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NAS Reviews

Performance

The EX4100 was tested with 1.06.127 firmware using our Revision 5 NAS test process. The EX4100 tests used four drives configured in single RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes. All tests were run using factory-installed Western Digital Red 4 TB (WD40EFRX) drives.

It's getting harder for NASes to differentiate themselves on performance, since even lower-end SoC-based products can max out a single Gigabit Ethernet connection for large sequential file transfers. That's just what the File Copy Write / Read charts for all RAID 5 products below show.

Even though the EX4100 sits lower in the charts, keep in mind its 110 MB/s write and 106 MB/s read results are within 5% of the 110 MB/s top result. That's equal as far as I (and the NAS Ranker) am concerned!

Four drive NASes - File Copy Write (l) and File Copy Read Performance

Four drive NASes - File Copy Write (l) and File Copy Read Performance

The Benchmark Summary shows different results for the NASPT File Copy tests due to its use of a single 1.15 GB Windows backup file vs. the 4.35 GB folder of ripped DVD files. But for all intents and purposes, the EX4100 pretty much hits the limit of what a single Gigabit Ethernet port will support when moving large media files. Remember aggregating ports helps only if you use multiple clients and connect to a switch that also supports port aggregation.

WD My Cloud EX4100 Benchmark Summary

WD My Cloud EX4100 Benchmark Summary

Performance Ranking

The NAS Ranker does a better job of comparing overall performance because it takes multiple benchmarks into account. We've found sorting by ascending price helps quickly home in on the best value products.

Doing this finds the EX4100 four steps up from the Thecus N4310 least expensive RAID 5 NAS, but with the highest performance rank of #8. This makes the EX4100 the best combination of price and performance in a RAID5 NAS! You need to move five steps down to find the #7 ranked DL4100 because it currently will run you around $510; about $125 more.

RAID5 NAS Ranking

RAID5 NAS Ranking

If you're still trying to decide whether the extra $125 or so is worth it for the DL4100, the NAS Ranker Performance Summary below should help. The DL4100 ranks higher for Read performance. But looking at the throughput numbers themselves says to me it's doubful you'd see a significant difference in real world use. The EX4100 actually does better in the mixed read/write and video tests. But the DL4100 spanks the EX for USB 3.0 backup and does a bit better for iSCSI.

Ranker Performance Summary comparison

Ranker Performance Summary comparison

Closing Thoughts

While some might agonize over the choice, it's pretty clear to me that WD's EX4100 is the pick of the My Cloud litter when it comes for best price / performance in a mid-range RAID 5 NAS. Maybe that's why it's for "Experts".

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