If you are looking to get into using a network attached storage, QNAP is a very strong choice. QNAP has led the pack when it comes to high quality NAS products that are packed with a ton of features and software along with amazingly sturdy hardware to compliment the software experience.

QNAP is always aiming to be the top performing NAS sellers on the market.

This QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS is perfect for small businesses and home users that need a lot of bandwidth thanks to its dual 10 GbE SFP+ ports. The QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS also has an Annapurna Labs Alpine SoC (system on chip) that will provide the 10 GbE ports. QNAP uses the 1.4 GHz AL-314 version. Besides the dual 10 GbE and gigabit ports, there is also another PCI-Express slot for more network ports. The storage can also be expanded using the two USB 3 ports behind the NAS. You can connect QNAP’s 5 bay UX-500P or even the 8 bay UX-800P enclosures to increase the hard disk count to 24.

The hardware is obviously of premium grade and so is the QTS software as we have come to expect from QNAP. It powered by one of the best NAS operating systems out there on the market right now that is constantly being updated.

We have tested other QNAP products before and we can’t wait to see what QNAP has in store for us with the TS-831X 8 Bay NAS so let’s get right into it.

QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS Review – Whats in the Box?

When you open the box you will see the QNAP TS-831X taking up most of the space but there are a handful of other things that are also included. Like most products, you will also find a quick Installation Guide but besides that you will find two Ethernet cables, a power cord, a flat head screw x 32 for a 3.5” HDD and a flat head screw x 24 for a smaller 2.5” HDD.

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There are also other optional accessories that you can add to the QNAP TS-831X namely:

  • 8-Bay Expansion Unit: UX-800P
  • 5-Bay Expansion Unit: UX-500P
  • Single-port 10GbE SFP+ NIC: LAN-10G1SR
  • 5M SFP+ Direct-Attach Cable
  • 8GB DDR3 SODIMM RAM
  • 4GB DDR3 SODIMM RAM
  • Dual M.2 22110/2280 SATA SSD expansion cards: QM2-2S, Dual M.2 22110/2280
  • PCIe NVMe SSD expansion cards: QM2-2P, Dual M.2 2280 SATA SSD
  • 10GbE expansion cards: QM2-2S10G1T, Dual M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSD, QM2-2P10G1T, SFP+

For this review we will also be using the QM2-2S10G1T expansion card and attaching it to the QNAP TS-831X.

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The Product

When you look at the QNAP TS-831X, it pretty much has the same look like any other QNAP NAS. It has a rectangular basic design coated in glossy plastic at the top while the rest of the body is made from aluminum. It even has the branding towards the left like all the other QNAP NAS.

QNAP does not need to make the TS-831X look flashy and it definitely does not need to be as this is not a gaming rig that requires all the cool design to make it pleasing to the eyes. However, the QNAP TS-831X also does not look like it has a low quality build nor is it ugly. Despite looking simple, it is quite sturdy and has a great looking design. The NAS is also well vented and has locks which make the contents inside, especially the hard drives, stable. You can find the USB, LAN LEDs and also the status of the NAS along the top left of the glossy plastic we have mentioned earlier. At the bottom left of the device, you can find one USB 3.0 port and also a USB One-Touch-Copy as well as the power button.

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If you look at the back of the QNAP TS-831X, you can see it is mostly occupied by these two massive but quiet cooling fans that are 12V each. Towards the top of the two fans you can find the Kensington security slot at the top left along with some stickers and the power jack. And to its right you can see a Console port that the user can use for maintenance of the NAS, two USB 3.0 ports, two GbE ports, two 10 GbE SFP+ ports, and a PCIe Expansion slot.

