Promise's NS4600: Intel's Tolapai Enables Better Network Performance

Browser-Based Interface And Test Setup

Accessing the NS4600 by its network address in a Web broser, users are redirected to a landing page rather than being allowed straight to the configuration interface. From there, you can choose to either continue on to the administration panel or access media files stored on the NAS.

Administration Interface

The NS4600 uses the same Web interface previously found on the Promise NS4300N and the NS2300N. Available in ten languages, it is very clearly structured, letting less-experienced users manage and configure the NAS device with ease.

However, we must say that it’s best not to use Google’s Chrome browser, since we experienced some problems with the way DHTML was displayed. Also, make sure you click the button labeled Login, as simply pressing enter or return did not send the user/password combination.

Like the NS4300N, the NS4600 is aimed at home users and small to mid-sized businesses. Thus, its “NAS replication” feature will probably be more interesting to businesses that employ several NAS devices and that want to automatically replicate certain data across various units.

Web-Based Access to the Media Center

Access to music, videos, and images stored on the NAS is not limited to the local area network. Instead, users can also employ a Web browser and connect to the NS4600 through the Internet, provided the router’s port forwarding rules have been configured appropriately.

Again, the first step is authentication using a username and password combination. Promise even thought to include a simplified interface for the media center designed for mobile devices. It can be selected during the login process.

The media center interface is just as self-explanatory and easy to use as the administration section

Test Setup and Benchmarks

System Hardware
Intel LGA 775 Platform
Asus P5E3 Deluxe, Rev.1.03G, Intel X38 chipset, BIOS: 0810 (02/11/2007)
CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (65nm Conroe core)
RAM
2 x 1024MB Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600 
e-Sata Controller
JMicron JMB363 
System Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9, 160GB
7,200 RPM, SATA/300, 8MB cache
NAS Drives
Samsung Spinpoint HD321KJ, 320GB
7,200 rpm, SATA/300, 16 MB Cache 
ODD
Samsung SH-D163A , SATA150 
Graphic Card
Gigabyte Radeon HD 3850 GV-RX385512H
GPU: 670 MHz
Memory: 512 MB DDR3 (830 MHz, 256 Bit) 
NIC
Marvell Yukon 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller 
Audio
Integrated
PSU
Cooler Master RS-850-EMBA, ATX 12V V2.2, 850 Watt   
Operating System and Drivers
Operating System
Windows Vista Enterprise SP1 
DirectX 10
DirectX 10 (Vista-Standard) 
DirectX 9
Version: April 2007 
Graphics Driver
ATI Radeon Version 7.12 
Networking Driver
9.0.32.3 (Vista-Standard) 
Intel Chipset Driver
Version 6.9.1.1001 (20/02/2008) 
JMicron Chipset Driver
Version 1.17.15.0 (24/03/2007) 


All tests were conducted using firmware version 02.00.0000.15.

Intel NAS Performance Toolkit

We tested the Promise NS4600 using Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit. You can find a detailed description of the benchmarks in our story Benchmarking With Intel's NAS Toolkit.

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22 comments
    Your comment
  • Anonymous
    The thing i REALY want to see on Tom's is NAS tests which can work as iSCSI targets. From some other tests\reviews i've seen sometimes tremendous perfomance increases, on NAS like QNap TS-439 Pro.

    TH people, please do some tests in iSCSI mode =)
    1
  • rievax
    TH says nothing about the network configuration. Raw Vista network config? It is probably the worse case scenario then... Samba awfully works with the basic config of Vista. Jumbo packets are enabled? If yes, what size? Same size on the NAS? How did you formatted the RAID --> what strip size / did you have a choice? Shadow_GriZZly is talking about iSCSI that could be faster: in fact, it could be the case if Vista's network configuration is not tweaked for Samba.

    Can you please be more specific in your configuration setup?
    5
  • rievax
    TH says nothing about the network configuration. Raw Vista network config? It is probably the worse case scenario then... Samba awfully works with the basic config of Vista. Jumbo packets are enabled? If yes, what size? Same size on the NAS? How did you formatted the RAID --> what strip size / did you have a choice? Shadow_GriZZly is talking about iSCSI that could be faster: in fact, it could be the case if Vista's network configuration is not tweaked for Samba.

    Can you please be more specific in your configuration setup?
    -4
  • Anonymous
    Ofcourse, the intel CPU is 600Mhz, VS the Geode which is 400Mhz...

    what's the price of this file server?
    Would it make more sense to buy an atom Dual core system as file server? Since 25MB/s transfer rates are nothing to boast about!
    At least the Atom processor may not be as low in power requirement, but runs Linux AND Windows, can playback 720p video, and get data transfer speeds far higher than the ones mentioned in the benchmark, probably in the likes of 150MB/s(as a wild guess), or perhaps even higher...
    For $300, one could basically get a singlecore Atom 270 + 2GB of RAM, and load the files into RAM for faster upload speeds, probably close to the maximum possible through a gigabit lan connection;
    (or am I understanding incorrectly why this NS4600 was made?
    -1
  • Anonymous
    I mean, it would make sense if this device is a sub $100 device (I'd probably wanna pay no more than $80 to have it, seeing the low specs and no sceen, or even mention of a harddrive)
    0
  • duzcizgi
    I'd also be very happy to see a review of iSCSI Targets.

