Review QNAP SilentNAS Fanless NAS HS-453DX Solid State Network Attached Storage

hey everybody its la inside the number taking a look today at a silent network-attached storage device from qnap this is their HS 453 DX and if you populate it with solid-state drives it will not make any noise at all there are no fans onboard which means you will hear nothing when it is on and in operation we’re going to look at a whole bunch of stuff on this device including some of the applications you can install on it we’ll look at the performance of it we’ll see how well it handles Plex and a couple of other things as well so there’s lots to see here but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure this is on loan from QNAP this when we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this device is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware this has a premium price attached to it because it is a premium

device six hundred and ninety nine dollars diskless you have to add your own storage to it see we’ll be spending a bit more to get it all up and ready for your use it’s got a J 4105 quad core Celeron processor and it has its RAM maxed out at 8 gigabytes now for a storage you’ve got two drives that you can install on the front of the device here and I’ll pull out one of these panels so you can see what it looks like inside now you can fit a full-size desktop hard drive but what I did is I installed two solid-state drives inside of it so we can keep everything quiet and I think that is probably what you would want to do with this so to get a decent amount of storage you’re going to have to spend a little bit more to get everything up and running if you want it to remain quiet oddly they put the power button here underneath this removable panel so if you do want to ever turn it off or turn it back on again you have to pull the whole panel off here to push the button to fire it up now there are two additional storage options on here for an m2 SATA Drive we took this apart on the extras channel you can see what that looks like here and those two slots are inside on the main motherboard and they have some thermal pads that you can put in place to keep those 2 M 2 drives cool this does not support em to nvme so it’s only em to sada and it uses those two drives as caching storage not as main storage so you really only have just these two drives to play with for your main storage and I would recommend putting them into the mirrored raid 1 configuration so if you lose one drive you still have data that you can read from the other now on the back here we’ve got a bunch of ports to take a look at this is kind of in some ways like a little mini PC in addition to being a storage box now we’ve got power that goes in here next to it is a Gigabit

Ethernet jack next to that one is a 10 gigabit ethernet jack you can run this on a slower network too of course and we’ll be testing out it’s 10 gig speed in a few minutes because we do have a 10 gig switch and a network adapter here on the channel so we can play around with that you’ve got a USB C port here this is not for display or power but it will do a USB type-c device like a keyboard a mouse a another hard drive or something along those lines you have two USB 2.0 ports here two USB 3.0 ports here you have audio input and output over here because there are some things that you can do with this when you plug it into your display or monitor you can have it run a Linux desktop or you can have it go into its big-screen TV mode and I’ll show you all of those things when we get a little bit further into the review here and you get those things up on a monitor by using these two HDMI ports here the far one here is an HDMI 2.0 port which will go to 4k at 60 Hertz but it does not support HDR so this might disqualify it for some high-end home theater folks who want to use this as their only device but you can get 60 Hertz at least out of there at the 4k resolution the other port here will run 4k at 30 frames per second so I think you’ll probably be using this one if you are hooking it up to your monitor or display so that is the overall hardware let’s take a look now and see what you can do with this device alright so I have the NASS now booted up and we have it

connected at 10 bits to my MacBook over here which is running with a Thunderbolt 2 10 gig Ethernet adapter and what we did on this is we configured both of the solid-state drives inside of the NASS in raid 0 configuration which gives us the aggregate storage and performance more or less of both of these drives so this is kind of a way of seeing what our maximum performance is going to be hooked up to this 10 gigabit network and if we go over to my black magic disk speed test you can see that we’re pulling about 430 megabytes per second on writes and about 500 megabytes per second on reads and that is pretty good here actually considering that we are connecting to a rather low end Celeron processor but we are getting a very good amount of speed that’s well beyond what we would typically get with a typical gigabit nass device that we’ve looked at here in the past usually you get about 100 megabytes per second on one of those with a gigabit network here at 10 gigs with these two solid-state drives working together we’re getting about what you see here so this is not bad and certainly a major improvement over what you would get on a gigabit network and this might be suitable as you can see on the test here to do some basic video editing and possibly even some video capture over the network thanks to this 10 gigabit technology now we have looked at a lot of different network attached storage devices here on the channel including stuff from Synology and WD in full disclosure both of those companies have sponsored videos here on the channel in the past like those devices the QNAP has its own web interface and it’s gotten a lot