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Product Specifications

QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS Hardware Specifications

  • Processor: AnnapurnaLabs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-314 Quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A15 processor (Newly upgraded from 1.4 GHz)
  • Hardware Encryption Acceleration: Yes
  • System Memory: TS-831X-4G – 4GB DDR3 (1 x 4GB), TS-831X-8G – 8GB DDR3 (1 x 8GB), TS-831X-16G – 16GB DDR3 (2 x 8GB)
  • Maximum Memory: 16 GB
  • Memory Slot: 2 x SODIMM DDR3
    Note: For dual-DIMM configurations, you must use a pair of identical DDR3 RAM modules.
  • Flash: 512 MB
  • Drive Type: 8 x 3.5″/2.5″ SATA 6Gb/s HDDs/SSDs
  • 10GbE LAN: 2 x 10 Gigabit SFP + LAN ports
  • GbE LAN: 2 x Gigabit RJ45 LAN ports
  • USB Port: 3 x USB 3.0 ports (Front: 1, Rear: 2)
  • PCIe Slot: 1 x PCIe Gen2 ( x2)
  • LED: Status / Power, USB, HDD 1 – 8
  • Button: Power, USB One-touch backup, Reset
  • Security Slot: Kensington security slot
  • Dimension: 185.2 (H) x 298.2 (W) x 235 (D) mm, 7.29 (H) x 11.74 (W) x 9.25 (D) inch
  • Weight: Net: 7.3 kg / 08 lbs, Gross: 8.25 kg / 18.19 lbs
  • Operating Temperature: 0 – 40˚ C
  • Relative Humidity: 5 – 95% RH non-condensing, wet bulb: 27˚ C
  • Noise Level: 20.6 dB (A)
  • Power Consumption: HDD standby: 19.47 W, In operation: 46.36 W (with 8 x 1TB HDDs installed)
  • Power: ATX 250 W, 110 – 240 V AC, 50 – 60 Hz, 3.5 A
  • Fan: 2 x 12 cm quiet cooling fan (12 V DC)

QNAP QM2-2S10G1T Expansion Card Specifications

  • Dual M.2 2280 SATA SSD & single-port 10GbE expansion card
  • Connector: 2 x M.2 2280 SATA SSD slots; 1x 10GBASE-T port
  • PCIe and Lanes: PCIe Gen2 x 4
  • Bracket: Low-profile pre-loaded, Low-profile flat and Full-height are bundled
  • Cable: RJ-45; over CAT-6 class cable

Supported models (required QTS 4.3.3.0238 or later):

  • TS-531P
  • TS-531X
  • TS-831X
  • TS-1635
  • TS-x31XU
  • TS-x53B(U)
  • TS-563
  • TVS-x63
  • TS-x63U
  • TS-x70
  • TS-x70U
  • TVS-x71
  • TVS-x71U
  • TVS-x82(T)
  • TS-x79(U)
  • TS-x80(U)

Installing your QM2 card to the NAS

Pre-installation

Before unpacking your QM2 expansion card, make sure that your system meets all the requirements and make sure you have everything, if not, you can contact the seller to make sure you get the missing parts. The parts included are the QM2 with cooling module; Low-profile bracket (pre-installed) full-height bracket, Low-profile flat bracket, thermal pad kit, rubber pad kit and M.2 SSD screws.

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Installation

First you have to prepare the M.2 SSD. The SSD has a protective film attached to it so remove it first from both sides of its thermal pad. After removing the protective film, place the thermal pad on the SSD controller. After which, you also have to remove the protective film from the rubber pad and the stick rubber pads at the bottom side of the SSD. Both the thermal and rubber pads transfer heat from the SSD controller and onto the cooling module. And then you have to remove the cooling module from the QM2 board but do not disconnect the power connector.

Next you have to insert the M.2 SSD on the QM2. Do this by inserting the M.2 SSD into the M.2 socket. You can easily slip it by inserting one end and slip the other end after as if you’re attaching a phone battery. After attaching it on one side, you can secure the other end using screws. Make sure that the thermal sensor has contact with the M.2 SSD. Then connect the cooling module onto the QM2 board then secure the four sides with screws to make sure it is in place.

You will then have to install the QM2 Card in the NAS. Before you do that however, make sure the NAS is turned off or better yet, unplug the NAS’ power cord from the outlet so it does not have any power at all. You will also need to disconnect all of the cables as well as all the external attachments. Once that is over, you have to remove the screws of the case cover at the back of the QNAP TS-831X. You would then need to pull out the actual NAS from the case so you can see the inside of it. After which, you need to remove the screw from the PCIe slot then pull the cover. Use the appropriate bracket for your NAS and change the PCIe bracket of the QM2 card if you need to. You can do this by removing the screws from the existing bracket and then removing the bracket from the card after. Replace it with the required bracket to the card with the same screws that was attached to the card originally. Once everything is set on the QM2 card, you can now attach it to the NAS by holding the card on its edges and slowly insert it onto the card slot. Afterwards, lock it with the screw. Put everything back on after by attaching the case cover back again and re-attach the screws at the back of the case as well. Reconnect back all the cables as well as all the external attachments and now you can power up the NAS again. Make sure that the system recognizes the newly attached SSD on the QM2 by logging on the QTS as an administrator and going to the “Main Menu” then “Storage Manager” and finally on ”Disk/VJBOD”.

