QNAP TVS-h1288X 12-bay NAS Review

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QNAP TVS-h1288X Market Impact

After testing the TVS-h1288X we get back to the key framing concept we started this review with, that QNAP built that excellent home/ SMB server. There are some caveats, but they make sense.

First, in terms of pricing at the time of this review, this is a $2500 unit. That is far from inexpensive. Our sense is one could build something roughly similar for around half of the final cost of this machine.

QNAP TVS H1288X Front 1
QNAP TVS H1288X Front 1

Looking at the competition, the TrueNAS Mini XL+ is a ZFS NAS that has 8-bays but has three fewer 2.5″ bays and one less internal bay. It also has four fewer 2.5GbE ports, cannot be expanded for Thunderbolt, and still has a fairly decent gap between TrueNAS and QuTS hero in terms of software. It does have 32GB of memory though.

The Synology DiskStation DS3617xs is perhaps the most comparable unit at this price point, but that is 12x 3.5″ + 0x 2.5″ versus the TVS-h1288X which is 8x 3.5″ and 4x 2.5″. QNAP is using a 5-year newer processor than Synology that is faster. QNAP also has 2.5GbE instead of 1GbE onboard which is much more modern. Synology tends to use lower-end older hardware while QNAP provides newer higher-end hardware. Some may prefer Synology’s suite, but this is perhaps the best comparison. If you prefer QNAP’s management and features and are nervous about Synology’s numerous moves to start vendor locking its ecosystem, the QNAP is going to be the better option.

QNAP TVS H1288X Rear
QNAP TVS H1288X Rear

The interesting facet around this system is that it is probably best thought of as not just a NAS. Realistically, the value QNAP is providing versus a self-built and self-managed ZFS on Linux NAS is that QNAP makes it easier to deploy. One does not have to pick the parts. Fans are matched and curves are already set for a user. There is no need for an OS install tuning items. Beyond the hardware, the software side is designed to be a NAS, but really QNAP is building an edge server platform. Instead of looking at how to install many common applications on a server, QNAP has an app store. Whether one wants a directory server, collaboration server, web server, Plex server, or another feature, this is built-in.

QNAP TVS H1288X Motherboard Side 1
QNAP TVS H1288X Motherboard Side 1

The reason one buys a TVS-h1288X is not that it is impossible to build and maintain one’s own NAS and server. The reason one buys the unit is that it makes the process easy. Going beyond buying one for a small business whether that is an office or a home office, the ability for businesses with multiple small locations to simply order a unit and have it shipped and quickly set up to a location is a very valuable benefit as well. QNAP’s model is effectively that a business can buy this box, and run what they need on it. For the SMB sector, a business that can build on QNAP virtualization and containers instead of VMware and big server vendor solutions can mean huge cost savings.

Final Words

Overall, there is a lot to like in this system. Perhaps the one item that was a bit disappointing is that it feels like this should have been a 32GB unit at this price point. One can upgrade, but it simply feels like given some competition and the price level, that 32GB would have been a great fit. For many of STH’s readers, they may look at this unit and see the virtualization/ container features and know of ZFS’s need for memory, and immediately want to run more on this system. An upgrade to 32GB or 64GB makes a lot of sense.

QNAP TVS H1288X M.2 Memory
QNAP TVS H1288X M.2 Memory

Years ago, pre-cloud, there was a more vibrant scene for servers in small businesses and at home. Now, with the focus pushing back to the edge, we are seeing a renewed interest in this class of machines. What is interesting is that the functionality of these types of devices has increased severalfold over the years as processors and networking technology have gotten better. While QNAP primarily markets this as a NAS, perhaps the best way to look at it is as an edge server that also has storage features.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.0
Performance
9.2
Feature Set
9.6
Value
9.0
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I have the 9 bay TS-h973AX AMD Ryzen NAS, running QuTS Hero. My first QNAP NAS after a couple of Synology. I specifically bought it for the mix of ZFS NAS dedup and compression with the nice addition of the app ecosystem. Mine stores multiple, very similar linux VDI VMs on an iSCSI connected datastore and is achieving impressive data storage reductions, and I am really happy with the storage performance across the inbuilt 10 and 2.5GBe network ports. I am using 5 Ironwolf HDDs and 2 intel enterprise NVME drive for caching and ZIL log.

    I used to work in the enterprise server/storage areas, and this really seems to perform as well as some of the old HP/EMC storage systems I worked with. As well as being my PLEX media server…

    I really think this is a significant step-change for SMB/homelab setups, after a good few years of ‘meh’ NAS device updates. I had my last Synology for 5 years, never saw a reason to update it until I saw the QNAP/ZFS solution…

  2. Not so much about this product but the state of the market:

    * While I’m glad to see 2.5 Gbps appearing, NBase-T would be preferable. Do you know why it’s shipping on so few products, I assume cost?

    * Is there any indication of a next-rev Xeon-D?

  3. 100W “Idle” seems a bit excessive, does this have a BMC? Is it possible to simply install Linux on it since it’s all standard components?

  4. Great review, but it lacks recent news regarding Qnap devices around the world facing ransomeware:

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/massive-qlocker-ransomware-attack-uses-7zip-to-encrypt-qnap-devices/

    Appears to be a pattern of failed security, including hard-coded passwords in backdoors:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/qnap/comments/mwo72h/with_all_the_ransomware_attacks_i_highly/

    I was close to buying this new unit with 16-drives. Perhaps after some significant improvement!

  5. Thanks for the great Large QNAP NAS review. STH is comprehensive and just plain forthright and honest every time.
    For my SOHO my 1st NAS I is a Synology DS-218+. A little great 2-bay. I upgraded May 2020 to a QNAP TS-253D (another 2 bay). That little TS-X53D family NAS has a few pre-view features its much large big brother. It has multiple 2.5GB ports (easy to port aggregate), many USB ports (compatible with all of the 2.5 & 5Gb Adapters reviewed by STH), and a full PCIe slot (to use any of the many QNAP PCIe 10Gb NIC & NIC/Memory cards).
    The QNAP QTS OS does take a long while to boot and shutdown. To me along with the size of the hard drives the up & down times also appears to be related to the number of Apps installed, Snapshots & Virtual machines configured, etc. The variable speed fan is pretty quiet but the constant HD noise along with the Synology NAS HD’s clearly is annoying in a quiet office space.
    Synology & QNAP have regular OS software updates and frequent App updates.

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