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Introduction

External design and hardware

Firmware update

Web-interface

Command line

Utilities

Testing

Summary

Introduction

It’s been a long time since we published QNAP NAS review on our pages. There were several reasons for that, however we should admit that we missed. And now we are glad to introduce our readers to the review of QNAP TS-531X NAS that allows mounting not only up to five HDDs or SSDs with SATA interface but also SSD modules with M.2 interface with the help of specialized expansion cards. But first things first!

External design and hardware

QNAP TS-531X NAS is meant for desk mounting and not intended for mounting in the rack without using of special-purpose shelves. The dimensions of the model case are 185x211x236 mm and its weight without disks is a bit less than 6 kg. It’s worth noting here that there two kinds of the model in question: TS-531X-2G and TS-531X-8G, and the difference between them is in preset RAM amount. TS-531X-2G model has 2 GBytes of RAM, whereas RAM amount of TS-531X-8G model is 4 times more and equal to 8 GBytes. On the whole NAS motherboard has two slots for RAM installation that allows increasing available RAM amount up to 16 GBytes.

There is also a small difference between the models in their weight: TS-531X-2G model weighs 5.8 kg whereas TS-531X-8G is 100 g heavier and its weight is equal to 5.9 kg.

To work properly TS-531X needs (in standby mode) 17 W of electric power, and during operation it consumes about 30 W. Certainly, real energy usage directly depends on mounted HDDs and current load of the device.

The majority of the front panel is taken up by five bays for HDD mounting of 2.5 and 3.5 inch. The maximum volume of disk space is 60 TBytes (with mounting HDDs of 12 TBytes capacity) and by using expansion modules it can be increased to 252 TBytes. LEDs indicating work of the whole storage and its separate parts are also placed here; for example, with their help one can define intense of using this or that HDD. One of USB 3.0 ports is located on the front panel together with the button that allows copying data to NAS or vice versa. COPY button is not the only one on the front panel, except for it, POWER button is placed here. Vendor name and sticker with brief information about the model is also placed on the front panel of the storage case.

The upper panel and sides are not remarkable at all, except for a small ventilation grate placed on one side of the case.

Four circle rubber legs are located on the bottom panel of the case.

The biggest part of the rare panel of QNAP TS-531X NAS is taken up by fan with the dimensions of 120x120 mm. Unfortunately, vendor cannot manage without using more fans, so there is also a fan of 40x40mm cooling built-in power adapter near which slot for connecting to power grid is located. Kensington lock and sunken Reset button, two USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two slots for plugging in SFP+ modules are located on the rare panel, too. It’s worth specially noting presence of the PCIe Gen2 (x2) expansion slot. On vendor website there is a great amount of expansion cards. The cards in question can be relatively divided into three groups: network adapters, adapters for SSD connection with M.2 interface and hybrid ones that perform both functions. Certainly, before buying a particular card model one should be sure in its compatibility with the using storage and SSDs that are going to be used. We should notice that we were pleasantly surprised with the support of drives with M.2 interface.

Let us add several words about devices using for expansion QNAP TS-531X NAS with USB 3.0 ports. External disk arrays of QNAP UX-500P and UX-800P models supporting work of five and eight disks correspondingly can be connected to these ports. However, if even this capacity is not enough, TS-531X model can connect remote network resources via iSCSI protocol but it’s a kind of another story.

QNAP TS-531X NAS uses built-in flash memory of 512 MBytes to store firmware. OS and its application software are operated on Cortex-A15 Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core CPU that runs at a frequency of 1.7 GHz.

Now let’s have a look at firmware update process.

Firmware update

Firmware update can be carried out in two ways: using Internet and in local mode. In the first mode, obviously, NAS access to the Internet is required, whereas in the second mode only file with new firmware version preliminary downloaded from vendor website is needed. Without any dependency on the preferable way of firmware update, the administrator should navigate to Firmware Update tab of Firmware Update menu item of System group in the Control Panel.

The whole firmware update process takes about five minutes (not considering time needed to download file from vendor website) and doesn’t require any special knowledge from the user.

