QNAP TBS-h574TX NASBook – The Best Thunderbolt NAS Yet?
QNAP has quite an enviable stronghold on the entire Thunderbolt NAS market, and although a few brands have attempted to challenge their dominance in this area over the years, ever since QNAP first revealed their first Thunderbolt device back in 2017, they have gone from strength to strength and innovated wildly in this area with each iteration. The latest entry into this, the SSD-focused TBS-h574TX NAS system, is potentially the fastest and most powerful entry yet, focusing on the use of E1.S hot-swappable M.2 SSD storage and built using an Intel 13th generation core architecture. Is this TB4 and 10GbE equipped NAS the potential to wipe everyone else off the board? A massive full-length review is still in progress over at NASCompares, covering the hardware, the software, and the performance of this device. However, in the meantime, there are a lot of users still unsure whether this $2,000 NAS justifies its investment. So, until the full review is available, please enjoy this shorter-form review focusing on just the highlights (and the lowlights) of the QNAP TBS-h574TX NAS.
QNAP TBS-h574TX System Specifications:
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-1340PE 12C(4P+8E)/16T, up to 4.50GHz
- CPU Architecture: 64-bit x86
- Graphic Processors: Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics eligible
- System Memory: 16 GB on board (non-expandable)
- Drive Bay: 5 x E1.S up to 15mm (5x PCIe Gen3 x2), Pre-install adapter to support M.2 2280 for each slot
- 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet Port: 1 (2.5G/1G/100M)
- 10 Gigabit Ethernet Port: 1 x 10GBASE-T (10G/5G/2.5G/1G/100M)
- Thunderbolt Port: 2 (Thunderbolt™ 4)
- USB 2.0 port: 1
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Port: 2
- HDMI™ Output: 1, HDMI™ 1.4b
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 60 × 215 × 199 mm (Dimensions do not include foot pad; foot pad may be up to 30mm/1.18 inches high depending on model)
- Weight (Net): 2.24 kg
- Power Supply Unit: 120W Adapter (19VDC output, 100-240VAC input)
- Power Consumption: Operating Mode, Typical 46 W
- Fans: System fan: 2 x 40mm, CPU fan: 1 x 75mm
QNAP TBS-h574TX NAS Review Quick Conclusion
The QNAP TBS-h574TX NAS emerges as an exceptional and uniquely compact yet robustly powerful system, offering outstanding performance and bandwidth capabilities. Its sleek and innovative design sets a new standard in the NAS market, particularly notable for its integration of advanced features like Thunderbolt 4 and a high-capacity 10G connection. These features are further enhanced by the utilization of cutting-edge E1.S/NVMe SSD storage, all seamlessly managed by a highly capable CPU architecture. This makes the TBS-h574TX not just a NAS, but a powerhouse of data management and connectivity. Especially appealing to photo and video editors, the NAS excels in aesthetics, portability, and functionality, making it a viable alternative to traditional portable direct-attached storage systems like LaCie or G-Tech. Its ability to support multi-user access and provide immediate local network connectivity straight out of the box adds to its versatility. Additionally, the system boasts a modest power supply and impressively efficient power consumption relative to the bandwidth it offers, highlighting QNAP’s commitment to balancing performance with energy efficiency.
However, users must note some trade-offs, such as the limitation in PCIe bandwidth for each of the SSD bays, and the fixed memory capacity. While these are necessary adjustments for its compact form, they are points for consideration. Despite these minor limitations, the 13th Gen Intel Core processor used in its configurations demonstrates QNAP’s dedication to incorporating top-tier technology, although there are more advanced CPUs in other models. This system is a testament to QNAP’s ability to innovate, offering a package that promises the high performance of larger NAS units but in a remarkably portable format. It raises the question: Is this the ideal NAS for everyone? Perhaps not. But for those seeking a high-performance, Thunderbolt-enabled NAS that combines portability with powerful capabilities, the QNAP TBS-h574TX is a formidable choice.
DEAL WATCH – Is It On Offer Right Now?
QNAP TBS-h574TX-i3-12G Thunderbolt Compact All-Flash | 5 x E1.S or M.2 SSD's, In Amazon UK 4.19 OFF (WAS 1837) [LINK]
These Offers are Checked Daily
Reasons You SHOULD Choose the QNAP TBS-h574TX NASBook
If you are looking for a super-fast NAS, built on a powerful architecture, that’s supremely portable and supports the latest ports and connectivity, the TBS-h574TX NAS will likely serve you very well. But why specifically should you choose the TBS-h574TX NAS instead of many other devices on the market right now?
