Network-attached storage (NAS) is a routine solution for adding more storage to an existing network. These compact servers are extremely practical and able to integrate with other rackmount storage, gateways, and appliances while having the easy and intuitive handling of desktop storage. 

With so many rackmount NAS options to choose from, the Taiwanese storage expert, QNAP, has made a name for itself with future-focused storage solutions that include the ZFS filesystem and volume manager for system-wide organization and management of your data.

In this article, we review the QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS, exploring its features and performance, and evaluating if it is the storage solution for you. We’ll also share the best deals online for purchasing this QNAP ZFS NAS. 

Let’s get started!

Product Summary

The QuTS hero NAS TS-h1683XU-RP is a 16-Bay 3U rackmount NAS. Its high-utility design includes: 

  • Rackmount with 3 units (3U) of rack height 
  • Ab Intel Xeon E-2236 6-core 3.4 GHz processor
  • 128 GB DDR4 ECC memory (quad-rank RAM)
  • 16 3.5-inch drive bays
  • Two 10GbE SFP+ SmartNIC ports
  • Two Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 5V/3A 10Gbps ports
  • Four 1GbE RJ45 Ethernet ports
  • Four PCIe slots
  • Four Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2 5V/1A 10Gbps ports

Its powerful Intel® Xeon® E processor is partnered with 128GB of DDR4 Error Correcting Code (ECC) RAM, for exceptional speed and performance. It uses the QuTS hero operating system which is ZFS-based and protects your data with unlimited snapshots, real-time syncing, and robust organization and management of your storage. 

The TS-h1683XU-RP is a reliable and consistent all-rounder that can be used for mission-critical applications and virtualization, collaborative video editing, or file sharing.

About QNAP 

QNAP is a Taiwanese manufacturer of NAS appliances that can be used for a wide range of contemporary IT applications, including file sharing, storage management, and virtualization. The company is a spin-off from the IEI Integration Corporation and become a separate company in 2004.

QNAP has won multiple international awards for its servers, which run on their proprietary ZFS-based operating system QuTS hero.

QuTS Hero: ZFS-Based Operating System

This rackmount NAS uses a high-performance ZFS-based OS. ZFS, originally developed by Sun Microsystems and now open-source, is a market-leading file system and volume manager that keeps stored data stable and secure.

This highly scalable filesystem is ideal for storing and rapidly backing up massive amounts of data while effectively managing it with inline data deduplication, compression, and compaction. ZFS is also known for the security and integrity of its data management, using instant snapshots to ensure that your data is backed up and can be recovered or healed quickly if corrupted. 

Best Deal Today

QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Large Capacity QuTS Hero Rackmount NAS with Intel Xeon E CPU, 10GbE Ports and Redundant PSU
  • Intel Xeon E-2236 6-core 3.4 GHz processor (burst up to 4.8 GHz)
  • 128 GB UDIMM DDR4 ECC (4 x 32GB)
  • 16 x 3.5-inch drive bays
  • 4 x 1GbE RJ45 Ethernet ports
  • 2 x 10GbE SFP+ SmartNIC ports

Overview of the QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS

Let’s go over the different models, specs, performance, and price of this system.

Release Date and Price

QNAP launched this high-capacity rackmount NAS in November 2020 alongside 18-bay and 24-bay versions. The launch followed the release of the ZFS-based QuTS hero operating system, which all three NAS use. The 16-bay NAS is the cheapest of the three servers, which have entered the market with capacity and price point that targets enterprise users. 

Different Models

The QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS is one of three rackmount NAS with QuTS hero.

The related models are: 

  • The 18-bay TS-h1886XU-RP with a quad-core Intel® Xeon® D-1622 processor
  • The 24-bay TS-h2483XU-RP with six-core Intel® Xeon® E-2236 processors

All three ZFS-based NAS are designed for maximum I/O potential, speed, and performance with:

  • Server-grade DDR4 ECC memory
  • 10GbE ports
  • PCIe slots for greater I/O potential and performance

Features

QNAPs next generation rack-mount NAS has a range of features that deliver the robust and reliable performance you need from your storage.

