|Thecus N5550 NAS Network Storage Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 24 September 2012|
Page 10 of 15
1GB Single-Disk Test Results
The bottom line for any storage device is the combination of capacity and transfer speed. For a network attached storage server, the differences are all about the infrastructure that is placed around the basic HDD array. Since capacity is something that's easy to define and measure, the real question for any NAS product is how fast will it Read and Write data. For this reason, Benchmark Reviews primarily measures NAS performance as the bandwidth achieved during a file transfer test. The first tests we perform utilize a single 1GB (1000 megabytes / 1,000,000,000 bytes) file in a transfer to and from the NAS.
With all the NAS units operating in single disk mode, many of the units have broadly similar performance. The differences are mostly down to CPU performance in this test, although some of the other infrastructure ICs do have an impact. The TS-879U-RP tops the 1 GB Read tests, primarily due to its Intel Core i3 CPU, which is much more powerful than any of the other CPUs in play here. The rest of the QNAP units run in the mid-80 MB/s range, with not much difference between Atom-based and Marvell-based models. The Thecus N5550 slots in between the TS-879U-RP and the rest, with excellent Read results of 105.4 MB/s with Jumbo Frames enabled on the networking side. The Read results for the N5550 with an MTU value of 1500 are only slightly behind, at 102.7 MB/s. Most people who buy a 4-bay NAS don't care too much about single disk performance, but it's useful to get an understanding of any possible issues with the basic architecture of the system. It definitely looks like the N5550 architecture can hold its own in Read performance; let's look at Write performance next.
Moving on to the 1 GB write bandwidth test, there is a more linear pattern to our results, with infrastructure and processing power having what looks like a bigger influence than it did in the Read test. The QNAP TS-879U-RP posts the top numbers again, and the write speeds of the other models follow along with the pricing of the units and the processing power of their installed CPU. In general, the Intel Atom-based models are performing better than the Marvell-based units with the weaker CPUs, but the Thecus N5550 gets a little extra performance boost from within. The N5550 achieves a 113.2/117.2 MB/s write speed with a single 750GB disk installed, using the JBOD disk management protocol. That's class-leading performance, as you can see for yourself.
Next up is 10 GB (1000 metric megabytes / 10,000,000,000 bytes) file transfer testing. Using the single-disk configuration in each NAS, and a Gigabit Ethernet connection, network throughput will be put to the test, and the effect of any system or hardware caches will be minimized.
10GB Single-Disk Test Results
Examining 10GB basic file transfer speeds, the mid-range QNAP models all got a boost, compared to the 1 GB file transfers. Their read speed went up by approximately 10 MB/s, to a combined average of 95 MB/s. The TS-879U-RP delivered similar read performance with the two file sizes, and the Thecus N5550 picked up a few extra MB/s. Clearly none of these units were bothered by handling very large files. Later in our testing, we will look at some other NAS test protocols that feature small file sizes, which is a common situation for backup applications. Once again, you get none of the advantages of redundancy with a single disk or JBOD configuration, and most NAS users will go for one of the RAID configurations. These figures are not precisely what the average user will experience; those will be seen later in our RAID 5 tests.
In our 10GB write performance tests, the performance of all the NAS units is similar to their showing with the smaller sized, 1 GB file. The Thecus N5550 hits almost the exact same performance level, at 113.6/118.2 MB/s with 1500 and 9000 MTU values. What's really impressive here is the performance compared to the QNAP TS-659 Pro II, which is running a dual core Intel Atom D525 at 1.8 GHz. That's a very powerful processor by NAS standards, and the Thecus still beats it by a considerable margin.
Next we're going to look at RAID 5 performance, where the Thecus N5550 will have to compete with some heavy-duty challengers in the QNAP product line. Since the QNAP TS-259 Pro and TS-219P+ don't support the RAID5 configuration that we normally use to test large format NAS products, we won't be including their results in this next comparison.
NAS Comparison Products