E1.S and NVMe Drive Support
The TBS-h574TX is one of the very first desktop NAS devices to feature E1.S media bays. In the last few years, we have seen a growing trend towards the use of SSDs as the primary storage media for private servers and NAS devices, with some particular standout examples from both QNAP and Asustor focusing on M.2 NVMe SSDs. However, one major downside of M.2 NVMe use is that they do not support hot swapping. This means that in the event of a drive failure leading to a degraded RAID state or the need to introduce a newer and larger capacity drive to an existing storage pool, you are required to power down the system completely. Removing an M.2 NVMe from a system that is powered on will lead it to crash and can be detrimental to the health of both the system and the storage drive. E1.S SSD bays, however, fully support hot swapping in an identical fashion to that of traditional SATA storage drives.
Additionally, the QNAP TBS-h574TX arrives with E1.S storage bays, as well as NVMe adapters that allow you to use regular off-the-shelf M.2 NVMe in these storage spaces and still have access to hot swapping. E1.S drives allow for additional storage space and taller PCB SSD space to be afforded to the storage drives, and although the gains are generally only minimal in traditional 2280 length SSDs, overall the fact that this flash NAS system supports these more flexible SSD options is always going to be desirable.
Thunderbolt 4, 10GbE, and an Intel 13th Gen CPU – YES PLEASE!
I cannot stress enough how good the connectivity is on the TBS-h574TX. Although it is not the first QNAP NAS to arrive with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, it is definitely one of the smallest devices on the market to feature it. The TBS-h574TX features one Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port on the front for convenience, and an additional port on the rear. Not only can these be used to connect Thunderbolt storage to your NAS system, but more importantly, they allow a user to connect directly, point to point, from a Mac or Windows computer to the QNAP TBS-h574TX system. This opens the door to tremendous performance and, once you factor in the use of M.2 NVMe SSD storage, you are looking at some serious performance. QNAP reports the performance utilizing 5 Samsung 980 Pro SSDs in a RAID environment to hit 1700 megabytes per second for one connected device over Thunderbolt, and in excess of 3,000 megabytes per second for two connected Thunderbolt devices. That’s right, the support of Thunderbolt also allows multiple users to connect to the same storage space simultaneously, as well as the system supporting cross-platform file sharing, which allows the same storage area to be used simultaneously by both Mac and Windows users, regardless of the different operating systems in play.
Then, there is the inclusion of a 10GbE network port. This means that you can attach a third connected high-speed user over either a 10GbE network connection, or utilizing a Thunderbolt to 10G adapter available for around $150 to $200. Of course, you could use this port to connect the TBS-h574TX to a larger 10G equipped network and allow multiple users to enjoy full gigabit network saturation each, but I think a lot of portable users are going to enjoy the fact that a single area of high-speed intelligent storage can be connected to via three high-speed connections, all of which can edit on the fly. There is even an additional 2.5GbE port to connect the device to an existing network while all of this is going on, promoting network and internet shares.
All of this is made possible thanks to a very powerful Intel 13th Gen i5 or i3 CPU option, which is both highly efficient and powerful, thanks to its shrunk-down SOC mobile architecture. All of this adds up to an incredibly powerful system that is ready to reinvent the workflow of small to medium video editing workflows!
Very Compact and Portable
If you are looking for a storage device that needs to be portable, the TBS-h574TX is one of the best examples out there by this brand. Picture the scene: you and a small team of video or photo content creators are on the move, and after a long day of capturing content, you need to back up, edit, and/or distribute what you have created. Thanks to the small-scale stature of the QNAP TBS-h574TX, and its modest and small-scale 120-watt PSU, this system can be carried around very conveniently in a laptop bag and can be set up in minutes to allow multiple users to connect to either edit on the fly or back up from numerous different connected USB and Thunderbolt devices simultaneously.
That isn’t to say you can’t do that with most other NAS systems, but most other NAS systems arrive with clunky and fragile hard drives, have much larger power consumption requirements, or, more importantly, are considerably heavier. This system combats all three of these factors by being light, small, and exceedingly fast.
