QNAP TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure Review

When it comes to bolstering your total data storage volume, using a number of NAS devices can boost management cost and intricacy. Luckily, QNAP came up with their expansion enclosures to give everyone an economical solution for improving the total storage space of your NAS device. This is while simultaneously streamlining maintenance and management tasks.

QNAP is today’s leading networking, computing, and storage solutions provider who just recently launched the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure – a device that can be linked to the NAS or PC using the Type C USB 3.0. It is a multipurpose product that can be utilized to add storage space to your NAS while also serving as a hardware-based RAID storage device for NAS and computers. Not only that, but the TR-004 provides a highly beneficial cross platform file-sharing plus increased flexibility for users. It also acts as an intuitive and high-efficiency storage expansion alternative.

This new TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure from QNAP features an integrated hardware RAID component and more contemporary USB C connectivity. With this, the expansion box from QNAP can be utilized by NAS drives, Mac OS, PC systems, and the Linux Systems.

Let’s learn more about this RAID expansion enclosure from QNAP and see what cool & interesting things it has in store for us.

QNAP TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure Review – What’s in the Box?

We got our hands on the QNAP TR-004 just recently and it arrived in a rather simple retail box which was, of course, branded. The company gave it a nice touch despite it being simple. Also, , they were able to do away with such a design for the package since a majority of users who’d be purchasing this would be QNAP users currently having their own capacity requirements. So even if QNAP’s NAS expansion packages aren’t really that exciting or eye-catching, the boxes are quite useful in a way.

When you open the package, you’ll immediately see the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure which is set securely in place. Aside from the TR-004, other items that are present in the box include an AC power adapter, a USB Type C to Type A connecting cable, a power cord, 2 drive tray keys, a USB cable clip, a total of 16 screws for the 3.5-inch drives, as well as 12 screws for the 2.5-inch drives. Of course, QNAP also included a quick installation guide to make the entire process of installing easier on your part.

The Product

QNAP TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure Review

When we finally got the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure out of its box, we were met with a very familiar exterior for it’s casing. We’ve already seen this type of plastic chassis used for other QNAP NAS devices and we really don’t mind this at all.

The front portion of the product features a total of 4 plastic hard drive bays, as well as numerous LEDs; things that you would see on a NAS device that denotes a system and drive access, plus health and notification for any kind of issue. Unlike the older QNAP NAS expansions, the TR-004 has a more compact and less noticeable design which can easily blend with your environment.

If you take a look at the trays of the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure from QNAP, they sport a screwless design with a body made entirely of plastic. Though it is worth noting that if you plan to utilize SSD or higher capacity 14 or 16TB HDDs, you won’t have to worry about connecting them since the package includes the necessary accessory pack for installation. Additionally, its bays can be locked to avoid any unwanted, intentional, or accidental removal. When you look at the base of the TR-004, you’ll notice its ventilation set along the base of the device. The company positioned the vents in this area to better assist active airflow and to allow it to work as an extra ventilation bay located at the side of the product. This greatly helps air travel through and over the inner RoC.

If you flip the device, you’ll find that it’s really similar to the QNAP NAS, but the difference between the two is that the TR-004 lacks the LAN / Network / RJ-45 connectivity. This product, although it offers its own RAID 5 / 6 handling, needs a link to the NAS to be able to boost your current RAID. Yet another interesting aspect about the device is that it can be utilized as a USB RAID 5 and 6 storage for standalone utilization with Mac, Windows, or Linux computers. Similarly, if you have the RAID for your PC or Linux in a general file system, you can easily disconnect this and instead, connect it to a NAS device to make all of the contents available from your NAS and other shared network devices.

The USB connection of the device is a USB Type C, though it does make use of the USB 3.1 1st Generation, it still comes in handy compared to the USB Type A. This makes it compatible with the new systems that have changed to a more practical connection. The accessory pack that comes with the device has a USB Type A to C cable which is necessary for linking the TR-004 to your NAS / Mac / computer using a classic USB Type A. For the RAID, there are a collection of dip switches located on the rear portion of this product. These are utilized for setting the hardware functionality of the RAID.

