QNAP QGD-1600P Internal Hardware Overview
Internally, we see a system that has a fair bit of extra room, but the layout is very straightforward. The center of the system has the main PCB for the SwitchNAServer CPU and memory, along with the switch ports and the PoE power supply. We have a power supply on the right side and the drives plus expansion on the left.
QNAP is using an Intel Celeron J4115 quad-core 1.8 GHz processor. This is a Gemini Lake-based Atom design that can turbo boost up to 2.5 GHz.
As a result, we get unbuffered non-ECC memory support. Specs say up to 8GB and that is what our QNAP QGD-1600P came with installed via two 4GB ADATA SODIMMs. QNAP also sells a 4GB model for those who do not need this much memory.
Most Gemini Lake Atom processors actually will work with 16GB (2x 8GB) and should work with 32GB (2x 16GB) configurations. Our 16GB DDR4 SODIMMs were tied up, but we did test 2x 8GB for 16GB total and it worked without issue even though, again this is unsupported.
You can look up J4105 results with those configurations and find quite a few success stories. Call 16GB something that we found working, but is unsupported by QNAP/ Intel. 32GB has a good possibility of working as we see with other Gemini lake platforms. While that gives plenty of additional RAM for VMs and containers, one is still limited by the low-power quad-core CPU.
QNAP did not use the Intel Atom C3000 series. That is really interesting. Something like the Atom C3538 would have provided MACs for two 10GbE ports as well as more memory support. It would certainly have added cost to the solution, but 10GbE SFP+ ports could have been added relatively inexpensively in this manner. What QNAP gains from the Celeron J4115 is an integrated GPU that drives the HDMI port. One can use that HDMI port for setup, but potentially something like digital signage. Given the SMB/ SOHO focus of this product, the tradeoff is the right one, but we are left wondering what might have been.
There are two internal 2.5″ bays. These are not hot swap units. One must open the chassis (4 screws), unscrew the mounting bracket (3 screws), and then install or replace drives (4 screws.) Suffice to say that this is not something we would consider easy so if you need removable storage, USB 3.0 storage is your best bet. As a fun aside, the way the riser PCB is designed has the two 2.5″ drives with opposite orientations. What this means is that we see the bottom side of both drives yet the top side of neither. That makes checking/ verifying the drives via labels a fairly involved process. In our test configuration, we are using two Seagate IronWolf 110 480GB 2.5″ SATA NAS SSDs.
The two expansion slots are PCIe Gen2 x2. It is great that one can use expansion cards such as QNAP QM2-2S-220A or QNAP QM2-2P10G1TA adapters to add storage and potentially 10GbE networking to the unit (managed through the main NAS.) At the same time, PCIe Gen4 is already in many servers and PCIe Gen3 made its debut with the original Xeon E5-2600 series in 2012, or over eight years ago. Still, the ability to add M.2 storage and potentially 10GbE networking is a big deal in a device like this since it increases flexibility. QNAP has a technology called VJBOD which allows one to use iSCSI to attach additional storage over the network. Here, you are going to be practically limited to 10GbE speeds since higher-speed networking requires a higher-bandwidth PCIe slot.
A quick note on expansion is that there is also an internal USB 3.0 header. We tested and one can use a USB powered SSD such as the Seagate One Touch 500GB USB 3.0 SSD or a USB thumb drive here and it will be recognized in QTS and one can use it to provision storage. Add to this the front panel USB 3.0 port and there are possibilities to add additional USB storage.
Power is provided by a 418W Delta PSU. After accounting for the main system, QNAP specs PoE power budget over the 16-ports as 370W.
Just above the main PCB, one can see a second PCB that provides the 16 ports with power for the PoE functionality.
The switch itself is based on a Microsemi VSC7425 switch chip and utilizes a Microsemi PD69200 PoE controller for management. The Broadcom chip is a BCM5720 which is a dual 1GbE NIC that interfaces between the main NAServer and the switch giving 2Gbps of bandwidth between the two. You will notice the Microsemi switch chip being used is an 18-port model, 16x for the ports, leaving two to interface through this NIC to the QTS server. Onboard the switch chip there is a low-power MIPS processor.
There are a total of three fans inside the chassis. There is a small fan that cools the SATA drives and expansion cards. Along with the large heatsink, one finds a fan cooling the main chips such as the Celeron J4115 CPU. The third, and perhaps most important fan is in the Delta supply. This fan is loud even with just the host management port active, let alone with PoE devices plugged in. That fan will keep one from using the QNAP QGD-1600P anywhere near where someone is working.
One small item we would have expected to see here is a chassis intrusion switch. At the $700 price range, this is perhaps not a requirement. Still, for a business deploying these to remote branch offices or retail locations, there is no real tamper mechanism on the device. That is something we have seen from vendors producing much more costly edge boxes that do some of the same types of features. The Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 we tested did not provide PoE, but it was designed to provide networking, compute, and storage for the edge, albeit at a significantly higher price point. QNAP has a much better solution for the SMB and value markets.
Next, we are going to take a look at the software tieing the solution together.