Updated 5/13/15: Error corrections
It's hard to believe that five years (!) have passed since we last changed our NAS test process. But time marches on and so do improvements in NAS performance. The old Intel i3-based "V3/ V4" testbed actually had plenty of years left except for two things: the increasing number of NASes with 10GbE and Windows 8. So it's time retire ol' "V3 / V4" and bring on the SmallNetBuilder V5 NAS Testbed.
Although we are changing hardware, we're not changing benchmarks, except to add 10GbE versions. Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) will remain our primary benchmarking tool along with Windows robocopy to run Windows FileCopies of our standard ripped-DVD test folder.
The new testbed system is an off-the-shelf Dell OptiPlex 9020 with a quad-core Intel Core i7-4770 3.40 GHz CPU running Windows 8.1 Pro. The Gigabit Ethernet port is a built-in Intel Ethernet Connection I217-LM and an Intel X540-T2 card has been added for dual 10GbE copper ports.
Disk performance doesn't affect NASPT results, but it does affect robocopy file copies. Since the V5 testbed will be testing 10GbE NASes we don't want disk performance standing in the way. After considering SSDs, we instead decided to make use of the Dell's 8 GB of RAM and turn part of it into a ramdisk using SoftPerfect's RAM Disk. (Thanks to Cinevate's Dennis Wood for doing the research and suggesting SoftPerfect.)
The V5 NAS Testbed machine summarized in Table 1 is capable of testing NASes with file transfer performance up to the 1.25 GB/s limit of its 10 Gigabit Ethernet port.
|System||Dell Optiplex 9020 Small Form Factor (SFF)|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-4770 @ 3.40GHz|
|RAM||8 GB DDR3|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracude Desktop 6 Gb/s 1 TB (ST1000DM003)|
|Gigabit Ethernet||Intel Ethernet Connection I217-LM (built-in)|
|10G Ethernet||Intel X540-T2|
|OS||Windows 8.1 Pro|
Table 1: NAS Testbed V3 configuration
Figures 1 and 2 show HD Tune write and read benchmark results for the RAM disk used only for Windows File Copy tests.
HD Tune write benchmark - Testbed RAM disk
Since the 10GbE interface tops out at 1250 MB/s, the RAM disk has more than enough performance for file copy tests.