Review QNAP TS-453BT3, the NAS born to stand next to the Mac

QNAP TS-453BT3 is the natural evolution of the TS-453b model, which improves all aspects, including speed.

Review QNAP TS-453BT3, the NAS born to stand next to the Mac
Review QNAP TS-453BT3, the NAS born to stand next to the Mac

The QNAP TS-453BT3 is a medium format NAS designed for small office storage, but also for those who need multiple connections to a large archive.

In this the TS-453BT3 improves on the TS-453B, tested a year ago , introducing a Thunderbolt 3 connection that definitely changes the cards on the table.

1 A fashionable design
2 Chatter, but very helpful
3 Rumble of thunder
4 QTS, beating heart but perhaps too much
5 Considerations
6 Pro:
7 Cons:
8 Price:

QNAP TS-453BT3, the review

A fashionable design

Outside the box the QNAP TS-453BT3 has a sober, compact appearance and with an eye to design, thanks to the front plastic cover that hides the four 3.5 “slides.

On the front side there is a USB-A port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports (compatible with USB-C), front LEDs and power on and direct copy buttons.

Also frontally, a small display helps the basic operations of the NAS even when there is no computer connected: the display is covered by the plastic cover, but the light of the LED characters emerges showing the information and not the size of the display .

The back is richer: four USB-A, two Gigabit Ethernet, two HDMI and audio inputs and outputs, plus a 10GBASE-T network expansion card, which offers very high-speed network connectivity (only with Mac / Compatible PCs and switches, in the Mac environment only the iMac Pro, the new Mac Pro and the Mac mini can use this technology) and inevitably a large rear fan designed to ensure that the internal temperature does not exceed the permitted values.

Chatter, but very helpful

The NAS arrived in the newsroom with four Enterprise Western Digital WD Re 250 GB class disks , a type of disc now little used because replaced by WD Gold models , but which for years have faithfully served many IT managers.

At the first start we were greeted by the now usual voice of QNAP that warns us of the most important things, such as the successful start-up, any problems and the shutdown (but as we will also see if connected to an external device), a curious feature that for those who have several NAS can become useful to intervene promptly in case of problems even if not in front of the computer.

To test the QNAP TS-453BT3 we also wanted to configure it differently with more capable discs, trying out the new WD RED 12 TB as soon as it arrived in the newsroom . It’s not our first 12 TB, but having all that space in one hand still has some effect.

In all the tests we made of configuring the various types of RAID, the QNAP TS-453BT3 behaved really well, offering very specific and various types of customization, with the now not new but always useful possibility of using two SSD drives on SATA ports. M.2 at very high speed as a cache unit, definitely improving reaction times to the most common files.

Rumble of thunder

Despite the undoubted abilities of the QNAP TS-453BT3 both from the point of view of the management of disks and volumes, and of the communication ports (and of the active services, on which we return later), the attention of this model is particularly important in the presence of two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a type of connection that, despite the news of the last few days , together with the USB-C is definitely changing the world of peripherals in general.

Thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 connection, not only is it possible to use high-speed external expansion units (the thought runs fast in QNAP TR-002, of which we have spoken recently), but above all it is possible to connect the NAS directly to a Mac or PC with brings Thunderbolt 3 (practically all new Macs and different high-end or gaming PCs).

The connection provides a fully automatic setup that the NAS starts once it realizes the Thunderbolt cable connected to the Mac, operations that are performed only the first time and that only provide the access data of a NAS user.

QTS, beating heart but perhaps too much

The latest analysis is for QTS, here in version 4.3, the software heart of QNAP and undoubtedly one of the most mature operating systems for NAS on the market.

The writer has on several occasions woven the praise of QTS, which for flexibility, power and ability to manage all aspects of a NAS is, without words, phenomenal.

QTS offers very beautiful and very detailed management tools, perhaps not all within the reach of the common user but certainly for most cases affordable even by those who are not of the trade, with among other things a very complete App Store.

Only note, a definite complexity even in the simplest operations, which certainly leads to a meticulous and precise result, but which is often redundant in questions even for fairly simple questions.

Ultimately, some more automatism would be welcome, with more details only on request, at least on models like this.

Considerations

The QNAP TS-453BT3 is, without doubt, an excellent NAS for the office and for those who want a model at home without any compromise, perhaps with an eye on the Thunderbolt 3 that never hurts.

Silent, powerful, affable and not just a quirk, elegant in form, it looks great in an office that is as attentive to detail as it is in the living room, in plain sight next to the TV (perhaps taking advantage of the HDMI ports, or perhaps with Plex of an Apple TV available).

The price is high, no doubt about it, but considering that it comes with a 10GbE Ethernet port and two M.2 SSD slots (in addition to the 4 sleds for the disks), everything looks more in line with the proposal.

Pro:
• Intriguing design
• Double Thunderbolt 3 connection
• 10GbE port
• Two M.2 slots for SSD

Versus:
• QTS could become easier
• Important price

Price:
• (approximately) € 1,198.40

Users can find TS – 453BT3 ( here the link to the product card ) in the chains authorized by QNAP , or directly online at Amazon.it .

During this review we used Western Digital WD Re 250 GB and 12 TB WD Red disks . We recommend, as for all NAS, not to skimp on the purchase of the disks and to opt for dedicated units for NAS.

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