QNAP NASBook network storage systems use laptop-style SSDs for storage

Articles – From the horse’s mouth

QNAP

TBS-453DX NASBook (Product Page, Press Release)

TBS-464 (Product Page)

Specifications

TBS-453 Series NASBook

CPU Intel Celeron J4115 4-core (DX variant)
Intel Celeron N3150 4-core (A variant)
Microarchitecture 64-bit i86
Graphics Intel HD 600 integrated graphics
Hardware-accelerated functions Encryption and Transcoding
RAM 4Gb or 8Gb
Maximum addressable: 8Gb
Storage 4 x M.2 2280-size SATA SSD, SD card
Network 10Gb Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet (separate networks – DX variant)
Gigabit Ethernet, 4-port Gigabit Ethernet switch (A variant)
Peripherals USB 2.0 x 4, USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 3, HDMI 2.0 display x 1 (DX series)
USB 2.0 x 1, USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 4. HDMI 2.0 display x 1, Audio mic in x 2, Audio line out x 1 (A series)

TBS-464 NASBook

CPU Intel Celeron N5105 4-core
Intel Celeron N4095 4-core
Microarchitecture 64-bit i86
Graphics Intel UHD integrated graphics
Hardware-accelerated functions Encryption and transcoding
RAM 8Gb
Storage 4 x M.2 NVMe SSD
Network 2 x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet (separate networks or high-throughput bonding)
Peripherals USB 2.0 x 3, USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 1, HDMI 2.0 display

My Comments

QNAP TBS-464 NASBook mobile NAS press image courtesy of QNAP

QNAP TBS-464 NAS – as big as a small book

QNAP have recently put on the market two highly-portable network-attached-storage units which are either slightly larger than a typical high-end home-network router or similar to the size of a small paperbook book or VHS videocassette.

This NAS product range, known as the NASBooks, is also designed to operate quietly and even to work on DC voltages between 10 to 20 volts. But how is this so? This is down to these devices using M.2 form-factor solid-state drives as their storage devices rather than using traditional 2.5” or 3.5” storage devices like hard disks.

The first-generation TBS-453 Series, which I had given some coverage to previously, use SATA-spec M.2 SSD sticks while the current generation units use the higher-performance NVMe-spec M.2 SSD sticks. This is in line with offering a wide range of performance improvements on the current-generation TBS-464 NASBook which is effectively a technological refresh of that prior model.

This leads to these QNAP NASBook units being quiet and compact units that can be transported very easily such as within a briefcase. I even came across information that the QNAP TBS-453A had a power voltage range between 10 and 20 volts which could make it feasible to work from the electrical system in most cars and boats.

The QNAP NASBook units have the same abilities as QNAP NAS units and some of these even connect to multiple-Gigabit Ethernet networks. That means they run the Linux-based QTS operating system and are in that kind of league of high-end desktop NAS unit that is effectively able to be a computer in its own right.

For these units, there is the HybridDeskStation app which provides either a traditional console user interface with HDMI monitors and USB input devices or a network-linked user interface with a mobile-platform remote control app.

Even when it comes to audio, some of these units had a built-in audio subsystem but they all can support USB-connected audio input / output devices according to the USB Audio device class. They should also support Intel Display Audio so that an HDMI display’s speakers or HDMI-based audio device can play multimedia audio from these devices using that connection. As well, these units support QNAP IR remote controls so you can have the full set-top experience out of these boxes.

This is leading to QNAP dabbling in ideas like having these NAS boxes work not just as media storage boxes for the home network but as the equivalent of one of those PVR set-top boxes. This is being encouraged with inherent support for the Plex multimedia platform and QNap even has dabbled with a “karaoke box” app called OceanKTV.

What is being shown here by QNAP is the idea of highly-compact low-profile NAS boxes that aren’t toys but can stand amongst their lineup of other high-end “enthusiast” or business-grade NAS units. What needs to happen is that QNAP has to continue evolving this class of M.2 SSD-powered ultra-mobile NAS and demonstrate a wide range of use cases for that form factor.

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