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NAS Reviews

QNAP TS-x20 NAS series

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR ReadyNAS 300 Series [Website]
Summary Dual-core Intel Atom based small-biz NAS family with revamped OS
Pros • Good balance of features, performance, price
• Built-in antivirus
• Cloud based replication, access, drop folder
Cons • Not the fastest for USB attached backup
• Some features not carried into new OS or require Genie Marketplace signup

Introduction

We covered the SOHO members of NETGEAR's new ReadyNAS line in the RN104 and RN102 reviews. This time, it's the mid-range, small-business focused ReadyNAS 300's. Since all members of the family run on the same hardware platform, I'm going to review the whole family at once, using the RN31441E model NETGEAR sent for review.

Each member of the ReadyNAS 300 family is powered by a 2.13 GHz Intel D2700 dual-core Atom CPU mated with 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and 4 MB of flash. Features and port complement are generally the same across the family as the table below shows. The only difference is the number of bays and the lack of status display and only one eSATA port on the two-bay 312.

All three types (2, 4 and 6 bay) are available in diskless versions and an assortment of capacities with your choice of "desktop" or "enterprise" drives; 23 versions in all.

ReadyNAS 300 family key feature table

ReadyNAS 300 family key feature table

The front panel features for the two and four bay models are shown below. Please note the combination eSATA / USB 2.0 port (AKA eSATAp) on the RN314 front panel. This is the first time I've run across this and asked NETGEAR why they included it. They said they wanted two eSATA ports to support two EDA500 expansion chassis and this was the most economical way to do it. (All 300 series models support the EDA500.)

The combo port works; I used it for backup testing. However, mating a USB connector required more care than inserting an eSATA cable.

ReadyNAS 312, 314 front panel callouts

ReadyNAS 312, 314 front panel callouts

The six-bay RN316 gets its own callout diagram to show the display and touchpad on the swing-away cover and the USB 2.0 port behind it.

ReadyNAS 316 front panel callouts

ReadyNAS 316 front panel callouts

The rear panels of the three models are arranged side-by-side below with ports called out. Note the different connector arrangements, indicating different boards in each NAS.

ReadyNAS 300 family rear panel callouts

ReadyNAS 300 family rear panel callouts

Inside

Like the RN104, I had to pretty much disassemble the entire RN314 to get to the board. But the power brick is external and so easily replaced. Fan replacement could be simpler because it is connectorized and on the removable rear panel. But to get the back panel off you need to remove both side covers, which seems an unnecessary complication.

The view below greeted me once I got the top and side covers off. I don't know why NETGEAR made the RAM module easily removable in the RN314. There is nothing in the specs that say RAM is upgradeable.

ReadyNAS 314 view of DRAM SoDIMM

ReadyNAS 314 view of DRAM SoDIMM

The board view below provides a rare glimpse at the companion chip used with the D2700 Atom CPU under the heatsink. The Intel AF82801JIB Intel I/O Controller Hub 10 (ICH10) has six SATA channels. So only the RN316 needs another device to support its six SATA drive bays and two eSATA ports.

ReadyNAS 314 board

ReadyNAS 314 board

Table 2 summarizes key components for the RN300 series.

  RN 300 series
CPU Intel D2700 Atom @ 2.13 GHz
Companion Intel AF82801JIB Intel I/O Controller Hub 10 (Intel ICH10)
RAM 2 GB DDR3
Flash 4 MB
Ethernet Intel WG82574L Gigabit Ethernet Controller (x2)
USB 3.0 NEC D720202
Table 1: Key component summary and comparison

The RN31441E model NETGEAR sent for review came with four Toshiba MG03ACA100 1 TB "enterprise" class drives. Power consumption measured 33 W with all four drives spun up. I couldn't measure power consumption with the drives spun down because idle drive spindown hasn't made it into OS 6 yet. Fan and drive noise were classified as medium-low. Drive and fan noise was audible, but not annoyingly so, in my quiet home office, with the NAS at desk height about two feet away.

Features

See the RN104 review and Craig's in-depth look at OS6. The feature set is the same across all ReadyNASes that support OS6.

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