Review: QNAP TS-677-1600-8G NAS

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Review: QNAP TS-677-1600-8G NAS

Looks like an ordinary NAS at first glance, but this one packs a 6-core, 12-thread AMD Ryzen CPU.

The QNAP TS-677 is so much more than a mundane NAS to store files on. It’s an extremely capable server thanks to its full-blown AMD Ryzen CPU and PCIe ports. The best way to think about the TS-677 is that it’s a desktop computer, squished into a little cube, that only runs QNAP’s QTS operating system so there’s minimal configuration required.

If you’ve ever used a QNAP NAS, the TS-677 works pretty much the same way as they all do with QTS installed, but this one has an incredibly powerful CPU to handle the most demanding tasks. The TS-677 comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU that has 6-cores and 12-threads, running at 3.2GHz and can boost to 3.6GHz. By default, the TS-677 comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM (2x 4GB sticks), but can support a total of 64GB thanks to the four slots. 

The primary use case for all that power is business users taking advantage of QNAP’s Virtualisation Station. The Ryzen CPU’s 12 threads make it ideal for virtual machines. Common use cases include running Windows Active Directory or intranets running on platforms like Drupal or Wordpress.

Demanding home would enjoy all that power for running Plex Media Server. The 12 threaded CPU makes light work of transcoding video in real-time. If you’ve got a dozen family members enjoying your Plex library simultaneously, the TS-677 will keep up with them.

There’s four 3.5in drive bays at the front of the TS-677, that’ll support virtually any SATA HDD you can chuck inside it. There’s also two 2.5in bays and two M.2 SATA slots inside the case that require a bit of fiddling around to get to. These additional bays and slots are useful for installing SSDs that you might use as hot storage for accessing large sets of small files that usually perform poorly on spinning disk drives.

Disk performance wise, the TS-677 has absolutely no issues saturating a gigabit link copying files to and from a Windows PC, but then again, even the most entry level NAS units in 2018 can do this. Link aggregating the four Gigabit Ethernet ports works fine, but there’s no 10 Gigabit Ethernet port by default on the TS-677, which is surprising on such an expensive NAS. 

That said, you can use the two PCIe slots to install additional gear such as a Wi-Fi card, external SAS card (to add even more drives via an external drive enclosure), extra USB 3.1 ports and all manner of network interfaces, including fibre optic connections or copper 10 Gigabit. If money is no object and performance is paramount, you can even install an Intel Optane 900P into one of the PCIe slots and use it as a wicked fast storage device.

An interesting feature in QTS is using a modern PCIe graphics card to boost performance when transcoding video for playback on mobile devices or streaming video to 4G devices outside your home network. The AMD Ryzen CPU installed is powerful enough to handle that already, but if you’ve got more users transcoding video than the Ryzen CPU can handle, installing a compatible GPU is an easy to way to support even more simultaneous transcodes.

QNAP’s QTS software is a pleasure to use and packed full of features. The latest version, 4.3.4, includes IFTTT support for easy communication with smart devices and internet services, the ability to stream directly to VLC on any platform, support for full text-search of documents (including text in images), secure drive erasing, SSD caching and advanced files snapshot services that include local and remote creation and restoration.

The QNAP TS-677 is a great NAS, but extremely expensive, with a street price of around $2400. It’s clearly designed for anyone with high end performance needs, even enthusiast home users simply don’t require that level of performance considering the price. But if you do need all that CPU and RAM performance, the TS-677 will certainly not hold you back, with loads of grunt and expandability.

QNAP TS-677-1600-8G NAS
4 5
Verdict
"... clearly designed for anyone with high-end performance needs, even enthusiast home users simply don’t require that level of performance..."
Overall
Specs
$558 AUD
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 6-core/12-thread 3.2 GHz/3.6GHz processor • 8GB DDR4 RAM • 4x 3.5in/2x 2.5in/2x M.2 SATA bays • 4x Gigabit Ethernet • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x8 • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 • 2x USB 3.1 10 Gbps • 6x USB 3.0
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