|EonNAS 1100 NAS Network Storage Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012|
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Technology Details: EonNAS 1100 NAS Server
The EonNAS 1100 uses one of the slightly older "Pineview" Intel Atom Dual-Core CPUs based on 45nm fabrication technology, the D525. Introduced in June of 2010, the D525 runs at the faster clock frequency of 1.86 GHz, compared to the original Dual-Core model, the D510. The newer "Cedarview" CPUs from Intel mostly use their 32nm technology to reduce power and heat, not to generate higher performance, so there's very little penalty involved by using the older CPU here. The integrated graphics controller runs at a relatively slow clock speed of 400 MHz, which also isn't really important for this NAS, since it doesn't normally output video. Lastly, the 1MB Intel Smart Cache and the integrated memory controller that supports DDR3-800 DRAM are both performance enhancing features. The package size is the familiar 22mm x 22mm, and the TDP is still a relatively low 13W. The CPU does not support the AES NI extensions for encryption, so don't expect to be able to encrypt your disks without a severe performance penalty.
The biggest chip on the board is actually not the CPU, it's the SATA interface/ RAID controller chip. Infortrend chose a SATA controller that's ubiquitous in the PC world, but not as common in the NAS environment. Intel's ICH9R is not as widely used as the ICH10R as a RAID controller in x86 PCs, just because the ICH10R was attached as the Southbridge to more high-end Intel CPUs and motherboards. People who put together RAID solutions on their PC tend to buy higher-end motherboards, which almost always came supplied with the ICH10R Southbridge. There's very little performance difference between the two I/O Controller Hubs with regards to RAID operation, especially when connected to an Atom CPU. Short of doing a full blown custom ASIC, it's hard to beat the performance of this mainstream solution, which was developed back when the most common way of increasing disk throughput was to RAID several HDDs together. Today's Southbridges (err.... Platform Hub Controllers) are rightly judged more by their ability to squeeze the utmost performance out of the latest SSDs, but the ICH9R served admirably during the transition period between high speed spindles and flash memory.
The EonNAS uses a 1GB Disk-on-Module (DOM) as the boot device. It's built and configured with a USB interface rather than IDE or SATA, courtesy of the Silicon Motion SM325QF flash memory controller. As an outboard device, it's easier to interface it this way; if the DOM was integrated on the motherboard, I would expect to see the more traditional disk interface being used. Serving up a Sun Solaris operating system to a 1.86 GHz Atom CPU is the dog's life for a flash memory chip; this module never breaks a sweat.
The two Gigabit Ethernet controllers are supplied by Marvell and they incorporate both Media Access Control (MAC) and a Physical Layer (PHY) port. Each 88E8059 chip supports one Ethernet jack on the rear panel, and connects to the rest of the system by an x1 PCIe Rev. 1.1a interface. The relatively new IC is based on the well-known Marvell Alaska® PHY and features 10/100/1000BASE-T and IEEE 802.3 compliance, with auto-negotiation support for the IEEE 802.3ab Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP).
Last, but not least is the 4 GB of DDR3-1333 memory that is standard on the EonNAS 1100; it's carried on the SO-DIMM form factor and is addressed by the CPU in Single-Channel mode. The Atom D525 CPU can only support DDR3-800 but the SO-DIMM module supplied by Apacer is rated for DDR3-1333 with timings of 9-9-9 for CL-tRCD-tRP. The eight SDRAM chips themselves are H5TQ2G83CFR ICs from Hynix.
We've seen the ins and outs of the hardware, and the technology under the hood; now let's take a quick look through the list of features that you get with the EonNAS 1100. The next couple of sections are somewhat shorter than we're used to seeing with consumer-grade NAS systems, and it's critical to understand what features you get with these units, and what you don't. It's not just a box full of drives; it's capable of more than that.