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Router Charts

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Mesh Charts

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Performance

I tested the 4500 in JBOD and RAID 5 modes with 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps and 1000 Mbps w/ 4k jumbo frame LAN connections using our iozone-based test procedure. The 4500 usually, but not always, significantly exceeded the N5200's throughput. Table 1 shows a sampling of average throughput results for large filesizes with a gigabit LAN connection.

Test Thecus
1U4500
Thecus
N5200
RAID 5 Write 35.5 34.5
RAID 5 Write - 4k jumbo 37.4 35.1
RAID 5 Read 36.1 31.8
RAID 5 Read - 4k jumbo 33.8 32.9
Table 1: Average Throughput - Large filesizes

NOTES:

  • Firmware version tested was 1.00.02
  • Tests were performed with four Western Digital WD3200KS drives supplied by Thecus
  • The full testing setup and methodology are described on this page
  • To ensure connection at the intended speeds, the iozone test machine and NAS under test were manually moved between a NETGEAR GS108 10/100/1000Mbps switch for gigabit-speed testing and a 10/100 switch for 100 Mbps testing.

I used the NAS Charts to plot the throughput vs. filesize comparison plots shown in Figures 7 and 8. Figure 7 shows both the 4500 and 5200 besting the Linksys NSS4000 for RAID 5 writes with a gigabit 4k jumbo frame LAN connection and the 4500 also beating the 5200.

Gigabit 4K Jumbo Write performance comparison

Figure 7: Gigabit 4K Jumbo Write performance comparison

Figure 8 shows a more interesting picture for RAID 5 reads. The 4500 doesn't beat the other products until the 256 MB file size and then drops close to the 5200's performance for 512 MB and 1 GB file sizes.

Gigabit 4K Jumbo Read performance comparison

Figure 8: Gigabit 4K Jumbo Read performance comparison

The upshot is that the 4500 has a performance edge over the 5200 and most other RAID 5 NASes tested to date. But depending on your mix of file sizes, you might not see much of a difference between the two in typical use.

Closing Thoughts

Thecus continues to expand its product line, keeping its primary focus on throughput. The 1U4500 seems to provide a good value proposition over its rackmount competition with its BYOD approach and optional integrated redundant power supply.

But while it seems to have made some strides in firmware, its user interface is still unsophisticated compared to say, the Linksys NSS4000 or Infrant 1100. And some of the comments posted over in the N5200 review about Thecus service and reliability don't exactly inspire buyer confidence.

The bottom line for the 1U4500 is basically the same as for the N5200, with slightly improved performance. It's a hell of a fast NAS with a decent feature set. But the risk of dealing with a still relatively-unknown supplier with a small U.S. service and distribution structure may steer business buyers toward more well-known brands.

Check out the slideshow Be sure to see the slideshow for an admin interface tour.

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