Details of each configuration have been designated on the information panel located on the TR-004. This will assist you in configuring the proper RAID setup just for you. After, you can power up the device which will establish a RAID environment that will go across the present drives. This is generally the primary reason why the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure from QNAP is an interesting device for the NAS. Until now, every expansion chassis for the NAS concerns the NAS’ CPU supporting and creating an existing raid on them. This results in the CPU having to work more to maintain the storage environment, and this, in turn, greatly influences the read and write speeds.

Not only that, but if the RAID is controlled by the NAS devices and it suddenly gets disconnected in error from the host storage because of a power outage, it can clearly damage both the original NAS RAID and the expansion storage. So, to eliminate and prevent this issue, having a NAS expansion like this TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure is the best option. Of course, you will still need to treat your storage adequately, yet the handling of the external RAID only means that it will be able to handle sudden disconnections better; plus, it will also have boosted read and write speeds from having a RAID handling chip.

The TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure lets you easily increase the capacity of your PC or QNAP NAS device. Not only that, but it can also be used as a DAS or direct attached storage device which will allow you to immediately access contents simply by linking it with a USB.

The TR-004 has a total of four 3.5-inch SATA drive bays along with a couple of RAID setup options; it also has a USB 3.0 Type C connection to provide you with a more reliable and protected storage extension solution. What makes the TR-004 efficient is that it is equipped with a DIP button at the back panel of the device. It works by altering the disk setup of the device. Other notable aspects of this device include the single-touch copy button, status indicators, and the eject button.

The TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure also supports JBOD, individual, and RAID 0 / 1 / 5 / 10 storage setups. All QNAP NAS users can utilize the TR-004 together with their NAS devices when it comes to making a storage pool. This is by utilizing the Storage and Snapshots application that is in the QTS. Alternatively, it can also be used as an external storage of the NAS, can be used with PCs to further promote file exchange and sharing, while supporting the exFAT system as well.

If you are a PC user that has a limit when it comes to storage upgrade choices, then you can also utilize the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure as an expansion unit. Also, a special QNAP External RAID Manager utility can aid these users change RAID setups, view disk health, check logs, and also update the TR-004’s firmware.

When it comes to power consumption, the HDD on standby is at 4.17 Watts while it goes up to 18.21 Watts during operations. For its operating temperature plus the relative humidity, the TR-004 is from 0 ~ 40°C, 5 ~ 95% RH. When it comes to the compatibility of the QNAP TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure, it can work with the 3.5 and the  2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s, 3Gb/s; also, it is compatible with the 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s, Solid State Drives.

For the TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure, it’s dimensions is 68.5 x 160.2 x 219 millimeters (H x W x D) while it weighs a total of 1.85 kilograms.

Product Features

Effective Storage Enhancement with RAID Support

We can definitely say that the TR-004 is a perfect storage expansion solution for computers, especially laptops that do not really have the capacity to install bigger and higher capacity drives. With its 4 3.5-inch SATA drive bays and supporting RAID setups, this raid expansion enclosure form QNAP allows you to store a large number of date while securing these against possible drive failures.

Aids Various RAID Levels

The TR-004  is able to support a number of RAID setups; and based on your requirements and needs, you’ll be able to switch between software or hardware-controlled RAID modes. Shift the DIP switches to their corresponding positions to get the perfect RAID mode: RAID 0, JBOD, RAID 1/10 or RAID 5. Another great thing about this is that you can configure the settings via your QNAP NAS; or, you can also use the QNAP External RAID Manager utility on your PC.

Flexible Storage Configuration + Management

Compared to the other RAID enclosures, the TR-004 gives you a software-controlled setup for better management flexibility. Everyone can setup the RAID and audit disk health via Storage & Snapshots Manager on a QNAP NAS. The QNAP External RAID Manager utility can also be utilized for this.