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Connecting the NAS

To be able to set up your TS-831X you can either use the Cloud key which is located on the side of the unit or online.

Carefully follow the install wizard and you should be able to setup your NAS easily. You can also enable which operating system cross platform file management service you would need which is either for Windows, Mac or Linux.

Once you’re done with the initial setup, you can access the log in screen and start using your NAS.

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Software Features

The QNAP TS-831X is powered by the incredibly powerful QTS operating system. QTS is built from the ground up by QNAP to give you all of the control over the NAS that anyone could possibly need, whilst also making it very user friendly. The QTS software allows you to expand the software options that are running on the NAS from things such as web server software, diagnostics, programming addons through to media player addons and surveillance software. There is one thing that QNAP does very well and that is the QTS software.

The QTS Operating system provides you with all of the administration control that is needed to control every aspect of the NAS including:

  • General Settings
  • Storage
  • Security
  • Hardware
  • Power Options
  • Notifications
  • Firmware Updates
  • Backup and Restore Functions
  • External Devices
  • System Status
  • System Logs
  • Resource Monitoring

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Some of the highlights of the QTS software are:

Backup Station

The Backup Station not only backups your files but you can also set up schedules so if ever you forgot to backup them, the Backup Station does it for you. Your Data is safe since Backup Station allows you to save it in multiple external storage devices. There is also Apple Time Machine backup which lets you go through different versions of your files depending on the time. Your files are also protected since Backup Station has encryption.

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Download Station

You can schedule your downloads and control the amount of bandwidth with the Download Station. There is also an RSS subscription as well as download.

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Qsync

Qsync, is able to sync all files on various devices using SSL support. You are also able to selectively synchronize for specific folders if you choose to. If you have a team working on a project, you can use a team folder for easy file management and have a centralized access of files. Qsync also gives users the ability to share files with links with just their e-mails. There’s also policy settings if you have conflicting files or file types. Erasing or restoring files is quite easy since Qsync allows remote access.

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AirPlay & Chromecast

AirPlay & Chromecast is able to stream videos as well as photos and music directly from the NAS and on to your Apple TV or Chromecast in unison with the File Station, Music Station, Photo Station, Video Station or the mobile apps like Qfile, Qmusic, Qphoto or Qvideo depending on what type of media you would want to stream.

Photo Station

Using the Photo Station, you are able to showcase your favorite photos and you can do so in an organized manner either in thumbnails, list, folder view or even have it arranged by timeline. It is also able to showcase your photos via smart albums. You can also restrict people from sharing albums if you don’t want them to. And lastly, you can tag your photos using ratings, text or colors.

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File Station

You can mount various cloud drives onto the file station to integrate it seamlessly with the NAS. You can use Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Yandex Disk or Amazon Drive. You can also mount ISO files to use. If you are viewing files, you can easily search for a particular one because of the thumbnail display. Sharing files via browsers is easy using the drag-n-drop method. If you view the files in a media viewer, you can view them in a slideshow as well.

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Surveillance Station

You can oversee your house or your small office with the surveillance station. It is able to support over 3,000 IP cameras and also includes 2 free camera licenses. You can view past events by using the instant playback feature. You can edit the cameras during live view online which means you don’t need to be in the local network to do so. If you are searching for a certain event, you can easily skim through with the video preview on the playback timeline. The Surveillance Station also supports mobile with the mobile surveillance app called Vmobile available on iOS and Android and also the recording app called Vcam which is also available on both iOS and Android.

Music Station

You can have your own “Spotify” thanks to the Music Station. You can play and even share your music just by using the web browser or have them directly streamed to multiple devices. Music Station also automatically classifies your music via the media library. The support for various audio formats is astounding as it supports AIFF, APE, FLAC, M4A, M4A Apple Lossless (ALAC), MP3, OggVorbis, WAV (PCM, LPCM),WMA, WMA PRO, WMA VBR which means you can pretty much play any type of audio out there. If you are like me who loves to organize their music with the appropriate album cover, Music Station also supports this using Google search. Once you are tired of listening to your own music, you can also listen to new music via the Internet radio.

