Performance - File Copy
Vista SP1 filecopy results (Figure 10) for RAID 5 write show the N5500 in third place, behind the N7700 with 79.7 MB/s average write speed.
Figure 10: Vista SP1 File Copy - RAID 5 write
Things are more competitive for RAID 5 read, however, since the 5500's 80.5 MB/s (Figure 11), rates only 7th place. But the N5500 beat the N7700 this time.
Figure 11: Vista SP1 File Copy - RAID 5 read
Figure 12 shows the QNAP TS-509 Pro most evenly matched to the 5500, which is probably not that surprising given that the QNAP uses an Intel Celeron M @ 1.6 GHz vs. the 5500's 1.86 GHz Celeron M (and both have 1 GB of RAM).
Figure 12: Competitive write comparison - RAID 5, 1000 Mbps LAN
Figure 13 compares the RAID 5 read performance, which has more of a spread. The QNAP comes out on top this time, followed by the 5500. But the 5500's speed falls off with larger file sizes, touching the Synology DS508 curve at the 2 GB file size.
Figure 13: Competitive read comparison - RAID 5, 1000 Mbps LAN
Use the NAS Charts to further explore performance.
iSCSI & USB
I ran a quick check of the 5500's performance as an attached USB drive and as an iSCSI target. I allocated around 7 GB of space on a RAID 10 array for USB, then for iSCSI. Each time, the volume was quick formatted in NTFS and tested using the standard Vista SP1 filecopy test that copies a 4.35 GB ripped DVD test folder.
USB performance was disappointing, averaging only 11.75 MB/s for write and 13.6 MB/s for read.
iSCSI target performance was much better, averaging 80.9 MB/s for write and 82 MB/s for read.
I think that the 5500 will probably end the N5200 Pro's long reign as Thecus' go-to entry-level "Enterprise" NAS. But with an MSRP of $869 and only one vendor stocking it at $899, it doesn't seem that good a deal vs. the N7700, which can be picked up for as low as $849 as I write this. I think Thecus may need to tweak the pricing a bit...and I don't mean by raising the N7700!
The new GUI is definitely a step in the right direction, but there is still plenty more work to do to make it more appealing and user-friendly. Online help would definitely be a good addition. And the feature set needs completing, especially the backup features.
But if you've been a N5200 Pro fan (or even if you haven't) and looking to move up to a faster 5 bay NAS, the N5500 is worth a look, especially if you need multi-volume flexibility.