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NAS Reviews

Performance

Performance tests were run using our Revision 5 NAS test process on four-drive unencrypted RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes using four WD Red 3 TB (WD30EFRX) drives with a 1 Gbps LAN connection. The firmware installed was OS6.build_809.

A glance at the Benchmark Summary below shows a good deal of variation in large file copy performance for depending on RAID level, data direction (write / read) and benchmark. Slowest performance of 50 MB/s was measured for NASPT RAID 5 write, while 100+ MB/s results were obtained with RAID 10 Windows File Copy read, RAID 10 NASPT File Copy To NAS (write) and RAID 0 NASPT File Copy to NAS.

Once you start copying directories of mixed-size files, throughput drops to the 5 MB/s range, no matter which RAID level used. The main take-away from the results is that the N4310 struggles to keep up with the CPU load of RAID 5 parity calculations. So you'd be better off running RAID10 if you're looking for best performance from a four-drive array.

Thecus N4310 Benchmark Summary

ASUSTOR AS7004T Benchmark Summary

Attached backup tests yielded disappointing results. With performance ranging from 13 MB/s (FAT) to 19 MB/s (EXT3), the N4310 ended up at or near the bottom of the charts for four-bay attached storage backup results. In fact, those results are actually slower than many four-bay NASes turned in for USB 2.0 attached backup.

At 43 MB/s, the N4310 network (rsync) backup is right in the middle of the pack. Network backup speeds range from 36 MB/s to 83MB/s for four-bay NASes tested using the same methodology. Similarly, iSCSI performance was disappointing. The 44 MB/s iSCSI write and the 72 MB/s read results landed the N4310 in ninth out of tenth place for both tests. But at least you get iSCSI, which is not supported in the N2310.

Comparative Performance - Four Bay

To compare four bay NASes, I used the NAS Ranker and filtered for four drives and current ("black bar") testing methodology. The filtered results yielded 10 products with the N4310 holding down the #10 spot for Total NAS ranking. That's not too surprising, since the N4310 is the cheapest four bay NAS. If you further tighten the filter for SoC-1 class (single core SoC) products, the list drops to two products. The other product is the Seagate NAS that was in ninth place on the results shown below.

Four-bay Total NAS rankings using "Black Bar" testing filter

Four-bay Total NAS rankings using "Black Bar" testing filter

If you sort the results by price, you'll see the N4310 is the cheapest, followed by the two ASUSTOR NASes included in the key component summary. If you remove the test version filter, there are six NASes that fall between the N4310 and the ASUSTOR AS-304T. Note that those six products were tested with a previous testing method, so results can't be directly compared.

For detailed performance comparisons, I included the three least expensive four-bay NASes filtered by the latest test method. The chart below shows individual test results and category rankings for these three products. The performance summaries show rankings for all products tested (88 products), not just filtered results.

As you can see, the N4310 trailed in category rankings for all categories. While the N4310 trailed in all categories, there are some individual benchmarks where it surpassed both of the ASUSTOR NASes. If you dig into the details, you'll see that on individual write and read benchmarks, the N4310 performed quite well - especially on some of the RAID 10 file copy operations. And, it's important to note that the speeds measured are directly comparable since the same testing methodology was used for all three.

NAS ranker performance summary for the least expensive 4-bay NASes filtered by test method

NAS ranker performance summary for the top three Total NAS 4-bay products

Closing Thoughts

As with the Thecus N2310, the APM86491 SoC appears to provide the N4310 with decent performance at a low cost. The N2310, as noted, is the least expensive two-bay NAS and the N4310 wears the same crown for four-bay NASes we have reviewed. Yet on some benchmarks, both units turned in throughput in excess of 100 MB/s!

The bottom line for the Thecus N4310 is the same as for the N2310. It provides a lot of bang for the buck and deserves a look if your budget is tight and capacity needs are larger than can be met with a two-bay NAS.

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