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QNAP TS-453BT3 4-Bay Thunderbolt 3 NAS Reviewed


QNAP’s TS-453BT3 is a compact, beautifully designed NAS that appears well suited for file sharing and multimedia editing. In addition to being a 4 disk NAS, it also includes dual Thunderbolt™ 3 ports, compatible with both Mac and Windows, dual SSD M.2 drives and 10GbE connectivity.

Targeting the higher end home and small office user, the TS-453BT3 features QNAP’s own Qtier technology for faster data transfers and Qfiling for efficient data organization. It has a simple yet functional design, featuring an OLED touch panel allowing the users to operate the device smoothly.

On paper, the QNAP’s TS-453BT3 appears to be perfect for media studios (photography or videography), or for small sized groups who want to enhance their workflow:

  • Supports up to 4K multimedia playback
  • Supports real-time 4K transcoding
  • Plenty of wired connectivity options (USB3, Thunderbolt 3, 1Gbps & 10Gbps Ethernet)

But enough of that, let’s take a closer look at the unit.

Hardware Specifications

The TS-453BT3 uses Intel’s Celeron J3455 quad-core processor. Each core performs at 1.5GHz, with the ability to scale up to 2.3GHz as required. Paired with 8GB of DDR3L RAM and you have more than enough capacity for small workgroups.

[~] # head -5 /proc/cpuinfo ; echo ; uname -a ; echo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 92
model name      : Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU J3455 @ 1.50GHz

Linux 4.2.8 #1 SMP Thu Nov 9 01:25:49 CST 2017 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Another plus, is the addition of a 10GbE port, allowing small to medium size groups to share data at amazing speeds over the network.

Look and Feel of the QNAP TS-453BT3

The QNAP TS-453BT3 is small and compact making it ideal for small to medium-sized groups. The modern design will blend into almost any home and working environment.

The front of the TS-453BT3 features the HDD drive bays that can accommodate up to 4 3.5”/2.5” SATA HDDs/SSDs. As always, I was a little disappointed with the plastic HDD caddy. I find them to be a little on the flimsy side, preferring the sturdier aluminium trays found on the QNAP Pro series.

Plastic HDD Caddy

Also on the front of the device is the OLED touch display, power button, 3 LED lights (USB, LAN and drive status) and input ports. The 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports are settled beneath the LED lights, and beneath these is a USB 3.1 port. The QNAP TS-453BT3 also features a one-touch copy button, allowing you to copy any data on your external drive at the touch of a button.



TS-453BT3 comes with display cover, but the touch system will still work through it and recognize your fingertips.

On the rear of the unit, QNAP has included:

  • 2 x M.2 SSD ports
  • 1 x 10GbE port
  • 2 x 3.5 mic inputs (in rose color)
  • 1 x 3.5 output slot (light green color)
  • 2 x HDMI ports (4K compatible)
  • 4 x USB slots (3.1 compatible)
  • 2 x LAN ports

QNAP TS-453BT3 Rear Ports

10Gbps Ethernet on the QNAP TS-453BT3

It is also worth mentioning that TS-453BT3 comes with the speaker at the back of the device, giving you system status messages, and acting as a music playback amplifier. Colling fan is placed at the back of the device, is 12 cm in diameter, working efficiently and silently.


Hard Disk Drive

In our test unit, we chose 2 Seagate IronWolf 4TB ST4000VN008 HDDs. These are optimised for NAS use and offer reasonable storage and SATA III (6GB/S) speeds.

Seagate IronWolf 4TB HDDs (ST4000VN008)

Configured in RAID1, these drives will give us roughly 4TB (4,000GB) to play with.

[~] # hdparm -i /dev/sda | grep -i serial
 Model=ST4000VN008-2DR166                      , FwRev=SC60    , SerialNo=            <removed>
[~] # hdparm -Tt /dev/sda

 Timing cached reads:   8236 MB in  2.00 seconds = 4118.11 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  426 MB in  3.01 seconds = 141.51 MB/sec

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


The QNAP TS-453BT3 supports bother 10GbE and Thunderbolt 3 for wired connectivity but we wanted to see how well it performed in older environments as smaller businesses may not always have the latest model desktops in use. For our connectivity benchmark I used the following tests:

  • File transfers from a QNAP TS-873U (10Gbps SFP+) to the QNAP TS-453BT3 (1Gbps)
  • File transfers from the QNAP TS-453BT3 (Thunderbolt 3) to an iMac (Thunderbolt 2)

Transfer over Thunderbolt before QFinder configuration changes was on the slow side

Transfer over Thunderbolt after QFinder configuration changes

Transfer speeds over gigabit LAN

As a comparison, I ran the same benchmark again using Thunderbolt 3 and a couple of SSDs in RAID0:

Running the tests again using Thunderbolt 3 connectivity

Interestingly, our write speeds dropped but as expected, we were able to squeeze more speed from the reads.


The QNAP TS-453BT3 is a beautifully designed and versatile NAS that works well with Mac and Windows. It provided us with a good all-around performance and was extremely easy to install and maintain.

The front side of the device is easy to read, giving you enough information and control over the device. The NAS wasn’t short of input ports either.

While not their fastest NAS, it is one of QNAP’s more affordable units. The price point and performance makes this suitable for home-based power users and small to medium size groups. All up, a great little NAS from QNAP that will fit in most small-medium working or home environments.

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