QNAP TS-231Source: QNAP

Best QNAP NAS Windows Central 2020

QNAP produces some of the best network-attached storage (NAS) enclosures, but the company's catalog can be a little confusing to anyone new to the world of NAS. We rounded up the best NAS QNAP has to offer.

Best Overall: QNAP TS-451+

QNAP TVS-451+Source: QNAP

Category QNAP TS-451+
CPU Intel Celeron J1900
RAM 2GB DDR3L (max 8GB)
Drive bays 4x (SSD/HDD)
Capacity 64TB
Cooling 1x 120 mm fan
Ports 2x 1Gb LAN
2x Rear USB 3.0
1x Rear USB 3.2 Gen 1
1x Front USB 3.2 Gen 1
Power draw Up to 33.88W
Dimensions 177 x 180 x 235 mm
(6.97 x 7.09 x 9.25 inches)
Weight 3 kg
(6.61 lbs)

We chose the QNAP TS-451+ as the best overall NAS from QNAP. It's not the most powerful, nor does it support the highest capacity of storage, but for striking a good balance between value and performance, this is our favorite NAS enclosure. The Intel Celeron J1900 CPU is pretty good for a NAS enclosure and can even be used for a media server with Plex.

There are four drive bays that can take an SSD or HDD, going all the way up to 64TB. Everything is cooled by a single 120mm fan, and you have a bunch of ports on the rear, including two 1Gb LAN, USB 3.0, and USB 3.2 Gen 1. This NAS has everything you need to get started with networked storage.

The RAM can also be upgraded if you find yourself hitting a wall with what you're trying to achieve with the enclosure. There are some negatives with the TS-451+, which include no M.2 slots and no 2.5Gb LAN ports. But overall, this is one awesome NAS.

Pros:

  • Capacity of 64TB
  • Upgradable RAM
  • 2x 1Gb LAN
  • Intel Celeron CPU
  • Great value

Cons:

  • No M.2 slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN

Best Overall

QNAP TS-451+

The best overall QNAP NAS

This is an excellent NAS from QNAP, rocking a capable Intel processor, upgradable RAM, dual 1Gb LAN ports, and a solid price tag.

Best Beginner: QNAP TS-231K

QNAP TS-231KSource: QNAP

Category QNAP TS-231K
CPU AnnapurnaLabs Alpine AL214
RAM 1GB DDR3
Drive bays 2x (SSD/HDD)
Capacity 32TB
Cooling 1x 70 mm fan
Ports 2x 1Gb LAN
2x Rear USB 3.0
Power draw Up to 15.6W
Dimensions 169 x 102 x 219 mm
(6.65 x 4.02 x 8.62 inches)
Weight 1.46 kg
(3.22 lbs)

If you're new to the wonderful world of NAS and are planning to purchase your first enclosure, the QNAP TS-231K is an excellent place to start. It's somewhat affordable but comes with plenty of features that let you scale up from nothing if you eventually have bigger plans.

The ARM processor is but a 32-bit CPU, so it's not going to win any awards for performance, but this does allow QNAP to keep the price down while including two drive bays for up to 32TB capacity. Because we're using an ARM processor and only up to two drives, the power draw is pretty low.

The only issue with this NAS is the lack of upgradeable RAM, and the processor if you want to give media transcoding a go.

Pros:

  • Capacity of 32TB
  • 2x 1Gb LAN
  • Compact enclosure
  • Great price

Cons:

  • 32-bit ARM processor
  • Non-upgradable RAM

Best Beginner

QNAP TS-231K

Great to start with

Excellent for beginners, the TS-231K is a special little enclosure. Just don't expect much from the CPU.

