QNAP TS-464 NAS review: Make your own private cloud and Plex server

A NAS is usually associated with businesses, but such a system can open up a lot of possibilities to individual users. One of the well-known manufacturers of such devices is QNAP, a Taiwanese company. It has many models suitable for personal use in its portfolio, and one of these is the TS-464.

You can do a lot of things, if you’re an organization, with a NAS, but I’m going to look at this model from an individual user’s perspective. There are, in my opinion, two main uses for a NAS at home: you can create your own, private cloud, or a server for streaming.

I’m an avid user of cloud services. I keep all my important documents and images in Google Drive, where I bought extra storage. By using the cloud I got rid of the fear that my smartphone memory or the SSD on my laptop are not big enough. If my phone fills up with pictures and videos I can delete them in peace, because I know I have them saved, at full quality, in Google Photos.

But there are people who don’t trust cloud providers. I know people who still refuse to back up their phone contacts to Google or Apple servers, even though it would make their lives easier.

At the same time, there are people who may have secret, highly valuable or sensitive data and don’t want a person or algorithm at Google, Microsoft or Dropbox “peeking in”. Big providers are known to have systems that scan content for illegal activity, such as child pornography or drug trafficking.

For those who want a highly private, encrypted cloud, a NAS like the TS-464 is the way to go. In this case you are the only one who can access your data and files.

QNAP TS-464 Overview

This model is aimed at small businesses and individual users. The device includes a quad-core Intel Celeron N5105 processor, proprietary QTS 5 operating system, 4 GB RAM (expandable up to 16 GB, especially by those working with virtual machines), Intel UHD graphics, and 2 M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 3 x1 SSD slots.

The four main storage device slots can accommodate SATA hard drives or 3.5″ or 2.5″ SSDs. In total, those on a budget can install up to 88 TB of storage in this NAS. Western Digital has confirmed that the 22 TB Red Pro is compatible with the QNAP TS-464.

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On the connectivity front we have the ports: 2 x Ethernet (2.5 Gigabit), 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 (one on the front and one on the back), 2 x USB 2.0 and 1 x HDMI 2.0.

System cooling is provided by a 90 mm fan. The NAS includes an IR receiver, but a remote control is not included in the package.

I used a 512GB XPG SX8200 Pro (M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x4) SSD for testing. You may say, “Didn’t you say there were four slots for storage devices?” Yes, but the TS-464 also has two M.2 slots, and the good thing is that these can be used not just as caches, like Synology NASes, but also as storage media.

Inside the QNAP TS-464

Many applications are available

For NAS detection and setup, users need to download the QNAP Qfinder Pro app. If a firmware update is available, it must be done first in order to move forward. After discovering the device, you need to create a QNAP account. From the QTS operating system, which is accessed from the browser, you can install useful apps, manage files available in the cloud and set up the device in detail.

As in Windows, multiple partitions can be created. The operating system is one of the most advanced on the market and offers many customization options. Unfortunately, however, QTS is not as refined as the platform offered by rivals Synology. Icons are large and look pixelated on high-resolution monitors, and fonts don’t seem to have consistency.

For a true cloud, accessible from anywhere, you can download the Qfile mobile app, available for iOS and Android operating systems.

Cloud file synchronisation on Windows, Ubuntu and Mac platforms is possible with the Qsync app. For this to work, the Qsync Central app must be installed on the NAS operating system. This can be found in the App Center section of QTS. After setting up these apps, the NAS will be accessible from the Windows File Manager app.

Also in the App Center users have access to hundreds of other apps compatible with the device, for streaming, working with images or additional security.

Unfortunately, however, Qfile mobile apps are not as easy to use and stable as those offered by the big players in the cloud market, such as Google or Dropbox. You get the job done with them, but sometimes unexpected errors pop up, and the steps you need to take for certain operations aren’t intuitive.

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External USB ports can be used to add external storage devices, including high-speed ones. These can then be managed from QTS.

The QTS operating system is accessed via an internet browser.

For an individual user a NAS can also be used to create their own “Netflix”. If you have hundreds of movies and TV shows, music and audio files on different storage media, as I do, and you want to put them all together, with the ability to stream from wherever you are, then you can use the QNAP TS-464 as a server for Plex. This model is part of the 300 officially supported by the service and offers fast video transcoding at high resolutions.

QNAP TS-464 – key technical features:

Processor: Intel Celeron N5105

RAM: 4 GB

Operating system: QTS 5.0.1

Storage Device Spaces: 4 x 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA SSD/HDD, 2 x M.2 PCIe Gen 3 x1

Ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gbps), 2 x USB 2.0 (480 Mbps), 1 x HDMI 2.0 (4K / 60 fps), 2 x 2.5 GbE LAN

Dimensions: 168 × 170 × 226 mm

Conclusion

A NAS can be a very useful device in a home, as a streaming server or network storage device that also gives you a personal cloud. The QNAP TS-464 is powerful, has many ports and comes with an operating system that gives you a lot of possibilities and features. Unfortunately, however, the mobile apps available for file syncing aren’t very polished, and that would be the only annoying thing about this model.

The QNAP TS-464 is a device I recommend with confidence, and in my opinion it is the best NAS solution for consumers who want their own private, flexible and powerful server.

In Romania, the model can be purchased for around 3,100 lei. If you add the storage devices, the initial investment can be quite high. But monthly subscriptions to cloud services are not cheap either, and in the medium to long term a NAS is more cost-effective. What’s more, you gain something invaluable: the guarantee that no one is peeking at your data.

I do hope, however, that the Taiwanese have fixed the security issues that allowed a series of large-scale ransomware attacks against their NAS in 2019-2021.

Positives

– Very good performance
– M.2 SSDs can be used as storage devices, not just caches
– QTS 5 offers a lot of possibilities
– NAS is quite easy to set up and use
– It’s compact yet allows for huge storage capacity

Negative parts

– Operating system still needs to be finished
– Mobile apps for file syncing not up to par with those offered by the big players

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