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Thecus N2310 NAS Server Network Storage Review

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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 often down to CPU performance in this test, although some of the other infrastructure does have an impact. The Thecus N2310 averaged read speeds of 99.6 MB/s with an MTU of 1500, and gained a few with Jumbo Frames, up to 102.7 MB/s. This is excellent performance, considering the modest hardware resources which the N2310 brings to the table. Also, note that the performance with and without jumbo frames is pretty balanced; more on that in a second. It definitely looks like the N2310 architecture can hold its own in Read performance; let’s look at Write performance next.

Thecus_N2310_NAS_Network_Storage_Server_Basic_1_GB_READ_01

Moving on to the 1 GB write bandwidth test, the N2310 develops a split personality, as the jumbo frame results go down to the bottom, while the 1500 MTU results stay right where they should be. As I mentioned in the test methodology section, I recommend keeping the N2310 on the standard MTU setting of 1500. With that setting, write results averaged 90.7 MB/s, which is again, excellent results for such an unassuming hardware platform. At this point, I think I can declare that the AppliedMicro APM86491 kicks sand in the face of the Marvell processor that is widely used by a number of other NAS manufacturers. The Intel-based NAS servers all do a bit better, but they don’t offer massive performance increases.

Thecus_N2310_NAS_Network_Storage_Server_Basic_1_GB_WRITE_01

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 Thecus N2310 delivered read performance that was once again nestled in between the Intel Atom-based results and the lower performance provided by the  Marvell-based models. With standard MTU, it reached an average read speed of 102.7 MB/s, and with Jumbo Frames it got a small boost to 103.8 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. Although I didn’t run a full test suite on the RAID 1 configuration with the Thecus N2310, I ran enough to see that the results with RAID 1 were generally consistent with the single disk performance.

Thecus_N2310_NAS_Network_Storage_Server_Basic_10_GB_READ_01

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. Gains of a couple MB/s were common across the board, and the Thecus N2310 posts an average write speed of 93.3 MB/s with 1500 MTU. What’s really impressive here is the performance compared to the QNAP NAS models running dual core Intel Atom CPUs. That’s a very powerful processor by NAS standards, and the Thecus still beats it.

Thecus_N2310_NAS_Network_Storage_Server_Basic_10_GB_WRITE_01

Since the Thecus N2310 doesn’t support the RAID 5 configuration that we normally use to test intermediate and large format NAS products, we won’t be including those results in this review. The single disk results show that the N2310 is a very capable performer that is equal or better than the competing products based on Intel or Marvell processors. Just be very careful if you need to run it on a network that is completely configured for jumbo frames. The write performance could suffer, depending on the host configuration.

NAS Comparison Products


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