Any device connected to a Gigabit LAN will have maximum read and write speeds of 125MB/sec. However, just as the controller chip on an SSD has a huge effect on the drive's speed, the same is also true for NAS boxes. As they’ll be used for storing lots of tiny files, as well as large video files, we used two 5GB folders (one full of small files, and the other packed with large video files), in order to gauge the flexibility of each box.
Our test involves writing to each NAS box separately, and then reading from them. The small file folder was filled with 10,000 files that included photos, Word documents and short videos, while the large file folder comprised three 1.7GB videos.
We installed the same 1TB Samsung SpinPoint F3 hard drive in each NAS box, which was connected to a Netgear Gigabit Ethernet switch for all of the read and write tests. We recorded the time it took to transfer each folder in seconds, and used this result to work out the average transfer rate. You can see the speed test results in the graphs below.
To read and write from the NAS box, we use a PC built around an Asus P7H55-M motherboard, 4GB of Crucial DDR3 RAM and an Intel Pentium G6950 CPU overclocked to 4GHz. To eliminate any reading or writing bottleneck at the PC end, we also use a Corsair X128 SSD.
Once a NAS box is up and running, we then also try out all of the features, such as shared folders, iTunes servers, iSCSI and Bit-Torrent clients, in order to see how easy they are to set up and use on a regular basis. In addition, we also take noise and hard drive temperature into consideration, as well as the build quality.