After all relevant procedures are performed, NAS should be rebooted. One can check success rate of firmware update process using Firmware Update tab of Firmware Update menu item of System group in the Control Panel.

We cannot help but mention about one more way of firmware update: with the help of QNAP Qfinder Pro utility.

That’s where we proceed to completion of brief description of ways for QNAP TS-531X NAS firmware update and go directly to reviewing its web-interface capabilities.

Web-interface

One can access the web-interface of the QNAP TS-531X NAS using any modern browser. We will not describe all capabilities of the testing model web-interface, however review the most interesting of them.

Upon successful authentication the user gets access to multipage desktop of the device. There are shortcuts for the most frequently used NAS functions on the desktop.

One can also get access to the main functions using main menu, button for opening which is placed in the left corner of the desktop.

With the help of the toolbar buttons placed on top of desktop the user can perform search, view running background tasks, get information about external devices, inspect NAS working journal, change main access parameters for the device, turn off or reboot the device and display information panel.

One can get access to myQNAPcloud website with the help of special buttons placed at the bottom part of the desktop. Using them the administrator can also download a special utility for managing NAS, send feedback via feedback form or request for help.

Let’s review main capabilities provided by the Control Panel.

Using General Settings menu item of System group the administrator can select port and protocol for access to the device, manage parameters of time synchronization, change codepage, select region of NAS locating, change login screen.

One can change parameters of storage pools and volumes, manage snapshots, configure access via iSCSI protocol with the help of Storage & Snapshots item of the same group of the Control Panel. QNAP TS-531X NAS can use SSDs intended for cache to accelerate its work. The corresponding setting is provided in this item as well.

NAS ability to measure performance of a particular HDD became a pleasant surprise for us. Measuring is performed both for sequential read speed and for the number of inputs/outputs per second (IOPS). From our point of view, it is a scrupulously useful function allowing the administrator to detect (and replace if needed) the slowest HDD in the array or detect SSD degradation in time.

Also we cannot help but notice an ability to connect remote resources to NAS via iSCSI protocol.

Probably, we could take special attention to the capabilities of Storage & Snapshots item, however we go further to Security menu item using which the administrator can restrict the list of allowed IP addresses, configure additional security parameters for SSH/Telnet, HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SAMBA and AFP protocols, set secure certificate and also change user password policy.

One can manage audio alerts and fan rotation speed settings with the help of Hardware menu item.

QNAP TS-531X NAS power can be managed with the help of Control Panel menu item of the same name.

Alert notifications about events occured for the device can be sent to the administrator via e-mail, SMS or push notifications on the cell, the corresponding setting is available in Notification menu item.

Except for USB drives TS-531X model supports USB printers and UPS as external devices. The corresponding setting is available in External Device menu item.

Information about current state of all NAS elements is gathered in System Status menu item.

One can get information about current usage of NAS resources with the help of Resource Monitor item.

Not all NAS functions are available to the users for free, for activation of some of them one should get a special license. Among these functions, for example, is the support of exFAT Driver, Antivirus, Video Recorder. One can use License Center menu item for managing licenses.

With the help of menu items of Privilege group the administrator can manage users and user groups, configure quotas on using disk space, manage folder access parameters. It’s also worth noting that QNAP TS-531X NAS can perform functions of the domain controller.

One can manage parameters of NAS network connection with the help of Network menu item of Network & File Services group. So, for example, here one can configure IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, turn on port aggregation, perform binding of a service to a particular network interface, specify proxy-server and DDNS.

File service managing in Windows, Mac and Linux networking is performed with the help of Win/Mac/NFS item of the same group.

Except for file service typical for this or that OS, the testing model supports rather standard protocols such as FTP which working parameters are shown in the menu item of the same name of Network & File Services group.

The administrator should use Telnet/SSH manu item if it is necessary to manage access to the command line of TS-531X model.

Optionally one can add NAS to the centralized monitoring system that performs device polling via SNMP. The corresponding settings are provided in the item of the same name.

Except for file service QNAP TS-531X NAS provides users with different application servers and databases such as iTunes, DLNA, Web, LDAP, SQL, Syslog, RADIUS, TFTP and NTP. To access settings of applications one should use items of the group of the same name. Also using it one can perform antivirus scanning of data storing on the device.

