Non-Traditional NAS Test Results
In addition to measuring simple timed transfers, to determine how fast it will read and write contiguous blocks of data, Benchmark Reviews was also able to measures NAS performance using some tests that are traditionally used for internal drives. By mapping the Thecus N2310 as a local drive, some of our favorite HDD/SSD benchmarking tools worked just fine. Just like the NASPT test suite, I normally run these tests on the RAID 5 configuration, as that is the most realistic scenario for the NAS system I’ve tested since I began using these benchmarking tools. Some NAS products don’t work too well with this type of test program; even though they may have the ability to map the NAS device to a drive letter, they’re still not treated like local drives by the Operating System. I didn’t have that problem with the Thecus N2310, so let’s look at some results…
ATTO Disk Benchmark Results
The ATTO Disk Benchmark program is free, and offers a comprehensive set of test variables to work with. In terms of disk performance, it measures interface transfer rates at various intervals for a user-specified length and then reports read and write speeds for these spot-tests. There are some minor improvements made to the 2.46 version of the program that allow for test lengths up to 2GB, but all of our benchmarks are conducted with 256MB total length. ATTO Disk Benchmark requires that an active partition be set on the drive being tested. Please consider the results displayed by this benchmark to be basic bandwidth speed performance indicators.
The Thecus N2310 turned in a decent performance on ATTO, reaching an average peak Read speed of 117.7 MB/s and a peak Write speed of 110.5 MB/s. These results are clearly competitive with the RAID 5 NAS performance I’ve measured on the mid-sized storage servers, and a faster networking connection is required in order to move beyond this level. Once more, it looks like you don’t have to give up on throughput performance, just because your storage needs are modest and you only need a two-bay NAS server.
It’s good to keep in mind that these ATTO tests are not always indicative of real-world performance, due to the sequential access mode used. In most cases, the results are going to be close to the numbers achieved in timed Read and Write tests. They are also going to be way above the results from some of the more challenging tests in the Intel NASPT suite. It’s interesting to note that the maximum performance level was nearly reached by the 32 kB block size. While this is not an exact indicator of random Read/Write performance, it at least matches the typical performance of the RAID 5 devices that I’ve tested.
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 is a file transfer and operational bandwidth benchmark tool from Crystal Dew World that offers performance transfer speed results using sequential, 512KB random, and 4KB random samples. For our test results chart below, the 4KB 32-Queue Depth Read and Write performance was measured using a 1000MB space. CrystalDiskMark requires that an active partition be set on the drive being tested. Benchmark Reviews uses CrystalDiskMark to illustrate operational IOPS performance with multiple threads. In addition to our other tests, this benchmark allows us to determine operational bandwidth under heavy load.
The combination of the Thecus N2310 and a single Western Digital Caviar Black WD7502AAEX 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s hard drive generates some decent numbers in this test. It pulled a respectable 70.2 MB/s average on sequential Read and a very good 100.6 MB/s average on sequential Write tests. The 4k tests show very low numbers, but that’s typical of HDDs, even in a RAID configuration. That’s one of the huge advantages that SSDs bring to the table, is the ability to handle thousand of small data chunks very gracefully. A RAID system will typically do better when the Queue Depth is increased; this is usually a killer test for most storage systems, and a single disk setup can’t handle it.
All in all, these are a respectable set of results for a single disk implementation of Network Attached Storage. Sure, they’re lower than a true local drive connection, directly into the SATA controller on the motherboard. But, for a NAS device mimicking a local HDD, the Thecus N2310 performs well.