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Comparative Performance - Six Bay

Looking at the NAS Ranker filtered for 6 bay NASes, you'll see that there aren't really too many products in this category - 7 to be exact. With a diskless price of $650, the Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay ranks #5 in the Total NAS ranking, but there are no other less expensive 6-bay NASes that are ranked any higher. The next most expensive 6-bay product is the $899 QNAP TS-653 Pro Turbo NAS. For 6 bay NASes, it looks like the Seagate Pro 6-bay holds the sweet spot on value.

NAS Ranker for 6-bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking

NAS Ranker for 6 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking

Comparative Performance - Four Bay

There's a lot of competition in the 4-bay NAS market. Using the NAS ranker, I filtered for four drives and sorted in ascending price. The Seagate NAS Pro diskless model sells for $500, and that lands it as #12 least expensive NAS. However, looking at 4-bay NASes with ranking based on Total NAS score, you can see that Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay ranks #8.

Looking at the chart, you can see that there are two other 4-bay NASes with lower (better) Total NAS rankings than the Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay NAS. Those two products are the #7 ranked $471 QNAP TS 451 Turbo NAS and the #5 ranked $498 QNAP TS-469L Turbo NAS.

NAS Ranker for 4 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking

NAS Ranker for 4 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking

Since there are a couple of NASes that are relatively close in price to the NAS Pro 4-bay, I thought it would be interesting to look at a comparison of the Ranker Performance summaries for both the Seagate NAS Pro and the QNAP TS-469, which is virtually the same price. The composite chart below shows a comparison of the two products. When you look at the summary for all 87 products tested, the Seagate comes in at #21 and the QNAP at #15.

Looking at the individual categories, the Seagate NAS Pro is actually ranked better in Mixed Read Write, Video and Backup. Looking at both the Read and the Write benchmarks, you'll see that the overall category scores for the NAS Pro were pulled down by relatively poor NASPT Directory copy operations on both RAID 5 and RAID 10.

Total NAS Ranker performance summary comparison

Total NAS Ranker performance summary comparison

Comparative Performance - Two Bay

As you might expect, the 2-bay NAS market is really very crowded, so making a decision here becomes even more difficult. Using the NAS ranker filtered to sort for two bay NASes and sorted on prices from low to high, the Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay NAS comes in #18 out of 31 2-bay devices. Based on list prices, it should have been #20 with a list price of $349.99, but our charts update dynamically based on price daily, and as of this writing it shows up in the charts at $331.

Sorting on Total NAS ranking, the Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay places #8 and trails one less expensive, but higher ranked NAS. The $297 ASUSTOR AS-302T ranked #7. Within striking distance at $338 is the #4 ranked QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS.

NAS Ranker for 4 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking

NAS Ranker for 4 bay NASes based on Total NAS ranking

If QNAP sounds familar, that's probably because we used a similarly-priced QNAP in our four bay performance comparison. For the two bay performance comparison, I selected the #8 Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay and the # 4 QNAP TS-251. In the Ranker Performance Summary composite below, the Seagate is ranked #28 and the QNAP is #11 out of 87 products tested.

Looking at the category details, both NASes had identical rankings for write benchmarks. But for read benchmarks, the NAS Pro 2-bay category ranking was pulled down by some relatively low NASPT test results. For the rest of the category scores, each products' category rankings for Mixed Read Write, Video, Backup and iSCSI were higher than their Total NAS ranking.

Total NAS Ranker performance summary comparison

Total NAS Ranker performance summary comparison

Closing Thoughts

Seagate made some serious strides in catching up to the competition by beefing up their processor and memory in the NAS Pro family of NASes. Compared to the Seagate NAS family, the performance gains were huge - especially in areas such as Windows file copy write prformance. The NAS Pro 4-bay, for example had write speeds in excess of 100 MBps for all three RAID types tested. For the NAS 4-bay, corresponding speeds were 51.3 MBps (RAID 0), 38.7 (RAID 5) and 47.4 (RAID 10).

For the NAS Pro 6-bay, there's really not too much competition and it looks like the $500 price point for the diskless model will hit the sweet spot of price/performance for 6 bay products. As you reduce the number of bays, the competition gets tighter and tighter. In our charts, we have 27 four-bay NASes and 31 two-bay NASes. For both four-bay and two-bay NASes, there were products with lower (better) Total NAS rankings at prices that were less than the corresponding Seagate NAS Pro offerings. But performance doesn't tell the whole story. For each of the competing NASes, check out the reviews that cover the features and user interface of the NASes. You many find a "deal breaker" feature that's either missing or included that sways your purchasing decision.

Seagate has made steady progress since buying LaCie in building a decent NAS product line worthy of its name. While the NAS Pro doesn't have the dozens of add-in apps that lure many buyers to QNAP and Synology, the features and performance it does have make it a serious contender for SOHO and small biz buyers looking to buy from a big-time storage maker.

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