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iTunes Server

You can create an audio and video sharing server with the Windows and also Mac iTunes.

Print Server

You can set up the NAS as a print server having a maximum of 3 printers which supports Internet Printing Protocol.

Video Station

Much like the Photo Station, you can also tag your videos with ratings, color and text. Sharing is also easy with the video station with just links or use email to share your moments. Video Station can also pull up images from IMDB to use as posters for movies or personally upload them yourself. You can also add subtitles to the movies since it supports .SRT, .ASS, and .SSA.

The Facebook login is a unique feature which I think many apps should start integrating. If your friend has Facebook, they can easily login with their Facebook account just like other websites. This makes logging on easy and fast. Lastly, the Video Station also supports a mobile app called Qvideo that you can use for browsing online video and even to manage your videos online.

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Container Station

You can download various applications from the built-in Docker Hub Registry. It is also quite easy to install with just one click. Port forwarding is also quite easy since it does so automatically. Managing your CPU or Memory can also be done here.

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App Center

Of course these are not just the apps on the QTS, there are a lot more but if we covered all of them, it would be too much. However, if all of these apps are not enough, you can use the App Center to find the perfect app for that specific service you are looking for.

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VPN Server

You can set up your own VPN server as we have mentioned earlier using PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and OpenVPN services with up to 30 clients.

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Software Specifications

File System

1. Internal Hard Drive: EXT4
2. External Hard Drive: EXT3, EXT4, NTFS, FAT32, HFS+

Power Management

1. Wake on LAN
2. Internal hard drive standby mode
3. Scheduled power on/off
4. Automatic power on after power recovery
5. USB and network UPS support with SNMP management

Supported Client OS

1. Windows 7 (32/64-bit), Windows 8 (32/64-bit), Windows Server 2003/2008 R2/2012/2012R2
2. Apple Mac OS X
3. Linux & UNIX

Networking

1. TCP/IP (IPv4 & IPv6: Dual Stack)*
2. NICs with jumbo frame (failover, multi-IP settings, port trunking/NIC teaming)
3. Service binding based on network interfaces
4. Squid Proxy server
5. Proxy client
6. DHCP client, DHCP server
7. Protocols: CIFS/SMB, AFP (v3.3), NFS(v3), FTP, FTPS, SFTP, TFTP, HTTP(S), Telnet, SSH, iSCSI, SNMP, SMTP, and SMSC
8. UPnP & Bonjour Discovery
9. USB Wi-Fi Adapter Support

Access Right Management

1. Batch user creation
2. Import/Export users
3. User quota management
4. Local user access control for CIFS, AFP, FTP, and WebDAV
5. Application access control for Photo Station, Music Station, Video Station, and File Station
6. Subfolder permissions support for CIFS/SMB, AFP, FTP, and File Station

Web Administration

1. Movable Icons and personalized desktop
2. Smart toolbar and dashboard for neat system status display
3. Smart fan Control
4. Dynamic DNS (DDNS)
5. SNMP
6. Resource monitor
7. Network recycle bin for file deletion via CIFS/SMB, AFP, and File Station
– Automatic Cleanup
– File Type Filter
8. Comprehensive logs (events & connection)
9. Syslog client/server
10. System settings backup and restore
11. Restore to factory default
12. Mobile app: Qmanager for remote system monitoring & management

Supported Browsers

1. Microsoft Internet Explorer 10+
2. Mozilla Firefox 8+
3. Apple Safari 4+
4. Google Chrome

Security

1. Network access protection with auto-blocking: SSH, Telnet, HTTP(S), FTP, CIFS/SMB, AFP
2. CIFS host access control for shared folders
3. FIPS 140-2 validated AES 256-bit volume-based data encryption*
4. AES 256-bit external drive encryption*
5. Importable SSL certificates
6. Instant alert via E-mail, SMS, beep,and push service
7. 2-step verification

Domain Authentication Integration

1. Microsoft Active Directory (AD) & Domain Controller support
2. LDAP server, LDAP client
3. Domain users login via CIFS/SMB, AFP, FTP, and File Station

