The best NAS devices that are around can be really advantageous to anyone searching for ways to enhance their data storage. Thing is, with all the similar devices that are available in the market, you’re probably wondering which one is the best and most suitable for your needs. When it comes to NAS devices, QNAP’s the top name in the market. They’ve been in the 10GBe NAS world for a couple of years now, and they continue to stay at the top of their game.
Today, we’re going to focus on one of their NAS devices made even better by the inclusion of QNAP’s tiered storage system at a very attractive price point. Aiming for SMEs that require more from a NAS device, QNAP’s TS-963X provides you with a creative collection of storage features at a very affordable price. The TS-963X offers you a combination of 4 SFF and 5 LFF bays with the previous design to give you high-performing SSD caching facilities.
If the TS-963X is something that piqued your interest, just sit back, relax, and read on to get more details about the NAS device, its features, functions, and if it’s something worth buying. Let’s start off and check out what’s inside the box.
QNAP TS-963X Review – What’s in the Box?
The TS-963X is packed in a large brown cardboard box that features a simple and clean design. This is a common look for NAS devices from QNAP which is pretty good in our opinion, since it doesn’t really have to come in a fancy-looking box that can get confusing when you’re reading the specs and information of the device.
Here, you’ll find the sticker and logo of QNAP along with a couple of details about the device. On the sticker, you will also find the main features of the TS-963X.
When you open the package, you’ll find additional items and accessories that are placed on top of the TS-963X. The NAS device is fixed in place and protected thanks to the EPS foam placed around it. With that, you’ll see that QNAP ensured that their devices are safe from damages when being shipped to you.
Aside from the device, other accessories that you’ll find in the package include x2 Ethernet cables, a power cord, one PWR ADAPTER 120-Watts – A01. A flat head screw for the 3.5” HDD, flat screws for the 2.5” HDD, and a quick installation guide.
QNAP TS-963X Review – Big Storage With Big Options
The TS-963X is an interesting NAS device due to its storage: it has 4 SFF and 5 LFF hot swap drive bays in front. The SFF bay helps the device provide high-performance SSD caching facilities that also support the company’s QTier feature. This makes it possible to manage double storage tiers, migrates data blocks, and monitors storage pool activity based on usage.
This TS-963X NAS device is also driven by a 2GHz quad core AMD G Series GX-420-MC SoC. Just remember that the TS-963X isn’t geared at multimedia services since the AMD SoC does not feature embedded graphics. If you’re wondering where the audio comes from, it’s from a little internal speaker that the device uses to notify you of a variety of activities such as installed drives, system reboots, as well as firmware upgrades.
The 10G Base-T port is coupled with your regular Gigabit port; plus, you’ll also get the dual USB 3 and 2 ports. The USB 3 ports can be utilized to increase the capacity with one of the company’s UX 800P or UX-500P desktop enclosures.
The TS-963X from QNAP is one of their more affordable NAS devices and it’s something great for SMBs or small to medium-sized businesses. This device has an installed AMD G-Series GX 420-MC quad core, 2.0GHz processor, an integrated five-speed 10G Base-T port that reaches 10GB connectivity, plus nine-drive bays.
The four available 2.5-inch drive bays can be utilized to install SSDs; this is to allow QTier technology and caching. With these integrated drive bays for the SSDs, as well as the 10G Base-T port, its R/W throughput can go reach a maximum of 770/569-MBps and 508/513-MBps.
The integrated five-speed 10G Base-T port, specifically 10G | 5G | 2.5G | 1G | 100M, helps boost your business’ productivity with the present CAT 5 e/6 cables; this is without additional costs or extra procedures for installation.
Since the QNAP TS-963X is combined with a couple of the company’s technologies like Virtualization Station, Container Station, and VJBOD, it has the ability to empower a number of business applications. Also, it can be expanded easily to accommodate future data storage needs.
For the dimensions of this device, it measures 7.17-inches x 8.86-inches x 8.82-inches (H x W x D); its overall weight is about 7.78 pounds.
Integrated 10G Base-T Port for Improved Workflow
The QNAP TS-963X is able to accommodate the out of the box 10-GBe connectivity with the 10G Base-T port that can support five speeds. The port makes use of the Aquantia AQtion – AQC107 which is a multi-GB enterprise-class Ethernet controller. This allows you to quickly execute applications like virtual machine storages, database transfers, as well as huge data backups.