All listed above can be referred to NAS settings, however web-interface capabilities of TS-531X model do not end here. So, for example, with the help of File Station application users can perform standard file operations using only a browser.

However, set of tools provided to the users do not end here, too. Among available services are Photo Station and Music Station, Video Station and Download Station, Surveillance Station and Notes Station. However if even they are not enough, QNAP Store users have several dozens of applications both from QNAP and third-party vendors. One can get access to the list of available applications in App Center store.

That’s where we bring a brief review of QNAP TS-531X NAS web-interface capabilities to a conclusion and pass on to its command line.

Command line

One can manage access to the command line of QNAP TS-531X NAS with the help of Telnet/SSH menu item of Network & File Services group.

Firmware of the model under review is built on Linux 4.2.8 operating system using BusyBox 1.01.

[/] # uname -a
Linux NASFFBA09 4.2.8 #2 SMP Thu Feb 15 08:31:43 CST 2018 armv7l unknown
[/] # busybox
BusyBox v1.01 (2018.02.14-18:42+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 which processes are currently running on the device using ps command. Top utility displays 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. Actually, system uptime and average system utilisation can also be learnt using uptime command.

[/] # cd /proc
[/proc] # ls
1/ 13523/ 2480/ 37/ 9309/
10/ 136/ 2481/ 38/ 9319/
100/ 13669/ 2495/ 3858/ 9320/
101/ 13695/ 25/ 39/ 9327/
102/ 137/ 2513/ 3918/ 9793/
103/ 13707/ 2514/ 3926/ 98/
10374/ 13709/ 25346/ 40/ 99/
10379/ 13721/ 26/ 4032/ 9909/
104/ 14/ 2607/ 4044/ 9975/
105/ 14081/ 2608/ 41/ Qtier
106/ 14146/ 26218/ 416/ asound/
107/ 14215/ 2648/ 417/ buddyinfo
108/ 14416/ 2659/ 42/ bus/
109/ 14481/ 2663/ 427/ cgroups
10968/ 14596/ 2664/ 428/ cmdline
10973/ 14597/ 2666/ 4336/ config.gz
11/ 14607/ 27/ 4416/ consoles
11018/ 14617/ 27017/ 442/ cpu/
11019/ 14622/ 2716/ 443/ cpuinfo
11020/ 14682/ 2717/ 4446/ crypto
11063/ 15/ 2719/ 4556/ device-tree@
11395/ 150/ 2720/ 5/ devices
114/ 15079/ 2728/ 5223/ diskstats
115/ 151/ 2730/ 5720/ driver/
116/ 15139/ 2732/ 5727/ execdomains
117/ 15189/ 2733/ 6444/ filesystems
11749/ 152/ 2734/ 6456/ flashcache/
11767/ 153/ 2735/ 6553/ fs/
11770/ 15326/ 2736/ 6734/ interrupts
11771/ 154/ 2738/ 7/ iomem
11781/ 155/ 2740/ 8/ ioports
118/ 15521/ 2745/ 80/ irq/
11838/ 156/ 2747/ 81/ kallsyms
119/ 15636/ 2750/ 8100/ key-users
11983/ 15672/ 2753/ 82/ keys
120/ 159/ 2821/ 827/ kmsg
12010/ 160/ 28349/ 83/ kpagecount
121/ 161/ 28405/ 84/ kpageflags
12150/ 17/ 29/ 85/ loadavg
12159/ 18/ 2905/ 86/ locks
122/ 18298/ 2907/ 87/ mdstat
123/ 18506/ 292/ 88/ meminfo
12333/ 18700/ 293/ 89/ misc
12370/ 19/ 294/ 9/ modules
124/ 19779/ 295/ 90/ mounts@
12483/ 19789/ 296/ 91/ mtd
12484/ 19793/ 2970/ 9122/ net@
12485/ 2/ 2973/ 9124/ pagetypeinfo
125/ 20114/ 3/ 9125/ partitions
12585/ 20901/ 30/ 9127/ scsi/
126/ 21/ 3001/ 9128/ self@
127/ 21525/ 3004/ 9131/ slabinfo
128/ 21528/ 30084/ 9133/ softirqs
12836/ 21813/ 3071/ 9135/ stat
12888/ 22/ 3072/ 9146/ swaps
129/ 22482/ 30952/ 92/ sys/
12953/ 22485/ 31/ 9201/ sysvipc/
13/ 22486/ 3135/ 9202/ thread-self@
130/ 22488/ 3136/ 9203/ timer_list
131/ 23/ 31808/ 9204/ tsinfo/
