If you believe the pundits, nobody uses or needs local storage anymore because everyone streams everything. Don't believe them? Good, because they either have no clue or they are lying to grab the headlines. I stream music every day, but can't live without my most valuable albums (unavailable for streaming anywhere) stored on my local NAS. Enough commentary for today, here are two cool new products from QNAP and Samsung that many audiophiles can use.
First up is the new QNAP HS-453DX SilentNAS. This NAS replaces the HS-251+ NAS that we talked about here on CATV in August of 2014 (link). Yes the world Silent is in the name but it the product isn't literally silent unless SSDs are used rather than spinning disks. I haven't had my hands on the HS-453DX yet, but based on my experience with the HS251+ I'm willing to bet spinning drive noise is reduced down to almost nothing because of excellent build quality. Dropping a couple 10 or 14TB spinning drive into this unit and mirroring them in RAID 1 could be a great option for audiophiles.
According to QNAP the HS-453DX will run Roon (installable through the QNAP QTS App Center), but be very careful with this recommendation. If one's library is over 500-1000 albums the HS-453DX could be pretty slow running Roon locally. Its Intel Celeron processor is great for many things, but in my experience won't cut it for sizable Roon libraries. The issues seen by end users will be very slow library navigation and searching in Roon. Sound quality will be the same, it's only the end user experience that will suffer.
The HS-453DX features two M.2 SSD slots for caching or loading apps such as Roon or Plex, but this likely won't be enough for those with a large library. It's a great step in the right direction and may be enough for most libraries given than most people have fewer than 500 albums stored locally.
Those interested in the next generation of high speed networking will be please to learn the HS-453DX features two Ethernet ports, one that supports 10 Gigabit (10GbE NBASE-T RJ-45 ) and another that supports 1 Gbps. The 10 GbE port also supports 5GbE, 2.5GbE and 1GbE as well.
There are two versions of the HS-453DX available. The HS-453DX-4G-US ships with 4GB of RAM and is user upgradable. The HS-453DX-8G-US ships with 8GB of RAM. Unfortunately the 4GB version ships with 2 modules of 2GB of RAM. This means that upgrading to 8GB will require purchasing 8GB rather than one additional 4GB module.
The HS-453DX is available now from $599 at QNAP Direct and many other outlets. For further information check out - https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/hs-453dx
Here is an informative video released by QNAP about the new HS-453DX models.
Next up is the new Samsung 860 QVO series of SSDs. That's QVO not EVO. According to Samsung it used quad level cell V-NAND technology to enable what most people really care about, and that's a price decrease compared to all other Samsung SSDs. Samsung has made great SSDs for years and has been my go-to brand for SSDs for nearly as long. That's what makes the new QVO series so cool. The drives are from Samsung and the prices are terrific.
I'm sure there are SSDs available from some manufacture for less money, but Samsung drives for these prices are unheard of. Available December 16th, 2018 will be a 1TB model for $150, 2TB for $300, and 4TB for $600. My guess is these prices will drop after the holidays as well. It's just how SSD pricing works.
Users looking for the fastest SSDs may want to look elsewhere. The 860 QVO drives have sequential data read speeds of 550MB/s but the write speeds can be significantly reduced if the drive's cache is exceeded. By reduced, I'm talking about write speeds of between 80 and 160 MB/s. Fortunately for audiophiles this shouldn't be an issue because our playback consists of reading from the drives. Copying tens of GB of data to this drive may be slower than one would like, but in mosts cases will be unnecessary after the initial installation.
My guess is these drives will work excellent for 99% of the use cases in HiFi. I can't think of a reason of scenario where they wouldn't be excellent, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
For further information check out - https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/product/consumer/860qvo/