Best Value: QNAP TS-251D

QNAP TS-251DSource: QNAP

Category QNAP TS-251D
CPU Intel Celeron J4005
RAM 4GB DDR4 (max 8GB)
Drive bays 2x (SSD/HDD)
Capacity 32TB
Cooling 1x 70 mm fan
Ports 1x 1Gb LAN
3x Rear USB 3.0
1x Front USB 3.2 Gen 1
1x Rear USB 3.2 Gen 1
Power draw Up to 15.25W
Dimensions 168 x 105 x 226 mm
(6.61 x 4.13 x 8.90 inches)
Weight 1.48 kg
(3.26 lbs)

QNAP's TS-251D is the company's NAS for those seeking excellent value. You've got an Intel Celeron J4005 processor, 4GB of RAM that can be bumped to 8GB, and two drive bays. Everything is cooled with a single 70mm fan, but you could easily do some more advanced tasks on this enclosure.

With up to 32TB of capacity supported, the TS-251D is ideally suited for home file storage, a means to back up all your devices, and save you money by no longer requiring cloud storage subscriptions. Even the base configuration with just 4GB of RAM will be more than enough for what you would likely use this NAS for.

There are a few drawbacks to this NAS enclosure, which include the single 1Gb LAN port, no M.2 slots, and no 2.5Gb ports. These aren't deal-killers unless you have a 2.5Gb network and need the additional speed, but worth bearing in mind.

Pros:

  • Capacity of 32TB
  • Upgradable RAM
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
  • Intel Celeron CPU
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Only 1x Gb LAN
  • No M.2 slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN

Best Value

QNAP TS-251D

Small but mighty

The TS-251D is a good value QNAP NAS with an Intel Celeron processor, upgradable RAM, and a maximum capacity of 32TB.

Best for Plex: QNAP TVS-682

QNAP TVS-682Source: QNAP

Category QNAP TVS-682
CPU Intel Core i3-7100
RAM 8GB DDR4 (max 64GB)
Drive bays 4x (SSD/HDD)
2x (SSD)
2x M.2 PCIe (NVMe)
Capacity 64TB+
Cooling 1x 80 mm fan
1x 90 mm fan
Ports 4x 1Gb LAN
4x Rear USB 3.2 Gen 1
1x Front USB 3.2 Gen 1
3x HDMI
Power draw Up to 45.5W
Dimensions 231.9 x 224.9 x 319.8 mm
(9.13 x 8.85 x 12.60 inches)
Weight 7.7 kg
(16.97 lbs)

Plex can be rather demanding on your NAS enclosure, which is why QNAP markets the TVS-862 as the ideal NAS for a media hub. The Intel Core i3-7100 may not be the most powerful CPU for your desktop PC, but when installed inside a NAS server, it's an incredible little CPU that can even handle 4K transcoding.

You then have 8GB of DDR4 RAM pre-installed, which can be bumped to a maximum of 64GB. The four drives bays for 3.5-inch and 2-inch drives can store up to 64TB, then there are an additional two 2-inch bays for SSDs. But that's not all the storage slots covered since the TVS-682 even has two M.2 slots that can serve as additional capacity or cache.

Four 1Gb LAN ports can be found on the rear, with four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and three HDMI. An additional USB 3.2 Gen 1 port is located on the front of the NAS. These are some excellent specifications, and when you factor in the price, it's a pretty good value overall. This NAS will be able to handle most of the tasks you can throw at it without issue.

Were you looking for the best NAS for Plex? You just found one.

Pros:

  • Capacity of 64TB+
  • Upgradable RAM
  • 4x Gb LAN
  • Intel Pentium CPU
  • M.2 slots for cache

Cons:

  • No 2.5Gb LAN

Best for Plex

QNAP TVS-682

Your new media hub

This NAS is for the big screen, rocking a remote control, Intel Pentium CPU, upgradable RAM, four Gb LAN ports, and M.2 slots.

Best Budget: QNAP TS-128A

QNAP TS-128ASource: QNAP

Category QNAP TS-128A
CPU Realtek RTD1295
RAM 1GB DDR4
Drive bays 1x (HDD)
Capacity 16TB
Cooling 1x 76 mm fan
Ports 1x 1Gb LAN
2x Rear USB 3.0
1x Front USB 3.2 Gen 1
Power draw Up to 7.12W
Dimensions 187.7 x 60 x 125 mm
(7.39 x 2.36 x 4.92 inches)
Weight 0.56 kg
(1.23 lbs)

The QNAP TS-128A is an affordable NAS, so you shouldn't expect to run many services like Plex on this enclosure. In fact, I wouldn't recommend you run Plex on this NAS at all. The processor is a 64-bit ARM CPU, which isn't very powerful at all. There's also only a single drive bay, allowing for up to 16TB of data to be stored.