better over the years although I still think it’s a little too busy and not as intuitive as what I see on the Synology but you can do things like browse your entire file structure here in the file station you can load up video files here for example and play them back right through your browser window and of course the NASS will also show up like another computer would on your network so you can do this kind of stuff within Windows Mac and Linux as well but I do think it’s pretty cool just to load up a web browser window here poke around likes analogy you can install a lot of open-source software on this device including VPN servers and database servers and a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably didn’t even know you needed you can go through their application store here and poke around and see what interests you they’re a lot of things you’ll see on other Nass devices as well but they’ve done I think a nice job of giving you a lot of great stuff to play around with and one of the reasons why these devices cost so much is that they update everything on a regular basis for you it’ll sit in the background and update the apps and the operating system without you having to do much of anything to initiate those updates and that’s part of the cost of entry here is that you’re getting that as part of the purchase price so there’s a lot to see on here we’re not going to go into everything in this video but there are a couple of things that stood out to me that I wanted to show you which we’re gonna get into right now so one of those things is the virtualization station and you can load it up here and we’ve got a version of Windows 10 running right now inside of the NASS in its own

little virtual environment I can click on that icon you just saw there and pull up my Windows installation here in a web browser and this is Windows 10 I can do whatever I want with it I can install some software maybe run a few Windows Server apps that can run in the background on it I have full Network capability here as you can see and it really is for all intents and purposes a fully functional Windows 10 PC now you can’t access Windows 10 through the HDMI on the back here but you can access it through your browser or you can get the Remote Desktop Protocol working in Windows 10 and login that way for maybe a faster connection so that’s pretty neat and it’s also good to have the amount of RAM that this Nass device comes with because I’ve allocated two gigs to Windows 10 that still leaves us with about six gigs for other things that we might want to do on our device and you’ve got this little robot dude over here that will let you know whether or not you’re hitting the limits of your available memory and if you click on him it’ll give you a better idea as to what is using what on your systems although we have allocated two gigs the windows it got about a gig of overheads who run that virtual environment as well so you can get an idea as to what you might be able to do there now if you want something with a lower impact you can look at the container station this is a docker installation that will run on the NASS and if I click on container station here you can see that I have a version of an Mbutu with a full GUI desktop installed and running

so if I click on this real quick it’ll give us a little update as to what’s going on and I can click on this link here and just like that virtualization station I’ve got myself Linux running here inside of a web browser and I can hop around in here and maybe load up a few more applications so I’ve got LibreOffice draw on here and I can draw some stuff on screen and do all this stuff and then if I go back though and look at our robot friend once the applications refresh here you’ll see that we’re not using all that much RAM to have that instance of Linux running on the device only 366 megabytes which is next to nothing compared to what Windows or another virtualized Linux installation might take up and the reason why it’s able to do this with so little ram is that containers can make use of existing resources on the NASS so you don’t have to reload an entirely new operating system you can take what’s already there and then just fill in what is not there which again consumes far less memory than booting up an entirely new operating system in the background so we’re able to do things here with a lot more efficiency and within the container station application you can go out and find a whole bunch of other stuff that they have curated so if you wanted to for example install other Linux distros you can do that if you just want a basic command line prompt you’ve got that you can see some of the things that they’ve picked out for you here there’s a lot more though if you start searching so I could for example install WordPress and have a WordPress application that can work I have a my sequel option here a couple of them actually so there’s a lot of different things you can poke around with and find and you should be able to also grab docker images from other sources and this load them up in here and get them going and these are completely

