The list of network equipment vendors that send their products for review to our test lab is getting bigger and bigger. Today we would like to get you familiar with QNAP TVS-463 NAS that has four bays for HDD mounting and is meant to meet needs of small to medium-sized businesses. Two built-in Gigabit Ethernet interfaces as well as the possibility to install an extra NIC will let network administrators get the most out of this device. However, let's take our time and tell you about everything in parts.
QNAP TVS-463 NAS comes in a metal case with the following dimensions: 177x180x235 mm. The model under review is meant only for desk mounting and cannot be mounted in the rack without special-purpose shelves. Side and upper panels are not remarkable at all.
The bottom side of the device has four round rubber legs.
The front panel of the NAS features four bays for HDD mounting, LCD display and LED indicators that demonstrate status of the entire device and its separate parts, control ON/OFF and back-up buttons. Also, there is a USB 3.0 port located over here.
The biggest part of the NAS rear panel is a 120mm fan that cools down the HDDs and other device's hardware. It'd be fair to point out that there is another small fan installed on the back panel inside of the PSU. Two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, four USB 3.0 ports, expansion card slot, two HDMI interfaces, Kensington lock, power slot and antistatic wrist wrap slots are located here, too.
Now let's have a look at the insides of the case.
QNAP TVS-463 is powered by quad-core 3.4 GHz AMD CPU.
The standard model (TVS-463-4G) is fitted with one 4 GBytes DDR3L 1600 Transcend RAM plate. It's worth noticing that the model TVS-463-8G with 8 GBytes of RAM is on sale, too. The RAM capacity may be increased up to 16 GBytes since there are two extra slots for RAM installation on the other side of the motherboard.
Two Intel WGI210AT chips answer for network support. Fintek F71869AD module performs functions of monitoring. ASMedia ASM1074 microchip acts as the USB hub. The second ASM1182e microchip made by the same-named vendor is a switch of PCIe expansion slot, allowing for connection of two PCIe x1 Gen2 devices to PCIe x1 Gen2 expansion slot.
Two Marvell 88SE9215 microchips are used for connection of the HDDs. The mentioned controllers support neither software nor hardware RAID and only allow for connection of SATA 3.0 disks to PCI-E expansion slot.
DELTA ELECTRONICS DPS-250AB-44D with the power output of up to 250 Watts was chosen as the PSU.
That is where we bring the review of the hardware platform of QNAP TVS-463 to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.
Firmware update is carried out in Firmware Update group, System Settings group of the control panel. Firmware update process may be carried out both in manual and semi-automatic mode. Obviously, firmware update in the semi-automatic mode is available only if the device is connected to the Internet.
If the standard functionality of QNAP TVS-463 NAS is not sufficient for the user, s/he can install third-party add-ons. Installation of these add-ons is done using App Center application. Also, one can use App Center to manage installed add-on licences if it is necessary. Add-on installation may be carried out both in a manual and semi-automatic mode, too.
One of such add-ons is Super Mario game that we improvidently installed on the NAS under review, which lead to a complete stop in the work process in our test lab for a half of the day!
Connection to the Internet may be necessary not only for firmware update or add-on installation but also for updating the database of antivirus signatures because QNAP TVS-463 NAS possesses a pre-installed antivirus module. One can access the module using Antivirus group, Applications menu item in the control panel.
It'd be fair to mention that apart from the standard antivirus software the administrator can install add-on pack from McAfee too, which is located in Utilities group, Partners item. However, McAffee requires one to purchase the license to use it. There are also other packs for antivirus security available like Malware Remover.
That is where we bring review of issues associated with update of the NAS software to a conclusion and pass to reviewing capabilities of the device web-interface.
One can access the web-interface of the QNAP TVS-463 NAS using any modern browser. We will not review all capabilities of the device web-interface, but will try to inspect the groups in the control panel in detail. The device had firmware 4.2 installed when we reviewed it. When this review was being written, the mentioned firmware was officially released and that's why now users can easily upgrade the NAS to this version.
