|QNAP TS-259 Pro Turbo NAS Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 03 May 2010|
Page 11 of 13
Windows 7 Disk Test Results
I started this article with my standard test system, which has been running Windows 7 since it launched last October. It's the 64-bit version because there's no reason for most users to continue the 32-bit legacy. It's the Ultimate version because that's what Microsoft was giving away at their media events. I don't really need the additional features of the Ultimate package, and all my other PCs in the house run Windows 7 Home Premium. I wasn't expecting any issues or problems; it's been a very stable platform for over six months now, and all I would be doing is transferring a few files back and forth to another device on the network. Boy was I wrong!
Everything worked alright; in fact it worked too well. When I compared the results I was getting with the results for other NAS devices reviewed here on Benchmark Reviews, I was stunned. I was getting read and write results 50-60% better than comparable units, that were tested quite recently with similar hardware. I retested, and then I tried to equalize things a bit by turning off some new features, like Remote Differential Compression. No matter how I tried to cripple Win7, it always produced significantly faster file transfers than previous tests with Windows XP.
At this point, I popped a new hard drive into the test bench system, did a fresh install of XP and then Service pack 3. Then I downloaded fresh drivers for the onboard NIC and started retesting. Well, that fixed it, so to speak...now the results were very much in line with prior tests. These are the numbers I reported above, where I compared the TS-259 with the other NAS servers. In those charts we are comparing apples-to-apples; in this section of the review let's look at the performance differences between Windows XP and Windows 7 on a single NAS server, as they are significant.
Looking at read tests, where we read a file from the NAS and copy it to a HDD on the test system, Win7 consistently trounces Windows XP. On average, the results are 53% quicker with Win7, and are pretty much the same whether copying a 1GB file or a 10GB file. Looking at these results, you can see why I was nonplussed at first when I started running the tests. The numbers are not even close, and the individual tests were very steady from run to run. I can't say I'm unhappy with the change in performance; who wouldn't like a 50% speed increase, especially on a task that generally takes several minutes to complete. Let's take a look at write performance.
The write tests, where I copied a file from the test system to the NAS, offer a very similar picture. Indeed, the average performance increase for Win7 is 53% again. In this case, the Jumbo Frame benefits with Win7 were more apparent, and helped pull the numbers up. Without Jumbo Frames, with an MTU of 1500, Win7 was only 45% faster than XP. With Jumbo Frames enabled, the performance increase jumps up to 60%. Anyone doing backups to a NAS device is going to be very pleased with this kind of improvement. Think about how long a nightly backup takes now, and knock off a third of that time. Same thing if you do full backups every week or every month; you can get it done in two thirds the time it takes now.
Most likely, you will be copying thousands of smaller files rather than one or two large ones, which will slow things down. So you won't achieve the same transfer rates as we did, but the improvements should be similar when you upgrade to Windows 7. For most users this is not enough justification for upgrading their operating system, but its one heck of a perk if you were going to do it anyway.