Cheap but capable.
The new player at the low end of QNAP’s range, the TS-431P, is an ARM-powered NAS with a neat design and a ton of features. It’s a nice step up from the older ARM models like the TS-412, yet retails at a very affordable price. It comes in the QNAP white case, with easy slidein installation.
As you might expect at this price range, it’s hardly a powerhouse. A 1.7GHz dual-core ARM processor and 1GB of RAM definitely place it at the low end of the performance scale, and it’s not the kind of device you can ask too much from. It did well enough for disk access, however, rivalling the considerably more expensive Netgear (left). It also has twin Ethernet ports for load balancing.
It boasts the latest version of QNAP’s QTS operating system, but we think the company has been going backwards with its recent OS releases, with its sometimes scattershot approach to both NAS and mobile applications. The removal of the Twonky Media DLNA server was a big blow (the QNAP DLNA server is bug-riddled and inferior, in our view). There’s no question, however, that QNAP has the largest range of first party tools available for the NAS and a third-party toolset to rival any other.
It’s the only ARM-based NAS we’ve seen that supports Docker and LXC, which allow the simple installation of nearly any Linux app. It’s still ARM, and the array of third-party Linux apps compiled for the platform is still much more limited than an x86 NAS.
It’s still a good NAS for cheap. If you’re looking for just-the-basics file services, it’s hard to beat.