For file storage, however, this enclosure essentially takes 16TB of external storage and turns it into something smarter. If you only want a medium to store backups of your desktop or laptop PC and become less reliant on big business and their cloud storage offerings, this is a great way to go.

It's affordable, meaning you won't have to spend too much with just one drive as well as the enclosure, and you have a single Gb connection for accessing your files across the network. You can enjoy the same QNAP OS experience as you would on more premium NAS too. It's just a shame you can use an SSD here.

Pros:

  • Capacity of 16TB
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 port
  • Great for file storage
  • Great price

Cons:

  • 64-bit ARM processor
  • No SSD support

Best Budget

QNAP TS-128A

Affordable smart storage

For those on a tight budget, the QNAP TS-128A is designed with you in mind. But you will have a weak CPU, and cannot upgrade RAM.

Best Capacity: QNAP TS-1685

QNAP TS-1685Source: QNAP

Category QNAP TS-1685
CPU Intel Xeon D-1521
RAM 8GB DDR4 (UDIMM: max 64GB; RDIMM: max 128GB)
Drive bays 12x (SSD/HDD)
4x (SSD)
6x M.2 PCIe (NVMe)
Capacity 192TB+
Cooling 3x 92 mm fan
2x 90 mm fan
Ports 4x 1Gb LAN
2x 10Gb LAN
2x Rear USB 3.2 Gen 1
1x Front USB 3.2 Gen 1
Power draw Up to 127W
Dimensions 303.84 x 369.89 x 319.8 mm
(11.96 x 14.56 x 12.59 inches)
Weight 13.39 kg
(29.52 lbs)

QNAP has one goal in mind with the TS-1685, and that was to offer as much capacity as possible for NAS owners. This enclosure can hold 192TB of data in the 12 drive bays alone. You then have an additional four SSD bays and six (yes, six) M.2 ports. That's a lot of storage capacity, which is what this NAS is all about.

To handle all that data, QNAP opted for the Intel Zeon D-1521. This processor isn't anywhere near as powerful as the server-grade Xeon processors enthusiast love to use. However, it's still better than most Celeron and Pentium offerings found in NAS enclosures. It won't handle 4K movie transcoding as well as the Intel Core i3-7100, for example.

This NAS is best suited for file storage in a busy household or bustling office. The massive capacity is joined by four 1Gb LAN ports and two 10Gb LAN ports. For USB, QNAP has you covered with a total of three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports. The price is a little high for most NAS owners, and the power draw will make anyone looking to save on their energy bills look the other way.

Pros:

  • Capacity of 192TB+
  • Upgradable RAM
  • 2x 10Gb LAN
  • Intel Xeon CPU
  • 6x M.2 slots for cache

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • High power draw

Best Capacity

QNAP TS-1685

I heard you needed storage?

With a capacity of beyond 192TB and a whopping six M.2 slots for storage and cache, this NAS is designed for serious networking.

Choosing the best QNAP NAS

Picking the right NAS for you is pretty easy. The most important factors to decide on are the price, the number of bays for storage capacity, and what you plan on doing with the server. If you simply need to store files, you could get away with a more affordable enclosure, while Plex and other demanding services require a NAS with a more capable processor.

Our top pick goes to the QNAP TS-451+. It's not the most powerful QNAP NAS enclosure, nor is it the most affordable. This NAS strikes a great balance between performance and price, rocking an Intel Celeron J1900 processor, four drive bays, and other feature highlights.

If you're going to use Plex Media Server, I'd recommend going with the QNAP TVS-682. Not only do you get a handy remote control but also an enclosure that can handle some 4K movie playback, thanks to the speedy Intel Core i3-6100 processor.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

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