Today, we’re writing the QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review to give you details about QNAP’s latest powerful solution. Some years ago, hardware-heavy and powerful solutions were present, yet these were extremely expensive. Then, there were cheaper options but underpowered, thus, bringing disappointments early on.
But it’s different this time since the TS-673A 6 Bay NAS is an optimised middle-ground solution compared to earlier products. Not only that, but it even offers hardware options that aren’t available on its competitors’ solutions.
So will this 6 Bay NAS solution be another system that will drown in the noise? Or will it be something that will emerge and stand out from the crowd? Let’s find out in our QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review and see if this product deserves your attention.
When our TS-673A arrived, it came in a standard-looking retail packaging. But the good thing here is that the box was sturdy and durable enough to protect the NAS system inside.
Its box is almost two times the volume of the NAS itself. Plus, we love that QNAP put in extra effort to guarantee the security and protection of the items inside. That means, you won’t have to worry about any damages that may incur while it’s being shipped to you.
There’s nothing much to see on the box, though the company did highlight the NAS’ hardware, software, etc. Basically, it’s just a brown cardboard box but still sports a nice business-class style offering a bold and clear impact.
Opening the package, the first thing we saw was the packing foam that surrounded the product inside. We appreciate all this additional foam for increased protection, and it also helps keep everything fixed in place.
After removing all these, we were left with the TS-673A itself. Plus, it comes with another box that keeps all the extra accessories.
Its accessory kit comes with a mains power connector, keys for locking the media bays, and two RJ45 LAN cables. You’ll find 2.5”/3.5” media screws, M.2 SSD bays’ heatsink pads, and a three-year warranty info sheet. To note, there are also details on how you can extend the warranty up to five years.
Lastly, QNAP included instructions for first-time setups. However, keep in mind that the details are light on information, and will direct you to QNAP’s website instead.
Now, let’s check the TS-673A’s functions and design in the next part of our QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review.
QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS Review – Design and Functionality
The case that this NAS system uses is popular in QNAP’s portfolio. And, it’s highly similar to other 6 bay systems that came before the TS-673A.
Its slightly rugged and metal appearance looks good. Plus, its mix of displays, a compact desktop frame, and standard heat dissipation makes it even better.
Looking at the front of the chassis, you’ll see that it has adequate space and everything there is evenly spread out. Also, you’ll see the familiar LED lights featured across the system. LED indicators that are available include the USB, Status/Power, LAN, drive 1-6, and M.2 SSD 1-2.
Another feature of the TS-673A that’s very “QNAP” is the USB front-mounted copy button.
Technically, a local backup-targeted USB port with a physical action button on the NAS’ front isn’t something new. But the thing is, QNAP is the only brand that offers it with USB 3.2 Gen2. This is the reason why they’re pretty known for it.
Looking at the bays in this QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review, these can be utilised with your storage media. What’s nice about it is that you can use them in a variety of RAID setups. Or, you can populate the system with just a single HDD.
Each tray features a locking tool that is mainly designed to stop the sudden removal of an HDD in use. However, it can’t necessarily prevent more aggressive attacks or intruders from accessing your data and the drive media.
The system also has software options for preventing such things from happening. Furthermore, the loaded trays are non-spring plastic pieces.
We like that the trays feature a click-and-load-in design, meaning, you won’t need tools to install the hard drives. The only thing you’ll need to do is remove the side clips to easily secure the drive in just seconds.
If you’re planning to fully or partially populate the system with SSDs, don’t worry. You’ll find screw holes on the NAS to install 2.5” media.
When removing all the six trays, you’ll see a clear backplane of SATA connectors available. There aren’t any extra loose SATA power connectors, plus the metal internal framework is well-ventilated and clear.
Looking at the TS-673A’s sides, you’ll find minimal ventilation there. Also, the system doesn’t sport the branded ventilated logo that seems to be present on other Synology and QNAP hardware.
Despite that, the NAS carries a decent number of passive cooling vents. The thing is, more of these can be found along the base and rear of the TS-673A. That said, the metal chassis will function as a form of heat dissipation for the system when it’s under heavy use.
But don’t forget, since this is a metal chassis, expect it to generate more noise than usual.
When you look at the NAS’ base, you’ll find more ventilation for all six storage bays. Since it’s designed to run for days, weeks, or even months, passive ventilation with active cooling systems is essential. This is specifically vital to maintain system efficiency.