QNAP TVS-463 NAS web-interface is a window software program, which helps the majority of users configure the device at ease.
The main menu is used to address the key applications of the system and manage the device.
The administrator's menu is used to switch off the device, reboot it, or put it to sleep. Apart from it, the user profile parameters are located here, too.
One should click on the button with three vertical dots in order to gain access to the extras menu. The menu is used to access help files, change the web-interface localization, and choose arrangement of the elements on the home screen.
We believe that we should point out three auxiliary buttons at the bottom of the page that let the user manage QNAP cloud services, gain access to PC and mobile utilities, and obtain expert technical support.
Now let's review the main capabilities of the system located in the Control panel where the elements are presented in four different groups: System Settings, Privilege Settings, Network Services, and Applications.
Using tabs in General Settings group, System Settings menu item, the administrator can change the device name, select ports used for connection, manage time sync, adjust login screen settings, and choose the complexity of the administrator's password.
Storage Manager group in the same menu item is used to review information about the installed internal disks and external data carriers, collect data on resource usage, manage the disk array and remote disks, and manage iSCSI targets.
Network settings are located in the same-named group in the Control panel. Using this group the administrator can change IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, bind services to a certain network interface, configure a proxy server, and manage DDNS. Management of a wireless adapter, if any, is done using Network group as well.
Management of users' connection parameters to the NAS is made using Security group. This group is used to specify what kinds of connections are allowed, set the time period during which the user gets blocked upon entering a wrong password repeatedly, and manage certificates and keys.
Hardware group is used to manage caching, fan operation, and sound signals.
One can enable scheduled switching on of the NAS and manage energy saving parameters using Power group.
The administrator can receive log information via email, SMS, and push notifications. The respective settings are located in Notification group.
Backup and settings restoration are done using Backup / Restore group.
One can connect external printers, external HDDs, flash cards, and UPSes to the USB ports of the NAS. Management of external devices is done using the same-named group.
Information about the hardware, resource usage, and system service data are located in System Status group.
One can access the log information using System Logs group.
One can set limitations on the usage of disk space for all users and group created in Users and User Groups groups, Privilege Settings menu item. This limitation is set using Quota group.
QNAP TVS-463 NAS can perform functions of a domain controller. Respective settings are located in Domain Security and Domain Controller groups.
Management of file access protocols for the three most widely used platforms is done in Win/Mac/NFS group, Network Settings menu item.
Here the administrator will be able to select what version of SMB protocol the device would use. However, the current firmware version has no support of multipath for SMB 3.0.
One should use FTP group in order to manage settings of the same-named protocol.
SNMP is often used for centralized collection of statistical information and its management. The respective settings are located in the same-named group.
Yet another group of Network Services menu item, Qsync Central Station 2.0, is used to synchronize files between the devices.
Apart from performing its standard functions, storing user data and providing access to them, QNAP TVS-463 offers various auxiliary services too: multimedia servers, web server, VPN server and client, SQL servers as well as Syslog, RADIUS, and TFTP. Groups in Applications menu item are used to manage operation parametres of the auxiliary services.
Two HDMI ports on the rear panel of the NAS provide the administrator a possibility to use the multimedia features of the device not only on the web, but also offline by getting it connected directly to a TV set or projector. This way the device will function as a common video player.
We cannot help but mention the capability of antivirus check of all user data stored on the NAS. These settings can be managed in Antivirus group, Applications menu item. Obviously, we recommend our readers to update antivirus databases automatically. If access to the Internet is not available, it can be done manually by updating via a pre-downloaded file.
That is where we bring review of QNAP TVS-463 NAS web-interface to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its command line.
Managing the access to the command line of the device via Telnet and SSH protocols is performed using Telnet/SSH group, Network Services menu item.
In order to access the device command line one must use the same log-on information as for the connection to the storage web-interface. Firmware of the model under review is built on Linux 3.12.6 OS using Busy Box 1.01.
