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QNAP TS-431X 4-Bay NAS with 10GbE SFP+ Reviewed

QNAP TS-431X
QNAP TS-431X

QNAP TS-431X

QNAP continue their roll-out of new products aimed at the entry level SMB market with the release of the TS-431X. The QNAP TS-431X is a 4 disk NAS and supports up to 10GbE network speeds with the included 10GbE SFP+ port. Like its older sibling, the TS-531X, QNAP have continued to utilise processor technology from Annapurna Labs, an Amazon company. The TS-431X has the slightly lower core count AL-212 Dual core 1.7GHz rather than the AL-314 Quad-core 1.4GHz we saw on the TS-531X.

The hardware specifications of the QNAP TS-431X NAS are:
ProcessorAnnapurna Labs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-212 Dual-core 1.7GHz ARM® Cortex-A15 Processor
Hardware Encryption Accleration
System MemoryTS-431X-2G: 2GB DDR3 RAM (1 x 2GB)
TS-431X-8G: 8GB DDR3 RAM (1 x 8GB)
RAM slot1 x SODIMM (Max. 8GB)
Flash Memory512MB NAND flash
Drive Type4 x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6Gb/s HDDs/SSDs; Hot-swappable
External Ports1 x 10 Gigabit SFP+ LAN Port
2 x Gigabit RJ45 LAN Ports
3 x USB 3.0 port (Front x1; Rear x 2)
LED IndicatorsStatus/Power, LAN, USB, HDD 1-4
ButtonsPower, Reset, USB One- touch-copy
Security DesignKensington security slot
System WarningBuzzer
Form FactorTower
Dimensions (H x W x D)169 x 160 x 219 mm
WeightNet: 3 kg
Gross: 4.3 kg
Temperature0-40˚C
Power SupplyExternal Adapter 90W,12V
Power consumptionHDD standby: 11.65W
In operation: 26.7W
(with 4 x 1TB HDD installed)
Sound LevelOperating low speed: 19.5 dB(A)
Fan1 x 12cm smart Fan (12V DC)
Box contentsTS-431X
2 x Ethernet cable
Quick installation guide
Flat head screw (for 3.5" HDD)
Flat head screw (for 2.5" HDD)
Power adapter
Power cord
Key differences between the QNAP TS-431X and TS-531X:
 TS-431XTS-531X
CPUAnnapurna Labs Alpine AL-212 2-core 1.7 GHzQuad-core Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 1.4GHz
Number of RAM Slots1 ( (Max 8 GB; SODIMM))2 (Max 16 GB)
Max. number of HDDs/SSDs4x 2.5" or 3.5" SATA 6Gb/s, 3Gb/s5x 2.5" or 3.5" SATA 6Gb/s, 3Gb/s
Expansion Enclosure Support-2 (UX-800P, UX-500P)
Gigabit LAN Ports22 (expandable to 4 via PCIe NIC)
10GbE1* SFP+2 x SFP+
Expansion Slot (PCI-E)-1 x Gen2 (x2)
Dimensions (HxWxD) mm169 x 160 x 219 mm185 x 210.6 x 235.5
Weight (Net/ Gross)3 kg / 4.3 kg4.4kg / 5.8kg
Power Supply SpecificationExternal Power Adapter, 90W, 100-240VATX 240W, Input: 110-240 Vac~, 50-60Hz, 3.5A
Power Consumption: HDD Sleep Mode (W)11.6517.01
Power Consumption: Operating Mode, Typical (W)26.729.31
Noise Level dB(A)19.518.1
Real-time Remote Replication (RTRR) Max. Number of Jobs832
Max USB Webcam for liveview or snapshot (QUSBCam App)-1 (up to 640x480, 5FPS)
Max. Number of Concurrent Connections400700

We confirm the processor information in the test unit via a quick SSH session to the NAS:

[~] # head -5 /proc/cpuinfo ; echo ; uname -a ; echo info

processor : 0
model name : ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
Speed : 1.7GHz
Features : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt 
CPU implementer : 0x41
Linux QNAPTEST 3.10.20-al-2.5.3_sa #2 SMP Fri Feb 17 05:13:21 CST 2017 armv7l unknown
info

[~] # 

TS-431X Design & Build

QNAP are nothing but consistent with the design and build quality of the entry level NAS storage devices. I won’t repeat myself here but please feel free to read through our previous QNAP reviews for anything specific. In short, QNAP generally get top marks in this space.

In the meantime, enjoy our TS-431X picture gallery:

Software

Until recently, we’ve been running QTS 4.2 on our test machines and dabbled a little with the early 4.3 beta releases. With the TS-431X, we re-baselined the environment to the newer QTS 4.3.3. QTS 4.3.3 brings a breath of fresh air to the QNAP software environment. It’s a much-welcomed facelift with some great productivity improvements.

Some of the key features:

  • New look and feel control panel makes it much easier to find what you need quickly
  • Notifications and alerts have been overhauled and now support browser notifications, SMS and voice alerts for supported platforms
  • Improved certificate security, upload your own or self-generate
  • 64-bit architecture

You can read more about QTS 4.3.3 here.

Performance

The QNAP TS-431X was configured as follows:

  • RAM – 2GB
  • HDD #1 – Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • HDD #2 – Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD

Hdparm was used to see how the unit performed with buffered and cached disk read speeds under RAID1:

[~] # hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

/dev/sda:
 Timing cached reads:   8248 MB in  2.00 seconds = 4129.87 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  1418 MB in  3.00 seconds = 472.36 MB/sec

The second test was a NAS to NAS file copy using a QNAP TS-563 and the SFP+ interface on both units. You can see the limitations of 7200RPM platter based HDDs when using the TS-563 as the source drive. That said, the 10GbE performance was still a little slower than what we’ve experienced with previous models.

Copying files from the QNAP TS-431X

Copying files from the QNAP TS-431X

Copying files to the QNAP TS-431X

Copying files to the QNAP TS-431X

The final test was with a HDD benchmark app on Mac OS X:

TS-431X DiskSpeedTest on Mac OS

No problems saturating the gigabit link on the Apple iMac.

Final Thoughts

The QNAP TS-431X is a great entry level NAS. Whilst it doesn’t have the performance the higher end models have, it is still quite suitable for most small businesses. The in-built 10GbE port and dual gigabit links allow businesses to scale up/down with their infrastructure quickly and easily.

If you run a small business and don’t need all the bells and whistles of a higher spec’d (and priced) NAS, the QNAP TS-431X is one to consider. It offers great value for money and is built on a solid software platform.

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