It’s also good that QNAP designed the NAS to ensure that it limits dust and noise issues.
Active Cooling of the QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS
The NAS system’s active cooling feature is quite impressive since it has two huge 92mm fans on its rear. The RPM of these can be adjusted so ambient noise can be managed easily.
However, we suggest that you keep the active cooling set to auto. This is so the system can easily adjust internal cooling whenever necessary for maintaining peak efficiency and performance.
When setting it on auto, QNAP reported levels of ambient noise of 20.3dbA during operation. There’s also an extra 60mm cooling fan on the TS-673A’s rear, delivering optimised cooling on numerous key internal hardware components. These include the CPU heatsink, M.2 slots, and memory.
If you think about it, these are nice extra touches for maintaining ideal internal temps.
Key Features of the QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS
What makes the TS-673A better than other NAS systems on the market? We’ll discuss its key features here in our QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review to find out.
Powered by AMD Ryzen Processor
The TS-673A uses AMD’s Ryzen V1500 quad-core processor with up to 64GB RAM that supports ECC memory. It features USB 3.2 Gen2 ports that offer up to 10Gb/s speeds. Additionally, the TS-673A provides one USB-C port to support transferring large media files across devices and a more efficient workflow.
2.5GbE Switch to Transform Your Network
Upgrading your network has become affordable with QNAP’s 2.5GbE switches. These support Multi-Gigabit NBASE-T while allowing you to use existing CAT5e cables to link multiple computers and NAS. With that, this product can help implement secure and scalable high-speed network environments without breaking the bank.
M.2 SSD Caching for Performance Benefits
The TS-673A has two M.2 NVMe SSD slots for SSD caching or Qtier technology for automatic tiering.
SSD caching reduces storage volume latency and accelerates IOPS performance. It’s an excellent feature for IOPS-demanding apps like databases and virtualisation. Plus, it can improve your overall workflow significantly.
As for Qtier technology, it enables and authorises the TS-673A with auto-tiering. This feature helps optimise storage efficiency by automatically transferring data between M.2 SSDs, 2.5” SSDs, and high-capacity HDDs. The NAS transfers data based on the access frequency.
Qtierer also features IO-awareness that allows SSD-tiered storage to handle burst I/O in real-time to maximise SSD advantages.
10GbE Upgrade and PCIe Expansion
The TS-673A has two PCIe Gen3 x4 slots that offer expansion to increase the NAS’ capacity and potential.
Securely Manage Files with Ease Using FileStation
FileStation lets you directly manage files stored in the TS-673A and the cloud. You can conveniently upload files from the computer, drag & drop files between folders, and rename or delete files. Plus, you can configure permissions for each file and folder to prevent unauthorised access.
You can even use Microsoft Office Online to directly view and edit Microsoft Office documents in the TS-673A. You can even encrypt confidential and sensitive data for added security.
Supports GPU-accelerated Computing
The TS-673A has PCIe slots to support high-profile graphics cards that don’t need power cables like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650. Installing a graphics card on the NAS boosts performance for 4K UHD transcoding, video editing, and image processing in QTS. Also, it can enhance the performance of virtual machines via GPU passthrough.
Budget-friendly Fibre Channel SAN Environment
Conventional Fibre Channel SAN devices usually cost a lot. But with a QNAP 16Gb Fibre Channel card installed in the TS-673A, you can set a Fibre Channel Target. You can do this by using the Fibre Channel app and the iSCSI.
Additionally, the Port Binding and LUN Masking features offer an extra layer of security for your data.
High-speed 2.5GbE VM Backup Solution
The TS-673A features the Hyper Data Protector. This makes it an agentless backup tool for unlimited VM backup for Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.
Hyper Data Protector is a technology that offers global deduplication, incremental backup, recovery compression, and backup scheduling.
Since the TS-673A features 2.5GbE connectivity, backup and restoration times are significantly reduced. This NAS is definitely a cost-effective solution that works great especially when data recovery is necessary.
