QNAP TR and TL Expansion Range Explained

Choosing the Right QNAP NAS Expansion – A Handy Guide

QNAP has been in the business of selling Network Attached Storage Solutions for well over a decade now and has gained a huge following of home and business class hardware end users. NAS drives use a system of storage and redundancy to help keep your data safe and secure, thanks to the always evolving technology behind hard drives, SSDs and RAID systems improving year on year. However, eventually, all users will run out of available space/capacity for their data – it’s just a numbers game of how and when this will happen. Many users will take this opportunity to upgrade their NAS solution to a new server, but many have outgrown their storage space quicker than they thought, do not have the budget/inclination to upgrade completely, or just want a parallel storage expansion to extend their data (and all it’s hot mounted folders etc) onto. For those users, a NAS expansion device is exceptionally appealing and one of the key buying factors for businesses with their eyes on the future, especially rackmount users. QNAP is one of the most well equipped NAS platforms in terms of hardware that there has ever been and this is equally true in their range of expansion devices. Currently, there are around 20+ different NAS Hardware expansion units, ranging from Desktop to Rackmount, from RAID enabled to JBOD and from USB to SAS connections – each with its own Pros and Cons – which can make choosing the right one very confusing. Never fear, today I want to talk about each of the key QNAP NAS expansions and from there you should be able to select the right one for you and your data!

What Kind of QNAP NAS Expansion Enclosures are there?

The range of QNAP expansion chassis can be broken down into 4 sections:

UX-XXXP and TX-XXXP Series = The old QNAP NAS expansion range, JBOD only and connected by either USB 3.0 Type-A (UX) or Thunderbolt 2 (TX).

TL-XXXXC = USB 3.1 Gen 2 Enabled Storage Expansion, delivering connectivity to 8-12 Drives at upto 10Gb/s. However, it is JBOD only and requires the NAS, Windows PC  or Mac System to create a RAID Space on the device or extend an existing RAID onto it

TR-XXX = USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Hardware RAID Enabled Storage Expansion, delivering connectivity to 2-4 Drives at upto 5-10Gb/s. Can be used by a NAS, Windows PC  or Mac System to create a RAID Space on the device or extend an existing RAID onto it. Additionally, there Thunderbolt 3 enabled additions to this range in the form of the QNAP TR-104C, TR-106C and TR-108C2T that also support USB 3.1 Gen 2.

TL-XXXXS = SAS external enabled Expansion Storage, supporting SATA based drives, delivering connectivity to 4-16 Drives at upto 1-6GB/s (yes, Gigabytes, so 1000-6000MB/s). Additionally, each device in this range arrives with a QNAP QXG PCIe Card and cables that can be installed in a NAS, Windows PC  or Mac System system, so both the QNAP Expansion and Host system can communicate as fast as possible. Finally, the highest tier in this range, the TL-R1600S features both a PCIe slot for adding a RAID card, as well as 4 dedicated SSD bays.

So, straight away you should have some idea which of those solutions seems to fit your existing NAS or NAS storage requirements. Let’s dig a little deeper into the 3 most current and popular NAS expansion choices.

QNAP TL-XXXXC USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C high-capacity JBOD (non-RAID) NAS Expansions

The TL-XXXXC JBOD storage enclosure allows you to back up and expand your QNAP NAS and computers (supports Windows and Mac). The TL-XXXXC features eight/twelve 3.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s drive bays with USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C connectivity to provide a fast and smooth expansion solution. The TL-XXXXC provides software-controlled configurations for greater management flexibility. Users can configure RAID and monitor disk health using the QTS / QTS hero Storage & Snapshots Manager on a QNAP NAS, or by using the QNAP JBOD Manager utility on their computer.

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TL-D800C JBOD storage enclosure

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TL-R1200C JBOD storage enclosure

  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connectivity* provides up to 10 Gb/s data transfer speeds. The port can support USB Type-A to Type-C connection or Thunderbolt 3 Type-C connection using different cables.
  • Lockable hard drive trays prevent accidental drive removal.
  • Supports SATA 6Gb/s drives for reliable read/write performance.

The QNAP JBOD Manager is a desktop utility for monitoring the TL-XXXXC on Windows® and Mac® computers. You can quickly obtain and view information about the JBOD status, health, fan rotation speed, and check for firmware version updates. All device events are recorded, and QNAP JBOD Manager will automatically send system alert notifications to your desktop.

Migrating a large number of small files or a single large data file by network environment can be time-consuming and consume significant network bandwidth that causes decreased work efficiency. The TL-XXXXC supports remote file transfer. All you have to do is set up the RAID configuration and store a large number of files. Then you can move the TL-XXXXC to another place and connect it with the computer or NAS to experience the device’s simple plug and play feature and fast data migration.

The TL-XXXXC features high-speed USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connectivity and built-in USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) to provide convenient fast file sharing and intensive data transfer. The TL-XXXXC not only provides you higher file transfer performance than traditional USB interfaces but offers a more cost-effective option than REXP SAS JBOD. You can connect your TL-XXXXC to Windows®, Mac®, and Ubuntu® computers through the USB interface and use built-in utility to manage the RAID configuration.

