Question SATA II NAS - RPM of drives important?

Sep 17, 2020
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Hi all,

I'm about to redo my NAS setup. I got it from a friend a while ago (Thecus N3200) and it's fine but the speeds I get off it are not good (2-4MB/s usually) and it seems to have trouble playing media files off it directly so I took to just copying them locally first. Also the capacity is quite small as it's currently using 3x320GB Samsung HD321KJ drives. The NAS has a SATAII interface but given all you can get really is SATAIII drives now, is there any benefit of getting faster spinning drives to help speeds? Or is it possible the thing that's causing slow speeds a different issue?

Thanks in advance for any help you're able to give!
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
That NAS is from 2008 (give or take). What file format are the disks you have installed in the unit? EXT3? NTFS?
Have you verified that you are getting gigabit wired speed? You should be able to copy a single 1GB file at 50MB/s easily.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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That NAS is from 2008 (give or take). What file format are the disks you have installed in the unit? EXT3? NTFS?
Have you verified that you are getting gigabit wired speed? You should be able to copy a single 1GB file at 50MB/s easily.
I don't know what file format they're in, I'm afraid. I set it up a few years back and I can't find it listed anywhere on the config page. I'd imagine they're not NTFS though as I have copied files to and from it using my MacBook.

I have just connected to the NAS directly and tried copying a file and was getting a pretty locked 28MB/s which is way better than on the network which was getting the speeds I mentioned earlier. I only have the one ethernet cable (I was sure I had a spare one somewhere but no joy - I've got a thousand coax cables though for some reason) so I wasn't able to test a wired connection to the router, only wireless.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I don't know what file format they're in, I'm afraid. I set it up a few years back and I can't find it listed anywhere on the config page. I'd imagine they're not NTFS though as I have copied files to and from it using my MacBook.

I have just connected to the NAS directly and tried copying a file and was getting a pretty locked 28MB/s which is way better than on the network which was getting the speeds I mentioned earlier. I only have the one ethernet cable (I was sure I had a spare one somewhere but no joy - I've got a thousand coax cables though for some reason) so I wasn't able to test a wired connection to the router, only wireless.
Your wireless connection is your limiting factor. You need to focus on a new router first.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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Your wireless connection is your limiting factor.
Are you able to elaborate on why that would be the case? It just seems confusing that I'd be able to get better performance with regular downloads and live streams, for example, over my internet connection than something on my local network using the same wireless connection.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Are you able to elaborate on why that would be the case? It just seems confusing that I'd be able to get better performance with regular downloads and live streams, for example, over my internet connection than something on my local network using the same wireless connection.
What router do you have? What wireless adapter does your PC/laptop have ?
4MB/s == 35Mb/s == which performs like a 2.4Ghz WIFI connection.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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It is a 2.4GHz connection though I have an ax200 wireless card in my laptop. That shouldn't make a difference, I know, but anecdotally, I did have lots of problems watching Twitch streams on older machines that used ac cards but no problems there since this current laptop with the ax card. I don't really understand why.

I have been meaning to upgrade the router for a while but the performance I've been getting seems to be with what I've expected. Speedtest results are regularly in the 60-70Mb/s range and downloads particularly of large files usually get to between 8-9MB/s.

I'm only on a 100/40 connection which is actually the highest consumer tier of internet in my country so I didn't think there'd be much point upgrading the router until such a time as I was actually going to be able to take advantage of the higher speeds.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
It is a 2.4GHz connection though I have an ax200 wireless card in my laptop. That shouldn't make a difference, I know, but anecdotally, I did have lots of problems watching Twitch streams on older machines that used ac cards but no problems there since this current laptop with the ax card. I don't really understand why.

I have been meaning to upgrade the router for a while but the performance I've been getting seems to be with what I've expected. Speedtest results are regularly in the 60-70Mb/s range and downloads particularly of large files usually get to between 8-9MB/s.

I'm only on a 100/40 connection which is actually the highest consumer tier of internet in my country so I didn't think there'd be much point upgrading the router until such a time as I was actually going to be able to take advantage of the higher speeds.
You definitely need a new router. Your 9MB/s is a 100Mb/s indication on the wired connection. You can't get your 100Mbit WAN service with your existing router. As I said above, your first priority needs to be a new router.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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Are you speaking in terms of just the NAS plan here or overall? Because all the ISPs state typical speeds of around 80Mb/s for these plans which matches up with what I'm getting so I can't see what actual benefit I'd get on that score. And I'm sorry to not be getting it the other way but I still can't see why I'd be getting worse performance on a local system using the same wireless network than my internet connection which is a third as slow as the theoretical maximum of the actual connection.

I was under the impression that for local networks, you were only limited by the speed of the actual connection be it wired or wireless. Unless that's incorrect, the internet speed shouldn't matter and if the wireless connection itself is the bottleneck, they should both be running at the same speed. Or if the internet is slower than the connection, then the local network should be faster than the internet.