Comprehensive Backup and Data Solutions Right at Your Fingertips
QNAP offers a complete range of data protection and backup solutions. These apps and utilities include the following:
Boxafe – backup utility for Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 SaaS
Hyper Data Protector – VM backup software for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V
Hybrid Backup Sync – backup application for QNAP NAS, file server, and macOS
Snapshot – standard protection and backup solution for all QNAP NAS
Netbak Replicator – Windows backup utility
Versatile and Economical Storage Expansion
QNAP offers easier solutions for storage capacity expansion. One way to expand the TS-673A’s storage is by connecting expansion enclosures. With the QTS Storage & Snapshots Manager, handling the NAS capacity expansion will be convenient.
By hot-swapping lower-capacity drives with those with larger capacities, you can expand your NAS’ RAID capacity. Another solution is migrating to a new NAS. When you install your NAS hard drives into a larger QNAP NAS, you can retain all your existing data and configurations.
With all of these expansion solutions, the TS-673A can accommodate data and business growth.
Support for QuTS Hero
The TS-673A supports QuTS Hero, the company’s ZFS-based operating system. It offers end-to-end data integrity, compression, deduplication, and more. Plus, it utilises additional system resources to ensure an optimal environment that protects business data.
Take note that QuTS Hero doesn’t use the same file systems as QTS. So if you’re switching from QTS to QuTS Hero, you’ll need to remove all drivers from the TS-673A.
QuTS Hero requires a NAS with at least 8GB memory and for data deduplication, you’ll need at least 16GB memory. For optimal performance, it’s recommended to have 32GB.
Extended Warranty of up to Five Years
The TS-673A comes with a three-year warranty at no additional costs. To extend this warranty to five years, you can purchase a coverage extension from QNAP.
Now, our QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review will discuss the different specifications of this NAS system.
The TS-673A has an AMD Ryzen embedded V-1500-B 4-core/8-thread 2.2GHz processor and a 64-bit x86 CPU architecture. For its graphic processors, these are optional through a PCIe adapter.
This NAS utilises an AES-NI encryption engine. Its system memory is 8GB SO-DIMM DDR4 (1x8GB) while its maximum memory is 64GB (2x32GB). The product comes with two SO-DIMM DDR4 memory slots, plus a 5GB dual-boot OS protection flash memory.
Additionally, the TS-673A has six 3.5” SATA 6GB/s, 3GB/s drive bays present. To note, drive compatibility includes 3.5” SATA HDDs, 2.5” SATA HDDs, and 2.5” SATA SSDs.
You’ll even find two M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x1 slots on the NAS. For the PCIe slot, slot 1 has the PCIe Gen3 x4, while slot 2 has PCIe Gen3 x4.
When it comes to the USB 3.2 Gen2 (10Gbps) port, there are three USB-A 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps ports. Then, there’s one USB-C 3.2 Gen1 5Gbps port.
Looking at the TS-673A’s dimensions, it measures 188.2 x 264.3 x 280.8mm (H x W x D). Then, it has a net weight of 5.78kg.
For the NAS’ fans, there are two 92mm system fans and one 60mm CPU fan available. To note, the fans have 20.3dbA for the sound levels.
Hands-on with the QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS
QNAP NAS’ are great, but is the TS-673A just as good as the rest? We tested the product for our QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review, and we’re sharing how it fared then. Did it perform adequately, or were there some hiccups here and there?
But before we talk about our experience with it, let’s discuss the QTS 5.0 software first.
QNAP released the QTS 5.0 which showcases several major updates to their comprehensive operating system. This version’s highlights include optimised Linux Kernel 5.10, enhanced security, WireGuard VPN assistance, and better NVMe SSD cache performance.
QTS 5.0 Features
Boost Security Levels
The software supports TLS 1.3 to enhance performance and security with automatic updates of QTS and applications. This is done to guarantee that your NAS works under optimal conditions.
You can utilise the SSH keys to authenticate, securing access to the TS-673A. It prevents password breaches or any similar potential attacks.
Supports WireGuard VPN for Secure Connection
Public WiFi connections and even your internet can put your privacy and personal data at risk. So, VPNs offer safe ways to secure your online activities while browsing the net.
The latest QVPN 3.0 makes use of the popular, reliable, and lightweight WireGuard VPN. It’s to give you a user-friendly interface for setting up secure connections. This is highly essential for both home and remote working.
Enhanced NVMe SSD Cache Performance
The latest kernel optimises PCIe performance, allowing the QTS 5.0 to improve NVMe SSD performance and utilisation. Once cache acceleration is enforced, SSD can be used better while simultaneously offloading memory resources.
