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Performance

The N2200 was tested with our standard test process. I used the latest 3.00.07E firmware and ran tests in RAID 0 and 1 modes with a Gigabit LAN connection. Two Seagate Barracuda ST380815AS 7200.10 80 GB drives supplied by Thecus were used for the test.

As previously noted, a bug kept me from running tests with 4K jumbo frames enabled. Build and sync time for a RAID 1 array of two 80 GB drives took around 30 minutes or about 2.7 GB / min.

Figure 6 shows a summary of iozone benchmark results. Cache boost is moderate and doesn't exceed the 125 MB/s limit of the Gigabit LAN connection. Write speed for both RAID 0 and 1 volumes settles in around 10 MB/s at the larger file sizes and around 13.5 MB/s for read.

N2200 write benchmark comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 6: N2200 write benchmark comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN

The cache boost helped improve average RAID 1 speeds over the 32 MB to 4 GB file sizes with cached results above 125 MB/s removed from the average measuring 22.4 MB/s for write and 15.6 MB/s for read.

Results from the Vista SP1 file copy test were more in line with the higher filesize iozone benchmarks showing 12.2 MB/s for RAID 1 write and 13.8 for read. I'll just use the File Copy results for competitive ranking, too.

Figure 7, showing RAID 1 write, puts the N2200 in next-to-last place. Note that the WD My Book World Edition II "white bar", which uses the same Oxford processor does a bit better for writing.

Thecus N2200 Vista SP1 Filecopy Write - RAID 1

Figure 7: Thecus N2200 Vista SP1 Filecopy Write - RAID 1

However, Figure 8, which summarizes RAID 1 file copy read results, shows the WD with over 2X the read performance! And since this is read, cache effects aren't really at play.

Thecus N2200 Vista SP1 Filecopy Write - RAID 1

Figure 8: Thecus N2200 Vista SP1 Filecopy Read - RAID 1

So I don't know what WD's "secret sauce" is for performance. But the N2200 could sure use some.

Closing Thoughts

Thecus has made a valiant attempt at reaching a broader audience with a lower-cost offering with lots of features. The N2200's $200 street pricing is lower than Synology's recently-introduced DS210j at $230 and QNAP's "low cost" TS-210 at $265. But both the Synology and QNAP products use an 800 MHz Marvell Kirkwood, which will provide easily double the N2200's performance (look at the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220 as an example).

The N2200 has a feature set much richer than many other "home" NASes. But I think Thecus made a wrong bet that savvy NAS buyers (who are more likely to find their products since they are not on brick-and-mortar retailer's shelves) will vote for features vs. performance.

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