1TB of Free Cloud Space Included
This is something that I really wish QNAP would do with a lot more of their releases. QNAP has offered for the last year or so access to their own cloud service that allows you to back up the data on your NAS to their first-party encrypted cloud and makes remote access a great deal more convenient to back up data, as well as providing a first-party secondary backup option. Any user can gain access to 16GB of free space, but after that, you have to pay subscription costs in order to gain more cloud storage space on the MyQ9 cloud service. However, the QNAP TBS-h574TX, almost certainly because of its larger focus on video/photo editors, arrives with one terabyte of cloud storage space available on a 12-month license.
This is going to be hugely appealing to those that not only want to access, edit, and back up their data as quickly as possible, but also want a streamlined second-level backup to be integrated into their system, and one terabyte is a hugely generous sum of storage to be offered with this device. Of course, after the one-year license has concluded, you will need to either remove your data from the cloud or pay a subscription fee to maintain it there, but nevertheless, it is great that they have offered this alongside the device, and I really wish they did this more with some of their production-ready systems.
Includes QNAP QuTS ZFS / QTS EXT4 NAS Software, Services and Tools (A Whole Operating System)
The QNAP TVS-h874 NAS comes with a comprehensive software and services package, offering either QNAP QTS or QuTS (version 5.0.1) at initialization. This operating system, resembling Windows 11 and Android OS in design, supports hundreds of applications, services, and functions. It includes numerous mobile and desktop client applications for tailored data interaction. The software also features SSD-specific tools like anti-wearing for SSDs, better ZFS-HDD/SSD profiling, and options for storage, caching, or tiered storage. While QTS/QuTS is highly customizable, offering flexibility and user-friendliness, it does have a learning curve that may challenge novice users. Despite past security concerns, including ransomware attacks due to vulnerabilities in Linux and QNAP’s applications, improvements have been made in QTS/QuTS 5, making the system more secure and user-friendly.
QNAP’s TVS-h874 NAS excels in file management, security, storage management, multimedia handling, business tools, and surveillance. It offers sophisticated file management tools, improved security features with multi-layered protection, and diverse storage, backup, and synchronization options. The NAS supports a wide range of multimedia applications, including AI photo recognition and popular media servers like Plex. For business needs, it provides virtual machines, containers, and surveillance solutions like QVR Pro with extensive camera support. The TVS-h874’s software diversity, despite previous security issues, showcases a rich array of hardware configurations, services, and tools, solidifying its place as a versatile NAS solution. Further testing of its performance, particularly as a Plex Media Server and VM host, is upcoming on the NASCompares YouTube channel.
Reasons You SHOULD NOT Choose the QNAP TBS-h574TX NASBook
As good as all of the advantages mentioned above sound, realistically, the QNAP TBS-h574TX is a rather specialized piece of equipment, and it’s fair to say that not everyone is going to see all of its hardware and architecture as positives. So let’s go through five reasons why you might want to give the QNAP TBS-h574TX a miss and look elsewhere.
Gen 3×2 M.2 Bandwidth is Disappointing
Despite the remarkably future-proof Intel 13th generation i3 and i5 processor featured inside the TBS-h574TX, the scaling down of this processor by Intel into a mobile processor form, and the requirements by QNAP to keep this system miniature yet still facilitate high bandwidth external connections, have all resulted in particular bottlenecks and compromises being made. Probably one of the most prominent compromises is in the bandwidth afforded to each of the individual E1.S NVMe media bays. Although this processor supports both PCIe Gen 4 and PCIe Gen 3, in order to get the lanes divided neatly across the system, each drive slot is limited to PCIe Gen 3 x2.
Utilizing SSD drives that make bold promises in excess of 3,000 megabytes per second, realistically each of these bays will not really be able to exceed 1500 or 1800 MB per second. In the correct RAID configuration, this should not prove to be much of a problem as you are still going to enjoy the multiplication factor of combining multiple read and write actions across each of the disks in the single RAID storage pool. Nevertheless, there are going to be users who would have hoped to see this system enjoy the PCIe Gen 4 architecture of bigger Thunderbolt devices like the H874T released in late 2023, which features a far more aggressive processor and a larger range of bays in its larger design.