Increased Performance via the Qtier and SSDs
The TS-963X features 4 dedicated drive bays that are suitable for installing SSDs. These let you enable the Qtier which provides cache-like mechanisms and tiered storage for the i-SCSI LUNs and volumes. It also lets the TS-963X get accelerated further to meet all the requirements of demanding applications like virtualization.
Increased Virtual Switches and Virtualization
The TS-963X also supports adjustable virtualization technologies such as virtual machines like VMs, Docker and LXC. This is so you can easily migrate applications or deploy new solutions to the device. The virtual switches support a couple of modes used to link containers, NAS, VMs, and physical network interfaces. This is to flexibly and easily deploy business IT infrastructure while guaranteeing top-notch security.
Safeguard Data with Snapshots & Hybrid Backup Sync
The TS-963X can utilize snapshots to record the status of files and change them at block levels. This is to let you instantly revert to the previous version should any issues or problems occur. For more data protection, the Hybrid Backup Sync application can help backup, sync, and restore files to or from your local external devices, public cloud services, and remote NAS devices.
More Applications for Use
The TS-963X is powered by the QTS which is an innovative app-driven operating system that offers great use and function. The QTS App Center also offers you a wide selection of QNAP, as well as other trusted third-party applications that will help boost the performance of your TS-963X.
Easily File Exchange Using Cross-Platform File Sharing + Q-Sync
The TS-963X NAS supports SMB / CIFS, AFP, and NFS protocols for sharing across Mac, Windows, and even Linux / UNIX networks. Data and information can be centrally stored, as well as protected by strong security measures that are provided by the NAS device. The Windows LDAP and AD services allow system administrators to setup user permissions by utilizing an existing AD or LDAP server, or an integrated LDAP service.
If you need to synchronize data across devices such as tablets or mobile phones, you just need to install the Q-Sync Central on the device, as well as the Q-Sync clients on other smart devices. This is to let you enjoy quick, secure, private, and real-time file syncing services.
Professional Surveillance Systems
The TS-963X also offers you with a smart surveillance control system that will allow you do real-time monitoring, playback, and audio / video recording to protect your working environment. You can even utilize simple USB webcams to work as affordable IP cameras using the free QUSB CAM2 application.
The NAS device also supports the QVR Pro – a next generation QNAP-NVRP system. This lets you easily organize independent and dedicated storage space for inspection data on the NAS; plus, it also increases the storage and scalability from the QTS.
Quick and Convenient Expansion for Additional Storage Needs
As your needs grow, so does your storage requirements. The TS-963X’s storage capacity can be easily expanded by utilizing the free storage capacity coming from another NAS device from QNAP. This is also possible by utilizing up to 1UX 800p &/or UX 500p expansion enclosures.
QSW 1208-8C Switch
The TS-963X is a twelve-po45 10GBe switch that lets you easily enhance your network environment at a very low price. The QSW 1208-8C supports the 10G Base-T and N-Base T standards, letting you evoke increased network speed using your existing Cat 5e and 6a cables. Both the RJ-45 and SFP+ ports are present for assisting an array of network needs. The QSW 1208-8C is also compliant with the IEEE 802.3az, and it is energy-efficient too.
With low latency, increased performance, and excellent functionality, we think that the Switch is the best option for upgrading your business or home network to be able to support 10Gbe connections.
QSW 1208-8C Switch Features
Let’s start off with the increased speed. The Switch is compatible with the N-Base T and 10Gbe technologies to give you better and faster transmission speed with your current cables. Depending on your cable length and type, various speeds can be acquired to have more efficient and faster data transfers. Also, the Switch is backwards compatible to allow adequate connectivity even with legacy devices which is really something good.
It also has flexible deployment with a total of 8 combination ports. The 12-port Switch provides you with x4 SFP+ ports as well as x8 SFP+ / RJ-45 combination ports. These are for linking a variety of interfaces to that same switch.
With the RJ-45 interface, 10GBe is supported with the Cat 6a or higher cables. Also, you can use the DAC or direct attach copper cables with SPF+ ports for linking servers that are within a rack. Additionally, the switching capacity of the QSW 1208-8C is 240Gbps which guarantees increased potential for each port.