13118/ 23230/ 3216/ 9205/ tty/
132/ 23233/ 3273/ 9206/ uptime
13259/ 2336/ 338/ 9259/ version
133/ 23654/ 34/ 9262/ vmallocinfo
13339/ 23681/ 3488/ 9268/ vmstat
13388/ 24/ 3489/ 9271/ zoneinfo
134/ 2415/ 35/ 9274/
13420/ 24554/ 36/ 9286/
13477/ 24568/ 364/ 9290/
135/ 2476/ 3677/ 93/
[/proc] # cat uptime
32470.95 126567.64
[/proc] # cat loadavg
3.61 3.54 3.51 1/601 31863
[/proc] # uptime
 02:02:18 up 9:01, load average: 3.61, 3.54, 3.50
[/proc] # cat cpuinfo
processor : 0
model name : Annapurna Labs Alpine AL314 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU @ 1.70GHz
Speed : 1.7GHz
Features : half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x2
CPU part : 0xc0f
CPU revision : 4
processor : 1
model name : Annapurna Labs Alpine AL314 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU @ 1.70GHz
Speed : 1.7GHz
Features : half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x2
CPU part : 0xc0f
CPU revision : 4
processor : 2
model name : Annapurna Labs Alpine AL314 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU @ 1.70GHz
Speed : 1.7GHz
Features : half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x2
CPU part : 0xc0f
CPU revision : 4
processor : 3
model name : Annapurna Labs Alpine AL314 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU @ 1.70GHz
Speed : 1.7GHz
Features : half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x2
CPU part : 0xc0f
CPU revision : 4
Hardware : Annapurna Labs Alpine
Revision : 0000
Serial : 0000000000000000
[/proc] #
[/proc] # cat meminfo
MemTotal: 2079392 kB
MemFree: 105248 kB
MemAvailable: 1213440 kB
Buffers: 400160 kB
Cached: 1103584 kB
SwapCached: 288 kB
Active: 869664 kB
Inactive: 854432 kB
Active(anon): 265280 kB
Inactive(anon): 277184 kB
Active(file): 604384 kB
Inactive(file): 577248 kB
Unevictable: 2240 kB
Mlocked: 2240 kB
HighTotal: 589824 kB
HighFree: 22464 kB
LowTotal: 1489568 kB
LowFree: 82784 kB
SwapTotal: 24647264 kB
SwapFree: 24631168 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 222592 kB
Mapped: 65632 kB
Shmem: 322112 kB
Slab: 85440 kB
SReclaimable: 38080 kB
SUnreclaim: 47360 kB
KernelStack: 19296 kB
PageTables: 46592 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 25686944 kB
Committed_AS: 3954048 kB
VmallocTotal: 565248 kB
VmallocUsed: 36288 kB
VmallocChunk: 510976 kB
[/proc] #

That's where we proceed to completion of the brief review of the command line interface capabilities and pass directly on to the shortest part of this review - describing its auxiliary utilities.

Utilities

One can manage QNAP NAS not only with the help of a browser or command line but also using specialized utilities. We’ll not review all of them in detail in this review and just mention some of them.

There are utilities both for PC and mobile platforms. Utilities for PC supports Windows, Mac and Linux OS.

With the help of QNAP Qfinder Pro utility the administrator can detect NAS in his/her local network and perform its preliminary settings.

One can synchronize files and folders using Qsync utility.

QNAP NetBak Replicator utility has similar functionality and allows fast backup copying of files from PC to NAS.

For remote access to NAS using cloud service one should use myQNAPcloud utility.

One can manage downloads performed by NAS with the help of QGet utility.