16GB Max Memory (and only 12GB on the i3 Version)
I found it really peculiar that this system rolls out the gate with either 12 gigabytes or 16 gigabytes of fixed memory. The QNAP TBS-h574TX is not the first system to come out with prefixed soldered memory modules internally, and it won’t be the last! There are benefits to having memory fixed in this fashion, such as power efficiency, cost efficiency, and allowing the architecture of the processor and the number of channels it can handle to be better utilized. Nevertheless, this system is running a processor that can handle up to 64 gigabytes of memory, and because of the lack of an upgradable DIMM or SODIMM slot, you are limited to this base level amount throughout the system’s lifespan. 16 gigabytes is still a pretty reasonable amount of memory and more than enough to handle the majority of system processes, but the 12 GB of fixed memory on the i3 version just feels a bit weird and is an unusual memory quantity that feels like it was applied by design and not necessity.
$1800-2000+ Price Tag, is the QNAP TVS-h674T a Better Choice?
The price tag of the QNAP TBS-h574TX is certainly going to put some users off. Arriving at around $1800-$2000, although in the realm of Thunderbolt NAS, this is a reasonable figure, outside of that, and for a 5x10G NAS, it does seem rather high. You do need to factor in that we are talking about a specialized flash system with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and one of the most modern NAS processors in the market, but that price is certainly going to be tough for some. However, what is probably a little bit more interesting about this price point is what else you can get for this money from QNAP themselves if you look a little broader across their range of solutions. For example, for around $100 more you can pick up the QNAP TVS-h674T – This is the six hard drive and two Gen 4 NVMe tower system.
It arrives with a very similar processor, memory that can be expanded up to 64GB if needed, the SSD slots are Gen 4 x4, it has two Gen 4 PCIe upgrade slots with one of them at x16 speed, and the system even still arrives with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. You would lose out on the more compact nature of the TBS-h574TX system, have to spend a little more to get a 10GbE connection, and only have two SSD slots instead of five, but overall the 674T system is a better-tiered system for many and might serve as a better choice overall for some users.
Not a Silent NASBook (Unlike the TBS-464 or HS-464)
This is a very minor point, but it has to be said – The QNAP TBS-h574TX is not a silent NAS system. QNAP has rolled out several silent or near-silent systems in the last few years, some of which carried the NASBook branding as seen here on the TBS-h574TX system, unfortunately, because of the largely metal construction of the TBS-h574TX and the fact that it features two rear cooling fans and a small internal CPU fan, the system does make noise when in operation. I should stress, this is still much, much quieter than the average system but there are still going to be users that are going to look at this system and hope that it is silent when in operation. Systems such as the HS-264 and TBS-464 are both genuinely silent or as near silent as possible systems from this brand, although it’s worth remembering that these are significantly less powerful and bandwidth-rich. Ultimately, QNAP has done a great job here balancing power, scale, and portability to fit all of this into such a small single casing. Just don’t be under the illusion that they managed to make the thing completely inaudible!
Deadbolt! We Need to Talk
In 2021/2022, QNAP was one of several brands that were successfully targeted by the ransomware group Deadbolt. This resulted in thousands of systems from QNAP, Asustor, and TerraMaster being remotely encrypted, requiring payment of a ransom fee, costly data recovery services, or free but highly time-consuming data retrieval methods. You can read/watch more about it in the article HERE, but after this event, there was no avoiding that several brands were slightly tarnished with a reputation for being insecure remotely. The affected brands have all implemented numerous changes to their update and security protocols. Although the inherent vulnerabilities have never been truly identified for each individual brand, most believe it was a Linux-based vulnerability that remained unpatched, or at least a vulnerability that, if users did not update their system regularly, had been left open for exploitation. It still required a very specific range of circumstances for this exploit to be utilized by hackers, ranging from leaving network ports and router configurations open unsafely, to leaving certain SSH and administrative protocols enabled by default.
Nevertheless, after this event, QNAP, along with the other affected brands, updated how updates are delivered to the system, tightened default settings, and security protocols to ensure users would need to work harder to put their systems in unsafe states, ultimately resulting in a wake-up call for the NAS industry. This was several years ago, and although the QNAP NAS brand has improved considerably since then, it is still worth pointing out that they were impacted by this. I believe there is an important lesson to be learned here, and until at least 5 years have passed, I will mention this in every QNAP NAS review I do (as well as every Asustor and TerraMaster review too). Once again, you would need to manually place your system into a particularly unsafe state for any vulnerability to be exploited in this fashion. Additionally, a look at any of the security advisories from internet or network-connected platforms (Synology, Microsoft, Google, Apple, literally anyone!) shows that vulnerabilities on these platforms are regularly found by brands and white-hat hackers. The bottom line is, it’s important that buyers know about Deadbolt, but also keep in mind that in most instances, you would need to manually put your system into an unsafe state for particularly virulent ransomware and malware attacks to be effective.
