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Synology DS412+ And Thecus N4800: Two NAS Devices With Atom D2700

Intel's Pineview Platform Replaces Cedarview In Networked Storage

A little over two years ago, the first NAS servers employing Intel’s dual-core Atom processors started showing up with the then-modern D510. Our impressions at the time were very positive. Qnap's TS-459 Pro and Thecus' N4200 showed that the third-generation Atoms could serve as a strong foundation for network-attached appliances, beating the common Marvell Kirkwood mv6281 ARM and Freescale MPC8533 (PPC architecture) processors when it came to network data transfer speeds.

We weren’t as excited when Intel's Atom D510 gave way to the company's Atom D525. Our review of Qnap’s TS-559 Pro (Atom D510) and TS-559 Pro+ (Atom D525) showed that the newer version offered barely any data transfer speed advantages.

Technology marched on though, and Intel introduced new Atom processors based on the Cedarview platform at the end of 2011. These were manufactured on a 32 nm node, whereas the older Pineview-based CPUs were etched using 45 nm lithography. Maximum TDP went from Pineview’s 13 W to Cedarview’s 10 W. The Atom N2600, N2800, and D2700 all included GMA 3650 integrated graphics engines.

Intel's Atom D2700 processor, in particular, became popular with network storage vendors both because of its speed at 2.13 GHz and ability to exploit the integrated graphics for HDMI output. Of course, whether or not there’s really a need for a NAS server able to put a picture directly onto your television is something you'd need to decide for yourself. Cedarview-based processors do employ DDR3 memory controllers, though, whereas the Atom D525 could use either DDR2 or DDR3.

The current crop of network-attached appliances, like those from Synology and Thecus, are completely transitioning over from Intel’s Atom D525 to its D2700. Interestingly, though, the company is phasing out the Atom D2700, while its D525 is still available. Go figure.

Naturally, we wanted to know how much impact switching from Intel’s Atom D525 to its Atom D2700 actually makes on storage performance. We're benchmarking Synology’s DiskStation DS412+ and Thecus’ N4800, looking at their data transfer speeds and respective features as well.

  • tokfan
    Could be interesting to compare what the CPU load for the DS411+II was when i.e copying large files reaching the NIC's maximum speed compared to the DS412+ doing the same but with both it's NIC's connected and with LAG activated.

    Ofc there will not be much of an improvement adding more MHz when the old CPU already is capable of pushing one NIC to the max :)
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    Is AMD competing in this market?
    Reply
  • cknobman
    IDK but this thing is over $600 with no HDD's and has a limited set of functionality.

    I find it hard to shell out that much money when I went and built my own Server with a Athlon II 3.2 Ghz processor, 8gb RAM, 4TB of HD space with RAID, and a Windows Ultimate 7 for less than $600.

    I know my server is less specialized than a dedicated NAS like the one reviewed here but it performs all the NAS functionality I need plus can serve as a all purpose computer, a HTPC, etc.. etc... Sure my server sucks more juice than these NAS devices but it is not a huge concern for me.

    Is there a big positive I am not seeing to spending more on a little NAS like this compared to just building my own server?
    Reply
  • torque79
    I wish there was some competition for mediasonic in affordable basic 4 bay enclosures. These raid NAS devices are so insanely overpriced just because they have some media sharing service and a basic raid function. give me a simple backup enclosure without FTP and media sharing functions that handles 4 drives and that I don't have to replace in 2-3 years because it only supports up to 3tb or 4tb hard drives. that would make me so happy!
    Reply
  • The "big positive" about these is time spent to get one up and running. If your time doesn't cost anything - sure, build your own and you probably get a better deal.
    I have DS411+. Time spent:
    1. 4 hours for research on the net
    2. 30 min to find where to order
    3. About 1,5 hours for unpacking and setting everything up
    Total: 6hours
    To build my own - I would probably spend more than a day for just researching hardware. Building, installing, setting up all the services - this takes time. Time I rather spend with my family.
    Reply
  • torque79
    Plus if being used as a backup, copying via 1gbit takes insanely long to transfer multi TB of data. Even though this is bulky and heavy with 8 drives, id still carry it to my htpc to back up all the media I have on there via esata. I don't know what I would do with a stationary PC just for hard drive storage, copying the data would just take too long. After initial copying of the data regular synching would not be so bad I guess, but moving over a few TB of data would probably take a week copying with 100mbit network file transfer.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    torque79 on a 1 gigabit network copy large amounts of data does not take as long as you might think.

