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Performance - Competitive

For competitive comparison, I chose four other current-generation four-drive NASes near the top of the NAS Charts: the QNAP TS-439 Pro; NETGEAR ReadyNAS NVX, Synology DS409 and Seagate BlackArmor 440.

Figure 14 shows the RAID 5 write comparison, where the ix4 ranks at the bottom of the pack, virtually tied with the Seagate BlackArmor and close to the DS409 in the low to mid 20 MB/s range.

Competitive comparison - RAID 5 write

Figure 14: Competitive comparison - RAID 5 write

Figure 15 shows the RAID 5 read comparison, which has a wider spread. This time the Seagate takes the bottom slot in the low 30 MB/s range, followed by the ix4 for the larger file sizes with about 40 MB/s throughput. The performance ranking pretty much follows the processors used, ranging from the Intel Tolapai in the NVX, Intel Atom N270 in the QNAP and 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood in the Synology, Iomega and Seagate.

Competitive comparison - RAID 5 read

Figure 15: Competitive comparison - RAID 5 read

Performance - File Copy

The Vista SP1 1000 Mbps RAID 5 file copy write results in Figure 16 again show the ix4 and Seagate BlackArmor 440 near the bottom of the four-bay RAID 5 NASes we've tested at about 20 MB/s. Even the DS409 does considerably better at 31.2 MB/s.

Vista SP1 File copy - RAID 5 write

Figure 16: Vista SP1 File copy - RAID 5 write

1000 Mbps RAID 5 File Copy read results are shown in Figure 17, and the ix4 is again at the bottom and again beaten by the Synology DS409 and, surprisingly, the Seagate.

Vista SP1 File copy - RAID 5 read

Figure 17: Vista SP1 File copy - RAID 5 read

Use the NAS Charts to further explore performance.

Closing Thoughts

The ix4 is Iomega's best NAS yet, feature-wise, but its performance is lower than I would expect from a Kirkwood-based NAS. Maybe the difference is the XFS file system, or more likely some tuning in the EMC Lifeline OS.

Value-wise, however, it's a pretty good deal with pricing around $1600 street for the 8 TB model. And comparing 4 TB configurations, the ix4 at around $760 is also a much better deal than the similar-performing Seagate BlackArmor 440 at around $1000. If you want more performance, however, you'll pay more, since the QNAP TS-439 Pro goes for almost $800 and that's without drives.

The ix4's main attraction for many will be its flexible network copy features, which are rivaled only by the much more expensive NETGEAR ReadyNASes (unless you want to opt for the previous-generation Duo or NV+). To my eye, that seems to be the ix4-200d's "secret sauce".

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