|At a Glance|
|Product||Seagate NAS Pro family [Website]|
|Summary||Two, four and six-bay dual-core Intel Atom Silvermont desktop NASes with bundled and optional add-in apps.|
|Pros||• Rsync, FTP, SMB and WebDav backup
• Installable apps
• Supports many service types
• Mid-range performance at value pricing
|Cons||• Could not back up to our USB test drive|
A few months back, we reviewed Seagate’s NAS 2-bay and NAS 4-bay. Both products are powered by a Marvell ARMADA 370 running at 1.2 GHz with 512 MB of RAM and offered good value – especially in the diskless versions.
This review will focus on the Seagate NAS Pro product line of two, four and six bay NASes. Each model is offered in both diskless and diskful configurations shown in Table 1, using various combinations of 2, 4 and 5 TB disks that provide storage from 2 TB up to 30 TB.
|NAS Pro 2-bay||Diskless||2TB||4TB||8TB||10TB|
|NAS Pro 4-bay||Diskless||4TB||8TB||16TB||20TB|
|NAS Pro 6-bay||Diskless||6TB||12TB||24TB||30TB|
Table 1: Seagate NAS Pro models
Only two models have one storage configuration that yields the same amount of raw storage. There is an 8 TB configuration for both the 2-bay model (2X4TB) priced at $699.99 and for the 4-bay model (4X2TB) priced at $899.99. Of course if you want fault tolerance, the 2-bay NAS will only yield 4 TB of fault tolerant storage using a RAID 1 configuration. The 4-bay model will yield ~ 6TB of fault tolerant storage using RAID 5.
The NAS Pro 2-bay shown in the callouts below looks very similar to the “Non-Pro” NAS. The 2-bay Pro model lacks an LCD panel, so, like the 2-bay Seagate NAS, status is conveyed using multi-colored LEDs and two backlit buttons. The 2-bay NAS also lacks the 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports found on the 2-bay NAS Pro. Each model in the NAS Pro family also has a USB 2.0 port on the rear panel to supplement the two USB 3 ports found on all Seagate NAS and NAS Pro products.
Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay callouts
Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay callouts
For both the 4-bay and the 6-bay NAS Pro products, it looks like the front panel callout for #1 was just picked up from another model. #1 actually points to scrolling buttons to control the menus displayed on the LCD Panel.
Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay callouts
As noted above, the NAS Pro 2-bay lacks an LCD panel, so you’ll still need to keep the LED status chart handy. The 4-bay and 6-bay NAS Pros have an LCD panel, but much of the status information is still displayed using LEDs.
Seagate NAS Pro LED status summary
The table below, also taken from the hardware manual, shows the menu for the LCD panel found on the 4-bay and 6-bay NAS Pros.
Seagate NAS Pro (4 & 6 bay models) LCD Menu
Compared to the entry-level “NAS” product line, Seagate has significantly beefed up the hardware for the NAS Pro family of NASes. Each of the models is powered by an Intel Atom C2338 dual core CPU running at 1.74 GHz and is equipped with 2 GB of DDR3 SoDIMM memory. Each has one USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports.
The image below shows the top side of the main PCB for the Seagate NAS Pro. As you can see, the CPU is covered by a heat sink.
Seagate NAS Pro main PCB top
The bottom of the main PCB shows the SoDIMM memory slot. Seagate said that memory is not user upgradable.
Seagate NAS Pro main PCB bottom
The key components for the NAS Pros as well as for the 2 and 4-bay Seagate NASes are summarized in Table 2 below.
|Seagate NAS Pro||Seagate NAS-2||Seagate NAS-4|
|CPU||Intel Atom C2338 (2C/2T Silvermont x86 Cores @ 1.74 GHz)||Marvell ARMADA 370 @ 1.2 GHz||Marvell ARMADA 370 @ 1.2 GHz|
|RAM||2 GB DDR3 SoDIMM||512 MB DDR3||512 MB DDR3|
|Flash||256 MB||128 MB||128 MB|
|Ethernet||Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet Controller (x2)||Marvell 88E1518 (x1)||Marvell 88E1518 (x2)|
|SATA||In CPU (for up to 6 drives)||None||Marvell 88E9170 PCIe-to-SATA dual host controller|
|USB 3.0||USB 3.0: Asmedia ASM1042A PCIe dual USB 3.0 host controller||Asmedia ASM1042A PCIe dual USB 3.0||Asmedia ASM1042A|
Table 2: Key component summary
The test unit provided was a 24 TB NAS Pro (6X4TB). The drives were 4 TB Seagate NAS (ST4000VN000). Power consumption with drives active was as follows:
- 6 drives – 53W
- 4 drives – 38W
- 2 drives – 23 W
We were not able to measure power with drives spun down because the idle drive power save feature didn’t work.
