Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

NAS Reviews

Performance

IOzone was used to test the FlexNet's performance (the full testing setup and methodology are described on this page). The test unit had the latest 1.4T3 firmware and was tested with a 100 Mbps LAN connection.

The FlexNet won't win any speed awards. In fact, it ranks third from the bottom in the 100 Mbps Write NAS Chart for single-drive NASes with average speed of 2.8 MB/s for filesizes 32 MB to 1 GB. It does a bit better for read, averaging 5.8 MB/s over the same file sizes, placing it in the bottom half of the rankings.

Since I could only run a single read and write benchmark, I'll skip right to the competitive comparison, choosing the LaCie Ethernet Disk mini (V2). Figure 10 shows the write comparison along with a 100 Mbps Ethernet reference line. The LaCie averages 7.6 MB/s over the "large" filesizes vs. the FlexNet's 2.8 MB/s.

Write performance comparision - 100 Mbps LAN

Figure 10: Write performance comparision - 100 Mbps LAN

Figure 11 shows the read comparison, where the LaCie once again beats the FlexNet, averaging 8.4 MB/s. This isn't really surprising, given the mini's more powerful Marvell Orion processor and 64 MB of RAM.

Read performance comparision - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 11: Read performance comparision - 100 Mbps LAN

Since you're probably wondering whether the FlexNet's USB-connected performance is any better, I just happen to have some data for you.

Figure 12 shows the FlexNet's 100 Mbps LAN write curve plotted along with its USB-connected performance. I also included data for a old Maxtor One-Touch 160 GB USB drive that I had in the SmallNetBuilder closet. The Maxtor drive does better than the Buffalo, averaging 17.7 MB/s vs. the FlexNet's 15.2 MB/s across 32 MB to 1 GB file sizes.

Write performance comparision - USB
Click to enlarge image

Figure 12: Write performance comparision - USB

Figure 13 shows the read results, with the FlexNet actually doing better than the OneTouch at almost 29 MB/s vs. the Maxtor's 20 MB/s, after caching effects drop out at the 256 MB and larger file sizes.

Read performance comparision - USB
Click to enlarge image

Figure 13: Read performance comparision - USB

Closing Thoughts

It's clear that Buffalo isn't trying to position the FlexNet as a full-fledged NAS. It simply doesn't have either the features or performance. It is more an alternative to the lesser-known dual-mode drive enclosures, like the discontinued CoolMax CN-570 or its CN-590 replacement.

Pricewise, the FlexNet at $123 (lowest Pricegrabber price as I write this) is between rolling your own (CoolMax CN-590 + WD5000AAKS drive = $104) and the LaCie Ethernet Disk mini v2 at $140.

But both the CoolMax and LaCie mini provide more features than the FlexNet and the LaCie definitely has better LAN performance as well as a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, too. On the downside, I had to wrestle with the LaCie to get it working over its LAN connection, but perhaps they have fixed that with a firmware update by now.

If you're more comfortable buying from a "name" brand, want something that just plugs in and works, aren't looking for speedy transfers and would like the flexbility of being able to occasionally park an external USB drive on your LAN, then the FlexNet will suit you well.

More NAS

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

I had to cascade an Asus RT-AC68U to the DGA 4131 of Fastweb.Now I would like to replace them with a DSL always Asus and I would like to know accordin...
Ever since I started using my 86u (be it official or asus Merlin FW) my Android phones are being kept awake due to high wifi wakelocks confirmed by us...
Hello We were planning to run tinyproxy via entware on the AC87U, however the package is outdated (1.8.3) and does not support basicAuth. Releases fro...
I want an extra layer of online protection and next-level online anonymity that is why I was looking for the best dedicated IP VPN service. During res...
N66U: bl_version 1.0.1.9Not sure what the proper way to check is, but it looks like I've got 64K of nvram - Code: nvram show 2> /dev/null | wc -c6551...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3