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Performance

I put the MBW White Bar through our new test process after upgrading it to 01.00.10 firmware. Upgrading was painless, by the way, done entirely in the browser without having to first download a file, then upload it to execute the upgrade. Tests were run with 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps and 1000 Mbps with 4k jumbo LAN connections.

Continuing with my resolution to test NAS backup, I connected the Iomega UltraMax Pro Desktop Hard Drive configured in RAID 0 for maximum performance. I then copied the 4.35 GB ripped DVD test folder that I use in the NAS Chart Vista SP1 file copy tests to one of the MBW's shares.

I should say that I copied the test folder after first trying unsuccessfully to format the drive using the format feature (Figure 8, left icon, right is safely remove drive). You don't get a choice of formats, but the User Guide says "When formatting a USB hard drive, only one partition is created and the partition is formatted as FAT32". This means that you are stuck with a file size limit of 4 GB if you let the MBW do the formatting.

USB drive format failure

Figure 8: USB drive format failure

However, after multiple formatting failures, I gave up on having the MBW format the drive and instead formatted it with NTFS using a Windows XP SP3 system. I suspected, however, that the NTFS format would result in abysmally slow backup performance and I was right—1.47 MB/s in my test. I suspect that formatting with HFS+ would yield the best performance and even FAT32 would be faster. But I didn't test either of these since I didn't have HFS+ or large-drive FAT32 formatting capability handy.

Figure 9 presents a summary of the benchmark tests run for the MBW White Bar, with only the 1000 Mbps and 1000 Mbps + 4K jumbo frame results plotted. Cache effects are evident for write file sizes below 256 MB. Once you hit 512 MB file sizes and higher, however, there is no boost due to jumbo frames and read speeds run about 2X write.

Performance benchmark summary

Figure 9: Performance benchmark summary

Write performance averaged over the 32 MB to 4 GB file sizes comes in at 70.2 and 110 MB/s for 1000 Mbps and 1000 Mbps + 4K jumbo connections respectively, results that are obviously influenced by the cache effects mentioned above.

Read speeds averaged a more realistic 35.2 and 34.9 MB/s for 1000 Mbps and 1000 Mbps + 4K jumbo connections. This ranks the MWB White Bar in the #2 slot for 1000 Mbps read when you filter the NAS Chart for just single drive NASes.

The MBW White Bar didn't do as well for writes in the Vista SP1 filecopy testing, measuring only 12.8 MB/s, which is closer to the iozone results for larger file sizes. Read speed was better, however, at 31.5 MB/s.

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