We adjusted the standard templates of Intel NASPT for our tests by increasing the file size to 8 GB for sequential operations. We also added random read and write templates. When analyzing the results, we should remember that NAS usage scenarios differ between users. It is impossible to compare different NASes since their HDDs and firmware may vary greatly.
The first diagram shows the performance of single-disk configurations. It is a typical scenario for home NASes when data security is ensured by means of backups.
The new HDD is 80 and 100 MB/s fast at reading and writing, respectively. The Seagate is slower than its opponent by 10% or more at reading, reading+writing, content creation, photo album processing and random writing. It enjoys the largest advantage (9%) in the random reading test. The random writing scenario is hardly popular for home NASes because they are usually used for sequential writing (writing a large video file, a backup copy, etc).
The second configuration is a striped array which ensures higher performance but not fault-tolerance. Home users may prefer it to get higher speed and to combine several HDDs into a single disk volume. Data security is ensured through additional methods then.
The top speeds are higher indeed: up to 100 and 120 MB/s at reading and writing, respectively. The HDDs are close to each other at sequential operations, differing by less than 5%. The Seagate is only 20% ahead at single-threaded reading. On the other hand, the Seagate slows down when it has to read multiple data threads whereas the WD accelerates. As for random-address operations, the Seagate is faster at reading but slower at writing.
Modern HDDs are generally reliable products and fault tolerance is not among key priorities for entry-level NASes. That's why RAID5 configurations can but seldom be seen in home NASes. However, they are quite appropriate for SMBs. Let’s check this out.
RAID5 isn't difficult for modern NASes based on the x86 platform. The Seagate HDDs deliver nearly the same performance as in the striped array. They are ahead of the WD drives at sequential operations (except for dual-threaded reading). As for random-address operations, the Seagate solution is faster at reading and slower at writing.
RAID6 is hardly ever used for 4-bay NASes but it is the heaviest mode for the NAS’s processor, so we want to check it out as well.
The Seagate drives have a clear advantage at sequential operations here. As opposed to the WD drives, they don’t slow down much when reading in the RAID6 configuration. The speed of random operations is comparable to that of the previous configurations.
Summing up our performance tests, we can say that the new Seagate NAS series is comparable to or better than Western Digital's Red series. The two series differ the most at random-address reading and writing. Considering that random writing isn’t a popular usage scenario for entry-level NASes which are used for storing, sharing and backing up files, the Seagate NAS seems to be the more preferable solution.