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QNAP TS-233 NAS – Review

Here at Hardwaresfera we are strong advocates that every home that is minimally computerized should have a NAS. If you live alone in a small apartment, it may not be much what you are going to earn, but having your own mass storage that you can access anywhere and knowing that no matter how much you change your PC or mobile, you will not lose the data with moving or device changes. For a family, it comes out even more to account, since each member will be able to have their own partition for their photos, their notes, their notes, their receipts... Everything that comes to mind, and as we always insist, without the need to depend of accounts in external services that could unilaterally decide to close your account and with it access to your data.

But a question that many people ask themselves is whether it is worth the effort, and whether there are small NAS models specifically designed for home use. The same can be said for a small company that wants to have its data located on a common server that can only be accessed by the necessary employees. Against this is the range of small NAS from NAP, with its recent model TS-233. This model is also focused on its use as a private multimedia server, with which it focuses on its use as mass storage for Plex and other video streaming services between devices.

We thank QNAP for providing the product to us for review.

Unboxing

The QNAP TS-233 is presented in this simple box. It informs us that it only has two bays, which, for those who require large amounts of data, may be little, especially if we configure it in a redundant RAID arrangement.

But since it's a home or small business NAS, two physically located hard drives to have data accessible from anywhere, it's just what they need. You have to understand that each type of user looks for some needs, and for them two hard drives without any particular RAID configuration is more than enough and without much more complication.

On the back of the box is the technical information, purely. Nothing that is not found on the official website or in this review, so it is more of a note for the installer.

Packing the QNAP TS-233 NAS is really easy. The NAS itself is wrapped, and the protective cardboard creates a new compartment with the necessary manuals and wiring.


Design

Once everything is out of the box, we see that unlike the most advanced NAS, the hard drives are inside the case without caddys that make quick swapping possible. This is a problem? Only if you are a very demanding user who is going to use several hard drives

As we said several paragraphs ago, we must understand that if we are going to give it a more casual use, where it will not be uncommon to delete data such as movies and series that we have already seen, it will not be a problem.

Returning to the main design, on its front side we find with the absolutely basic. The power button, the copy button, a USB 3.0 port and several LEDs that report the status of the disks and the NAS. Without a doubt, it tries to make the use of a NAS simple and accessible to any group of users who want to have it and are willing to use it and learn its operation.

Its rear part has the usual RJ45 ports to connect it directly to the router in case we want to have a direct connection, two USB, the connection to the electrical current and the reset button.

On the lower side, we already find the usual ventilation. Two sides have a foam rubber to absorb the small movements that hard drives make when they are read or written, so that the NAS can be kept static in the part of the shelf that we have dedicated to it.

Its rear part has the usual RJ45 ports to connect it directly to the router in case we want to have a direct connection, two USB, the connection to the electrical current and the reset button.

With its design, the QNAP TS-233 makes it clear that it is a NAS for home users, eliminating everything that a beginner might find complicated.

The TS-233 can be opened by completely removing the cover. Experts may see this as a complaint, but more casual users will find it easy because they won't have the option of having children remove the physical bays. In the widespread case that it is extremely rare to have to change a hard drive, this is not a big problem,

It is also that having only two bays for hard drives and SSD, almost all possible advanced RAID configurations will be inefficient because there are not enough disks and a lot of capacity would be lost. There are the configurations in JBOD and in RAID 0, which will be the only configurations that are really worthwhile in a configuration with so few disks. RAID 1 would be a configuration if we primarily want data security in the event of failures, and want faster reading, but we will have the maximum capacity of the hard drive with the smallest capacity in the case of having two hard drives of different sizes, something that can happen if we decide to reuse hard drives or SSDs that we have at home. But knowing that, as home users, it will cost us to fill a 2 TB hard drive, no matter how many series and movies we download, a RAID 1 may not be such a loss.

With so few bays, it's only recommended to do a JBOD or RAID 0 configuration. RAID 1 if you can afford to have only half the storage we've given you.

For easy installation of 3,5 or 2,5 SATA hard drives or SSDs, there are the usual caddys for easy insertion with no SATA cables in between. So at least there is a more or less easy installation for storage media.

The internal connections are reduced to having two bays with power and SATA data each. There are no M.2 ports to add NVMe SSDs or AI accelerators. This means that for enthusiasts, there are few possibilities but equally lower the price of QNAP NAS TS-233 by not needing hardware or software support for media that are usually much more expensive than normal.


Features

  • ARM 4-core Cortex-A55 2.0GHz CPU
  • 64-bit ARM CPU architecture
  • Floating point unit
  • Encryption engine
  • 2 GB of non-expandable memory, with some RAM reserved for use as graphics memory.
  • Flash memory 4 GB (dual-boot operating system protection)
  • Drive Bay 2 x 3,5″ SATA 6 Gb/s, 3 Gb/s drives
  • Drive Compatibility 3,5″ SATA Hard Drives, 2,5″ SATA Hard Drives, and 2,5″ SATA Solid State Drives
  • Hot swappable
  • GbE port
  • Wake-on-LAN
  • Vilaitiya Frame
  • Two ports USB 2.0 port
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 port
  • Tower Format
  • LED indicators for system status, LAN status, USB status, and HDD 1 and 2
  • Power, reset, and USB copy buttons
  • Dimensions: 188,64 × 90,18 × 156,26 mm
  • Weight of 1.11 kg
  • Operating temperature from 0 to 40 °C
  • Storage temperature -20 to 70°C
  • Relative humidity 5 to 95% relative humidity non-condensing,
  • 65W power supply unit with adapter 12VDC, 100-240VAC
  • 3.43 W power consumption in hard drive sleep mode
  • 10.81 W power consumption in operating mode, typical 10.81 W
  • 80mm fan, 12V DC
  • System warning
  • Maximum of 200 simultaneous connections

Gallery


What do I need to know to enter the world of entry-level NAS with the TS-233?