isolated from the rest of the now so you don’t have to worry about anything leaking out and infecting or impacting your other files on the device they are pretty well isolated from each other there and docker is a very established way of doing this so it’s pretty cool to see that installed on here and I think they really did a nice job with this container station it’s more intuitive than Synology version of it and I found it to be a very simple thing to get up and running especially if you’d like to have a Linux GUI that you can log into now you all know if you have an ass you need to make sure you back it up and they’ve got a lot of backup options in here as you can see the app that I like the most is their hybrid backup sync because it kind of consolidates a lot of the other apps into one intuitive interface here so you can back up stuff to your local hard drives you can plug in USB drives of course and have it back up to those it’ll do incremental backups and keep versions of files as they change over time so all the features we’ve seen on other devices are here you have the remote backup option to send stuff to another QNAP nass on your network or over the VPN to someplace further away and then you’ve got cloud backup options where you can backup your device to Amazon s3 and Dropbox and other services as well they also have some syncing functions here that are built into this app so you could for example have a folder that synchronizes itself all the time to Google Drive or Dropbox for example so you can just drop a file in there and then it will make sure it gets out to all those different cloud services and keep everything in sync you can do all of that here through the hybrid backup

sync and that’s just a few of the things that we were poking around with on here there’s a lot more to see but I want to move on now to some of its home theater capabilities and then we’re going to plug a monitor into it and see what we can do when it is plugged in directly to your TV or home theater system now I’m sure a lot of you are curious as to how this device performs as a plex server plex is available to you through the App Center but I do recommend downloading it directly from plex because you’ll get a more updated version from them versus QNAP it takes them a little bit of time to get the new version ready for you in their App Store when you download it from plex you just go over here to install manually and that will get should go in so that is pretty much all there is to it and I’ve been running to blu-ray 1080p MKV files to my iPhone in my iPad I’m having it transcode both of these down to 1080p at 8 megabits per second so the nastier is doing some active processing and the processor inside of it does support Intel Quick Sync so we’re able to get Hardware transcoding here so you can see that HW here means that the hardware transcoder is actively making this very large file smaller so if you are doing a lot of remote streaming this will work well as your plex server and it doesn’t seem to consume all that much in the way of system resources while we’re doing this so you can see here our average CPU usage is hovering between you know 10 the 30 to 40 percent or so as its doing this and other things so this activity of two active streams is not impacting it all that much and I think we could probably get a few more going here at the same time as you can see while these videos are playing back so I think the Gemini Lake chip on here is well suited for this task we have seen this class of processor on mini pcs do exceptionally well before this is a quad core chip too so you’ll have a

good amount of active streams you can get going at the same time so if you wanted to have this be your Plex server it will certainly do that and it won’t make any noise in the process so now let’s see how this device performs in that home theater plugged into a TV we’re gonna get my monitor out hook it up to the back of it and see what we get all right so this is the interface you’ll see when you connect the NASS up to your TV with the HDMI ports on the back they give you a remote control in the box but it might be easier to use a keyboard and trackpad like this one here just to be able to get at things that might require some keyboard input so for example they have a Chrome web browser that you can load up it will run a full screen here and you’ll get access to the web with a chrome interface so that might be kind of fun to play around with I have the cue nap control panel that I can get at from here if I want this is the HD that I’ll get to in a second this is pretty much Cody but it’s designed to work with the video station application that you install on here so you can play back your media files that are stored on this with a version of Cody that they have customized for their own purposes here there’s also a YouTube client as well none of these apps are all that great unfortunately what you can do on the settings screen here is install some more apps that can run in this interface but as you can see here your options are very limited so you’re not going to really be replicating a computer desktop here by any stretch but you do have the ability to install a few more things on here and use them from the keyboard and mouse interface there’s another thing though that I’ll show you in a minute to get a little bit more functionality but before we get to that I did want to talk about what it’s like to run with this version of Kodi that they’ve installed on here so I did hook this up to my TV a little bit earlier my 4k TV with the home