Below are the notable features of the TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NA:

Gigabit Ethernet Ports Provide High-Speed Data Transfer

Multiple ports enable the efficient data transfer that enterprise-level applications demand. Along with 10GbE connectivity via the pre-installed dual-port 10GBASE-T network expansion card and dual-port 10GbE SFP+ SmartNIC, the NAS also carries four Gigabit RJ45 ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps Type-C ports, and four USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps Type-A ports.

PCIe Expansion to Increase I/O Capability

The 4 PCIe slots provided with this NAS provide massive utility as you can use them for a diverse range of expansion cards to support applications like multimedia/graphics. In fact, this 3U NAS is designed to use high-profile graphics cards for more advanced 3D graphics applications. 

NAS storage computer hard drive
The QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS comes with plenty of impressive specs to run at an enterprise level.

Compatibility with a Range of Network Expansion Cards

Use the expansion card slots with a range of proprietary expansion cards that deliver the added functionality you need including: 

  1. 5 to 40GBE network cards that can deliver the bandwidth and throughput needed for virtualization, fast backups, and efficient restoration
  2. SSD card compatibility for optimized performance
  3. SAS expansion cards for petabyte storage capacity

QuTS Hero OS for Flexible Storage Management

The app-based OS is combined with the ZFS file system for superbly scalable storage that has the highest standards of data integrity and protection. QTS hero conserves disk space and keeps file sizes small using a variety of block-based data reduction technologies like inline data deduplication, compression, and compaction for optimized performance.

Specifications

ModelTS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS
Form Factor3 unit rackmount
ProcessorIntel Xeon E-2236 6-core 3.4 GHz (up to 4.8 GHz burst)
RAM128 GB DDR4 ECC
Bays16 x 3.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s
10GbE Connectivity2 x 10GbE RJ452 x 10GbE SFP+
PCIe Slots4x (compatible with SSD)
Power Supply Unit2x 500W
Warranty 3-year standard warranty that is extendable up to 5 years. 

QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS Review

This is one of the latest NAS from QNAP. It’s pretty special because it runs ZFS for great data compression, deduplication, and volume management. It has a regular 3U chassis with sixteen 3.5-inch bays. It’s great if you want to run a mixture of traditional SATA storage and flash media as it can accommodate SSD, or even caches to integrate a much faster data pool. 

Flexible Setup of Ports and Slots

Data transfer will be fast and easy via the Ethernet and RJ45 ports. Fiber channel cards can also be included. All the ports are on the back of the NAS along with four RAM slots and the CPU. The USB ports come in handy too. It’s highly flexible so it should be able to integrate effectively into your data center. 

There is also redundant power on board, which provides support for power outages or splitting between line power and a battery backup. 

App-Based OS That’s Easy to Navigate

The OS provides an app-based interface with a friendly bot that waves and says “sufficient memory” if things are all good. There is a full app library that includes a range of third-party integrations. The volume management is relatively intuitive with squares and circles representing SSD and hard drives. You can manage your volume and storage pools easily and obtain reporting on the status of your filesystem. 

ZFS Slows Things Down

Some users of this platform have found the use of ZFS slows the NAS down when compared to a non-ZFS NAS. However, what you lose in performance you gain in reliability and data integrity, especially if you scale. You may up-speed by using flash rather than hard drives if this works with your budget.

Overall: A Slow and Steady Pick

If you need security and stability for big data applications, this NAS should deliver the reliable performance you need for a competitive price.

The 32GB RAM is generous but may start to become stretched when running virtualization applications.

By integrating ZFS, QNAP has really put the effort into focusing on data integrity, but, with the storage balanced tipped towards SSD, this NAS can still perform in high-speed environments. In some ways, it may be back to the drawing board with QuTS hero, but with some tweaks, this is a great combination that may dominate the market in the years to come. 

