Qnap TS-1685 review

A powerful desktop NAS ideal for SMBs that want a massive capacity and storage features to match

IT Pro Recommended
  • Superb speed performance; Excellent backup features

Qnap's TS-1685 Super NAS lives up to its name - it's the biggest desktop appliance on the planet. This huge box supports 16 hot-swap drives presented as a combination of 12 LFF and 4 SSF bays, with the latter designed for high-speed SSD caching.

Inside lurk six SATA M.2 SSD slots supporting all sizes up to the latest 22110 110mm modules. Along with caching duties, these can be linked up with Qnap's QTier feature which manages up to three storage tiers, monitors storage pool activity and migrates data blocks across them based on usage.

Its quad Gigabit ports are partnered by dual embedded 10GBase-T and you have three USB 3 ports with the front one linked up to Qnap's one-touch copy button. The list goes on as the three available PCI-Express slots support 10GbE and 40GbE upgrades, NVMe SSDs or high-performance GPGPU cards.

Fitting M.2 SSDs is easy as the six slots are lined up neatly behind the motherboard's easily removable dual blower fan assembly. Beware if you're adding extra PCI-Express cards, as the fan unit restricts the outer two slots to 150mm card lengths - our 167mm Emulex 10GbE cards are too long.

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Along with the dual blower fans, the chassis has three more fans at the back and all are incredibly efficient. The SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad measured zephyr-like sound levels of only 36.7dB at one metre, making it the perfect silent partner.

Qnap's QFinder utility found the appliance on our network and offered to set it up for us. We loaded four 10TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives and chose a big 27.3TB RAID5 thin storage pool so we could create multiple volumes with thin provisioning.

NAS performance over 10-Gigabit (10GbE) is excellent. A share mapped to an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9 Windows server returned top Iometer raw read and write rates of 9.23Gbits/sec and 8.83Gbits/sec. We upped the pressure with a second server with dedicated share and saw cumulative Iometer speeds of 18.5Gbits/sec and 16.1Gbits/sec - slightly better than Qnap's claims.

Real world speeds are also tops, with copies of a 25GB test file returning read and write rates of 6.3Gbits/sec and 3.5Gbits/sec. It held the course for backup duties, with a 22.4GB folder and 10,500 small files secured at 2.2Gbits/sec.

Backup features are superb as the QTS Hybrid Backup Sync app manages all your local, remote, Rsync, and iSCSI LUN backups, and offers wizards for every job type. These include Qnap's RTRR (real-time remote replication) which is great for running off-site backups to remote Qnap appliances.

For NAS and iSCSI LUN snapshots, we created schedules from the Storage Manager app to run them as often as every 5 minutes. Data restoration is just as easy and we could also browse NAS snapshot contents to restore individual files or folders.

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The TS-1685 is a cloud in a box; the Qsync Central Station app provides remote real-time, two-way syncing with Windows and Mac clients. The Cloud Backup Sync app extends file syncing to 11 cloud providers including OneDrive for Business, while the Connect to Cloud Drive app provided quick access to all our cloud storage accounts via the new File Station app.

There's much more, as Qnap's Virtualization Station hosts multiple VMs running OSes of your choice and links up with the Virtual Switch app for easy network access. Qfile lets users remotely access files from their mobiles while the new Qfiling app keeps them neatly in order.

Businesses yearning for a big desktop storage repository will love the 16-bay TS-1685. It offers a huge capacity and great 10GbE performance while Qnap's QTS software delivers storage features in abundance.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 276


Businesses yearning for a big desktop storage repository will love the 16-bay TS-1685. It offers a huge capacity and great 10GbE performance while Qnap's QTS software delivers storage features in abundance.

Desktop chassis 2.2GHz Intel D-1531 Xeon 64GB DDR4 (max 128GB) 12 x LFF, 4 x SFF hot-swap SATA drive bays 6 x M.2 2242/2260/2280/22110 SSD slots Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD 4 x Gigabit 2 x 10GBase-T 3 x USB 3 3 x PCI-Express 3.5mm audio out 250W internal PSU 370 x 320 x 304mm (WDH) 3yr RTB warranty

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