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

Conclusion: More Performance Thanks To Tolapai

Promise’s updates to the NS4600 are very effective across the board.

Visually, the revised case design is better looking than that of the older NS4300N. Promise continues to use plastic as its material of choice, but it doesn't feel cheap, and overall build quality remains good. Even still, we found ourselves thinking that a metal case would have been more appropriate, improving the overall impression even further.

More Convenience

The addition of an eSATA port offers additional value. The same goes for the integration of download, media, and iTunes servers right out of the box. Users are no longer forced to go hunting around the Web to find compatible plug-ins, and then install them manually. Thanks to its integrated DLNA support, as well as the media and iTunes server, the NS4600 comes well-equipped for multimedia duties on the home network.

Easy Backups

Small and mid-sized companies won’t care about the multimedia functionality as much. Instead, this group will focus on the device’s NAS replication capabilities, able to copy files to other NAS devices in the background. The snapshot backup feature will also be appreciated for providing several copies of current files as a sort of extended “undelete” feature.

More Performance

Great data transfer rates with lots of small files, such as Word documents or photographs, suit NS4600 well for use in business environments. It is also quite speedy when backing up or restoring files over a network.

All of this is made possible by the NS4600’s fresh architecture. The EP80579, code named Tolapai, represents Intel’s first embedded processor since 1994. Developed specifically for use in telecommunication infrastructure, this processor also provides sufficient performance for NAS devices. With it, Promise’s N4600 operates in the same league as the Thecus N4100 Pro based on an AMD Geode processor.

It will be interesting to see whether other NAS vendors follow Promise’s lead and offer products built around Intel’s EP80579 rather than processors by Freescale, Marvell, and AMD.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
22 comments
    Your comment
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Needed an alert to feedback, sorry 'bout the useless post.
    0
  • meh, i will stick to my old S939 computer as the file server, i get about 80MB/s over the network
    0
  • 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
  • alagadnidonaldBTW, will this run crysis? couldn't help it!

    Yep, you can run the game from the drive!
    -1
  • 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
  • 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
  • makes me want one for a home network
    -1
  • 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
  • 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
  • iSCSI, Web 2.0 Interface, Logitech Squeezecenter, MySQL and tons more are coming SR1 in late October. :)
    0
  • 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