We will assume that you are a curious user and you are tempted to get a NAS, although you are not sure how it will serve you. One thing that we insist a lot on, and after experience, is that cloud storage services depend on having a dedicated account, linked to an email and dependent on a service. At the moment in which the rules change and they see that what we use does not fit into their use policy, or because they close our Google account for something we have done on, say, YouTube, and thus we lose access to our access account, we will lose access to our data, be it travel photos or the data of a personal project. It is one of the drawbacks that nobody says about the services of external servers.

With a NAS at home we make sure that this case of data loss is minimized. We are going to have the data always accessible, at least physically, since it will be on a hard drive in our living room, bedroom or study. Because remember what is always said of “the cloud", that "there is no cloud, it is someone else's computer“. Although we can have our data and important files stored in Dropbox and on our computer, it is always convenient to have everything stored in as many backup copies as possible, and in a place that we know where it will be and that it will not move easily.

A normal house tends to monopolize numerous purchase receipts for returns, guarantees, documents, contracts and invoices. A quick scan with an app like Notebloc or using a dedicated scanner will allow us to save the invoices on a NAS safely and without fear of damage if our PC suffers from a virus or ransomware, or if we replace it. We may use a USB stick for this, but from my own experience, they end up moving a lot and are not practical to have important files if we also use physical storage to take papers to print to stationery stores, we take movies and series to friends' houses and more. A NAS, being large, physical, static and of great capacity, allows us to know that our invoices and contracts will be there, and we will be able to access them from anywhere.

Of course, you should know that requires prior installation, but the manufacturer already allows you to download installation software, with assistance included to make it simple. We understand that it's scary, but you'll only have to do the setup once, and it's meant to be as simple as possible.

We will have to create an administrator user, and for security, another user with permissions, but not the administrator, for security. We can create as many users as we want, and give family members access to their personal spaces.

Thanks to the suite of apps that QNAP has, we can add many additional applications. An example that we have already shown is that of use plex, with which we can use Plex server to stream series and movies to any device we connect to, with which we can save, for example, episodes of Twin Peaks to watch on our tablet on public transport without having to save it on the tablet.

Experience with QNAP TS-233 NAS

We have tested the NAS thinking that it may be the first NAS that a small business or a family with a lot of photos, data and more would have. The installation has been simple, but we put ourselves in the shoes that someone is going to have some computer knowledge but not network administration. Luckily for them, it is nothing beyond understanding the basics of JBOD or the types of RAID and on this same website there are articles that explain it, and it is a decision that asking in a specialized forum can solve the doubt. We understand that It's not ideal to have to query something so specific when you just want your own small server for photos and important files., but it is something that you can learn basic and make a single decision with it, and in order to increase the size of the NAS, it is appreciated to know.

After the installation we tried the suite of QNAP apps that are standard. We think of photo galleries, torrents and streaming with Plex, and if that, think of using the NAS TS-233 as a receptacle to put a large number of series and movies and watch them on television without it being a dedicated PC. The result of this is that we have found many video applications, torrents, photo viewers, and more service applications that we already know.

Out of the initial configuration, its operation is very satisfactory, especially with the aforementioned support for video streaming. We tried Plex, and even if it was in local transmission, the quality has been very positive and fast enough to hardly notice any buffering. Otherwise, data transmission is intuitive enough using network access, once you get used to using the NAS itself for video downloads and dedicated storage. It's hard to stop thinking about Dropbox and Google Photos, but it helps a lot to know that your files are physically in your house and with the data limit that you put, not in a partition of a huge London data center that can't withstand the heat wave .

It is not a complicated NAS, nor with many possibilities. But the TS-233 it is a good choice for someone who asks us to have a simple NAS so you have shared external storage and little else at home.

  • It is a very simple and affordable option for home users and small businesses as an entry level in the NAS sector.
  • Despite being entry-level, you have access to the entire QNAP app suite.
  • Optimized for streaming video, making it ideal to use as the basis for our Plex streaming.
  • It does not have ports for M.2, so it cannot be fitted with Artificial Intelligence expansions or other accessories that use this port.
  • For heavy users, large families, or even small businesses, it may fall far short.
  • It only has two bays, so it has little expandability or utility for advanced RAID configurations.
Design - 8.5
Features - 8
Value for money - 8.5

8.3

A very simple NAS for the most basic users, but that the most demanding will consider something scarce.

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Benjamin Rosa

Madrileño whose publishing career began in 2009. I love investigating curiosities that I later bring to you, readers, in articles. I studied photography, a skill that I use to create humorous photomontages.

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