Ever since its release in Q1 2017, the AMD Ryzen series of affordable CPUs has thrown down a new benchmark in affordable performance. QNAP has become the first NAS brand to incorporate these powerful new AMD processors with the release of the TS-x77 series of NAS.
The storage hardware is primarily aimed at business customers, and include three different models with varying configurations. Comfortably slotting into the middle of this series is the TS-877, a mid-range Ryzen powered NAS with eight drive bays. This brief yet detailed review will take a close look at its features, design, and performance.
[~] # head -5 /proc/cpuinfo ; echo ; uname -a ; echo processor : 0 vendor_id : AuthenticAMD cpu family : 23 model : 1 model name : AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Six-Core Processor Linux KRYPTON 4.2.8 #1 SMP Sat Dec 23 15:13:00 CST 2017 x86_64 GNU/LinuxKey specifications of the QNAP TS-877 NAS:
|CPU||Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 5 1600 6-core/12-thread 3.2 GHz processor, Turbo Core 3.6 GHz
Graphics: Optional (with PCIe expansion card)
Encryption Engine: AES-NI
|System Memory||8 GB DDR4 (2 x 4 GB)|
|Maximum Memory||64 GB (4 x 16 GB)|
|Memory Slot||4 x UDIMM DDR4|
|Flash Memory||512MB DOM|
|Drive Bay||6 x 3.5-inch SATA 6 Gbps bays
2 x 2.5-inch SATA 6 Gbps bays
|M.2 SSD Slot||2 x M.2 2240/2260/2280/22110 SATA 6Gb/s SSDs|
|Network Ports||4 x RJ45
Optional: 10 Gigabit Ethernet Port with PCIe expansion card
|PCIe Slot||1 x PCIe 3.0 x8
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
1 x USB 3.1 10 Gbps Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 10 Gbps Type-A
5 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
|HDMI Output||Optional: With PCIe GPU expansion card|
|Audio||2 x 3.5 mm dynamic microphone jacks
1 x 3.5 mm line-out jack
2 x speakers
|Display Panel||Monochrome backlit LCD display with Enter and Select buttons|
|USB One Touch Copy||Front: USB 3.0 Type-A|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||231.9 x 292.8 x 319.8 mm|
|Net Weight||9.05 kg|
|Power Supply Unit||450W, 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz|
|Fan||System: 2 x 80 mm
CPU: 2 x 90 mm
Design & Build
The QNAP TS-877 NAS is built for performance, and it shows in the design as well. The rectangular box looks quite premium and should look right at home in business IT settings. It has a solid tower design. While the smaller TS-677 has a squarish profile and the TS-1277 looks very stretched, the TS-877 feels well balanced in its proportions.
The top left section is dedicated to two SSD slots, with space below it for up to six HDDs in vertical bays. The space next to the SSD bays houses an LCD with a few control buttons. At the rear, there are PCIe expansion slots, Gigabit Ethernet ports, microphone jacks, 3.5mm line outs, a smattering of USB type A and C ports, and a Kensington lock port.
Hardware & Software Features
There are two variants of the TS-877: the 1600-8G (review model) and the 1700-16G. They are identical in all features except for the most important one: the processor. As the name suggests, the TS-877-1600-8G has the AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor, coupled with 8 gigabytes of RAM. The other variant has the top of the line Ryzen 7 1700 processor, with eight cores, mated to 16 GB of RAM.
The TS-877 package includes the tower, a couple of ethernet cables, a power cord, and a pair of M2 SSD cooling modules. Flathead screws for the HDDs and M2 SSDs are also provided, along with a well written Quick Installation Guide.
Like all their previous NAS models, the TS-877 also runs their QTS 4.3 Operating System. The OS has a very robust and well-developed software ecosystem, with hundreds of apps to handle all major tasks. The latest version, 4.3.3, has a very streamlined interface, with improved “intelligence” and resource management.
Software support is available for both Mac OS and Windows, as well as Linux and Unix OSes. Mac OS 10.7 or later is required, while Windows versions above 7 are also welcome for the QTS 4.3. Older MS Server versions like 2003, 2008 R2, and 2012 are also supported as client OS.
While the eight bays for HDDs offer a lot of storage options, it is the inclusion of the two SSD slots that add to the value of the TS-877. The SSDs can be used either as a cache for faster performance or as additional storage in a mixed configuration along with the HDDs.
That level of flexibility also extends to the expansion capabilities of the TS-877. The PCIe slots allow this NAS to scale into different network configurations using either a 10GbE or a much faster 40GbE adapter. There is also scope for wireless network cards or USB 3.1 cards.
The PCIe support for graphics cards requires special mention here. This is especially the case since the Ryzen processors lack onboard graphics cards. The QNAP TS-877 supports graphics cards from both NVidia and AMD Radeon for improved video processing power. Pictured below was the Gigabyte RX-580 we attempted to use with the TS-877. Not surprisingly it didn’t work due to the higher power demands. This aligns with the compatibility sheet on QNAPs website regarding the top end NVidia cards. QNAP state that a “450W or 550W power supply is required” for these power hungry cards. Given the unit we have has a 450W PSU, I’d say that we needed the 550W option. The TS-877 did, however, have no issues detecting the RX-580 and allowing us to pass-through the GPU to a Virtual Machine. It was only when we tried to draw on the GPU’s processing capabilities did the NAS fail.
The standard RAM configuration is either 2x4Gb for the 1600-8G variant, and 2x8Gb for the 1700-16G variant. The storage box supports a maximum RAM of 64GB for both the 1600 and 1700 variants in a 4x16Gb configuration. All four slots are UDIMM DDR4.
For the drive storage bays, the NAS has six bays for 3.5 inch SATA and SSD drives, and two smaller 2.5-inch bays exclusively for the SSDs. There is also an option for additional M2 SSD slots, of which there will be two inside. The PCIe interface can also house extra SSDs if required.
The four standard Gigabit Ethernet ports come with the RJ45 configuration. The PCIe slots can be used for optional 10 or 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. There are three PCIe slots in total on the TS-877, two of them 3.0 and one 2.0. The tower also has a total of 8 USB ports, two of them USB 3.1 (Type C and Type A), with the rest being all Type A USB 3.0 ports.
As far as audio is concerned, there are two speakers and two 3.5mm microphone jacks on the TS-877. An HDMI output is optional, through the PCIe expansion card. There is also a single 3.5mm line out jack.
We had no problems saturating our gigabit ethernet link running a disk benchmark on MacOS with an SMB share from the QNAP TS-877:
The high speeds enabled speedy file transfers and lag-free video streaming over our network.
Final Thoughts on the QNAP TS-877
The features and expansion potential of the TS-877 places it firmly in the medium size Enterprise category of NAS customers. QNAP is the first NAS manufacturer to jump onto the Ryzen bandwagon. The processing capabilities of the Ryzen series is already well established.
And with the inclusion of optional M2 SATA slots, and RAM scaling to maximum 64GB, the TS-877 can be configured for a wide range of business requirements. These can range from basic high-speed network storage to advanced virtual machines.
The addition of graphics card support also widens the scope of this NAS further into the realms of transcoding and virtualization. All that extra performance does come at a price though. Despite the relative affordability of the Ryzen series (when pitted against the Intel processors), the TS-x77 series commands a premium price tag. But for the performance, scalability and overall user-friendly interface on offer, that price tag should feel comfortably justified.