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Features

The 4020's feature set is virtually identical to that of the LaCie and Intel versions, which have already been covered in detail. If you compare Figure 5 to the LaCie EDR's home page, you can see the strong family resemblance. But if you'd still like to step through the admin screens, you can use the online emulator that freedom9 provides.

Home page

Figure 5: Home page

One important difference that the 4020 has is that since you provide your own drives, you'll be prompted to load the OS from an installation CD upon first boot. The process went without a hitch, however, and I was stepping through the setup wizard in no time.

Performance

The 4020 was tested 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. I used the NAS Chart Performance vs. Filesize tool to generate a few sample plots comparing the 4020 and LaCie EDR. I didn't include data for the Intel SS4000-E because it was tested using a different test procedure.

NOTES:

  • Firmware version tested was fs-ns04-1.2-b625
  • Drives used were four Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250820AS 250 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s provided by freedom9.
  • 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.
Test freeStor 4020 LaCie EDR
RAID 5 Write 5.9 5.6
RAID 5 Read 18.8 15.8
RAID 5 Write - 4k jumbo 7.7 7.9
RAID 5 Read - 4k jumbo 19.5 14.3
Table 1: Average Throughput - Large filesize, 1000 Mbps LAN

Table 1 shows average RAID 5 write speeds with a gigabit LAN connection for both the 4020 and LaCie EDR below 6 MB/s—slow enough to place them near the bottom of our charts. Average read speeds are better, but again near the bottom of the charts for both products.

Gigabit Write performance comparison
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: Gigabit Write performance comparison

Figures 6 and 7 show very similar performance vs. filesize characteristics for both the 4020 and LaCie EDR. But the 4020 appears to have a slight performance edge, probably because of its processor being clocked at 600 MHz vs. the LaCie's 400 MHz. Both NASes, however, rank toward the bottom of the charts, even with small file sizes.

Gigabit Read performance comparison
Click to enlarge image

Figure 7: Gigabit Read performance comparison

Conclusion

The only thing that the freeStor 4020 has going for it compared to its LaCie sibling is that you provide the drives (Intel's NAS is also BYOD.) This lets you control cost and also has the benefits of your being able to bring a completely dead product back to life by reloading the OS and not paying through the nose for "factory approved" replacement drives. Unfortunately, you still have a relatively low performance NAS with no media services and limited backup features. All things considered, there are many better choices out there.

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