The QNAP NAS Comparison of Power vs Ability
Hardly a race of the tortoise against the hare, these two NAS servers released by QNAP NAS in the closing stages of 2015 both make their target audience abundantly clear. Though both in a similar price bracket and with barely £30 pounds between them, it can become remarkably confusing which of these two top notch QNAP Network Attached Storage 2 Bays is suitable for your task. Even a careful look at the specs of both units leads to even more confusing problems.. where one unit makes an apparent leap in speed and power, the other suddenly shows it can match it using less resources. With both units being so similar on paper, many are asking over and over again “Which of these QNAP NAS units is for me?”
Getting down to the NAS marks that matter
Never fear, I have spent some time with both these unit, worked out their strengths (and indeed their weaknesses) to figure out which one is right for you and which is the best NAS for the job. Of course you could watch my video below and have the answer in less time than it takes to finish your coffee – however many of you like me are fans of having it all laid out for you to see and therefore you can see all the details below and maybe even disagree with my findings. If you do, why not tell me below in the comments.
What is the same on both QNAP NAS devices
Before I get down to which of these units is better at what task, I think it is important to know the things that BOTH of these QNAP NAS devices can do. So, whether you decide upon the QNAP TS-253A-4G NAS or the QNAP TS-251+-2G, you will definitely be able to:
- Host a Virtualisation Platform – setup and run multiple VMs, supporting multiple Operating systems and enhanced by the Docker app, Container Station
- Create a standalone PC with the additional of a keyboard, mouse and monitor
- Both units arrive with a remote to maximize the media uses of that HDMI port
- Serve as a cross platform service – bridging connections and transfers of files between Mac and Windows systems over the network
- Heavily support RTRR and comprehensive snapshot technology meaning you will have an equal amount of backup options whichever you go for. As well as migration, connection and interaction with existing cloud services like dropbox, Google Drive ElephantDrive
- Create a comprehensive Surveillance solutions, supporting multiple IP cameras and even arriving with some licences included
- Access exactly the same NAS OS that is updated regularly and has a huge app store to really customise your setup to make it your own
The Weigh in – Those Vital Statistics
|£256 without VAT||£223 without VAT – £33 difference|
|2 Bay – Can be expanded upto 7 or 10 Drives with the UX-500P and UX-800P||2 Bay – Can be expanded upto 7 or 10 Drives with the UX-500P and UX-800P|
|CPU – Intel Celeron N3150 64-bit Quad Core 1.6 burst to 2.08 GHz||Intel Celeron 2.0GHz Quad Core (up to 2.42GHz) ( 64bit x86)|
Dual OS support. Aside from the benfits of the QNAP NAS OS with is remarkably straight forward and intuitive to anyone familiar with Windows or android (and for mac users of course, but they tend to find Synology units more ‘their thing’), you can also install a second MAIN operating system in the form of Ubuntu – accessible via the second HDMI port with the addition of a keyboard and mouse (or even over the network in a browser window). You can use it as you would any Ubuntu machine and I myself have run tests with Libre office applications, chrome and briefly running some MAME emulation.
+ Featuring advanced 8th-generation Intel® HD Graphics GPU, the TS-253A supports 4K (H.264) hardware decoding and delivers superior real-time AND offline 4K (H.264) and 1080p video transcoding
Better NAS chip and is one of the best NAS CPU’s out there for those looking for a Plex Media Server.
Higher frequency so able to process higher results in typical NAS requirements.
Increased Frequency can result in increased power consumption in 24/7 NAS enviornemnts.
|AES-NI encryption – faster and more efficient Data Encryption that AES||AES 256-bit Encryption|
|4GB DDR 3 RAM – Can be upgraded to 8GB||2GB DDR 3– Can be Upgraded to 8GB|
|4x USB 3.0
1 touch Backup
The 2 HDMI – use two monitors in either a “mirrored” or “extended” desktop configuration. As well as Dual HDMI outputs giving you the ability to Switch between HD Station and Ubuntu desktop
Also the additional Audio Ports, aside from the Karaoke Support, are actually quite serviceable but for those looking to maximize their home media setup with the HDMI ports will definitely make the most of those!
|2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1 Touch Backup (FRONT)
HDMI give you the ability to access your NAS via a HD Monitor or TV and access everything from your media via the player, PLex or Kodi through to a web browser, Youtube and a stand alone PC setup with a Keyboard and Mouse.
|2 Year Warranty||2 Year Warranty|
|4K & HD Transcoding||HD Transcoding|
HDD standby: 8.38W
Mainly Because of that CPU being of a lower frequency
HDD standby: 10.56W
Increased Power Consumption leads due to that higher frequency NAS CPU
|Read and Write – RAID 0, 2 LAN, 2X Seagate 1TB
Read – 224MB/s
Write – 221MB/s
AES-NI hardware encryption engine
224 MB/s Read
218 MB/s Write
|Read and Write – RAID 0, 2 LAN, 2X Seagate 1TB
Read – 223MB/s
Write – 225MB/s
AES hardware encryption engine
205 MB/s Read
178 MB/s Write
|Surveillance (includes 4 licences)
Includes 4 free camera licenses, up to 40 camera channels
|Surveillance (includes 2 licences)
Includes 2 free camera licenses, up to 40 camera channels
Conclusion – Which NAS is the Best NAS?
In conclusion, I’m finding it hard to justify to you why the TS-251+ would make a better purchase. TS-251+ is cheaper but only by around £30. It has a much higher frequency and clock speed CPU but with a noticeable power usage increase and read and write speeds that do not dominate. It is most likely the better choice for a PLEX MEDIA SERVER if you intend to give 4K a miss, but even then you will want to increase the RAM to be safe.
For me the QNAP TS-253A is the better NAS choice (particularly of 2016) because just that extra £30 more, you get:
- Twice the RAM
- Dual OS support
- A better and more efficient Encryption system producing better Read and Write
- Dedicated graphics GPU on-board
- 2 HDMI ports as opposed to 1x
- 4 USB 3.0 ports as opposed to 2x
- Enhanced Audio support
- Lower Power Consumption
- Almost identical Read and Write speeds, as well as improved speeds on Encrypted Transmission
Do you agree? Have you purchased either of these units and beg to differ? Why not let me know in the comments below. Thank for reading.
What do you think of this NAS comparison. Which QNAP NAS do you think you will buy?