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NAS Reviews

Performance

I tested the px62-300d with latest 3.3.4.29754 firmware, using our NAS test process to run tests with RAID 0 and 1 volumes.

Windows File Copy tests in the Benchmark Summary below show read throughput somewhat higher than write. There isn't much difference between RAID 0 and 1 for write (79 vs. 77 MB/s). But RAID 1 read came in 8 MB/s higher than RAID 0 (94 vs. 86 MB/s).

Intel NASPT File Copy writes for RAID 0 and 1 both exceeded 100 MB/s (111 and 114 MB/s). But NASPT File Copy reads were a bit lower than Windows file copy at 72 and 74 MB/s for RAID 0 and 1, respectively.

px2-300d Benchmark Summary

px2-300d Benchmark Summary

iSCSI write throughput of 102 MB/s ranked the px2-300d in the #2 spot of all NASes tested, even those with more powerful Intel processors, like the i3-based QNAP TS-1079 Pro. I supposed I shouldn't have been surprised, since its px6-300d six-drive sibling ranked right below it with 100 MB/s. iSCSI read ranking was closer to mid-chart at 75 MB/s.

Attached backup tests were run with USB 2.0 and 3.0 connections. There is no built-in formatter, so I could run only FAT32 and NTFS formatted tests. As the summary above shows, backup with the USB 3.0 connection for both formats was fastest at 74 MB/s. Note that backup performance may be over or understated because the timestamps taken from the Iomega log that are used in the calculation have only one minute resolution vs. 0.01 second resolution in most other products.

I was not able to run Rsync backup to the NAS testbed running Delta Copy because I kept getting authentication errors. Note that rsync authentication currently supports only rsync as a username.

Performance - Comparative

To put the px2-300d's performance in perspective, I created a set of custom RAID 1 performance charts using the NAS Finder, filtered for dual-core Atom processors and two-bay products. The edited screenshot from the NAS Finder shows the four products that came up. Yes, most of the products are pretty old!

Dual-bay dual-core Intel powered NASes

Dual-bay dual-core Intel powered NASes

The plot composite below shows Windows and NASPT RAID 1 file copy write and read results for this select group of NASes. The px2 generally does pretty well. Its weakest spot in these benchmarks is NASPT file copy read, coming in at 74 MB/s, 20 MB/s lower than the chart-topping QNAP TS-269 Pro.

RAID 1 file copy performance comparison

RAID 1 file copy performance comparison

I also compared NASPT directory copy performance for this group of products. I have to say I'm surprised to see the Iomega rank at the top of the group for read.

RAID 1 NASPT directory copy performance comparison

RAID 1 NASPT directory copy performance comparison

Due to popular demand, I'm continuing to check the performance hit for encryption. I created a test folder on a RAID 1 volume and ran our standard benchmark suite using the folder as a mapped drive. The results are summarized in Table 2 below and, as expected, show a pretty big hit in most cases.

  Normal Encrypt % Diff
FileCopyToNAS 114.2 58.2 -49
FileCopyFromNAS 73.7 25.8 -65
DirectoryCopyToNAS 14.2 14.1 -1
DirectoryCopyFromNAS 20.8 11.9 -43
ContentCreation 12.1 5.0 -59
OfficeProductivity 49.0 44.8 -9
HDVideo_1Play_1Record 91.9 39.8 -57
HDVideo_4Play 87.8 25.6 -71
       
Win File Copy Write 76.7 32.0 -58
Win File Copy Read 94.2 26.1 -72
Table 2: Encrypted folder performance comparison

For one final comparison, I pulled the RAID 0 results for the px2 and px6 into Table 3 and calculated the % performance difference. Keep in mind, that the px6 tests were done with four drives and the px2 with two. The results clearly show that Iomega seems to have found the switch to kick its performance up closer to that of its competitors.

  px2-300d px6-300d % Diff
FileCopyToNAS 114.2 97.1 +18
FileCopyFromNAS 73.7 67.2 +10
DirectoryCopyToNAS 14.2 5.7 +49
DirectoryCopyFromNAS 20.8 19.1 +9
ContentCreation 12.1 10.5 +15
OfficeProductivity 49.0 46.1 +6
HDVideo_1Play_1Record 91.9 71.3 +29
HDVideo_4Play 87.8 87.4 0
       
Win File Copy Write 76.7 54.3 +41
Win File Copy Read 94.2 78.2 +20
Table 3: RAID 0 performance comparison

Use the NAS Charts to further explore and compare the px2-300d's performance

Closing Thoughts

I think the day is dawning where Iomega will no longer have to apologize for the performance of its Atom-based NASes. Our tests show that the px2-300d has a clear performance advantage over its six-drive sibling, which is built on essentially the same D525 Intel Atom-based platform. Perhaps it's the switch in filesystems from XFS to EXT4, I don't know. Although whatever changes Iomega has made don't put it at the top of all our benchmark charts yet, performance is clearly going in the right direction!

The improved performance is a welcome change and more likely to make me recommend that folks considering QNAP / Synology / Thecus products take a closer look at Iomega. At a tad above $400 for its diskless model (36069), the px2-300d is almost $200 cheaper than QNAP's TS-269 PRO. And if you're buying before the end of this year, you can save an additional $100 buying from Buy.com or PC Connection and $50 buying from Amazon. So if you're in the market for a high-performance, Atom-based RAID 1 NAS, you should take a closer look at Iomega's px2-300d.

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