Another notable feature of the QSW 1208-8C is that it functions quietly while guaranteeing that you get high-speed network performance without producing any of the usual annoying background noise.
The EEE support also decreases the power consumption of the device without compromising its function or performance; and by detecting the activities and link speed, as well as adjusting accordingly, the Switch offers energy savings of about 50% to decrease lifetime operational costs.
Lastly, it also features versatile installation and a nice, sleek appearance that’s modern and eye-catching. If you set it next to your other home or office devices, it’ll blend nicely with these to give off great aesthetics too. We really liked that there’s an included Rackmount kit, and you can get this without any additional cost for installing the Switch in the rack.
AMD G-Series GX-420MC quad-core 2.0 GHz
8 GB DDR3L (1 x 8 GB)
16 GB (2 x 8 GB, 2 SODIMM slots)
5 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s + 4 x 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s, max 9.5mm drive height
Gigabit Ethernet Port
1 x RJ45
10 Gigabit Ethernet Port
1 x RJ45 10GBASE-T, supporting 10G/5G/2.5G/1G/100M speeds
2 x USB 3.0 (Front: 1, Rear: 1) + 2 x USB 2.0 (Rear)
5 mm line-out jack, speaker, and alarm buzzer
Power, One Touch Copy, Reset
Kensington security slot
Dimensions (H x W x D)
182 x 225 x 224 mm
17 x 8.86 x 8.82 inch
Power Consumption (W)
(with 5 x HDD + 4 x SSD fully populated)
Sound pressure (LpAm): 17.3 dB(A)
(with 5 x HDD + 4 x SSD fully populated)
53 kg (7.78 lbs)
Operating Temperature & Relative Humidity
0 ~ 40˚C (32˚F ~ 104˚F)
5~95% RH non-condensing, wet bulb: 27˚C (80.6˚F)
Power Supply Unit
120W 100-240V AC adapter
1 x 14cm smart fan (12V DC)
QNAP QTS Software
The company also looked into a full spectrum of storage control. With that, they were able to create a user-friendly and inclusive Storage & Snapshots Manager. The improved user interface does not only simplify storage control, but it also expands visualized snapshot control using beneficial information. With the Storage & Snapshots Manager, mastering your snapshots and storage system will be more convenient and much easier.
QTS Software Features
Brand New and Easy to Use Interface
Storage & Snapshots Manager offers universal management that isn’t just simple to use, but is also more comprehensive than ever.
Diminish the Threats of Ransomware
Snapshots are generally important for NAS data and information protection. This is for you to have dependable ways to save and protect data from the growing threats of ransomware. The company’s snapshot support is generally block-based and also displays copy on write technology.
This is to signify backup file revisions before saving these separately into the file system. This specific feature of the QTS software is advantageous for decreasing the storage space use while accelerating the creation and restoration of snapshots; this is compared to the file-based snapshots.
Acquire Increased Cost-Efficiency via ARM-based NAS + Snapshot Support
From the QTS 4.3.4, the QNAP ARM-based figures support snapshots and provides you with a key data recovery and backup solution. With that, you and other QNAP NAS users can surely protect data without any compromise, whether you’re using an SMB, high-end, or entry level NAS device.
Increased Storage with the Global SSD Cache Technology
SSD caching aids in boosting the IOPS performance. With that, the company’s global SSD cache acceleration technology shares one SSD RAID with all the volumes for read/write or read-only cache. When configuring applicable settings, you won’t experience any service interruptions; plus, you can also easily balance all your capacity and efficiency needs.
If you think that this NAS device is just a file storage, it’s more than that since it incorporates proper management to handle all your data needs from sharing, management, filing, and even searching. Not only are these files guaranteed protected, but it also boosts the value of these.
Do More with a Graphics Card
The NAS integrates the capacity of a PCIe graphics card into the QTS. And with the power of today’s graphics cards, QTS’ imaging processing as well as the performance of virtual machines can be better enhanced
Easily Backup and Find your Files
The device’s Hybrid Backup Sync gives you a flexible and reliable backup and disaster recovery solution. This helps your organization or business to efficiently perform routine backups while simultaneously decreasing any form of total cost of ownership. During the instance of disasters or issues, the Hybrid Backup Sync will help you immediately restore data to decrease any potential losses.