It maintains increased performance even when multiple users access the same shared folders simultaneously. Additionally, better speed and performance is kept even when transferring big files via SMB/NFS.
Speedy Image Recognition with Edge TPU
This is another QTS 5.0 feature we learned about while writing our QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS review. And by leveraging the Edge TPU to QNAP’s AI Core, the TS-673A can perform high-speed object and face recognition.
Free exFAT Support for x86-based QNAP NAS
exFAT is now supported free of change and is technically available by updating to QTS 5.0 or later. This is for the x86-based NAS.
So, NAS systems with native exFAT support, help your multimedia experience and bring it to the next level.
Securely Access and Centrally Organise the QNAP NAS via TeamViewer
Remote working and distributed workforces are continuously increasing. So, the potential security dangers of connecting through public and home networks should be considered.
With TeamViewer, you can acquire secure remote access to your TS-673A without bothering with complex VPN settings.
Predict Drive Failure and Reduce Downtime with the Help of AI
QTS 5.0 can protect you from drive failure and data loss with DA Drive Analyser. This AI engine predicts the expected lifespan of drives. With that, you can find ways to prevent data loss from predicted drive failure while it’s early.
Seamless User Interface
Whether it’s switching between apps, expanding or collapsing windows, clicking buttons, all actions done in QTS 5.0 are smoother. When typing in the search bar, the interface also helps find desired apps quickly.
Using the QTS 5.0
Using the QTS 5.0 was a great and straightforward experience. Like the previous updates, QTS 5.0 remained user-friendly and had no complex settings. Plus, its features allowed us to have a unique storage environment that was suited for our needs.
In our tests, the software operated smoothly and its performance significantly improved. We also appreciate the changes made like the notification side panel, colour palette, and overall interface design.
Plex Media Server
If you think about it, video streaming services are generally great when it comes to consuming large amounts of content. However, you do not own any of these no matter how long you have subscribed.
The Plex Media Server is a backend media server element of Plex that’s free of charge. It organises visual and audio content from your personal media libraries. Then, it’ll get streamed into your player counterparts.
With that, Plex provides an alternative for people who want to keep collections of photos, music, and videos. What’s great about this is that you can be detached from any provider.
The media management software assists users in establishing an easy access media server no matter what platform you utilise. Plus, it now comes with a free library of movies you can stream.
Plex earns a high rating due to its easy configuration, extremely reliable performance, plus outstanding organisational tools. Do note that it comes with a couple of data collection policies.
This server also allows you to save all media content such as photos, videos, and music. In addition to these, there are Plex applications that work across smartphones and other devices. It readily allows you access to view all your saved content on the server.
To make things simpler, the Plex Media Server works similarly to a digital storehouse of all your relevant content. It’s a platform that lets you access certain content on selected devices. Generally, you can consider it as your on-demand service for entertainment.
Having Plex makes things more convenient, especially when you have a couple of movies or shows on the go. The TS-673A will allow you to directly add content to Plex, making it ready to stream, anytime.
Note that the process is mostly automated. With that, you should also remember that it can take a bit of time to complete. It’s most evident when you have a massive library of files that requires indexing.
So far, we didn’t experience any issues or lags when fast-forwarding or chapter-skipping, unlike the older NAS systems we tried. We were able to easily access our data via the TS-673A, and that was great.
Overall, the QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS performed excellently and we’re happy with it. We had some issues with its response time, but other than that, it worked really well. It’s also well-built and looks great, so we know it can last and handle heavy loads.
QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS Review Summary
We highly appreciate the simplicity of the TS-673A. With its balanced internal and external hardware, it’s a great NAS system for businesses. Another great thing about this NAS is its ZFS support, making it compatible with QNAP’s QuTS Hero platform.
In terms of keeping things straightforward, QNAP did a great job with the TS-673A. Although simpler than other QNAP NAS, it’s a robust mid-range system with six bays and two M.2 NVMe slots.
With all of its features and user-friendly software, the TS-673A is definitely an excellent option. What makes it better is it offers a lot of room for expansion.
Overall, we highly recommend the QNAP TS-673A 6 Bay NAS. Its superior performance satisfied us and we’re sure that it will tick a lot of boxes for both novices and experts.
To purchase this NAS, check out QNAP’s store locator for online shops, distributors, and resellers in your area.