    Heck I copy ripped movies from my server to my pc's over the network and it takes less than 30 seconds to copy 3 gigabytes. My network easily sustains 85-100 megabyte per second transfer rates.
    Reply
  • billj214
    Would it be possible to run SSD (or hybrid SSD) drives instead? That is if throughput is the primary concern and the increased processor speed might be relevant! Aside from cost this would be interesting to see if the processor becomes a bottleneck.
    Reply
  • tpi2007
    I have to wonder how relevant this review is when the Atom D2700 has been discontinued. You say it's being phased out, but according to the roadmap, it has effectively been discontinued.

    You said it yourselves in May:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-cedarview-atom-d2700-processor,15516.html

    The rather expensive netbook processor ($52) was introduced in September 2011 and apparently does not pull enough demand anymore to justify carrying the CPU.

    According to Intel, final orders will be taken June 29 and final shipments will take place on September 28 of this year.

    So, it wasn't popular enough to keep making, but after all it is popular with "network storage vendors", like you say ? Or is this just a move to sell the remaining NAS devices with the Atom D2700 ? I mean, there aren't more being made, the final orders took place more than three months ago and the final shipments already took place. So, whatever stock of Atom D2700s they have to make NAS, won't be replenished.
    Reply
  • SirGCal
    DS411+ ownerThe "big positive" about these is time spent to get one up and running. If your time doesn't cost anything - sure, build your own and you probably get a better deal. I have DS411+. Time spent:1. 4 hours for research on the net2. 30 min to find where to order3. About 1,5 hours for unpacking and setting everything up Total: 6hoursTo build my own - I would probably spend more than a day for just researching hardware. Building, installing, setting up all the services - this takes time. Time I rather spend with my family.
    Actually, that's just YOUR plus. I've honestly woundered why they cost so much myself too and I agree with the others. It just doesn't make much sense.

    I have a 12TB Raid 6 server in my house with 8 2TB drives. I'm getting ready to build a new one actually. (out of room). But when I do it's literally 30 seconds for all of the parts accept the hard drives which you'd have to research for either one. Do I try new 4TB drives, or the new 3TB units or just build a known reliable 2nd 2TB setup... etc. But the rest, from board/ram/cpu/even case (case is already here actually)/ power supply/ RAID controller, etc are already known what will be purchased. Might tweak itself depending on when purchase happens but anyone who's on these websites is all too familiar with the tweaking of that part of the industry.

    Simply said, after the HDD research is done, the parts will be purchased within 15 minutes. When they arrive, it takes me less then an hour, even from my wheelchair, to assemble a computer from raw parts. 10 minutes to install Linux or 30 minutes to install/update Windows and that's it. Add the shares, and start populating it for whatever purpose it needs. Plus, far more potential power, should I need it to do other things (often it does actually. I use the one now to play videos in my office. An extra HTPC.).

    Now if this box cost say $250 or less, then I would be more attracted to it. But for what it is, I just can't see spending $600 on the empty box. The core of my setup would be a lot less. I can do the core for $200 for top-shelf components. $250 for raid 5 instead of 10. (raid 6 would be totally pointless with 4 drives). But that's $400 cheaper then then DS412+ from the same vendor. I just don't get it. I'd rather take my family out to dinner for a week. Plus, simply a lot less worry about them getting their 'firmware' right to run everything and just the good old and proven OSs that work as we expect them too.
    Reply