We cannot help but mention QNAP vSphere Client utility that allows managing QNAP NAS using ordinary vSphere client.

The analogs of application servers we discussed during web-interface capabilities review also exist as applications for cells and tablets. So, for example, with the help of Qfile application one can manage his/her files located in the network from the cell.

That’s where we bring a brief review of utilities available to QNAP NAS users to a conclusion.

Testing

The first traditional testing procedure 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 ICMP echo reply is received. QNAP TS-531X NAS starts sending echo-replies after 390 seconds (6:30 minutes), however at that moment the testing model is not fully ready for work. The device informs the user about the completion of the booting procedure with a special sound signal after 2 minutes 28 seconds more, so the total booting time of QNAP TS-531X NAS is equal to 8 minutes 58 seconds. We consider this a decent result. However the given test is not completed yet. We measured the booting time for firmware of 4.3.4 version (0483 build). Why is this important? The point is that there is one very interesting fix in the changelog for 4.3.4 version (0486 build):

[Fixed Issues]
- Booting process would take a longer time after users updated QTS to 4.3.4.0483 build 20180213.

We decided to update firmware and repeat this test. It turned out that TS-531X model with the firmware of 4.3.4 version (0486 build) starts sending ICMP echo-replies after 292 seconds (4 minutes 52 seconds), whereas final sound signal comes after 343 seconds (5 minutes 43 seconds) from the moment the power is on that is almost 1,5 times less than the booting time required for NAS with the firmware of the previous version.

The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.8 network security scanner. On the whole, there were 20 open ports discovered. The most interesting data are presented below.

QNAP engineers attentively check the discovered vulnerabilities and publish detailed info about all corrections on the official website.

At last we got straight down to the most interesting part of our review - performance tests, however before start we would like to get our readers familiar with the key parameters of the test stand we used.

Component PC
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme
CPU Intel Core i7 7700K 4 GHz
RAM DDR4-2133 Samsung 64 Gbyte
NIC Intel X550T2
OS Windows Server 2012 R2

A pleasant option is to measure performance of each HDD separately using features of QNAP TS-531X NAS itself, to do this, one should go to Disks item of Storage group of Storage & Snapshots section. Only two tests are available: Sequential read and IOPS read result but we consider them basic and very important.

To perform other performance tests we used Intel NASPT utility of 1.7.1 version due to which requirements we decreased amount of RAM available to the system. Such a decrease is necessary to minimize influence of local caching.

The first test from which we decided to begin performance measuring of the model under consideration was measuring access speeds to user data located on independent disks. For this test we didn’t grouped HDDs to RAID arrays. We used three different drives: HGST HUS724030ALA640 HDDs (two devices) and HDN724040ALE640 (two devices) and SSD OCZ AGILITY3 (one device) which we used as a cache. But first things first! Access to data was performed via SMB and iSCSI protocols. Here and below unless otherwise mentioned one 10 Gigabit Ethernet link was used for access to NAS.

As one can see from the diagrams above, HDDs performance is a bit different.

We decided to group several HDDs to RAID0 array and measure its performance. We made three kinds of arrays: two identical HGST HUS724030ALA640 HDDs, two identical HGST HDN724040ALE640 HDDs and an option with using all four specified HDDs.

These speeds are very good, especially if remember that using HDDs are not the fastest among ones using today.

Now it’s time to build RAID1 array using two identical HDDs.

Probably our attentive reader already noticed that during access speeds testing via iSCSI protocol DirectoryCopyToNAS test is absent. It is so due to the reason that this test shown inadequately high speeds. From our point of view, such an increase of speeds is caused by the local caching on the testing host.

QNAP TS-531X NAS has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. We decided to provide our readers with the comparison diagram for both ways of connection via SMB protocol.

ISCSI protocol supports MultiPath option that allows transmitting data simultaneously via several paths. On the diagram below results of measuring speeds with using one or two Gigabit Ethernet links are compared and the same is performed for one or two 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections.

We find it surprising to obtain such an increase of speeds in several tests using two 10 Gigabit Ethernet links, taking into account that on a first glance the channel itself is not a bottleneck. Certainly, we assume presence of some internal software restrictions of NAS that influence maximum speed of data transmission in the network.