View 360° Videos and Photos
As 360° videos and photos enter the norm, the company made sure to include support for 360° AR applications. As long as your video’s metadata, or your photo’s EXIF has a 360° data, then these will be immediately displayed as 360° files which is something that we really liked.
For non-360° data files, these can be turned into such just by clicking the 360° button located in the File Station, Video Station, or Photo Station option. There are also mobile apps like Qvideo, Qfile, and Qphoto that supports the 360° format view.
QNAP Turbo NAS is made for high performance file sharing over a variety of network protocols. It allows for seamless file sharing among computers with different operating systems without you having to worry about incompatibility. This is because it supports AFP, SMB/CIFS, as well as NFS.
Compared to when you utilize a USB storage device to share files, you have a more convenient alternative for sharing your media files with family and friends. If you own a business and work in SOHO environments, the Turbo NAS also efficiently helps in sharing files with clients and partners; thus increasing your operation productivity.
The QNAP Turbo NAS allows for easy drag and drop file operations. Aside from that, it also provides smart filters for you to easily search for the files you need even if you have massive amount of data. With QNAP Turbo NAS, you can also stream your multimedia files, upload large files, and also securely share files.
In addition to convenient file storage and sharing, QNAP Turbo NAS also provides useful business applications to improve your productivity. With web server, printer server, and a wide range of applications, you can fulfill smooth business operations.
Using the Product
Previously, QNAP’s QTier can only be setup during storage pool creation. Now, you can also add this to on-demand existing storage pools. We tested this and used the QTier wizard to upgrade the storage pool we had. One thing we liked about this is that the process was really simple.
The wizard automatically created a mirror from our SSDs and upgraded the storage pool in less than ten minutes. For data migration, you also have two options: apply a schedule or run it on-demand. For both options, you can also view a statistic page to see where your data is being transferred.
If you want a simpler option, you can also create a standard SSD cache and assign this to certain volumes and iSCS targets.When we tested the NAS, we noticed a great improvement in the read and write speed rates.
For virtualization, the TS-963X has enough memory capacity to handle QNAP’s Virtualization 3 application. This allows the device to host VMs running virtually on any operating system you want. We didn’t experience any issues while installing a server from a local file.
We really appreciate that the app offers direct VNC access for remote control and we were able to capture on-demand snapshots on selected VMs. A VM backup tool is also present so the snapshots can be secured at regular time intervals.
The QTS Software offers an excellent range of data protection tools with the Hybrid Backup Sync application which offers central controls for you to manage each of your remote, local, Rsync, as well as iSCI LUN backups. Loading the Cloud Backup Sync app includes cloud support to the QTS, allowing you to schedule and manage backups to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Storage.
Snapshot support was the best since QTS supports EXT4 volumes, and we didn’t have to use BTRFS. From the Storage and Snapshots app, we were able to run snapshots on demand and schedule these to run as frequently like every five minutes.
We also used the File Station 5 for browsing NAS snapshots and recover other files. With the Qsync Central app, creating private backup clouds wasn’t a hassle, and since the Qsync Windows app was able to easily load on our computers, we were able to run real-time file syncing tasks between the pairs of folders we selected.
The Virtualization options were also excellent; plus, the Container Station runs a lot of Docker and LXC applications in lightweight containers. For the slick Virtualization Station 3, this allowed the NAS device to host VMs running any operating system you want.
When it comes to recovering data, it was just as easy as restoring the entire NAS Shares, and recovering iSCSI LUNs from selected snapshots. What makes the QTS Software even better is that we were able to easily and directly access the NAS snapshots from the File Station 5. This is where you can browse and restore individual files to their previous location, as well as local or remote destinations.
QNAP’s TS-963X is really a work of effort and design. It comes with outstanding features which include multi-Gigabit speed, as well as SSF and LFF drive bays. We really liked that it features 10GBe as well as premium features such as VM support that comes with virtualization station and 9 bays for combining HDD and SSD storage.
If you want a 10GBe device that works well, the TS-963X offers sufficient power for good speed rates. Aside from that, the latest QTS software also comes with great features, so we highly recommend this device to photographers and videographers who are looking for a centralized NAS platform and needs 10GBe for their work.