[/] # uname -a
Linux TS251C 3.12.6 #1 SMP Sat Sep 19 02:09:50 CST 2015 x86_64 unknown
[/] # busybox
BusyBox v1.01 (2015.09.18-19:09+0000) multi-call binary
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
or: [function] [arguments]...
BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
utilities into a single executable. Most people will create a
link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
will act like whatever it was invoked as!
Currently defined functions:
[, addgroup, adduser, ash, awk, basename, bunzip2, busybox, bzcat,
cat, chgrp, chmod, chown, chroot, chvt, clear, cmp, cp, crond,
crontab, cut, date, dc, dd, deallocvt, delgroup, deluser, df,
dirname, dmesg, dos2unix, du, echo, egrep, env, expr, false, fdisk,
fgrep, find, free, getty, grep, gunzip, gzip, halt, head, hexdump,
hostname, hwclock, id, ifconfig, init, insmod, install, ip, kill,
killall, klogd, linuxrc, ln, logger, login, ls, lsmod, md5sum,
mkdir, mknod, mktemp, modprobe, more, mount, mv, nameif, netstat,
nslookup, openvt, passwd, pidof, ping, ping6, pivot_root, poweroff,
ps, pwd, rdate, readlink, reboot, renice, reset, rm, rmdir, rmmod,
route, sed, sh, sha1sum, sleep, sort, strings, swapoff, swapon,
switch_root, sync, sysctl, syslogd, tail, tar, tee, telnet, test,
tftp, time, top, touch, tr, traceroute, true, tty, umount, uname,
uniq, unix2dos, unzip, uptime, usleep, vi, wc, wget, which, whoami,
xargs, yes, zcat
Let's see what processes are currently running using ps command. By using top utility one can obtain information on the current activity of the launched processes. We decided to present outputs of the utilities in an individual file.
We have placed the contents of /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin catalogues into a separate file, too.
Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM. We deleted the information about other three 'CPUs' intentionally since it was equal to the information for the first core. Actually, system uptime and average system utilisation can also be learnt using uptime command.
[/] # cd /proc
[/proc] # ls
1/ 15570/ 32/ 6817/ 9828/
10/ 1578/ 32269/ 6850/ 9834/
100/ 1604/ 32287/ 6857/ 9835/
101/ 1605/ 33/ 6858/ 9839/
102/ 16219/ 330/ 6862/ 9909/
103/ 16239/ 331/ 6871/ acpi/
108/ 1625/ 34/ 7/ asound/
10889/ 16355/ 341/ 7022/ buddyinfo
109/ 16412/ 354/ 7177/ bus/
10912/ 16417/ 355/ 7213/ cgroups
10933/ 16418/ 36/ 7216/ cmdline
11/ 16583/ 37/ 7217/ config.gz
110/ 16586/ 3798/ 7220/ consoles
11013/ 16596/ 3800/ 7221/ cpuinfo
11052/ 17/ 39/ 7222/ crypto
111/ 1741/ 4141/ 7485/ devices
11205/ 18/ 4253/ 7583/ diskstats
11262/ 19/ 4690/ 7593/ dma
11388/ 2/ 4866/ 7688/ drbd
11427/ 20/ 4984/ 8/ driver/
11445/ 203/ 5/ 9/ execdomains
116/ 20544/ 5010/ 92/ fb
11632/ 208/ 5069/ 9278/ filesystems
117/ 209/ 5176/ 9288/ fintek_cir/
11721/ 21/ 5448/ 9290/ flashcache/
11780/ 210/ 5449/ 9291/ fs/
11781/ 21044/ 5450/ 93/ interrupts
11782/ 214/ 5509/ 9301/ iomem
118/ 215/ 5512/ 9302/ ioports
119/ 2170/ 5513/ 9303/ irq/
12/ 21878/ 5516/ 9304/ kallsyms
120/ 22/ 5517/ 9305/ kcore
121/ 220/ 5518/ 9306/ key-users
123/ 221/ 5723/ 9307/ kmsg
1257/ 2217/ 5783/ 9308/ kpagecount
1260/ 222/ 5938/ 9313/ kpageflags
