QNAP’s TS-253Be and TS-453Be NAS boxes drink from Apollo Lake

We imagine most buyers of prebuilt network-attached storage systems just want to plug the box in and forget that it exists for at least a couple of years. QNAP's latest TS-253Be and TS-453Be NAS units promise that kind of reliability and convenience. They're also expandable through either two or four drive bays and a versatile PCIe slot for adding Wi-Fi, 10-Gigabit Ethernet, or M.2 devices.

A four-chambered Intel Celeron J3455 Apollo Lake SoC beats in the heart of both the TS-253Be two-bay and the TS-453Be four-bay appliances. The manufacturer offers the appliances with either 2 GB or 4 GB of DDR3L memory, but buyers can stuff in as much as 8 GB of RAM. QNAP says both boxes can do hardware AES-NI encryption and real-time H.264 and H.265 video transcoding. The machines have two Gigabit Ethernet jacks, five USB 3.0 ports, and two HDMI 1.4a outputs. An integrated speaker lets out audio alerts or plays back sounds.

QNAP's optional QM2 PCIe cards let operators expand either box with two M.2 slots and a 10-Gigabit Ethernet jack on one add-in board. The company offers a QM2 variation with two SATA M.2 slots or dual NVMe M.2 slots, so buyers will need to shop carefully. Once installed, M.2 SSDs can function as drive caches. Alternately, speed-hungry buyers can install a USB 3.1 Gen 2 add-in board for 10 Gbps local file transfers. If wireless connectivity is desired over faster network or USB speeds, users can install a QNAP Wi-Fi card to turn the NAS into a wireless access point.

The manufacturer says the devices' snapshot function can help protect users' data from ransomware attacks. The machines have a variety of software to improve productivity, including an IFTTT Agent that lets users make custom links from the NAS to web services like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. The machines also have OCR functions, the company's Qsirch full-text search application, and Qfiling automatic file-type sorting.

QNAP says the TS-253Be and the TS-453Be are available now, though we didn't see them at any of our favorite e-tailers. We imagine the devices will appear at places like Amazon and Newegg soon. The company didn't provide any pricing information.

Comments closed
    • arunphilip
    • 2 years ago

    The [url=https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/ts-453be/specs/hardware<]specs[/url<] mentions that the PCI Express slot is x2. Huh, that's a bit odd, its not something I've seen often. AFAIK, x1 and x4 configurations are the common ones. Does anyone also know why there are two 3.5mm audio input jacks?

      • Blytz
      • 2 years ago

      Website says dynamic mic’s (spatial stereo maybe ?)

      • MOSFET
      • 2 years ago

      Looking closely at the pic above, the top pink port is Microphone Symbol 1, and the bottom pink port is Microphone Symbol 2.

      After SATA and USB and NICs, there [i<]may[/i<] only be two PCIe lanes left. A physical x2 slot would be strange, but I have seen a couple of electrical x2 slots (in x4 dress) before.

        • arunphilip
        • 2 years ago

        Ah, excellent point about lane availability.

        The microphones – I’m still lost as to why this takes audio input. The surveillance cameras it integrates with produce digital feeds, so it can’t be for that, and I can’t think of any reason why this device might be a content creation device that requires audio input in any analog form.

    • w76
    • 2 years ago

    I’d love a comparison on their self-hosted cloud and backup options, QNAP and Synology. They look comparable (and superior to Nextcloud in a lot of ways, not least of which is easy setup of remote access) but hard to tell. Smallnetbuilder I think focuses mostly on strict NAS performance.

    Currently using a Xeon mini-server of sorts as a NAS with Unraid and it’s mighty flexible but I’ve got less and less time to wrestle with configuration, etc.

    • Takeshi7
    • 2 years ago

    Why Apollo Lake when Gemini Lake is already out?

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      Presumably it’s cheaper.

    • thedosbox
    • 2 years ago

    Nice to see QNAP use one large fan for their 4-bay units. I wish Synology would do the same for theirs.

      • Blytz
      • 2 years ago

      I think it’s for lower spin speeds plus a possibility of some cool if a single unit fails. I agree though, potentially should be an option

        • Spunjji
        • 2 years ago

        Two small fans will always push less air than a single fan able to occupy a similar chassis, and will do so while running at a higher speed. Redundancy makes sense as a reason, however a lot of these will operate fine without a fan at all in moderate conditions – especially with the larger area for ventilation provided by a single large fan 🙂

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psIuidkkLjI<]Don't Drink the Water[/url<]

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Could something like this host a plex server without a PC?

    CPU would be underpowered for it though if transcoding

      • iatacs19
      • 2 years ago

      Nvidia Shield TV with an external hdd might be a better solution.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 2 years ago

        No RAID, though.

      • morphine
      • 2 years ago

      It’s got H.264/5 hardware transcoding via CPU. And the answer is “almost certainly yes”. Plex site has more info on what it can use for hardware transcoding. And for the record… this is a PC. Just a small one.

        • w76
        • 2 years ago

        Plus, if it’s content you ripped, it’s easy to encode ahead of time in to a format compatible to direct stream to all your devices, requiring no transcoding at all. That’s what I do with my current Xeon machine, just for the sake of efficiency and eliminating a potential bottleneck.

        Also, Synology and I think QNAP have their own Plex-like options which, if you use them, you get hardware acceleration support rather than standard CPU transcoding. At least that’s the case on the Synology side, not 100% sure about QNAP. Plex has a beta I think I read that supports it too.

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        Ah I didn’t know hardware transcoding outside of the Shield was opened up.

        My touchscreen fridge is also a PC, but, you know, I don’t care to call it that lol, they call this a NAS and so do I.

      • AutoAym
      • 2 years ago

      If you have a Plex Pass membership, you can use the Beta stream for PMS which enables full h.264/265 GPU transcoding, so yes.
      From feedback on the Plex forums, the j3455 will handle 1080p with no issues but some 4k outputs may very.

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        Cool, didn’t realize they finally have hardware transcoding outside of the Shield

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