theater system up there and we were able to play back video like you would on a Kodi client and it all worked out okay except that the 4k stuff was completely unplayable it was skipping it wasn’t able to keep up with it which is a surprise given how much bandwidth we saw these drives could put out over the network a few minutes ago wasn’t able to playback locally at a rate that could support a blu-ray 4k MKV file for example I do have a couple of 1080p blu-ray files the ones we were just watching in Plex both of those played back ok on my television it was also able to pass lossless audio including Atmos to my receiver for sound so that was good however this did not switch automatically into 24p for movies that required that so it was just outputting a straight 4k 62 my display up there and not adjusting the frame rate for the movie that I was playing back that’s a feature we’ve seen on Kodi for all the other versions we’ve played with but it wasn’t available on the one that they’ve installed on this box here so just know that this is probably not the best home theater solution which is a real disappointment given its price tag I would expect that perhaps maybe they should have put in a version of Android TV or something on here which would have been really cool to have that Android interface attached to all of the storage that you have onboard but really they have just taken what they’ve been already doing on some of their other Nass devices and brought it over to this one so if you’re doing 1080p playback it should be fine for that but you can buy a fanless mini PC for a lot less money and I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see HDR or any kind of decent 4k performance out of this let’s take a look now though at running Linux through the HDMI and they’ve done it in a pretty clever way now we’re

going to jump back over to the web-based control panel and you can see I’ve got an option here for a Linux station now if I enable this all the stuff you just saw from their HDMI output will be disabled so you can run Linux or you can run that hybrid desk station but not both so when I click on the enable here it’s going to disable hybrid desk station it’s going to give me that warning there so I’m going to click OK and what we should hear in a second is a notification that the hybrid desk station is shutting down there it goes and the Linux station should start back up here now you heard that the NASS was talking to me one of the cool things about this Nass is that when it has an error it will talk to you and tell you what it is and that’s often very helpful so you don’t have to listen to a beep and then get out the manual and kind of go through everything it’ll actually tell you what’s wrong and it even does other things like tell you that we just spun up an instance of the Linux station so here we are on the Linux desktop running with the Linux station now this is a container that is running on the NASS so it’s not the host operating system here that you have direct access to you do have access to your file shares and I think whatever user logs into this will have access to what they could have access to if they were connecting over the network but you can’t get into any of the underlying operating system of the baseness here and it looks like a pretty complete version of Ubuntu you have a few different distributions you can install through this so you can choose to run on boon to 16.04 which I’m running now I did try to install this version of Ubuntu but it was all in Chinese so I couldn’t read the

language on there I was not able though to get 18.

04 to install so it looks like your best bet is probably to run with 16.04 and again this will work if you turn off the hybrid desk station that we were looking at a little bit earlier you also have the option to run this in a window on your web browser like you can do through the container station I just know though that this will not show up in containers station with your other containers it kind of lives outside of that but it looks pretty cool to be able to get a desktop operating system running as a container and all the other things that are running on the NASS will also be running simultaneously and this probably won’t consume all that much RAM either in the process so that’s going to do it for our look at the Q nap silent Nass and I am a bit disappointed with its home theater capabilities especially given that it was a product designed to be used in the home theater it didn’t play back those 4k blu-ray movies it also doesn’t support HDR and those are two things that I think just about every home theater enthusiast is going to want right now this doesn’t do it additionally of course you don’t get any of the other popular TV streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu and others they’re just not supported on here I think this would have been a killer product if it had Android TV running over those HDMI outputs and then had the underlying QNAP operating system to provide all the NASA’s to the network that

would be a killer especially given this thing makes no noise at all you can put it under your TV get all your movie streaming out to your home theater directly and then have everything else available on the network like a traditional Nass at this point you’re probably better off looking at some of the other QNAP devices that have HDMI outputs that are powered by Intel processors they do have a number that cost I think less than this one does they are not quiet they have fans on them but they’re not all that loud and I think those would be good alternatives given that they pretty much function the same way that this one does so it’s a good start maybe they could containerize android TV and make something really cool for us to update it via software that would be cool to see but as it’s configured here this is not something I would recommend to a home theater enthusiast you’re best off taking your Nass putting it in an equipment closet somewhere and having some other device like an Nvidia shield driving video to your television so that’s gonna do it here for the silent Ness it’s encouraging though to see 10 Gigabit Ethernet making its way to sub $1000 products but unfortunately this one just doesn’t do what I was hoping it would do for the home theater market until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht Kellyanne Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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