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Performance

We benchmarked our Thecus N2800 using Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS hard disk drives (500 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB buffer, SATA II) and Intel NASPT. We connected it to our local network via a Gigabit Ethernet router with Jumbo Frames turned on. The RAIDs were built with the default settings: 64KB blocks, EXT4.

The Thecus N2800 is just as fast as you can expect from the x86 platform. Its read speed is up to 90 MB/s whereas the write speed is as high as the Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth. The performance is affected by the client OS’s caching here.

We can see that there’s almost no difference in performance between the different types of RAID. Software RAID implementations are very efficient on fast hardware platforms. The lack of a performance hit under multithreaded load must also be noted.

Connecting external disks is a handy means to increase the storage space of a dual-disk NAS, especially as the Thecus N2800 has a fast hardware platform to support that. So, we checked it out with external disks connected via eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Let’s first see the eSATA results since that’s the fastest interface.

Although the HDD model and the SATA controller are the same as in the previous tests, the data-transfer speed to and from the external EXT4 partition is significantly different. Reading can be as fast as 50 MB/s whereas writing peaks at 90 MB/s. The FAT32 and NTFS file systems are similar in terms of reading but slower in terms of writing. EXT3 is unexpectedly slow both at reading and writing.

As we’ve mentioned above, the USB 3.0 controller is rather odd in the Thecus N2800. Hopefully, its performance will be improved with firmware updates. So far, the different USB versions deliver the same performance as shown in the following diagrams.

So, the USB-connected disk will be as fast as 30 MB/s at reading and 50 MB/s at writing. Unfortunately, the peripheral interfaces are not a strong side of this NAS.

 
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