RAID 5 build time was 11hr and 25 minutes for a 4 X 4TB volume. That’s significantly faster than the 25 hours and 10 minutes that we experienced for a 4 X 4TB RAID volume build on the Marvell-based models.
All of the NAS Pro NASes run on the same Seagate NAS OS 4, so you’ll find the same feature set and UI described in the Seagate NAS Family review.
Performance tests were run using our Revision 5 NAS test process on four-drive unencrypted RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes using Seagate NAS HDD 4 TB (ST4000VN000) drives with a 1 Gbps LAN connection. The firmware installed was 188.8.131.52 which was auto updated on the first boot.
Since all of the products in the NAS Pro family use the same processor, RAM and Ethernet components, testing for all models was performed on the NAS Pro 6-bay sample. The results for the NAS Pro 4-bay used four drives configured in single RAID 0, 5 and 10 Volumes. The NAS Pro 2-bay tests used two drives in single RAID 0 and RAID 1 volumes. For the purposes of the charts, the NAS Pro 4-bay test results were copied into the benchmark tables for the NAS Pro 6-bay results.
The Benchmark Summary for the Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay NAS shows relatively consistent Windows File Copy read and write results for all RAID levels tested (RAID 0, 5, and 10). For each RAID level, file copy write performance just slightly edged out file copy read performance with the exception of RAID 10. While the RAID 10 File copy write performance was in line with other RAID level write performance at about 109 MBps, RAID 10 File copy read performance lagged behind at 94.6 MBps.
NASPT file copy to NAS (Write) and file copy from NAS (Read) showed similar results with write performance outpacing read performance for each RAID level. The best NASPT write performance was 117.6 MBps for RAID 0 followed by RAID 5 at 114.0 MBps and RAID 10 at 109.6 MBps. There was more of a spread on the NASPT read performance with RAID 0 achieving 103.8 MBps, RAID 5 at 97.8 MBps. The poorest read performance was for RAID 10 at 76.7 MBps.
Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay (and 6-bay) Benchmark Summary
For the NAS Pro 2-bay tests, Windows File Copy write and read were similar to the 4-bay results. For RAID 0, write outperformed read 107.1, MBps vs. 100.4 MBps. Similarly, RAID 1 results favored write (106.6 MBps) or read (94.1 MBps). As with the RAID 10 results for the 4-bay NASPT file copy to NAS (Write) and file copy from NAS (Read) rests, write outperformed read by a wider margin.
For RAID 0
- NASPT File copy to NAS: 109.2 MBps
- NASPT File copy from NAS: 78.4 MBps
For RAID 1, the imbalance between write and read was even larger.
- NASPT File copy to NAS: 114.3 MBps
- NASPT File copy from NAS: 62.2 MBps
Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay Benchmark Summary
Attached backup tests with 4 drives and with 2 drives yielded different, but similar results. For all tests except for USB FAT tests, the 4 drive configuration outperformed the 2 drive configuration. For both configurations, of course, there was a clear performance boost using USB 3.0 versus USB 2.0. Table 3 summarizes attached backup results:
|Benchmark||NAS Pro 2-bay||NAS Pro 4-bay|
|Backup to USB Drive – FAT||35.2||34.6|
|Backup to USB Drive – NTFS||28.4||31.0|
|Backup to USB3 Drive – FAT||70.9||74.4|
|Backup to USB3 Drive – NTFS||67.6||77.0|
Table 3: Attached backup throughput (MB/s)
I should note that we had to use a WD Passport USB 3.0 drive for the attached backup tests. Despite multiple attempts, the NAS Pro would not complete a backup to our standard USB test drive consisting of a Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (SATDOCKU3SEF) containing a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive. The drive would mount fine, but would fail at the start of each backup before any files were copied.
With iSCSI write speeds of 73.8 MBps (2 drive) and 71.6 MBps (4 drive), the Seagate NAS Pro NASes rank about in the middle of iSCSI write performance which ranges from 26.1 MBps (QNAP Turbo NAS TS-412) to 107.0 MBps (ASUSTOR NAS Server AS7004T).
With even faster iSCSI read speeds of 84.5 MBps (2-drive) and 94.1 MBps (4-drive), the NAS Pro NASes moved up higher the comparative charts. The fastest iSCSI read times were turned in by the ASUSTOR AS7004T at 101.3MBps, and the slowest read times were for the QNAP Turbo NAS (TS-220) at 35.6 MBps.