The Raid Expansion Enclosure as a Conventional NAS Solution

Since it is an external hardware RAID device, the TR-004 functions on its own and does not need to have any extra NAS system resources. When compared to other enclosures like the UX 500P, the TR-004 utilizes lesser NAS system resources.

Expand the capacity of your NAS

The device provides another way for you to enhance and stretch their NAS storage capacities. And by linking the device to the NAS, and also by utilizing the Storage & Snapshots Manager, you and all other users can readily setup, as well as manage the storage expansion.

The TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure is able to support a number of NAS storages and file management uses. This lets you establish storage pools, organize files using Qfiling, and find files with Qsirch.

External Storage for your NAS

One interesting way to use the TR-004 aside from expanding the NAS’ capacity is to use it as a complimentary storage for moving or backing up data. It also lets you physically shift big data collections that requires a great network bandwidth. And while linked to the NAS, you can easily monitor the status and health of the TR-004.

Cross-Platform File Sharing

Cross-platform file sharing is possible and it can also immediately add storage space to your PC. Just use the DIP switch to configure and setup the RAID mode, or just manage this by utilizing the QNAP External RAID utility.

Using the Product

The QNAP 4-bay DAS worked perfectly and just as expected; also, the hardware RAID including the QTS monitoring of drives is excellent. There was a little less full integration than we hoped, yet the price point for this device was excellent given the software / hardware RAID substitutes.

We were slightly debating about getting another NAS device for extra storage but when we learned of this product, we just had to see if it would be a great substitute for the task. We simply formatted the drives, plugged the NAS, then we immediately had additional drives online without messing up the current setup that we have.

After our simple test, we can definitely say that the TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure can really work as a real expansion unit to enhance the volume in a QNAP NAS device. Also, it really is notable for its functionality so you won’t go wrong with it. Generally, you won’t be able to do this using a 3rd party option, and when it comes to the price range, it came out as more reason le than what we expected so that’s really a good thing.

All in all, we’re giving the TR-004 Raid Expansion Enclosure a double thumbs up for its quality and excellent performance & functionality.

Software

 

The QNAP TR-004 USB 3.0 RAID Expansion Enclosure allows you to securely store your files. It can be used to expand the capacity of your NAS device or your PC, and it can also be utilized as a direct-attached storage device for your Mac, Windows, or Linux computers.

Over the years, QNAP allows physical to virtual or P2V on network-attached storage devices. This is from hosting various virtual machines in the Virtualization Station to using containerized apps located in the Container Station. With the QTS 4.3.6, the company has set another achievement by developing a better version of virtualized networks. The new software-based architecture lets users maximize the use of limited physical network resources for unlimited applications, and centrally manage the whole network structure with a well-visualized map for network topology. Aside from that, users can also flexibly distribute network resources with just a few clicks. It also allows you to efficiently use and move a lot of virtual applications on QNAP NAS.

The QTS 4.3.6 turns QNAP’s network attached storage devices into an SSD-aware storage. This comes with the software-based SSD additional provisioning with advanced SSD caching. The flexibility it grants to adjust the over-provisioning of the SSD allows for improved SSD endurance and performance so you can have the potential to achieve enterprise-grade SSD performance levels from cost-efficient consumer SSDs.

Conclusion

Generally, the QNAP TR-004 RAID Expansion Enclosure will be a really interesting product for those who already have their own QNAP NAS device. It is necessary for expanding your storage and it not only works as this. The TR-004 is a fresh new way to increase your storage while simultaneously, it’s also a great product that functions as a more stable way to increase your storage so that it can also guarantee that your read and write speeds are preserved. It is also a robust solution that even if you choose to improve your host NAS device at a much later time, it can be converted or reused as a USB backup device.

Overall, it’s a great device and we’d highly recommend this to everyone who needs higher and bigger capacity drives.

Where to Buy

You can purchase the QNAP TR-004 for around $350 AUD from your local PC retailer. For more information head on over to the official product page.

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