127/ 224/ 5939/ 9316/ loadavg
13/ 225/ 5940/ 9319/ locks
1353/ 2252/ 5975/ 9322/ mdstat
1354/ 226/ 5988/ 9325/ meminfo
1384/ 227/ 5990/ 9328/ misc
1385/ 2282/ 5991/ 9331/ modules
1387/ 2290/ 5994/ 9334/ mounts@
14/ 23/ 5995/ 9337/ mtrr
1429/ 2310/ 5996/ 9357/ net@
1431/ 24/ 62/ 9380/ pagetypeinfo
1433/ 24088/ 6223/ 9381/ partitions
1435/ 25/ 6239/ 94/ qnap_uvd_info
1441/ 2582/ 6241/ 9409/ scsi/
1444/ 26/ 6243/ 9428/ self@
1445/ 2648/ 6244/ 9485/ slabinfo
1446/ 269/ 6248/ 95/ softirqs
1447/ 27/ 6297/ 9564/ stat
1448/ 28/ 63/ 9580/ swaps
1449/ 28048/ 6325/ 96/ sys/
1450/ 2824/ 6327/ 9629/ sysvipc/
1451/ 29/ 6376/ 97/ timer_list
1452/ 3/ 64/ 9706/ tsinfo/
1453/ 30/ 6430/ 9714/ tty/
1454/ 30579/ 65/ 9720/ uptime
1456/ 31/ 6511/ 9721/ version
1458/ 31099/ 66/ 9728/ vmallocinfo
1463/ 31105/ 67/ 9740/ vmstat
15/ 3165/ 68/ 9826/ zoneinfo
[/proc] # cat uptime
[/proc] # cat loadavg
1.02 1.07 1.11 2/1079 2655
[/proc] # cat cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : AuthenticAMD
cpu family : 22
model : 48
model name : AMD GX-424CC SOC with Radeon(TM) R5E Graphics
stepping : 1
microcode : 0x7030105
cpu MHz : 2400.000
cache size : 2048 KB
physical id : 0
siblings : 4
core id : 0
cpu cores : 4
apicid : 0
initial apicid : 0
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 13
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36
clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp lm constant_tsc
rep_good nopl nonstop_tsc extd_apicid aperfmperf eagerfpu pni pclmulqdq monitor ssse3
cx16 sse4_1 sse4_2 movbe popcnt aes xsave avx f16c rdrand lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm
extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a misalignsse 3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt topoext
perfctr_nb perfctr_l2 arat xsaveopt hw_pstate npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save tsc_scale
flushbyasid decodeassists pausefilter pfthreshold bmi1
bogomips : 4791.02
TLB size : 1024 4K pages
clflush size : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes : 40 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management: ts ttp tm 100mhzsteps hwpstate  
[/proc] # cat meminfo
MemTotal: 7085624 kB
MemFree: 249588 kB
Buffers: 4808 kB
Cached: 2109124 kB
SwapCached: 14888 kB
Active: 4825296 kB
Inactive: 1703508 kB
Active(anon): 3811580 kB
Inactive(anon): 635636 kB
Active(file): 1013716 kB
Inactive(file): 1067872 kB
Unevictable: 3696 kB
Mlocked: 2276 kB
SwapTotal: 530108 kB
SwapFree: 183744 kB
Dirty: 36 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 4406148 kB
Mapped: 29120 kB
Shmem: 30924 kB
Slab: 114608 kB
SReclaimable: 70984 kB
SUnreclaim: 43624 kB
KernelStack: 8648 kB
PageTables: 17948 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 4072920 kB
Committed_AS: 12382924 kB
VmallocTotal: 34359738367 kB
VmallocUsed: 321464 kB
VmallocChunk: 34359343868 kB
HardwareCorrupted: 0 kB
Hugepagesize: 2048 kB
DirectMap4k: 11196 kB
DirectMap2M: 3072000 kB
DirectMap1G: 4194304 kB
[/proc] # uptime
13:23:10 up 10:19, load average: 1.01, 1.06, 1.10
That's where we proceed to completion of the brief review of the command line interface capabilities and pass directly on to testing the device.
