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NAS Reviews

Performance

The N4800 was tested with 2.01.05 firmware using our NAS test process. Actually, it was tested twice. After I finished the intial run and posted the results in the NAS Charts, Thecus contacted me to request a retest. It seems that my review sample was an early production unit and had an old BIOS (CDV_T22 X64, to be exact).

Since the new BIOS (CDV_T24 X64), which Thecus said is on all regular production N4800's, was supposed to have much-improved performance, I agreed, updated the BIOS using instructions from Thecus, retested and updated the NAS Charts data, which is found below.

Again, Thecus assured me that all customer units have the proper BIOS. But if you want to check, you just need to

  1. Start with the N4800 powered off
  2. Plug a display and USB keyboard into the N4800 back panel
  3. Power up the N4800
  4. When you see the boot screen, press F2 to enter the BIOS.
  5. Navigate to MAIN->SYSTEM INFORMATION->BIOS VERISON
  6. Verify that the BIOS version is CDV_T24 X64

If your BIOS version reads CDV_T24 X64, just contact Thecus support and they will take it from there to make it right.

The Benchmark summary (Figure 6) shows pretty consistent Windows File Copy performance for RAID 0, 5 and 10 modes. RAID 0 write shows the highest results at 106 MB/s, with 96 and 100 MB/s for RAID 5 and 10, respectively. File Copy read is more consistent at 97, 95 and 94 MB/s for RAID 0, 5 and 10, respectively.

NASPT File copy results are higher than their Windows File Copy counterparts for write (125, 117, 116 MB/s) , but lower for read (84, 87, 89 MB/s) for RAID 0, 5 and 10.

N4800 NAS Benchmark summary
Figure 6: N4800 NAS Benchmark summary

iSCSI target write performance to target created on a RAID 5 volume came in at 91 MB/s, with read lower at a still-respectable 79 MB/s.

I downloaded and installed Thecus' USB / eSATA Schedule Backup module to run backup tests with our standard Iomega UltraMax Pro Desktop Hard Drive for USB 2.0 and eSATA connections. Unlike my previous experience with the N4200, I had no problem connecting a WD MyBook 3.0 to run USB 3.0 backup tests.

Since Thecus doesn't provide a way to format external drives, I was able to test only FAT and NTFS backup formats. Best backup throughput of 41 MB/s was obtained with FAT format and eSATA connection. Fastest USB 3.0 backup was only 37 MB/s to the FAT-formatted WD drive.

Rsync backup to the NAS Testbed running DeltaCopy acting as an rsync target came in at 38 MB/s.

For a competitive look, I ran RAID 5 File Copy charts filtered for four-drive NASes. The write comparison in Figure 7 shows the N4800 only a bit better than the D525 Atom-based Thecus N4200PRO. The other similarly performing NASes (QNAP TS-459 Pro+, Synology DS411+) are also use the dual-core D525 Atom.

RAID 5 Filecopy - write - four bay NASes only
Figure 7: RAID 5 Filecopy - write - four bay NASes only

There is a bit more spread for RAID 5 File Copy Read, but again, the N4800 is right in the thick of other dual-core Atom NASes.

RAID 5 Filecopy - read - four bay NASes only
Figure 8: RAID 5 Filecopy - read - four bay NASes only

Use the NAS Charts to further explore performance.

Closing Thoughts

At least from this first look at an Intel D2700 based NAS, there doesn't seem to be a significant performance difference from older D525-based competitors, including Thecus' own N4200PRO. If you can do without the N4800's USB 3.0 and HDMI ports, the N4200PRO will save you at least $100. Either way, you'll be getting a NAS that's among the top-performing four-bay NASes that you can buy today.

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