We’ve recently reviewed some 2-bay NAS in the lab and these cost-effective products are quite decent in providing storage for most users wanting a relatively modest solution to file sharing. For most advanced or professional users who have mixed-use scenario e.g. a home office / home entertainment use, a 3-bay NAS with RAID5 support is something more ideal. As RAID5 supports a minimum of 3 drives, this allows 3-bay NAS drives that support this setup to have enterprise-like minimum redundancy.
Today we have the QNAP TS-328 3-bay NAS featuring a Realtek Cortex A53 quad-core processor and complimented by 2GB of DDR4 memory. At Php17,000, this is an ideal middleground between budget home-use 2-bay drives and pricier 4-bay NAS drives. Like many modern NAS, the QNAP TS-328 features 4K H.264 transcoding supports as well as native photo and video sharing apps. More advanced features like data snapshot, hot swappable drives and backup syncing further extend the capabilities of the NAS while unique 3-bay features like RAID5 and SSD acceleration allow this NAS to extend it use further especially for people who have a work/home use scenario.
QNAP makes initial setup easy. A sticker on the side allows 1-click access to your internet-connected NAS. A key is provided for access should you need it. Otherwise the cloud portal shows you visible NAS in the network.
During initialization, QNAP will walk you through steps to initialize your TS-328. It will ask for a QNAP ID (you can make one in this screen), the local time, your preferred IP setting, the OS environment for your management host, and lastly a summary page.
Once installed, you’ll be welcomed by the latest QTS software from QNAP. QTS is their native OS for their NAS drives and you will be asked to install the latest version during setup. Clicking on top button, we have access to the monitoring interface which shows us drive status, CPU and RAM usage as well as network performance.
Like most other NAS, QNAP expands the use of their NAS besides storage with other apps design to take advantage of the networked nature of the drive. Aside from developer tools, QTS for the TS-328 also features backup software and CMS software amongst others. By default, QTS software will be preinstalled and expected functionality is built-in so you don’t need apps to install SSD acceleration or RAID5 support.
The TS-328 Storage and Snapshot app allows us to manage our storage pools and disks. The app opens up with a quick tutorial of what you need to know so there’s no need to dig around for the manual.
The QNAP TS-328 has built-in SSD Caching Acceleration support which allows faster access to the NAS while it buffers files to the SSD. This allows faster file transfers by using an SSD buffer, readying files for future access and allowing buffering of file writes before moving them to the hard disk bulk storage. It a nice tool and a great way to maximize the drive especially if you’re using a 2-drive mirror but want increased performance.
The TS-328 also supports dual LAN allowing multiple access and fallback for the NAS.
As we slim down from 4-bay to 2-bay, we felt that a 3-bay solution was still the most optimal and the QNAP TS-328 will allow us to experience if this is an ideal solution for us. In the meantime while we dive deeper into the NAS and its offering as well as performance, we share our initial thoughts.
First off, the TS-328 is relatively small for a 3-bay. As a budget option, the lack of a ready access door removes extra length in the case which allows QNAP to reduce size which is great for set-it/forget-it kinds of usages. We do feel people should maximize their NAS during initial setup as this is that kinda of NAS where you really just leave it as is. It will take in three 3.5″ drives or one 2.5″ drive. You can mix in a SATA drive with bulk storage for SSD caching but this will disable the possibility of drive acceleration. For users wanting maximum size with redundancy, we highly recommend a RAID5 setup. While performance-focused users would want a RAID1 2-drive mirror with an SSD cache for maximum transfer performance.
The software library is something we’ve yet to explore but a for those looking for a simple backup solution for their NAS, something should be in here. We’ll take a look in our future review but this is a definitely must-have.
Aside from those, we’ll explore performance in-depth as well as other useful benefits from this NAS together with power draw and more. As it is right now, the RAID5 functionality is quite attractive especially for people looking for a bit more security for their storage. Looking forward to our full review coming soon.