    Depending on the filesystem employed and the client accessing the files, NAS devices show varying results. An iSCSI setup would be much more level, compared to higher level FS/NFS performance tests.
    0
  • warezme
    From 3 to 45 Watts, a nicely configured laptop runs around 3 to 45 Watts with infinitely more power..., what is the box for again????
    -2
  • daft
    Quote:
    From 3 to 45 Watts, a nicely configured laptop runs around 3 to 45 Watts with infinitely more power..., what is the box for again????


    you do realize that most laptops cannot do 4 disk raid 5 right?
    0
  • Aragorn
    The 45Watts includes 4 3.5" hard drives flat out! You have those in that laptop?

    Were the hard drives in the 4100 and the 4300 the same? Why no iSCSI? Can the eSATA port be used to automatically back up the whole array to another disk (say having a pair and keeping one off site in case of a fire or other catastrophic event, obviously swapping ofsite adn local disks periodically).

    How does this system compare to some some of the home brew RAID boxes that THG has set up, both in price and preformance?

    TOO MANY UNANSWERED YET OBVIOUS QUESTIONS!!! Tom's used to be soo much better than this! What is going on over there? Where have all your good writers/reviewers gone (or are you being told to dumb things down by BOM)?
    2
  • Aragorn
    Needed an alert to feedback, sorry 'bout the useless post.
    0
  • mindless728
    meh, i will stick to my old S939 computer as the file server, i get about 80MB/s over the network
    0
  • mtbman1980
    akk these test were using intel benchmarking software. if this if right could is that the normal standard by which these devices are normaly tested
    0
  • igot1forya
    alagadnidonaldBTW, will this run crysis? couldn't help it!

    Yep, you can run the game from the drive!
    -1
  • jasperjones
    I realize this site's name is Tom's *Hardware* but I would have liked to see in the test if the installed software works well. It's not that rare to find impractical GUIs, non-working UPNP functionality, etc. in NAS boxes.
    1
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Hasn't AMD decided to discontinue the Geode line? That's why the OLPC is moving to a VIA C7 in the 1.5 version, right?
    0
  • drums101
    makes me want one for a home network
    -1
  • False_Dmitry_II
    ProDigit80Ofcourse, the intel CPU is 600Mhz, VS the Geode which is 400Mhz...what's the price of this file server?Would it make more sense to buy an atom Dual core system as file server?


    Yeah, I wanted a dedicated NAS type file server, because at the time my gaming computer served that purpose and ran all the time. So I went to craigslist and went out and got a $10 Pentium 3 computer, slapped a PCI SATA card in it and added a 1 TB drive and was good to go.
    -1
  • MBinder
    Hello everybody.

    First thank you for your valuable feedback. Please let me answer a few questions.

    Test setup: To lower the impact on transfer rates we are always using the same computer and harddrives for our NAS device tests. You can have a look at the hardware details on page three of this review. There is only one exception: If the NAS device comes preconfigured with harddrives we are using these instead of our Samsung HD321KJ drives.

    Slow network performance between Samba and Vista: There has been an issue on both sides, Samba and Vista that led to extremely slow transferrates (around 5MBit/s) when copying files from the NAS device to the Vista machine. According to my present knowledge these issues have been addressed with Service Pack 1 for Vista and the release of Samba 3.0.28a.
    So the network configuration used is the standard Vista network configuration as you can find it after a fresh install of the OS. The reason why we do this is that we believe that the average user shouldn't have to fiddle with the network configuration to get satisfying transferrates. A customer expects that the device is running hassle-free out of the box. If it isn't working we think that the manufacturer has to come up with a solution and not the customer.

    Jumbo packtes: Some NAS devices support jumbo packets, some don't. As we want to have comparable results we have to go without jumbo packets. Moreover there is no official standard for jumbo packets so it can have a negative impact on data transferrates in certain network setups. But you are right, we shoud have mentioned this in the review.

    Stripe size: Almost all NAS devices intended to be used in a SOHO or home network don't allow a selection of the stripe size when setting up the RAID configuration for reasons of simplification. This is also true for the NS4600 and could have been mentioned in the review.

    iSCSI tests: The reason why we haven't tested the NS4600 as an iSCSI target is plain simple: It doesn't support this feature. :) But you are right - more and more NAS devices, even for the consumer segment can be used as an iSCSI target. As soon as the majority of these devices support iSCSI we will not only stick with the SMB transferrates but we will also have a look at the iSCSI performance.

    Greetings from Germany,
    Marcel
    0
  • promisenasdude
    iSCSI, Web 2.0 Interface, Logitech Squeezecenter, MySQL and tons more are coming SR1 in late October. :)
    0
  • JohnnyLucky
    The enclosure looks like a prime candidate for a sff case, maybe a case mod too. I don't think the guys over in IT would go for it though.
    0