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Performance - Competitive

For the competitive comparison, I included the 109+, 109, and two other single-drive NASes using the new Marvell processor, the Buffalo LinkStation Pro XHL and QNAP TS119. I also threw in Synology's top-of-line previous-generation single-bay NAS, the DS107+.

Figure 11 shows the DS109+ clearly on top across all "large" file sizes tested and the 109 in second place, followed closely by the QNAP TS-119. The Buffalo XHL suffers from a faster speed falloff than the other products up to the 256 MB file size, but then recovers to join the TS-119 in the mid to high 20 MB/s at higher file sizes.

The previous-generation DS107+ cruises along mostly in the mid-teens, which is typical for Marvell Orion-based NASes tested on the previous testbed.

Competitive write comparison  - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 11: Competitive write comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 12 compares the read performances, where rankings are a bit different. The QNAP beats the DS109+ up to 256 MB file size. But it then drops off significantly to the mid-40 MB/s, while the DS109+ stays up above 50 MB/s. The DS109 maintains a slight edge over the Buffalo XHL at higher file sizes, staying up in the high vs. low 40 MB/s range.

Competitive read comparison  - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 12: Competitive read comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN

Performance - File Copy

Vista SP1 1000 Mbps file copy write results in Figure 13 provide another view into the competitive rankings. The DS109+ comes out on top with 45.8 MB/s, while the QNAP and Buffalo products measure in the low 30 MB/s range.

1000 Mbps LAN Vista SP1 File Copy Write

Figure 13: 1000 Mbps LAN Vista SP1 File Copy Write

Figure 14 shows the 1000 Mbps File Copy read. The DS109+ again leads the pack at 73.3 MB/s, but the QNAP pops up to the #2 position at 70.8 MB/s, beating out the DS109.

1000 Mbps LAN Vista SP1 File Copy Write

Figure 14: 1000 Mbps LAN Vista SP1 File Copy Read

Use the NAS Charts to further explore performance.

Closing Thoughts

Freescale CPUs haven't been as popular with NAS makers as Marvell's application-specific storage processors. But Synology seems to be a fan, continuing to use them in some of their current "09" series products, including the DS109+, DS209+ and top-of-line DS509+. It seems like a good choice, too, since it gives the DS109+ the extra oomph it needed to come in first in most of our single-drive benchmarks.

But in the end, it's the price vs. performance that counts. And among BYOD single-bay NASes, the DS109, 109+ seem to set new highs in the Price vs. Performance Charts on both counts. And adding $90 or so for a 1 TB drive brings the 109+ to almost $500, which is a lot to pay for any single-drive NAS.

Even the $229 starting point for the DS109 will end you up at around $320 for a Terabyte. Considering that you can get just about the same performance from the Buffalo Linkstation Pro XHL for almost $100 less, you need to think about what you really need.

Synology has done a good job at developing their product line, continuously improving performance, feature set and ease of use. But, like NETGEAR and its ReadyNASes, Synology knows that they have products with a unique combination of features and performance and price them accordingly. That might not sit well with buyers whose technolust is bigger than their wallets, but such is life.

If you want one of the most full-featured, high-performance, single-drive NASes that your money can buy, you just might swallow hard, dig deep and get the DS109+. The DS109 is a good alternative that's a little easier on your wallet and will still provide 40 - 50 MB/s of performance. The best price vs. performance deal, though, could be the DS109j since it's priced to move at around $140. But that decision will have to wait for another time, when Synology decides to send one my way.

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