QNAP TS-320 NAS review

Due to the end of support for Flash starting from 31.12.2020, I found myself having to replace my NAS with RAID 1 (mirror) as it has the interface in Flash, and being the old product and no longer supported, I had no hope of receiving an update to replace the Flash UI.

So I did a bit of research – which is the usual couple of hours of reading all the reviews and comments – to find my next NAS for two 2.5″ SSD 1Tb drives. My needs are minimal: I’m only interested in having public folders in RAID 1, with my important stuff.

I was oriented towards the cheapest models on the market, but then I thought that if one day I lose all my data, I would regret those 100 euros saved, so I decided to buy the QNAP TS-230, a name that is a guarantee.

My choice was given by:

  • the internal file system is EXT4, so in theory in case of failure I should be able to connect the disk via usb to my pc, and access the content
  • supports 2.5 “drives, which I have noticed other models (I don’t know why) don’t. That is, 2.5” is not listed in the specs.
  • QNAP is a guarantee, I installed them a few years ago (in Italy) and they were really nice machines, reliable, flexible and never a problem.
  • the price was not too high compared to the cheapest of other brands, however this is the cheapest of the QNAPs.

The box is very well made, and contains everything you need. It would seem that the installation of the 2.5 “disks can already be done with the media provided by them, but I used some adapters I already had. In the manual – not present in the box but to be downloaded from their website – explains how to do it: fix the discs with 3 screws in the right points of their support.

Don’t be fooled by the image! The warranty is the standard one, if you want to have the extension to 5 years you have to pay only (ironically) 99 $!

My SSD drives are 1 TB Samsung EVO series, which I recommend, no problem so far, and the NAS is really quiet in this configuration!

Once the NAS is started we have to find it on the network, so I downloaded their special “Qfinder Pro” sw that … can’t find it! Fantastic! How to know the ip to try to connect from the browser to the administration interface? Luckily I’m a technician, so using the “network scanner” software, I scanned the network and found the device, also helped by the MAC indicated on the back / bottom of the QNAP.

At this point I had access to the administration UI and – after installing the new firmware – I noticed that it is not a simple NAS, but it can replace a professional server, as many functions and possibilities are possible.

For example, I spent a couple of hours figuring out how to do something very simple: take my two disks and make them a shared disk on the network, with folders (backed up) that were accessible from my Windows 7 laptop. I gave up having access to folders without entering user / password, it seems not possible (the usual useless enterprise security for home).

If you are not a technician or a person who likes to “tweak” this is NOT the product for you, instead go for something cheaper and simpler, as the UI is really (and unnecessarily) complicated and the possible options there are many, not / badly explained and not at all intuitive. Among other things, the SSD overprovisioning, which would have made me lose 10% of disk space (let’s understand: 90 GB!) Which after many searches I realized was useless for me, was enabled by default!

Creating a simple RAID 1 with two disks was an adventure, but if my scope was professional, it would have been useful to have all the options. Maybe they could have created a wizard or a button to do a basic setup, it would have been a much better UX (User eXperience).

The administration pages are also quite chaotic, with redundant information everywhere, with lots of popups opening, and unclear. Perhaps the advanced user may find them useful, but they are really confusing.

Still a great car! I appreciated it was possible to change the brightness level of the front status LEDs, useful if the NAS is exposed in the office or at home.

After setup was complete I was able to find the NAS with Qfinder, and it asked me to set up a smtp for sending notifications, nice. Too bad that in a short time I had to re-configure it in other 3 different places from the UI, to enable the sending of notifications in case of warnings/errors, but why? Shouldn’t it be enough just once? My impression is that the system is made up of a collage of different systems, but the integration between them is very poor.

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