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QNAP Review

Brian Nadel

The right choice for data-heavy small businesses, QNAP's TVS-1282T3 RAID server not only can encrypt its data, has room for 12 drives and includes a high-speed Thunderbolt 3 interface, but it has the power to expand beyond 100TB. It can not only use the major RAID protocols and quickly recover from a bad drive, but below the surface, it is built like a data center server with an Intel processor, room for lots of system memory, and the ability to add hardware acceleration. While it's pricey compared to the likes of Western Digital's EX4100 and Netgear's ReadyNAS424, the TVS-1282T3 combines high-end security and the ability to keep adding storage capacity.



The Verdict

With the ability to use a variety of RAID levels and recover data from a bad drive, QNAP's TVS-1282T3 can let you sleep easily at night with data encryption, add-on apps and the ability to spread the data across up to 12 drives.

View all of our recommendations for RAID Recovery Services on our best picks page.  


With 12 full-size drive bays at its disposal and the ability to use the high-performance potential of Thunderbolt 3 interfaces, QNAP's TVS1281T3 is for those who value instant access to data. The 9.2 x 14.6 x 12.6-inch device is small enough to sit on a desktop or a shelf. QNAP also makes a variety of rack-based RAID devices. 

The key to its versatility is its combination of eight vertical bays for 3.5-inch drives with four horizontal bays for 2.5-inch drives and slots for two M.2 solid-state drive modules that allow hardware acceleration. The good news is that they don't all need to be filled to operate, allowing the RAID device to grow with the company's needs. 

It's not only plenty of room to set up a hot spare (or two) to quickly recover from a data emergency, but it can expand with your company's needs, providing the storage potential of over 100TB of data. On the downside, it's not as flexible as it might seem, because the 3.5-inch drives can be either traditional rotating hard disks or solid-state storage while the 2.5-inch drives can hold solid-state storage. 

Need more space? Add extra drives by connecting as many as six QNAP expansion cabinets. All the drives retain the ability to rebuild data. 

In addition to LEDs for system status and each drive's operation, QNAP engineers have equipped the TVS-1282T3 with a small monochrome data screen that's like the one on Western Digital's EX4100. It can show everything from the unit's IP address to the unit's internal temperature to warning of potential problems, like a failing fan. 

Compared to the likes of Drobo's 5N2 and the WD EX4100, the TVS-1282T3 is the equivalent of a high-performance server with three choices. Each powered by a seventh-generation Intel processor that includes its own graphics engine, starting with the TVS-1282T3-i5-16G model's 3.4GHz Core i5 processor and 16GB of RAM. The upgraded version is built around 3.6GHz Core i7 processor with either 32- or 64GB of RAM. 

Regardless of which you choose, The TVS-1282T3 family members all have four slots for including up to 64GB of RAM and four fans. On the downside, each has a single 250-watt power supply and lacks a redundant power supply or battery backup, which could prove to be an Achille's heel. It uses 111 watts when operating, according to QNAP, making it economical to run 24/7. 

The TVS-1282T3 is connection central with a variety of ways to like computers with the unit's data. Its pair of 10Gbps and four 1Gbps networking interfaces can be aggregated for higher performance, and the RAID array can work with up to four separate computers connected through its high-speed Thunderbolt 3 interface. The Thunderbolt connection tops out at 40Gbps and is perfect for data-heavy tasks like video editing and data mining. 

In addition to three HDMI ports for previewing video, there are five USB ports.

At any time, an employee can walk up to the TVS-1282T3 and insert a USB thumb drive and copy a file onto or off the RAID array. 

Based on embedded Linux software, the system can work with all sorts of desktop computers and notebooks. It can use a variety of RAID levels, including RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60, but it doesn't work with Drobo's Beyond RAID protocol. 


With the ability to encrypt and decrypt files on the fly, the TVS-1282T3 can keep your company's secrets. The unit uses the super-strong AES 256 encryption technique to protect data. 

The system logs store up to 10,000 configuration changes, warnings or errors and can track who copied, deleted or changed a file. It lacks a Kensington lock to make sure the unit stays put as well as anything like the Buffalo Terastation 3410DN's drive bay locks. In fact, the TVS-1282T3 is one of the easiest RAID devices to add and remove drives: Just pull the drive bay's lever, and the drive's carrier pops out. 

The good news is that by virtualizing the array's operations, the contents are isolated from the web. The array's settings can be safely accessed via a web browser. There are a variety of remote access apps available from QNAP. 

Software and Interface

In addition to the array's info screen, the QNAP TVS-1282T3 has a sophisticated centralized management console. It can not only display the current topology and capacities, but the dashboard can show individual drive health, transfer statistics and rebuild data from a lost drive. On the right is a handy pie chart of capacity. 

While others provide a handful of apps that can run internally on their RAID hardware, QNAP has a library of more than one hundred apps for the TVS-1282T3. They range from integrating Acronis backups to Surveillance Station recording of security cameras to online data storage systems, like iDrive. There's an included anti-virus scanner that can protect your data's integrity, but QNAP also has an option to use McAfee's malware program; it requires buying a software license, though. 

Support and Pricing

With high-speed connections, room for lots of data and a slew of third-party software, the QNAP TVS-1282T3 is one of the most versatile RAID arrays in its class. It's not the cheapest, though, with a base price of around $3,100 for the Core i5 model without drives. An 80TB model might cost about $6,000 and still have room for four more drives. 

Like many of its peers, the TVS-1282T3 includes a two-year warranty. That's a year short of the coverage that Western Digital provides and unlike Drobo's protection, it doesn't include help from a data recovery firm in the event of a burned-out drive. 

An extra year of warranty coverage for the Core i5 model costs $430 while three years goes for $1,400. Rather than 24/7 support, QNAP technicians are available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time) on Monday through Friday. 

QNAP's TVS-1282T3 puts it all together with a high-performance server, the best assortment of connection ports and the ability to hold up to 12 full-size drives in a desktop format. With all that going for it, an 80TB unit costs about $6,000. 

Perfect for everything from data miners and video editors to small business that anticipate fast growth. For all that, it is a best pick for growing companies or those that require high-performance data.

Image Credit: Getty Images


The Verdict

With the ability to use a variety of RAID levels and recover data from a bad drive, QNAP's TVS-1282T3 can let you sleep easily at night with data encryption, add-on apps and the ability to spread the data across up to 12 drives.

Brian Nadel Contributing Writer
Brian is a technology writer based north of New York City. He writes stories for, Tom's Guide, ComputerWorld and Scholastic Magazines. He is the former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.