File Server

1. File sharing across Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX
2. Windows ACL
3. Advanced folder permissions for CIFS/SMB, AFP, FTP
4. Shared folder aggregation (CIFS/SMB)

Storage Management

1. QNAP flexible Volume/LUN with thin provisioning and space reclaim
2. Volume types: RAID 0/1/5/6/10, + hot spare, single, JBOD
3. Supports storage pools
4. Online volume expansion & storage pool expansion
5. Online RAID capacity expansion and online RAID level migration
6. SMART data migration
7. Storage expansion via max 2 QNAP UX-500P/UX-800P expansion units
8. JBOD enclosure roaming
9. SSD read-only/read-write cache
10. Bad block scan, recovery, and hard drive S.M.A.R.T.
11. RAID recovery
12. Bitmap support

myQNAPcloud Service

1. Private cloud storage and sharing
2. Free host name registration (DDNS)
3. Supports myQNAPcloud SSL certificates (DDNS)
4. Auto router configuration (via UPnP)
5. Web-based file manager with HTTPS 2048-bit encryption
6. CloudLink for remote access without any complicated router setup
7. myQNAPcloud connect for easy VPN connection (Windows VPN utility)

Performance

The QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS is definitely a powerful 8 bay NAS. It features two built-in 10 GbE SFP+ ports to be able to support high-speed 10 GbE networks at very cost effective and competitive price range. It also further supports VJBOD or Virtual JBOD for an economical way of using unused storage of the NAS to expand other storage capacity of other QNAP NASes. The network-based JBOD helps maximize the NAS storage. Aside from physical storage, you can use the QNAP TS-831X to expand other QNAP NASes. The container solution can vastly develop and easily deploy Internet of Things or IoT apps to further increase the services the NAS can offer.

The LXC as well as Docker lightweight virtualization technologies are integrated by the Container station. You are able to operated multiple isolated Linux based systems on your QNAP TS-831X and even download various apps using the built-in Docker Hub Registry. This NAS vastly improves the idea of having a private IoT cloud platform even with numerous hands-on apps for micorservices as well as develop and even deploy IoT applications in a very fast and less complicated manner.

Along with the QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS, we also have the QM2-2S10G1T expansion card that you can attach to the NAS. It is quite easy to install. Just remove the NAS side panel as well as the slotting in the PCIe slot. This expansion card will add dual M.2 SATA 6 Gbps storage bays and also a 10 GbE network port. As with all hardware, the M.2 SSDs can also get hot that is why there are also thermal pads that can be attached to the drive and then make contact with the heatsink.

The operating system will immediately recognize and notice the 10 GbE network connections along with the newly added storage bays that can be both configured either as an actual standard storage pool or an SSD cache.

Conclusion

The QNAP TS-831X is an ideal and comprehensive solution for storage, backup as well as sharing and deploying services that is able to support both Windows as well as Mac desktops and laptop backups with backup versioning. It can also backup to various cloud storages like Google Cloud Storage, Dropbox, ElephantDrive, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Glacier and Amazon S3. Like many other NAS, you can share files on your network whether it is a Windows, Mac or Linux/UNIX operating system. You can also use it as a private VPN server as well as VPN client to secure the network.

Using the Qsirch full-text search app lets users quickly and easily finds various files and data. Qsync also provides different ways to synchronize and group file sharing so your team can be flexible and easily share files to others and easily collaborate between themselves.

The QNAP TS-831X is also future proof. You can attach two more expansion enclosures that can support 24 hard drives. Users can also migrate their data from their TS-831X to another NAS with the JBOD enclosure without the use of a network connection thus saving a tremendous amount of time in migrating large quantities of data.

Where to Buy

If you would like to get your hands on this beast of a NAS you can pick up the 8GB version for around $1,200AUD and the 16GB version for about $1,500AUD. For more info check out the official QNAP page here.

The QM2-2S10G1T Expansion Card costs $269USD and you can purchase it over at the QNAP store here.

QNAP TS-831X 8 Bay NAS Review
The QNAP TS-831X is a fantastic and affordable 8 bay NAS that provides you will all of the functionality you could need in a very easy to use package.

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Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
4.7Overall Score

About The Author

The Streaming Blog brings you the latest in consumer tech news and reviews. From streaming services and media players to gaming and computer hardware, we give you product reviews on the latest tech available.

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