ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Network Storage Server 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, but there’s still an almost 2:1 ratio between the fastest and slowest test results. The differences are mostly down to CPU performance and system architecture in this test. The ASUSTOR AS-604T comes very close to knocking off the top performer in this test, the QNAP TS-879U-RP. I’ll call it a tie, which is an excellent result, considering that the QNAP has an Intel Core i3 CPU that’s much more powerful than most of the other CPUs in play here, including the D2700 Atom in the AS-604T. The rest of the QNAP units run in the mid-80 MB/s range, with not too much difference between Atom-based and Marvell-based models. The Thecus N5550 slots in at third place, and the EonNAS 850X comes out in fourth. As we mentioned in our EonNAS reviews, their data integrity features take away a good sized chunk out of their read/write performance. 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 design of the system. It definitely looks like the ASUSTOR architecture can hold its own in Read performance; let’s look at Write performance next.


Moving on to the 1 GB write bandwidth test, the 850X, TS-879U-RP, and N5550 are all basically tied for top honors, with a combined throughput of about 230MB/s. Just fractionally below those three, the AS-640T posts very good numbers again, with a combined rate of about 212 MB/s. 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. The AS-604T and the Thecus both benefit from the Intel ICH10R controller though, which helps them stand head and shoulders above the other Atom-powered models in the mix.


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 ASUSTOR AS-604T racks up its first outright win. Later in this section I’ll show you another measurement that demonstrates this exemplary Read performance. For now, just know that the AS-604T excels at sequential Read tasks. 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 and the Thecus N5550 only pick 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 ASUSTOR AS-604T comes in a hair behind the same top three performers that ruled the 1GB Read test. The actual results are also pretty much the same, not just the rankings. The combined Read scores for the AS-604T vary by less than 0.2% between the 1GB and the 10GB benchmarks. It definitely looks like the newer Atom-based models have a clear advantage in Write tests, over the older Atoms and the Marvell ARM-based models.


In general, write performance tends to show up any weaknesses in the device architecture, especially when RAID is employed. There are some exceptions, but the AS-604T provides a very clear example. Here’s the throughput chart from the NIC on the host PC, and you can see that the Read test is using every last bit of bandwidth that the GbE connection can give it. Seriously, this is the absolute performance limit for a NAS that relies on a single GbE connection to transport data back and forth across the network. The Write test is stressing some other part of the signal chain, and one or more components in that chain are struggling to keep up, so the throughput results are somewhat below the theoretical limit for a GbE NAS.


Next we’re going to look at RAID 5 performance, where the ASUSTOR AS-604T 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


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