The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. The first echo-reply is received after 136 seconds. However, TVS-463 makes a noise after it's booted. In this case, we will consider the booting time as the moment when the device makes the sound. QNAP TVS-463 NAS boots in 180 seconds. Also, we decided to measure how much it takes for the device to switch off. It turned out that TVS-463 model switches off in 175 seconds. We believe that this result is decent.
The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.8 (build 188.8.131.5282) network security scanner. On the whole, there were 25 open ports discovered. The most interesting data are presented below.
QNAP TVS-463 model under review possesses two HDMI ports, letting one turn this common NAS into a multimedia device. These ports may be used to output images and sound to a TV set or projector, making TVS-463 a base for home cinema. In order to make it happen one can use such packs as Photo Station, Music Station, and Video Station. Apart from them, HD Station service includes many other apps that let the user talk over Skype or social networks, browse the web, and so on. The following peripheral devices may be connected to the storage for a more convenient browsing and entertainment experience: keyboards, mouses, web-cameras, and remote controls.
As a matter of course, we couldn't help but try it all. We uploaded photos and video taken by our tourist group during a trip to the Kola peninsular as well as a couple of movies downloaded from the web to the device.
Watching photos and listening to music didn't load the device in any noticeable way. However, transcoding of some videos in real time consumed the largest part of the device CPU resources.
Before getting straight down to performance tests we would like to mention the key specifications of the test stand we used.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Extreme|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 4790K 4 GHz|
|RAM||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes|
|NIC||Intel PRO/1000 PT
|OS||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus
Windows 2012 R2
We decided to begin measuring the performance of QNAP TVS-463 NAS with measuring access speeds through SMB/CIFS and iSCSI protocols upon connection via the built-in Gigabit Ethernet interface. The measurements were taken for all types of supported RAID arrays.
Before getting down to the measurements we intentionally reduced the size of RAM available to the system on our test PC. This was done for reducing the influence of local caching according to the Intel recommendations. Unfortunately, DirectoryCopyToNAS test results were still coming out weird and that is why we decided not to include them in the diagram.
On the diagrams presented above one can see that the obtained speeds were limited by the throughput of the network interface. Since the model under review possesses a capability of establishing several simultaneous iSCSI (iSCSI MultiPath), we decided to use both Gigabit Ethernet ports. Also, we asked the vendor to provide us an extra NIC with 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface. Results of the measurements for the three connection methods that we mentioned are presented on the diagram below.
We repeated all measurements that we had made with the only difference, now our test PC and the NAS were connected by a 10 GE network. All further measurements, if not specified otherwise, use a 10GE connection.
Apart from IPv4 support, the model under review also supports the next version of Internet Protocol, IPv6.
As one can see from the diagrams above, TVS-463 performance upon operation in IPv6 is quite high and in some cases it's even higher than that of IPv4.
Unfortunately, the chance of an HDD failure is not as low as zero. This is why we decided to find out how the process of RAID array rebuild influences the overall performance of the device.
To our great surprise, the rebuilding procedure doesn't affect the performance of QNAP TVS-463 NAS.
QNAP TVS-463 NAS can perform functions of a VPN server. The diagram presented below shows the performance of the device when a user is connected to it using three tunnel protocols: PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN.
The partition connected through iSCSI protocol can be formatted into any file system that is supported by the client OS. Since we used a PC with Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 OS for testing, the following file systems were available: NTFS, ReFS, FAT32, and exFAT. As a matter of course, we understand that the performance of each of these file system mainly depends on how its support in this or that OS is performed. However, still we decided to provide the readers with the results of our measurements.