Obviously, we cannot help but compare performance of different types of HDD arrays.

As we already mentioned above, QNAP TS-531X NAS allows using SSD mounted in bays intended for HDDs as caching devices. It’s worth noting that it is not the only way of connecting cache to NAS. Some NICs and expansion cards allow connecting SSD with M.2 interface that allows providing higher access speeds to data in cache. Unfortunately we didn’t have at our disposal such drives so we had to use our old SSD OCZ AGILITY 3 as a cache.

On the diagrams below one can see comparison of user data access speeds without using cache and on the first and second launch of test using cache disk.

We should confess that we are a bit confused with the obtained results: in several tests performance of NAS without using cache is higher. It’s probably owed to the performance of the drive we used as a cache disk.

New IP version IPv6 is getting more and more popular. We cannot miss support of this protocol by the NAS. On the diagrams below one can see comparison of the performance for QNAP TS-531X using IPv4 and IPv6.

Access to NAS can be provided not only to users from the local network but also to remote users. In this case various tunnel protocols supported by NAS are used: PPTP, OpenVPN, IPsec. We decided to find out which speeds are available to the users during connection to NAS with the help of PPTP tunnel using MPPE 128 encryption.

Also we decided to compare performance of QNAP TS-531X model on using PPTP and OpenVPN tunnels.

We should take our readers attention that data transmitting via the tunnel significantly utilizes NAS CPU. So, for example, on data transmitting with 50 Mbps speed via OpenVPN tunnel with standard settings CPU of the testing model is 30 percent utilized.

QNAP TS-531X NAS supports not only Ethernet frames of standard size (1500 bytes) but also increased ones (jumbo frames). Certainly, we cannot help but compare data access speeds on using ordinary and jumbo frames.

Using of jumbo frames significantly influences several access speeds in case of using SMB protocol, whereas influence on performance and iSCSI is more negative.

In conclusion, we would like to get our readers familiar with access speeds to data located on the external drive connected to NAS with the help of USB 3.0 interface. To perform this test we used our SSD Transcend TS256GESD400K of 256 Gbytes that we sequentially formatted to different file systems.

That’s where we complete testing section and move directly to summing it all up.

Summary

We are glad with tested QNAP TS-531X NAS that supports mounting up to five HDDs with SATA interface or SSDs. The model under review is intended for home offices and small companies. Disk space provided by the NAS (maximum 60 TBytes) is more than enough for the most users and high data access speeds make work convenient and fast. QNAP TS-531X has four network interfaces (two copper Gigabit Ethernet ports and two ones for SFP+ modules), we consider such a set rather optimal, however additional NIC or expansion card can be mounted if needed. Unfortunately, on making this review we cannot test another option we consider interesting: support of SSDs with M.2 interface. From our point of view, such drives can significantly increase device performance.

Existence of two versions of TS-531X model different in preset RAM amount allows customers to select the device that is more applicable for the particular tasks. In addition, vendor has recently launched four HDDs model with similar software: TS-431X2.

Strength areas of QNAP TS-531X NAS are the following:

  • ability to set additional expansion card;
  • built-in GE and 10 GE interfaces;
  • support of drives with M.2 interface (optional);
  • ability to measure access speeds to the disks by the abilities of NAS itself;
  • high access speeds to the user data;
  • ability to aggregate network interfaces;
  • USB 3.0 ports;
  • ability to install extra software packages;
  • IPv6 support;
  • built-in VPN Server and Client;
  • support of external disk arrays;
  • ability to manage NAS using mobile apps;

Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention discovered drawbacks of the model:

  • the fan in the PSU is too small;
  • strict list of compatible expansion plates and SSD-modules with M.2 interface;
  • relatively high price;

At the moment this review was being written, the average price for a QNAP TS-531X-2G was 55666 roubles, whereas TS-531X-8G model cost 71140 roubles. The prices do not include HDDs.

As of this writing, the best price for QNAP TS-531X-2G in German-speaking Europe countries, according to website Geizhals Preisvergleich, was about 544 euro and about 686 euro for QNAP TS-531X-8G model. The prices do not include HDDs.

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