Conclusion – Should You Buy the QNAP TBS-h574TX NASBook?
The QNAP TBS-h574TX is a genuinely unique and impressive piece of equipment, potentially one of the best NAS systems I have ever seen! For such a compact and portable system, it manages to include a phenomenal amount of both internal and external performance and bandwidth – something that the majority of systems at this price point generally need to compromise on one aspect or the other. Additionally, QNAP continues to dominate the market of Thunderbolt NAS storage, and you can clearly see their innovation and improvement with each iteration of this technology – with the TBS-h574TX being one of the sleekest and most impressive entries into this product family. The Thunderbolt 4 on this system does exactly what QNAP says it will, providing huge performance numbers to connected users via this protocol, as well as an additional thousand megabytes per second through the 10G connection. Thanks to the utilization of E1.S/NVMe SSD storage, fully saturating all these connections simultaneously is indeed possible, all enabled by an incredibly impressive choice of CPU architecture that has the muscle to keep things moving in the backend.
Equally, as this system is largely focused on photo and video editors, it is beautifully presented and highly portable. It could easily replace portable LaCie or G-Tech direct-attached storage systems used by many on-site content creators, thanks to its support of multi-user access and local network connectivity right out of the box. Add to that a modest power supply and impressively low power consumption for the bandwidth offered, and this is one of the most beautifully put-together systems by this brand. Of course, when you start miniaturizing and reducing scale, compromises inevitably need to be made for reasons of power efficiency, temperature, and space. The downgrading of the PCIe bandwidth on each of the SSD bays is a necessary but still regrettable inevitability. Likewise, although I’m impressed by the 13th Gen Intel Core processor featured in both configurations available, there are better Intel CPUs already used in other QNAP Thunderbolt systems, and whether this was the reason or logic behind the fixed 12/16 GB memory still remains to be seen. There are definitely video editors who will be completely in love with this system, and you can see why: it promises everything that the larger boxes from QNAP have been offering for years, but in a scale that you can pop in your laptop bag on the go. Is this the perfect NAS? No. Is it the Perfect Thunderbolt NAS? Maybe!
|PROs of the QNAP TBS-h574TX NAS
|CONs of the QNAP TBS-h574TX NAS
|Exceptionally future-proof 13th Gen i3/i5 Processor (Mid-2023 series) with high end Int.Gfx
2x Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, one is front mounted for convenience
Also features a 10GbE and 2.5GbE Connection for direct editing and/or high-speed local networking
High internal and external performance and bandwidth for such a compact system
Compact and portable, ideal for on-site creators to share and collaborate on-the-fly
Enhanced security protocols post-Deadbolt ransomware attack.
Wide range of multimedia and business tools.
Equipped with QVR Pro for extensive surveillance and numerous Backup/Sync tools as standard.
QuTS Has numerous ZFS based advantages + QSAL Antiwear leveling
Supports AI photo recognition, AI Surveillance Tools, 4K/8K Plex Support and VM Tools.
Arrives with 1TB of Cloud Space with MyQNAPCloudOne for 12 months.
|High price range of $1800-$2000. Check out the TVS-h674T for similar pricing and alternative Tiering/Bandwidth allocation
Limited PCIe bandwidth on SSD bays.
Not a silent operation due to cooling fans.
Need More Help Choosing the right NAS?
Choosing the right data storage solution for your needs can be very intimidating and it’s never too late to ask for help. With options ranging from NAS to DAS, Thunderbolt to SAS and connecting everything up so you can access all your lovely data at the touch of a button can be a lot simpler than you think. If you want some tips, guidance or help with everything from compatibility to suitability of a solution for you, why not drop me a message below and I will get back to you as soon as possible with what you should go for, its suitability and the best place to get it. This service is designed without profit in mind and in order to help you with your data storage needs, so I will try to answer your questions as soon as possible.
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