Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB Review (Page 10 of 11)

Page 10 - NAS Performance, Power Consumption

For our network attached storage tests, I have used the renowned QNAP TS-470 connected to our central home network with CAT5e wiring. The QNAP TS-470 is one of the company's latest SOHO/SMB systems, and is currently the fastest NAS we have tested here at APH Networks. The client computer is the same system used for benchmarking the hard drives as described in Page 2 of this review, which features the excellent Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet adapter.

Loaded with different hard disk drives, our QNAP TS-470 is ready to roll. According to the engineers at QNAP, and proven to be true in our performance benchmarks, Intel Gigabit LAN adapters -- at least on the client side -- perform much better than their Realtek and Marvell counterparts. Therefore, to prevent any bottlenecks on the client side, our ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution motherboard is connected to the network via its integrated Intel 82574L Gigabit LAN adapter. We also conducted the above test on our OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB solid state drive on the client side to ensure there is nothing limiting the performance of our QNAP TS-470 than the NAS itself. In the write test, without much surprise, the 7,200RPM Hitachi took the lead in cracking just over 100MB/s; while NAS drives from Western Digital and Seagate followed closely behind at 95.38MB/s and 92.53MB/s, respectively. Since Western Digital sent over four WD40EFRX 4TB for testing, I also built a quad HDD RAID 5 array to see how the Red drives performs in a real life network attached storage system setup. Because running a RAID 5 array does have quite a bit of operation overhead, especially when it comes to write speed, it was perfectly reasonable to see a performance drop, as you can see in the first graph above. The speed drop is due to factors contributed by the NAS box itself, as well as the hard drives to some extent. Overall, I am quite pleased with the WD40EFRX 4TB's RAID 5 write performance.

In the read test, all three drives in single mode came out to be extremely close to each other, with the Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB producing a lead by a hair in the overall race. Putting four of them in a RAID 5 array actually raised the performance slightly. Generally speaking, I would say the Red drives are playing pretty well in a network RAID environment so far. With that in mind, let us see how it performs across the curve in our remote ATTO benchmarks.

ATTO disk benchmark provides valuable insight into evaluating disk performance; it is especially valuable since it is not local disk limited like Windows file copy -- but rather the network adapter itself. After first using it in our QNAP TS-559 Pro+ review back in 2010, ATTO has been an integral part of our storage benchmarks; used in everything ranging from USB flash drives to solid state disks. Venturing in the area of 117MB/s in read and write for pretty much everything 32K and up, remember that the theoretical maximum of Gigabit Ethernet is 'only' 125MB/s (1000Mbps / 8) with overhead -- this is downright impressive. Interestingly, all three hard drives had almost identical performance curves when deployed, unlike what we have seen on Page 4 of this review. With four Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB hard drives running in RAID 5, there was a speed penalty at 32K and above, as expected. On the other hand, cracking 90MB/s over LAN is still pretty awesome, no matter how you look at it. In the read portion, there was virtually no performance penalty across the range for having quad WD Red 4TB drives in RAID. 117MB/s? Oh, yes please; sign me up right now.

With one hard drive installed, our QNAP TS-470 consumed the least power with Western Digital's Red WD40EFRX 4TB installed. Consider most network attached storage systems will be running 24/7, and there will more than likely be multiple hard drives installed, every watt will definitely add up on your power bill. When idling, the entire system equipped with the WD Red took only 25W, whereas the same system configured with the speedy but hungry Hitachi Deskstar NAS took 28W -- a whopping 3W difference for just one drive alone. The same difference between the Hitachi, Seagate, and Western Digital can be seen in the load tests. With four WD40EFRX installed, you can really see how it all adds up. While idling, the system took 35W; loading it up boosted this figure to 52W. How does this compare? Well, I used to have three Western Digital Black 1TB drives installed in the same QNAP TS-470 running RAID 5, and it took 42W idle and 54W load. In other words, it was actually more efficient for me to run four Western Digital Red drives than three Western Digital Black drives in the same system. What I am trying to say is, power consumption matters, and the Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB are real winners in efficiency, especially if you are going to fill up all the slots in your NAS.

Page Index
1. Introduction and Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Installation, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark 7
10. NAS Performance, Power Consumption
11. Conclusion