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Performance

Firmware version 4.2.3 was loaded onto the TS-431P and performance tests were run using the Revision 5 NAS test process. All tests were run using Western Digital Red 1 TB WD10EFRX (x4 SNB supplied).

The benchmark summary below compares the QNAP TS-431P and the Synology DS416. File copy Write and File Copy Read results were consistent across all RAID levels (RAID 0, 5, & 10) for both NASes. All results were close to 110 MB/s and approached the theoretical limit of single client testing on a single Gigabit connection. Similarly, the NASPT File Copy to NAS and NASPT File Copy from NAS scores were all within about 5% of each other for both NASes for all RAID levels.

Several sets of tests results stood out. For RAID 0, the TS-431P was almost 17% faster on the NASPT Directory Copy to NAS than the DS416. However, the TS-431P was 40% slower on the NASPT Directory Copy from NAS and 58% slower on the NASPT Content creation. Similarly, the TS-431P was almost 26% faster than the DS416 for NASPT RAID 5 Directory Copy from NAS and about 23% faster for the RAID 10 results on the NASPT Directory Copy to NAS.

For the USB 3.0 backup tests, the DS416 edged out the TP-431P on two of the three file systems tested (EXT3 and NTFS). The DS416 was quite a bit faster on the network backup tests turning in 58MB/s as compared to the 36.6 MB/s on the TS-431P. iSCSI read and write results on the two NASes were within 5% of each other.

Synology DS416 and DS416j Benchmark summary comparison

QNAP TS-431P and Synology DS416 Benchmark summary comparison

To quickly highlight the major differences, I pulled the benchmark results for the two products into an Excel spreadsheet so that I could calculate the percent differences in performance compared to the TS-431P. A negative percentage means that the QNAP TS-431P is slower than the Synology DS416.

Benchmark QNAP TS-431P Synology DS416 Percent Difference
File Copy Write Performance 110.2 109.7 0.5%
File Copy Read Performance 106.3 105.7 0.6%
RAID 5 File Copy Write Performance 109.4 108.4 0.9%
RAID 5 File Copy Read Performance 107.2 105.7 1.4%
RAID 10 File Copy Write Performance 109.8 108.1 1.5%
RAID 10 File Copy Read Performance 104.5 105.0 -0.5%
[NASPT] File Copy To NAS 113.9 111.8 1.8%
[NASPT] File Copy From NAS 110.6 110.8 -0.2%
[NASPT] Directory Copy To NAS 16.2 13.5 16.7%
[NASPT] Directory Copy From NAS 12.9 18.1 -40.3%
[NASPT] Content Creation 8.4 13.3 -58.3%
[NASPT] Office Productivity 60.8 57.9 4.8%
[NASPT] HD Playback & Record 111.6 107.7 3.5%
[NASPT] 4x HD Playback 112.2 112.6 -0.4%
[NASPT] RAID 5 File Copy To NAS 108.3 105.8 2.3%
[NASPT] RAID 5 File Copy From NAS 111.8 111.5 0.3%
[NASPT] RAID 5 Directory Copy To NAS 15.9 14.4 9.4%
[NASPT] RAID 5 Directory Copy From NAS 17.5 13.0 25.7%
[NASPT] RAID 5 Content Creation 10.1 10.5 -4.0%
[NASPT] RAID 5 Office Productivity 54.7 39.8 27.2%
[NASPT] RAID 5 HD Playback & Record 110.0 106.5 3.2%
[NASPT] RAID 5 4x HD Playback 112.7 111.4 1.2%
[NASPT] RAID 10 File Copy To NAS 113.4 113.0 0.4%
[NASPT] RAID 10 File Copy From NAS 109.7 105.3 4.0%
[NASPT] RAID 10 Directory Copy To NAS 16.3 12.6 22.7%
[NASPT] RAID 10 Directory Copy From NAS 17.1 16.5 3.5%
[NASPT] RAID 10 Content Creation 11.4 12.0 -5.3%
[NASPT] RAID 10 Office Productivity 55.5 56.5 -1.8%
[NASPT] RAID 10 HD Playback & Record 110.6 104.4 5.6%
[NASPT] RAID 10 4x HD Playback 111.7 110.2 1.3%
Backup to USB3 Drive - FAT Format 106.3 99.2 6.7%
Backup to USB3 Drive - EXT3 Format 87.5 89.3 -2.1%
Backup to USB3 Drive - NTFS Format 99.2 103.8 -4.6%
Network Backup 36.6 58.0 -58.5%
iSCSI Write to Target 90.4 89.0 1.5%
iSCSI Read From Target 90.4 94.2 -4.2%
Table 2: Percent differences as compared to the QNAP TS-431P (MB/s)

The chart below shows the Total NAS Ranker scores for the eight least expensive four-bay NASes. The QNAP TS-431P has a Total NAS ranking of #9 as compared to the #5 ranking for the Synology DS416.

TOTAL NAS Rank for RAID5 test method Revision 5 NASes

TOTAL NAS Rank for RAID5 test method Revision 5 NASes

Looking at the subcategories, the QNAP TS-431P had category wins for both the Write Benchmarks as well as Read Benchmarks. The relatively poor results for RAID 0 NASPT Content creation dragged the overall category ranking for Mixed Read Write to #9. It's worth noting, however, that the RAID 5 and RAID 10 NASPT Content Creation results were only 4% -5% lower than those of the DS416. Not surprisingly, the Backup category ranking for the TS-431P was dragged down by the relatively slow network backup results. Other categories, as you can see, were very close for many of the tests with the TS-431P often holding a slight edge.

Ranker Performance Summary comparison of the QNAP TS-431P and Synology DS416

Ranker Performance Summary comparison of the QNAP TS-431P and Synology DS416

Closing Thoughts

It's rare to see two competing NASes that turn in so many results within our 5% tolerance for rankings. For all the major file copy read and file copy write tests, the results were nearly identical. So in practical terms, you probably wouldn't notice a difference in performance between the QNAP TS-431P and the Synology DS416.

Looking at the NAS Ranker, it would seem that the cheaper, #8 ranked Synology DS416j might be a better value. But both of the compared NASes in this review have dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, tool-less disk trays, and hot swappable drives - all of which are missing in the DS416j. And both have significantly faster processors that could yield even more performance in a link-aggregated configuration.

In the end,either one of these NASes would be a good choice for the Home/SOHO environment. You can save a few dollars by buying the TS-431P, but ultimately, your decision may come down to whether you prefer the features offered by QNAP's QTS or Synology's DSM operating systems.

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