Function TL-XXXXC-RP QNAP TR-004 UX-500P Other external RAID/ JBOD device
Connection Type USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 By device
Drive bays 18/2 4 5 By device
Supported systems QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS, Linux etc… QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS, Linux etc… QNAP QTS/QTS hero QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS, Linux etc…
Disk health monitoring Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS, Linux) Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS) Supported Not Supported
Hardware RAID protection Not Supported Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS) Not Supported Varies by device
Create Storage Pool Supported
(QNAP QTS)
Supported
(QNAP QTS)
Supported Not Supported
RAID migration, capacity expansion Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, macOS, Linux) Not Supported Supported Varies by device

QNAP TR-XXX 2/4 Bay USB Type-C Direct Attached Storage with Hardware RAID

The TR-XXX USB 3.2 Gen 1 and 2 RAID expansion enclosure allows you to expand the capacity of your QNAP NAS and PC. The TR-XXX can also be utilized as a DAS (Direct-attached Storage) device, allowing you to directly access its content just by connecting it via USB. The TR-XXX features two 3.5-inch SATA drive bays with USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connectivity to bring you a highly-reliable and secure storage capacity expansion solution.

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 & 2 Type-C Port Options available on the range
  • Supports up to two/four SATA drives.
  • Disk mode DIP switch to change from Hardware Control and Software Control configurations for setting RAID group.
  • Lockable hard drive trays to prevent accidental drive removal.
  • Eject button for disconnecting the expansion from a NAS or computer

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TR-002 RAID storage enclosure

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TR-004 RAID storage enclosure

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TR-004U RAID storage enclosure

The TR-XXX supports various RAID configurations. Depending on your requirements, you can switch between hardware- or software-controlled RAID modes. Move the DIP switches to corresponding positions for your ideal RAID mode: Individual, JBOD, RAID 0 or RAID 1. You can also configure the RAID settings from your QNAP NAS, or by using the QNAP External RAID Manager utility on your computer.

Individual Mode – Treats every disk as separate storage space, allowing you to independently access each one.

JBOD Mode – All the disks are recognized as a single drive. This allows maximal storage utilization but provides no data protection.

RAID 0 Mode – Data is split amongst the drives. RAID 0 provides the fastest performance but does not protect data from drive failure.

RAID 1 or RAID 10 Mode – Half of the total storage capacity is used to store data, and the other half keeps a copy of this data. This provides high data protection at the cost of only being able to use half the installed storage space.

RAID 5 Mode – RAID 5 requires at least three drives to use and parity information is distributed among the drives, providing optimized storage capacity and protection against one disk failing.

Software Ctrl Mode – Use this mode to control the RAID configuration from your NAS or computer.

QNAP TL-XXXXS 4/8/12/16 Bay JBOD Storage Expansion including Cables and SAS Card

TL-XXXXS JBOD storage enclosure allows you to back up and expand your QNAP NAS, Windows® and Ubuntu® computers and servers. The TL-XXXXS features four 3.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s drive bays and comes with a QXP PCIe card for connecting the enclosure using a SFF-8088 (or SFF-8644) cable. It provides reliable read/write performance for smooth storage and backup tasks.

  • Lockable hard drive trays prevent accidental drive removal.
  • SFF-8088 (or SFF-8644) connection cable supports four SATA 6Gb/s channels per cable (24Gb/s in total) and provides faster data transfer speeds than eSATA and USB.
  • Easy to use. QNAP NAS and PC can both use utility software to monitor, obtain, and manage JBOD information.

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TL-D400S JBOD storage enclosure

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TL-R400S JBOD storage enclosure

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TL-D800S JBOD storage enclosure

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TL-R1200S JBOD storage enclosure

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TL-D1600S JBOD storage enclosure

Install an exclusive QXP PCIe card onto your QNAP NAS, Windows® or Ubuntu® PC to connect the JBOD enclosure via SFF-8088 (or SFF-8644) cable , for easy and flexible storage expansion

TL-D400S PCIE CARD

TL-D800S CARD

TL-D1600S CARD

The TL SATA JBOD supports multi-lane SATA 6Gb/s transfer, and each SATA lane directly connects to a single SATA drive to help improve performance. With the 1-1 high-speed channel, the TL SATA JBOD delivers excellent transfer performance. You can connect your TL-XXXXS to Windows® and Ubuntu® computers through SFF-8088 (or SFF-8644) high-speed cable and use built-in utility to manage RAID configuration.

The QNAP JBOD Manager is a desktop utility for monitoring the TL-XXXXS on Windows® and Ubuntu® computers. You can quickly obtain the disk statuses, JBOD information and health, view fan rotation speed, and check for firmware version updates. All device events are recorded, and will send desktop notifications when a system alert occurs.

Function QNAP TL-XXXXS QNAP TR-004 UX-500P Other external RAID/ JBOD device
Connection Type SATA USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 By device
Drive bays 4/8/12/16 4 5 By device
Supported systems QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, Linux etc… QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, Linux etc… QNAP QTS/QTS hero QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, Linux etc…
Disk health monitoring Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, inux) Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows) Supported Not Supported
Hardware RAID protection Not Supported Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows) Not Supported Varies by device
Create Storage Pool Supported
(QNAP QTS)
Supported
(QNAP QTS)
Supported Not Supported
RAID migration, capacity expansion Supported (QNAP QTS/QTS hero, Windows, Linux) Not Supported Supported Varies by device

I hope you found this guide helpful and it made the complex range of QNAP NAS Expansions in 2020/2021 alot easier to understand. If you are still lost in what you need, or just want a few pointers on the right solution for your needs, fire me over a message below in my completely free and community supported Free Advice section. It’s just me on there, but I will get around to answering all enquires!

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