I've been trying to get my hands on the new quad-core TS-1635 with four bays from QNAP since it was announced late last year. The basic 4GB RAM model, marketed as a low-cost business NAS, costs $ 1,150, while the 8GB version is available for $ 1,250 and can both be expanded to 16GB.
While these prices aren't cheap, when we look at the competition, we find that Synology's 12-bay DS2415 + is available in retail for a little over $ 1,300 and that a specific model in terms of that Functionality is far inferior, while other companies have nothing that can go from head to toe with the TS-1635.
Compared to the DS2415 +, for example, the TS-1635 offers the advantage that it supports four additional 2.5-inch drives (SSD cache drives would be a particularly good option here), not to mention the bonus of two 10 GbE SFP + ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports ports, and if that wasn't enough, there is room to expand the network with a PCIe Gen2 x2 slot.
The memory can also be updated easily. This is good news as we recommend buying the 4GB base model and increasing the storage to 16GB for ~ $ 80. This is less than the price difference between the 4 GB and 8 GB models of the TS-1635. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the TS-1635 …
Currently the TS-1635 is the only member of its family, meaning there are no other models in the TS-x35 series, and this is unusual for QNAP. We usually see models in different sizes under one banner. The TS-1635 is 11.96 inches tall, 14.56 inches wide and 12.59 inches deep (304 mm x 370 mm x 320 mm) and weighs 12.22 kg. This makes it a fairly massive desktop NAS, even if it can hold 16 drives and a 250-watt internal NAS.
From the front, the TS-1635 has a small control panel over the four 2.5-inch drive bays. In this area, QNAP has the function "Installation without PC-Touch-N-Go". This feature is only available on their premium models, and although not necessary, it provides some useful information such as the device's IP information.
As expected, all 16 fields can be exchanged during operation. The use of individual removable drive drawers makes adding or removing storage capacity a breeze. Interestingly, the drive bays cannot be locked with a key for better security. There is a K-Lock security slot against theft on the back, which can prevent someone from running away with the entire device, but not with the individual drives.
That said, the drive cages have been updated and I have to say that the new design is much better. QNAP had to move away from the steel cages in favor of a plastic design, and while this doesn't sound particularly good, it allows for a tool-less design that resembles what Synology used a little over a year ago. I really like it.
In addition, there is a small blue tab on the front of the cages that can be flipped up to lock the drives and down to unlock them. This mechanism works well and seems durable. Finally, the cages also have rubber bearings to reduce the vibration noise of the hard drives.
Each drive also has its own activity and power indicator on the front of the chassis and a label that indicates whether it is HDD1, 2 or so. The power switch is located at the bottom right and lights up green when it is active. Below is a USB 3.0 port for easy data transfer from portable storage devices.
The design on the back is fairly simple and lacks the usual connectivity as this is not a NAS home server. Instead, there are only two USB 3.0 ports, a line-out jack, a built-in speaker, two 10 GbE SFP + ports, and two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a PCIe Gen2 expansion slot, and a 3-pin power input.
The TS-1635 is cooled by three 92mm fans that appear to work well. When it comes to installing so many drives, cooling is a priority. With three fans, the device should remain fully functional in the event that one fan fails. In this case, the NAS will of course notify you by beeping and logging the error in the QTS software.
If you remove the case, two SO-DIMM slots will be shown that support DDR3 memory (up to 16 GB). Adjacent to the memory is a relatively large passively cooled heat sink that covers the 1.7 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor. The first time I tested this SoC was with the Synology DS2015xs and its performance was impressive. So we have a good idea of what to expect in this department.