A great use case for this NAS would be as a secondary NAS behind a faster primary NAS with real-time syncing between the two. The technology this QNAP NAS provides is cost-effective for use as a robust backup. 

QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Tool-lite assembly and installation of hard drives
  • Customizable
  • Numerous slots and ports for maximum utility
  • Able to support SSD, fiber, and high-spec graphics cards
  • Smart 3U chassis
  • ZFS delivers superb data integrity and protection
  • Easy to navigate app-based OS interface

Cons

  • Predominantly SATA-based 
  • More flash-based memory would speed things up
  • ZFS processes can slow performance
  • The little robot cartoon in the OS doesn’t help you

QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount: is it a Buy?

This familiar UI for QNAP users has decent reporting and intuitive navigation. The scalability of this hardware and ZFS should not be underestimated. The performance is the only thing that is holding this NAS back, but the problem is ZFS rather than QNAP.

Buy it if…

This is for you if you want enterprise data features and data reliability with all the snapshots, checksumming, and RAID that comes with ZFS in an easy-to-use package.

Go ahead and buy applications that include:

  • File sharing
  • Backup target
  • Replication target

Let your use case guide you with this. QNAP has done an excellent job, but remember, as it is a SATA-based system, it’s not going to be the fastest out of the blocks. 

Don’t Buy it if..

If performance is a priority, this isn’t for you. Speed is not the strong point of this NAS. More SSD capacity would make all the difference in speeding things up, however, with the resilience that ZFS provides, slow and steady may just win the race!

Final Thoughts

The QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G is an extremely competitively priced NAS when you consider its capacity and technology. It definitely builds on QNAP’s solid reputation for storage. However, including ZFS is ambitious and there are some teething problems that slow the NAS down.

As QNAP only recently released this NAS, we expect to see later versions that use ZFS more efficiently. 

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

QNAP ZFS: 2022 Review of QNAP TS-h1683XU-RP-E2236-128G 16 Bay Rackmount NAS, and Best Deals Now FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What's the difference between a NAS and a server?

Network attached storage is a type of server, just on a smaller scale. They are simpler and easier to manage than standard servers, making them ideal for small and medium-sized enterprises as they are extremely compact and don’t take up much space.

NAS is a popular solution for building flexible, adaptable networks with file sharing and data transfer between units. The robots’ well-organized and efficient storage frees up disk space on other devices and provides a central, reliable backup for important files.

The main limitations of NAS come from their relatively small size, and capacity compared to servers. This means that they can become overwhelmed if too many users attempt simultaneous access to files.

What are bays in a NAS?

The bays of a NAS hold the hard drive storage, with each bay capable of carrying an individual hard drive or SSD. NAS for personal use has fewer bays (up to four) than NAS for enterprise use which can carry up to 24 bays.

Is SATA better than SSD?

Serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) is a type of mechanical hard drive that is common in PCs, laptops NAS, and servers. They comprise a spinning disk with a needle that writes data to it. 

Solid state drives (SSDs) are a type of flash storage that uses electrical circuits rather than moving parts to write data. They are also called flash drives or flash arrays when used in NAS. An SSD writes data at least three times as fast as a SATA drive and is quicker to boot up and retrieve data, but SATA drives are cheaper and have much greater capacity than an SSD.

What is ZFS?

The Zettabyte file system (ZFS) is a file system and volume manager that was originally developed by Sun Microsystems in 2001. It has since become open-source and developed into one of the leading filesystems with advanced data management and organization of physical and virtual storage. ZFS is high-capacity and highly scalable and maintains data integrity by using extensive snapshots, checksumming, and RAID.

What does 3U refer to?

3U refers to the form factor of rackmounted data storage or power systems. Each ‘U’ is one rack unit of height and is 1.75-inches (44.45mm) in height.

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