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Promise NS4300N: NAS For Small Offices

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With the NS4300N, Promise has put together a solid NAS unit that gets extra points for its well-structured Web interface. As can be seen from the benchmarks, operating the NS4300N in a RAID 5 configuration is not a good idea, as the performance is not sufficient for this mode. You can also expect, at best, average values in the multimedia sector. It is, however, good when working with lots of small files, the type of scenario that occurs in a typical office environment. Thus the NS4300N is less suited for a home network and is better suited to a SOHO (small office / home office) environment or small company situations.

In view of the thin plastic used for the housing and the workmanship of the materials, there is nothing to complain about. The plastic used is, as you can see from the drive cages, very flexible, yet still robust and will not damage easily. Nevertheless, a metal housing would be better and would lift the entire image of the NS4300N.

The price tag of $420 is competitive. Users considering a purchase must, however, remember to add on the costs for the hard drives as well. If you use four 1 TB drives at $100 each, the overall costs are in excess of $800. Even if that seems like a lot of money, the result is a solid NAS unit with plenty of storage capacity and only minor performance weaknesses. In view of the competition, the Promise is a reasonable middle-of-the-road option, though not the best we've seen.

Promise NS4300N

The NS4300N NAS unit makes a positive overall impression. The high functional scope of the unit means that it is not just suitable for home network use, but is also ideal for small and medium-sized companies. The NS4300N benefits due to the clearly structured web configuration. However, you cannot expect a speed demon in terms of data transfer rates, in particular in the multimedia sector.

  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Well-madeHot-swap capableSupports many network protocols
  • Loud operating noiseHousing made of thin plasticOnly average data transfer rates
  • ecka
    On the second page:
    The current maximum is 6 GB, made up of four 1.5 TB drives available from Seagate.

    I think it should be 6TB
    Reply
  • danielkza
    Actually it should be 8TB with the introduction of WD's new 2TB drives.
    Reply
  • chovav
    Can someone explain me why all of these NAS devices are delivering such poor performance over 1GBit LAN? they should be able to get to (more or less) 100MB/s in an uncomplicated raid 0 or such.. is the processor so slow that it can't handle it? not enough cache? what's going on?! :)
    Reply
  • russofris
    Unfortunately, the article is as light on details of the internal components as Promises' so-called datasgeet at http://www.promise.com/upload/datasheet/NS4300NDatasheet_20080709.pdf

    I would really like a thorough investigation of the internals, including the processor (it's a SoC, but which one), controller chip, and underlying OS. I suspect that it is a BSD derivative due to the lack of published source code available on the promise website, though "Billy" from the promise NAS focus group seemd to indicate that it was Linux using a special promise RAID technology (and not LVM or MDRAID)

    There are multiple posts on the avsforums regarding the unit. Of the 25 or so pages that I read, I found that the unit is not a stellar performer, and can be purchased for around $300.

    Ultimately, it looks as if you're better off purchasing a full featured $200 Atom based platform, tossing in 4 disks, and utilizing linux LVM/MDRAID for a full fledged NAS.

    Frank
    Reply
  • Sad Panda
    Seriously? You want us to pay 420 bucks for a POS that will underperform a standard desktop machine you can put together on Newegg for less?

    MicroAtx MOBO with onboard video = $80
    Dual Core CPU = $60
    2 Gigs of DDR2 800 Ram = $24
    Case with 6 HDD slots and 4 external slots = $40
    Linux Operating System = $0

    Total = $204 aka half the fucking price for more hard drive slots and much more customizable.

    Seriously who buys this over-priced NAS shit.
    Reply
  • SilentBob999
    Many NAS have poor power supply coming with, it will be a good idea to test with high consumption hard drive or at least talk about this fact... I heard about some NAS system of this type that come unstable with 4 1.5TB hard drive...

    For people who talking about the price, don't forget that its a Ready-To-Use solution, a lot of people want this type of gadget but doesn't have the technical knowledge require to setup a linux system able to share data over a network with an web interface for configuration....
    Reply
  • @sad panda:
    So true... not to mention you'd still have enough left over to buy a real RAID card and absolutely blow these things out of the water.

    4-port Hardware RAID cards going for under $300 on newegg.
    Reply
  • Sad Panda
    asdfzxc@sad panda:you'd still have enough left over to buy a real RAID card and absolutely blow these things out of the water.4-port Hardware RAID cards going for under $300 on newegg.
    What's wrong with getting a MOBO that does RAID for you?
    Reply
  • FreeNAS on an ASUS + RAID board. Does all the protocols not just the three mentioned and FTP. Oh boy, hardly call that NAS-centric.
    For RAID10 to be worth the effort the minimum you should use is 3 pairs of hdd (didn't see RAID 10 as an option). 6 hdds with 50% redundancy. So if you were to use 2TB drives you would get a max of 6TB storage and 6TB of redundancy.
    Want to run a heavy database driven application?
    RAID 100 or plaid RAID would be the better one to go for. Many small businesses or startups do this. This product couldn't support that.

    $420 can buy you a small form case with a number of designs that house many drive bays, mobo with onboard RAID, Graphics, multiple Gigabit ethernet adapters, good powersupply.

    You can then go even further and utilise USB2.0 and throw external USB drives for another layer of data sharing.

    All this and more and not stuck with a poorly put together product that limits the imagination because of its short comings.

    All that and more from your local computer needs store.
    Reply
  • chookman
    Im with you sad panda, i just don't get why people buy these when a cheap low power dedicated box is superior in every way.

    As for the additional card, a good hardware RAID card will give you a noticeable speed increase over any motherboard controller, provide more features and better security (failure wise). So if you needed speed and had the cash it would be better for sure.
    Reply