D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure ReviewNemo - January 1, 2009
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Now that we've looked at the configuration and features of the DNS-323 and evaluated the performance numbers, I'd like to spend a little time on getting a feel for some of the functionality and the impressions I got with some hands on experience with the unit.
The DNS-323 is cooled by a single rear-mounted 40mm fan. Experience tells us that smaller fans have to spin faster to move the same amount of air as their larger cousins do at lower speeds. Higher RPMs generally mean more noise as well. The fan on the DNS-323 is relatively quiet, mainly because it doesn't spin that fast. In fact, at first I wasn't sure it was spinning at all because it was so quiet and I couldn't feel any air exiting the unit. There are no external ventilation openings on the enclosure save for a single slot on the lower bottom edge of the front cover. This opening mates up with a opening on the inside of the enclosure which ducts cool air underneath the motherboard and then out the back through the fan. There is little allowance for cooling of the hard drives.
The performance tests we ran on the unit are fairly intense and can last for over three hours for each hard drive configuration. As soon as one test would complete, the unit was configured to a new RAID level and the testing began again. During this process I noticed the top of the enclosure became quite hot; not too hot to touch, but warmer than I'd want to keep my drives in for a prolonged period.
I decided to run a check on the case and system temperatures by kicking off another series of tests using the Intel NAS Performance toolkit while monitoring the interior case temperature using a digital temperature probe placed in the center of the enclosure directly between the two hard drives. Checking the Status page, the highest recorded temperature for the system was 39 C while the interior of the case was a toasty 36 C. I could not detect any noticeable change in the fan speed during the test and still felt little or no air exiting the enclosure.
|Ambient Room||20 C||20 C|
|System||35 C||39 C|
|Case Interior||24 C||36 C|
The DNS-323 does not provide for any S.M.A.R.T. monitoring capability so I was not able to check on actual hard drive temperatures, but that's way too high a temperature for ensuring hard drive longevity. Let me emphasize a point here. Let's be careful to note the temperatures in the Test column above were under extreme sustained usage conditions not typical of normal everyday use. However, I'd definitely would like to see improved air flow in the case.
One of the benefits of using a NAS appliance is that it can offer significantly lower power usage versus using a PC for shared storage. As we saw in the Configuration section, there is an option under the Tools section to set the amount of time before the unit goes into a low-power mode and turns off the hard drives. This functionality was easy to set and worked as expected.
I tested the various power usage levels of the DNS-323 at idle with the disks spinning but no activity, during a full test with read and write activity with the drives configured in RAID 1 and finally in power management mode with both drives powered down. All measurements were taken with a P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt power meter.
|Power Mgt. Mode||8|
|RAID 1 Test||21-23|
As you can see from the chart above, even with the hard drives being used for heavy concurrent read/write operations, the unit only uses 21-23 watts. At 8 watts with the drives powered down you'll realize significant savings over using a more power-hungry device like a PC.