Comparative Performance – Six Bay
Looking at the NAS Ranker filtered for 6 bay NASes, you’ll see that there aren’t really too many products in this category – 7 to be exact. With a diskless price of $650, the Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay ranks #5 in the Total NAS ranking, but there are no other less expensive 6-bay NASes that are ranked any higher. The next most expensive 6-bay product is the $899 QNAP TS-653 Pro Turbo NAS. For 6 bay NASes, it looks like the Seagate Pro 6-bay holds the sweet spot on value.
NAS Ranker for 6 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking
Comparative Performance – Four Bay
There’s a lot of competition in the 4-bay NAS market. Using the NAS ranker, I filtered for four drives and sorted in ascending price. The Seagate NAS Pro diskless model sells for $500, and that lands it as #12 least expensive NAS. However, looking at 4-bay NASes with ranking based on Total NAS score, you can see that Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay ranks #8.
Looking at the chart, you can see that there are two other 4-bay NASes with lower (better) Total NAS rankings than the Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay NAS. Those two products are the #7 ranked $471 QNAP TS 451 Turbo NAS and the #5 ranked $498 QNAP TS-469L Turbo NAS.
NAS Ranker for 4 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking
Since there are a couple of NASes that are relatively close in price to the NAS Pro 4-bay, I thought it would be interesting to look at a comparison of the Ranker Performance summaries for both the Seagate NAS Pro and the QNAP TS-469, which is virtually the same price. The composite chart below shows a comparison of the two products. When you look at the summary for all 87 products tested, the Seagate comes in at #21 and the QNAP at #15.
Looking at the individual categories, the Seagate NAS Pro is actually ranked better in Mixed Read Write, Video and Backup. Looking at both the Read and the Write benchmarks, you’ll see that the overall category scores for the NAS Pro were pulled down by relatively poor NASPT Directory copy operations on both RAID 5 and RAID 10.
Total NAS Ranker performance summary comparison
Comparative Performance – Two Bay
As you might expect, the 2-bay NAS market is really very crowded, so making a decision here becomes even more difficult. Using the NAS ranker filtered to sort for two bay NASes and sorted on prices from low to high, the Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay NAS comes in #18 out of 31 2-bay devices. Based on list prices, it should have been #20 with a list price of $349.99, but our charts update dynamically based on price daily, and as of this writing it shows up in the charts at $331.
Sorting on Total NAS ranking, the Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay places #8 and trails one less expensive, but higher ranked NAS. The $297 ASUSTOR AS-302T ranked #7. Within striking distance at $338 is the #4 ranked QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS.
NAS Ranker for 4 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking
If QNAP sounds familar, that’s probably because we used a similarly-priced QNAP in our four bay performance comparison. For the two bay performance comparison, I selected the #8 Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay and the # 4 QNAP TS-251. In the Ranker Performance Summary composite below, the Seagate is ranked #28 and the QNAP is #11 out of 87 products tested.
Looking at the category details, both NASes had identical rankings for write benchmarks. But for read benchmarks, the NAS Pro 2-bay category ranking was pulled down by some relatively low NASPT test results. For the rest of the category scores, each products’ category rankings for Mixed Read Write, Video, Backup and iSCSI were higher than their Total NAS ranking.
Total NAS Ranker performance summary comparison
Seagate made some serious strides in catching up to the competition by beefing up their processor and memory in the NAS Pro family of NASes. Compared to the Seagate NAS family, the performance gains were huge – especially in areas such as Windows file copy write prformance. The NAS Pro 4-bay, for example had write speeds in excess of 100 MBps for all three RAID types tested. For the NAS 4-bay, corresponding speeds were 51.3 MBps (RAID 0), 38.7 (RAID 5) and 47.4 (RAID 10).
For the NAS Pro 6-bay, there’s really not too much competition and it looks like the $500 price point for the diskless model will hit the sweet spot of price/performance for 6 bay products. As you reduce the number of bays, the competition gets tighter and tighter. In our charts, we have 27 four-bay NASes and 31 two-bay NASes. For both four-bay and two-bay NASes, there were products with lower (better) Total NAS rankings at prices that were less than the corresponding Seagate NAS Pro offerings. But performance doesn’t tell the whole story. For each of the competing NASes, check out the reviews that cover the features and user interface of the NASes. You many find a “deal breaker” feature that’s either missing or included that sways your purchasing decision.
Seagate has made steady progress since buying LaCie in building a decent NAS product line worthy of its name. While the NAS Pro doesn’t have the dozens of add-in apps that lure many buyers to QNAP and Synology, the features and performance it does have make it a serious contender for SOHO and small biz buyers looking to buy from a big-time storage maker.