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QNAP TS-509 Pro Turbo NAS Review

Nemo    -   May 5, 2009
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Testing:

The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit is a set of tools used to test and analyze file systems and enable direct comparison of the performance levels of different network attached storage devices. It utilizes a set of tests based on real world applications such as HD video playback and record, office productivity, photo album manipulation and file and directory copying. The toolkit uses a set of traces based on these applications and mimics the file system traffic generated and records the system response. In our evaluation, the toolkit was run in batch mode which runs the series of tests five times in succession and the median throughput value used to report the results. The hard drives were reconfigured and the TS-509 was rebooted before each test was run. The RAID 1 array contained 2 drives, the maximum you can have. For this review, each volume configuration was first tested using the maximum number of drives allowed for each configuration. I also ran the tests using four drives in RAID 0, 5 and 6 for a more accurate performance comparison against the Synology DS408 which is a four-bay NAS.

HD Video Playback (higher is better)

The HD Video Playback series of tests involve streaming a 720p HD video file using Windows Media Player and 256kb reads. The tests play either 1, 2 or 4 files simultaneously using different percentages of sequential reads (99.5% for the single file, 18.1% for the 2x HD Video Playback and 9.6% for the 4x HD Video Playback).

 

 

 

 

 

2x HD Video Playback (higher is better)

 

 

4x HD Video Playback (higher is better)

 

In this first series of three tests the emphasis is on reading data from the units. It's interesting to see that in pure read operations the extra memory and more powerful processor of the TS-509 don't provide it an edge over the comparison DS408 unit, except for the RAID 6 volume, where it comes out ahead. The advantage drops from 21% for the single playback to 3% int he 4x playback test.

The more interesting comparison comes when we look at the four-drive TS-509 setup versus the DS408. Here, the Synology DS408 unit cleans up outperforming the TS-509 in all categories.

HD Video Record (higher is better)

This test writes a single 720p HD video file to the NAS device employing 99.9% sequential 256kb writes.

 

The TS-509 turns in some of its strongest performances here. Considering this is a pure write test, the results are even more impressive. With RAID speeds between 32-56MB/s, the TS-509 only ceded one category, RAID 1, to the DS408. In the other RAID categories the TS-509 was 43-54% faster than the DS408. Performance dropped from 8-31% when going down to four drives, but that wasn't enough to erase the TS-509 speed advantage over the DS408 with the TS-509 taking all three four-drive RAID categories.

HD Playback and Record  (higher is better)

The HD Video Playback and Record test combines the two previous tests and reads and writes a HD 720p video file simultaneously.

 

When you add write operations into the mix, the tables turn compared to the playback category, allowing the strength of the TS-509's additional memory and more powerful processor to give it a significant edge. It bests the DS408 by a whopping 43-54%, except in the RAID 1 array where it loses out to the DS408. When looking at the four-drive setup, we see the benefit of the extra drive in the array as the TS-509 advantage narrows down to 15-25%, still a respectable margin.

Content Creation  (higher is better)

This test simulates content creation on the NAS device such as might occur when rendering a video. There are 99 files used and is composed of 95% write operations with up to 64kb block sizes and consists of 39.1% sequential operations.

 

The massive write operations used in this test emphasize the benefit of more memory and greater processing power as the TS-509 clearly dominates, turning in some impressive numbers. This test showed the RAID 0 performing the best at a throughput of 28.6MB/s. The TS-509 clearly dominated the DS408 even in the four-drive configuration with performance margins of 28-89%.

Office Productivity  (higher is better)

The Office Productivity test is roughly evenly distributed between read and write operations using 607 small files consisting of 1kb and 4kb reads and mostly 1kb writes.

 

The Office Productivity test is a very tough and lengthy test and it is not unusual to see NAS units fall flat on this test. Having said that, the TS-509 performance was excellent even in the four drive configuration. I'll let the charts speak for themselves as this test was the DS408's Waterloo.

File Copy to NAS  (higher is better)

The File Copy test copies a single large file to the NAS unit using 100% sequential 64kb write operations.

 

Again, we see where the TS-509 shows its strengths and that is in write operations. Except for the RAID 1 configuration, the TS-509 came out a clear winner across the board with throughputs as high as 53.5Mb/s for the RAID 0 volume and around 41MB/s for the RAID5/6 configurations.

File Copy From NAS

This test reads the single large (1.4GB) file from the File Copy test from the NAS using 64kb read operations.

 

Reading the single large file back didn't tax the TS-509 too much with the RAID 0 configuration again leading the way. You can see the benefit of the extra drive in each of the RAID 0/5/6 arrays as performance dropped off as much as 21% in the RAID 6 array with only four drives.

Dir Copy to NAS  (higher is better)

This test copies a directory structure with 126 files to the NAS device using predominately 64kb writes but also includes a wide distribution under 16kb.

 

The TS-509 may be strong in write operations, but it stumbled here when trying to write lots of files, losing to the Synology DS408 in all but one category. Its one win was a less than 1% advantage in the single drive configuration. In head-to-head competition with just four drives, it fared even worse with the advantage going to the DS408 by as much as 41%.

Dir Copy From NAS  (higher is better)

This test copies the same directory structure of 126 files from the NAS device using 64kb reads.

 

In the directory copy test, we see similar results as in the previous tests with throughput ranging in the 17-20MB/s range. Dropping to four drives didn't lessen performance a great deal, but still allowed the DS408 to win two out of three in that category.

Photo Album  (higher is better)

The Photo Album test simulates the viewing of 169 photo files of various sizes stored on the NAS and consists of 100% read operations.

 

The final test in the suite is another tough one on NAS units with through dropping to its lowest point, settling in in the mid to upper 9MB/s range. That's still 10-20% better than the DS408.




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Installation
  3. Configuration: Initial Setup
  4. Configuration: Web UI & System Settings
  5. Configuration: Network Settings
  6. Configuration: Device Configuration
  7. Configuration: User Management
  8. Configuration: Network Share Management
  9. Configuration: System Tools
  10. Configuration: System Logs
  11. Web User Interface
  12. Specifications & Features
  13. Testing: Setup
  14. Testing: SiSoft Sandra
  15. Testing: Intel NAS Performance Toolkit
  16. Testing: Operation
  17. Testing: Features
  18. Conclusion:
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