I know I'm probably coming across as blockheaded but I'm going to get another ethernet cable next week and try it out to make sure. I'm totally with you that I need a new router if I'm going to do this NAS project. I just really want to understand what the issue is partly so I know what I ought to be looking for specifically when buying a new one.

Sorry if this conversation is like talking to a brick wall! I'm really trying to wrap my head around the issue.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Are you speaking in terms of just the NAS plan here or overall? Because all the ISPs state typical speeds of around 80Mb/s for these plans which matches up with what I'm getting so I can't see what actual benefit I'd get on that score. And I'm sorry to not be getting it the other way but I still can't see why I'd be getting worse performance on a local system using the same wireless network than my internet connection which is a third as slow as the theoretical maximum of the actual connection.

I was under the impression that for local networks, you were only limited by the speed of the actual connection be it wired or wireless. Unless that's incorrect, the internet speed shouldn't matter and if the wireless connection itself is the bottleneck, they should both be running at the same speed. Or if the internet is slower than the connection, then the local network should be faster than the internet.

I know I'm probably coming across as blockheaded but I'm going to get another ethernet cable next week and try it out to make sure. I'm totally with you that I need a new router if I'm going to do this NAS project. I just really want to understand what the issue is partly so I know what I ought to be looking for specifically when buying a new one.

Sorry if this conversation is like talking to a brick wall! I'm really trying to wrap my head around the issue.
I am talking about general connectivity. What is your router model?
The symptoms so far all point to poor network hardware.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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Well, I managed to get my hands on a new router faster and for cheaper than I thought and I'm definitely getting better speeds off the NAS as it is. Even on the 2.4GHz network, the speed is about 1.5-2x faster so yeah the hardware was definitely causing the issue. I'm planning on doing a streaming test tonight to see if that issue has been resolved now.

So, that said, I'm still going to upgrade the actual amount of storage. What's in there at the moment are 7200RPM drives. Should I get the same again or should I go for 5400 ones? I've heard that recommended for NAS drives so as not to put as much strain on them. There are 2TB WD 5400 and Seagate 7200 drives for about the same price so there's no real price reason to go for one or the other.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Well, I managed to get my hands on a new router faster and for cheaper than I thought and I'm definitely getting better speeds off the NAS as it is. Even on the 2.4GHz network, the speed is about 1.5-2x faster so yeah the hardware was definitely causing the issue. I'm planning on doing a streaming test tonight to see if that issue has been resolved now.

So, that said, I'm still going to upgrade the actual amount of storage. What's in there at the moment are 7200RPM drives. Should I get the same again or should I go for 5400 ones? I've heard that recommended for NAS drives so as not to put as much strain on them. There are 2TB WD 5400 and Seagate 7200 drives for about the same price so there's no real price reason to go for one or the other.
Your network will be the limiting factor either way. 5400s will be quieter and cooler.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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Your network will be the limiting factor either way. 5400s will be quieter and cooler.
Great, thanks! I also did a test tonight on download speeds. I can get between 8-12MB/s down straight to the internal storage and I get a range of 14-28MB/s copy to the NAS. When downloading a large file directly to the NAS, I get about 3-5MB/s. At the lower end and dipping into 2 if I have multiple downloads going at once.

I'm guessing there's probably a performance penalty there as it has to come from the internet to the computer and then back to the NAS again. Is there any way to get the performance up a bit? The solution I came up with is downloading to the internal storage first and copying to the NAS which I might do if it's something I want quickly. It'd be good if I could somehow set a temporary internal download location and then have it automatically moved to the location I specified on the NAS once the download had completed but I don't know how I'd go about doing that.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Great, thanks! I also did a test tonight on download speeds. I can get between 8-12MB/s down straight to the internal storage and I get a range of 14-28MB/s copy to the NAS. When downloading a large file directly to the NAS, I get about 3-5MB/s. At the lower end and dipping into 2 if I have multiple downloads going at once.

I'm guessing there's probably a performance penalty there as it has to come from the internet to the computer and then back to the NAS again. Is there any way to get the performance up a bit? The solution I came up with is downloading to the internal storage first and copying to the NAS which I might do if it's something I want quickly. It'd be good if I could somehow set a temporary internal download location and then have it automatically moved to the location I specified on the NAS once the download had completed but I don't know how I'd go about doing that.
Whether it comes to local storage first, or the NAS first, your internet performance is the limiting factor.
That is far slower than the performance of the internal drives.

I have my browsers set to download directly to my NAS.
 
Sep 17, 2020
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Whether it comes to local storage first, or the NAS first, your internet performance is the limiting factor.
That is far slower than the performance of the internal drives.

I have my browsers set to download directly to my NAS.
That's what I would do too but I did a bit of maths and it would be much quicker to download internally and then copy to the NAS. Downloading directly would be at worst 35% as fast and at best 75% so I'd definitely like to try and find a way around that.
 

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