in the TVS-x63 family are available with just a pair of integrated GbE network interfaces if that’s all you need. The home market is very sensitive to pricing, and QNAP has leveraged the work they did last year to re-engineer the daylights out of the surrounding infrastructure, and pumped even more juice into the system controller, courtesy of AMD. More power, new features – lower price? Another winner, possibly….?
With eight 3.5″ drive bays available, there is a potential for 48TB of storage, using readily available NAS-specific drives, plus the ability to link up an expansion chassis through the USB 3.0 ports. If both capacity and redundancy are needed, RAID 5 is usually the minimum configuration. If you want to go to RAID 6 or RAID 10, you need a minimum of four disks, with two spindles completely occupied by providing multiple levels of redundancy for your data. A four-bay device is really the bare minimum for a high availability NAS appliance, and that’s why I think the 8-bay unit in this series makes a lot of sense for a most SMB users. Plus, you might want to dedicate one of those bays to the new SSD cache option. More about that later.
Benchmark Reviews has tested a wide array of QNAP NAS products, ranging from the QNAP TS-119 NAS single-disk unit made for home users, to the Goliath QNAP TS-870U-RP 8-Bay NAS for the storage needs of large businesses. Most recently we tested the 4-bay TS-470 powerhouse. Let’s see how this latest Turbo vNAS compares to those corporate animals, and to a variety of other siblings and competitors.