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QNAP TS-109 Pro SATA Gigabit NAS E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network
Written by Nitin Kumar - Edited by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
QNAP TS-109 Pro SATA Gigabit NAS
QNAP NAS Features
QNAP TS-109 Pro Specifications
QNAP TS-109 Pro Exterior
Product Name Interior
NAS Testing Methodology
Testing Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Testing the QNAP NAS

Since Benchmark Reviews doesn't have a vast array of Network Attached Storage devices in our collection product resources, we do our best to compare products to as many related devices as possible. In this review, the QNAP TS-109 Pro was compared to Synology Cube Station CS407 4-Bay SATA Gigabit NAS, the D-Link DNS-323 SATA RAID Gigabit NAS, as well as the older QNAP TS-201 SATA Gigabit NAS Server. All four are Gigabit-speed Ethernet network devices, and all three share the same RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD, and single disk capability.

In case you're not up to speed with network terminology, our you're just new to the technology, here is a little refresher for you. The basic unit data measurement is called a bit (one single binary digit). Computers use these bits, which are composed of ones and zeros, to communicate their contents. All files are stored as binary files, and translated into working files by the Operating System. This two number system is called a "binary number system". In comparison, the decimal number system has ten unique digits consisting of zero through nine.

Have you ever wondered why your 500GB hard drive only has about 488GB once it has been formatted? Most data files use the binary number system to express file size, however the prefixes for the multiples are based on the metric system. The nearest binary number to the metric amount of 1,000 is 1,024; which means that 1,024 bytes is named a Kilobyte. So even though a metric "Kilo" equals 1,000, a binary "Kilo" equals 1,024. Are you confused yet? Don't be surprised, because even the most tech savvy people often mistake the two. Plainly put, the Kilobyte is expressed as 1000 bytes, but it is really comprised of 1,024 bytes.

Most network engineers (myself included) are not fully aware that the IEC changed the way we calculate and name data chunks when they published the new International Standards back in December 1998. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) removed the old metric prefixes for multiples in binary code with new prefixes for binary multiples made up of only the first two letters of the metric prefixes and adding the first two letters of the word "binary". For example, instead of Megabyte (MB) or Gigabyte (GB), the new terms would be mebibyte (MiB) or gibibyte (GiB). While this is the new official IEC International Standard, it has not been widely adopted yet because it is either still unknown by institutions or not commonly used.

Personally, I think the IEC took a confusing situation and simply made it more of a mess. As I mentioned earlier, the Kilobyte was previously expressed as 1000 bytes, even though it was really comprised of 1,024 bytes. Now, the Kilobyte really is expressed correctly as 1000 bytes, and the Kibibyte is the item comprised of 1,024 bytes. In essence, the IEC just created a new name for the binary item and left the existing name for the metric item. Hopefully that clears things up, and you can thank Benchmark Reviews for training the next generation of Network Engineers.

Testing Methodology

Although each of the devices we tested can accommodate several different disk configurations, it was decided that the single disk test was the best way to measure throughput. This configuration removed the chance that RAID array overhead would effect the test results.

Connected directly to the Marvell Yukon 88E8056 NIC by a CAT6 patch cable, the NAS products received one test transfer followed by three timed transfers. Each test file was sent to 320GB Maxtor 7200 RPM HDD installed in the NAS for a time write test, and that file was sent back to an identical 320GB Maxtor 7200 RPM HDD drive in the test system to record the read test.

The two transfer tests: read and write, were conducted on each NAS appliance using the 100 MiB file and then the 1 GiB file. Additionally, a second set of tests were conducted with Jumbo Frame enabled. While the Synology Cube Station CS407 and QNAP TS-201 had 9000K MTU Jumbo Frame settings available, the D-Link DNS-323 did not have any. In the Jumbo Frame tests the Marvell Yukon 88E8056 Integrated NIC was set to use the 9014 Bytes value with Jumbo Frame enabled.

NAS Comparison Products

Support Equipment

  • MAXTOR 320GB SATA-II 7200 RPM Hard Disk Drive
  • 3-Foot Category-6 Solid Copper Shielded Twisted Pair Patch Cable
  • Marvell Yukon 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Driver Version 8.59.1.3)
  • 100 Binary Megabytes Test File (100 MiB/Mebibyte = 104,857,600 bytes)
  • 1024 Binary Megabytes Test File (1 GiB Gibibyte = 1,073,741,824 bytes)

Test System Hardware

  • Motherboard: ABIT IP-35 Pro (Intel P35 chipset)
  • Processor: Intel Core2Quad Q6600 G0 Stepping processor
  • Cooling: Zerotherm Nirvana 120 Premium
  • Video: EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB
  • Audio: Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Audio
  • O/S Hard Disk: Maxtor 500GB 7200 RPM SATA-II
  • Data Hard Disk: Seagate 500GB 7200.10 SATA-II 7200 RPM
  • Optical Drive: LG SATA 20x DVD R/W
  • Enclosure: Thermaltake Armor TX with 3x120mm cooling fans
  • PSU: ULTRA 1000watt Power Supply
  • Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP-2



 

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