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Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

As I have with other simple NASes, I ran only the Vista SP1 filecopy test from our normal NAS test suite (described here) on the GoFlex Home, leaving the drive in its default NTFS format. This test copies a directory containing slightly more than 4 GB of files of various sizes. 

I couldn't find a firmware revision level anywhere in the GoFlex admin GUI, so asked Seagate, who told me there wasn't one.

Table 1 shows the GoFlex Home's test results along with the GoFlex Net and Dockstar.

Test GoFlex
Home
(MB/s)
GoFlex
Net
(MB/s)
Dockstar
(MB/s)
NTFS Write 16.4 19.6 22.9
NTFS Read 42.6 34.1 22.5
Table 1: Performance Test summary

The Dockstar's performance is about as good as its drive's USB 2.0 interface will allow. But the SATA connection between the Marvell SoC and the GoFlex Net and Home's drives is plenty fast to not act as a bottleneck.

Like the GoFlex Net, the GoFlex Home's write speed is much slower than its read. I think part of this is the unoptimized open source NTFS drivers that Axentra is probably using. I've seen filecopy writes and reads as high as 60 MB/s for NASes like the Synology DS109 and QNAP TS110, the latter of which even uses an 800 MHz Kirkwood vs. the 1.2 GHz in the GoFlex Home. But the QNAP and Synology NASes use EXT3 / 4 formatted drives and different OSes.

Closing Thoughts

There's a lot to like about the Seagate GoFlex Home.  It's easy to use, easy to set up and offers a very good value.  With street pricing as low as $215 at for the 2 TB model, ($140 for the 1 TB model), the network dock with all of the built in sharing features costs only $40 more than a 1 TB GoFlex Desk drive. 

For most home users, the three Memeo licenses and the five user limitation shouldn't be a problem—especially when you can have multiple computers logged in, as I did, with a single user account.  While I found the mobile features of the premium service a bit disappointing, if you're a Facebook and/or Flickr user, it might be worth the $20/year.

My main gripe is with the help features, which I would like to see improved.  Help is not context sensitive and just either points you to Seagate's support page (Figure 16), or provides a link to the online user guide.  Neither a printed user guide, nor an electronic version was included in the package.  Seagate explained that having the user guide available online ensures that consumers will have access to the latest version.

Support options

Figure 16: Support options

The main problem consumers will have is choosing between two similar, but different network sharing products in the GoFlex Net and Home. Although they use different OSes (Pogoplug and Axentra), the feature sets are similar enough. So the deciding factor will be the higher price, lower capacity and portability of the GoFlex Net's smaller drive format vs. the lower price, higher capacity and luggability of the GoFlex Home.

Another factor that could push you toward the GoFlex Net is its drive-to-drive sync capability, which improves robustness and provides primary store backup. The GoFlex Home may have higher capacity, but no built-in way to back it up.

So if you're looking for an easy-to-use and inexpensive network storage solution that also has easy-peasy remote access, Seagate's GoFlex Home offers a lot of features and a lot of storage capacity at a price that's hard to beat.

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