Upon creating an iSCSI target the administrator will need to choose how this target is to be created: as a file on the existing or new partition or as a separate object located directly on the disk array. Placing of the target as the object directly on the disk array ensures high access speeds to the user data (according to the built-in info wizard). We decided to find out the difference between the obtained speeds in both cases. According to the results of our measurements, access speeds to the iSCSI target turned out higher upon placing as the file on the existing partition.
QNAP TVS-463 NAS possesses USB 3.0 ports, which we used to connect our external 256 GBytes Transcend TS256GESD400K SSD. The measurements were carried out in two modes: when the test PC is connected to the NAS through Gigabit Ethernet interface and when it is connected to the NAS using 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface.
As one can see from the diagrams above, the device under review can provide significantly higher access speeds to the data located even on an external device upon connection through a higher speed network.
Since TVS-465 model is produced in two versions, with 4 and 8 GBytes of RAM, we decided to find out whether increasing the RAM capacity influences the device performance and we asked the vendor to provide us an extra RAM module.
And though we didn't see a considerable increase in the device performance after increasing the RAM capacity, installing another RAM plate will make a whole array of new auxiliary features available to the administrator. QNAP NASes possess Virtualization Station add-on, which is a second type hypervisor that lets the user launch guest OSes. Naturally, the hardware resources that TVS-463 features cannot be called powerful enough for performing virtualization tasks, but still they do well for a whole array of standard tasks that don't have high hardware requirements. Virtualization Station lets the administrator clearly specify the amount of RAM and the number of CPU cores that guest OS will be allocated. We installed Microsoft Windows 7 x64 as the guest system and allocated it 4 GBytes of RAM and all 4 CPU cores. The above-mentioned OS has a mechanism of OS performance assessment built-in and we decided to use it. Results of the measurement are presented below.
For purposes of comparison we decided to include the performance result of our test PC whose key specifications we presented earlier. A considerable difference in performance of the disk sub-system may be explained by the usage of SSD in our test PC while QNAP TVS-463 NAS was fitted with common HGST HDN724030ALE640 HDDs meant to be used in NASes.
Probably the most interesting test associated with virtualization is measuring access speeds to data stored on the disk array from a guest OS. In order to do this we launched Intel NASPT 1.7.1 directly in our Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 x64 guest system. Results of the measurements are presented below.
And, as a matter of course, we decided to find out what speeds HGST HDN724030ALE640 HDDs, which were used in the tests, are capable of showing.
We couldn't keep away from the capability of antivirus check of the user data. This check may be performed using ClamAV or McAfee (available under license) antivirus modules. Unfortunately, system files check is not supported by the modules. It wasn't our aim to compare these antivirus engines or measure the exact speed values since in this case they would depend on a variety of factors: antivirus signature database version, type and size of the user files, and so on. During our tests we performed the check of file sets (FileCopyFromNAS and DirectoryCopyFromNAS) used by Intel NASPT utility. Results of the measurements are presented on the diagram below.
That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.
Generally, we are glad about QNAP TVS-463 NAS we tested. It supports up to four SATA HDDs or SSDs. Irrespective of the small size of the device case and desk-mounted design, the NAS performance turned out to be almost equal to that of the rack-mounted NASes. Availability of two versions of the device, which are different in RAM capacity, will improve buying experience of the prospective customers.
Among the strength areas of QNAP TVS-463 NAS are the following.
- Ability to install an extra NIC
- Support of IPv6
- Ability to aggregate network interfaces
- High access speeds to the user data
- An HDMI port
- Ability to launch guest OSes
- Presence of USB 3.0 ports
- Ability to hot swap HDDs
- A built-in VPN server and client
- Ability to install auxiliary add-ons
- Availability of an antivirus engines
Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention certain drawbacks of the model.
- A small fan in the PSU
- Poor translation of the web-interface
- Relatively high price
As of when this article was being written, the average price for a QNAP TVS-463-4G in Moscow online shops was 91200 roubles. Whilst TVS-463-8G model cost 96500 roubles. The prices do not include HDDs.