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Performance - Product Comparison

So how does the 343 stack up against similar RAID 5 products? Actually, not badly. The 343 was included in the comparison group for the Thecus N3200 review that I recently posted. And it turns out that the same grouping still holds for this review: the N3200, Qnap TS-409 Pro [reviewed] and Synology CS-407 [reviewed].

Figure 9 is a comparison of RAID 5 write performance with a 4k jumbo frame gigabit LAN connection. The 343 cruises steadily along, ranking last at the smaller two filesizes, but first at the largest two filesizes.

Competitive comparison - RAID 5 write, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

Figure 9: Competitive comparison - RAID 5 write, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

So we'll have to turn to the average write performance rankings (Figure 10), where you can see that the four products are very similar in performance for large file sizes.

Average large filesize throughput - RAID 5 write, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

Figure 10: Average large filesize throughput - RAID 5 write, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

Switching to read performance under the same conditions for the same set of products, Figure 11 shows that it's tough to call a clear winner.

Competitive comparison - RAID 5 read, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

Figure 11: Competitive comparison - RAID 5 read, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

So, once again turning to average performance rankings (Figure 12), we see that read performance is again close. The 343 comes out on top of the group, but not by enough margin to be noticeable in actual use.

Average large filesize throughput - RAID 5 read, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

Figure 12: Average large filesize throughput - RAID 5 read, 1000 Mbps 4k jumbo LAN

Closing Thoughts

D-Link has been very successful with its DNS-323 two-drive NAS, even though it hasn't been the lowest-cost BYOD option. But price, performance, brand name and wide availability have all combined to make it a top seller.

Table 1 (borrowed from the N3200 review) shows that D-Link isn't taking the lowest-cost approach with the DNS-343 either. But the same combination of factors that has made the 323 so popular, will probably help the 343 along, too.

Product Price Range Avg. Price
Qnap TS-409 Pro $599.00 $599.00
Synology CS407 $469.99 - $687.19 $579
D-Link DNS-343 $383.88 - $497.00 $440
Thecus N3200 $385.40 $385
Table 1: Pricing summary (Source: Pricegrabber 7/29/08)

The NAS market is a lot more crowded than it was when the DNS-323 was introduced. And the 343 is essentially an almost two year old design—an eternity in consumer electronics. So the 343 doesn't have the same clear advantages as the 323 had when it hit the market.

Performance is actually still competitive. But I would liked to have seen D-Link advance the ball a bit further with the 343, particularly in terms of more robust (and automatic) RAID recovery, logging and maybe on on-line access / backup option.

Still, the DNS-343 is a good (and needed) addition to D-Link's NAS product line and will be just the thing for buyers who are looking for a good all-around RAID 5 NAS with a familar name on the box.

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