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Choosing the best M. 2 SSD in the 240-256 GB c interface NVMe: great comparative test

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The 3DNews laboratory traditionally focuses on the tests of solid state drives, exploring how performance and reliability of such solutions. And the reason is quite simple: an SSD is one of the most striking technologies of recent times, which is just a few years allowed to increase the responsiveness of personal computers to a new level. Today, no enthusiast will not wonder whether to place the operating system and frequently used programs on the SSD or could be, dispensed in the configuration without new solutions and to limit time-tested HDD. In any Assembly, where the budget allows, get a SSD is mandatory. Somewhere is a small volume of the primary storage, but it working data warehouse with a volume of terabytes, but any modern system (if it’s not quite ultrabudgetary computer) without the SSD simply unthinkable.

Until recently, most computers were SSD with SATA interface is what we have tested and recommended above all. Indeed, such drives are publicly available, widely compatible with existing systems and their value until recently seemed more than justified compared with the options that use high-speed PCI Express bus. But times change, and now more interesting choice begin to appear SSDs with NVMe interface. Yes, they are slightly more expensive, but on the one hand the price gap between SATA and NVMe SSDS steadily declining, and with another – the overpayment for a faster interface eventually pays off with positive emotions, which brings high performance. Of course, the same jump in performance that we experienced when moving from HDD to SSD in this case. But the increasing speed is still significant, and those users who have already tried to work in the system with some good NVMe drive hardly then agree to exchange it for an alternative with SATA interface.

In other words, we came to the understanding that it’s time to finally come to grips with the comparative tests progressive mass NVMe SSD. The growing popularity of these solutions is obvious, and their range is presented in stores, is expanding every day. And if until recently the choice was very simple, because the optimum drive with NVMe interface almost unopposed were 960 Samsung EVO, on the date of its unconditional superiority can be questioned. This, in particular, a recent acquaintance with the Intel SSD 760p new NVMe-a product that at least not worse in performance, and attractive enough for the price. In addition, recently appeared on the market and other interesting options to get around that attention would be at least unfair.

The first big test of the new cycle will be devoted to comparing the most popular options – M. 2 drives with NVMe interface volume 240-256 GB.

#Why NVMe?

Many believe that the NVMe interface, which is gradually moving to solid state drives, is synonymous with speed. Indeed, the peak bandwidth of the SATA interface in its most common version 3.1 is only 600 MB/s, which is clearly below the performance that can give a modern SSD. This is well illustrated by the fact that the performance of linear operations in a variety of modern SATA drives is negligible: it limits the bandwidth of the interface.

At the same time, the current drives with the NVMe interface can offer not only significantly higher, but significantly differing in performance. For example, the best consumer NVMe SSD to give the speed of the serial read and write at the level of 3.5 and 2.7 GB/s respectively, but at the same time more simple NVMe model significantly not up to these indicators. And that means the world NVMe SSD performance is not so emasculated, and devalued characteristics, as in the case of SATA.

This is really an implementation of the interface. For the operation of the NVMe interface at a low level of the selected standard PCI Express serial bus, which not only scales easily by increasing the number of used lines, but even in the variant with one line (version 3.0) may provide the peak throughput of the order of 985 MB/s, that is, at least one and a half times higher than the usual SATA interface. Besides, the vast majority of modern mass NVMe SSD use two or four lines of PCI Express, the final throughput is obtained at 1.97 or even 3,94 GB/s-Based flash memory drives thanks to its multi-channel architecture can use such a fast tire easily, so it turns out that the speed NVMe SSD for sequential operations is significantly higher than SATA SSD.

Specification SATA 3.0 PCI Express 2.0 PCI Express 3.0
The number of lines ×1 ×2 ×4 ×1 ×2 ×4
Bandwidth, GB/s 6,0 5,0 10,0 20,0 8,0 16,0 32,0
Coding 8b/10b 8b/10b 8b/10b 8b/10b 128b/130b 128b/130b 128b/130b
Effective bandwidth GB/s 0,6 0,5 1,0 2,0 0,99 Of 1.97 3,94

However, the original transition SSD with SATA-interface for NVMe thought not only to increase bandwidth, how to reduce latency and add to the work drives multithreading. Opened the possibility of scaling the speed of the serial access become a useful addition. The most important aspect of NVMe that this interface is structurally assigned to work with the drives built on the basis of the non-volatile memory, that is, those which have a multi-channel parallel architecture with fast random access. And it radically differs from the NVMe interface SATA interface of the old hereditary, which came to SSDs from hard disk drives and therefore did not take into account the specifics of the internal structure of the media of the new generation.

In particular, used in the SATA Protocol to AHCI is built around service a shared queue of commands and explicitly assumes that the incoming commands are processed by the device with high access time of storage disks. For this reason, in AHCI contains no concurrency, because the magnetic media read and write data only in sequence. In addition, because even the best HDD I can not offer a delay of less than several milliseconds, in AHCI there are no optimizations to reduce latency. Against the background of high access time the physical media overheads of the Protocol simply does not matter.

It all seemed quite logical and natural for the HDD, but when the SATA interface came to SSD, AHCI Protocol immediately became uncomfortable and even inappropriate. However, despite serious criticism, to abandon it at the first stage proved to be impossible at least due to the fact that there is no other option at the right time simply was not. But even worse, for a while, until the industry has developed and implemented a suitable alternative, SATA, SSD was able to spread widely and approve an inherited interface in the role of a common solution. That is why NVMe storage devices had to open the way to the market with great efforts. Fortunately, to date, all obstacles overcome: NVMe support exists in all modern platforms and operating systems, and it provides a wide range of consumer SSD models that implement this interface.

And at the moment the question of whether the drive what interface should be preferred for advanced system, to arise should not. NVMe is not only benefits in throughput, but is especially suited for the architecture of the SSD, helping to minimise delays when working with data. The fundamental advantages of the two. First, NVMe supports multithreading, allowing you to generate multiple command queues that can be processed by a multi-channel SSD controller in parallel. Secondly, connecting the processor and the storage medium directly, without any intermediaries, NVMe interface brings data to the point of use and removes two unneeded intermediates: the SATA controller and the SATA translator teams, which converts adopted the Protocol AHCI treatment to the sectors and tracks in the data pages of the flash memory.

  AHCI NVMe
The maximum queue depth 1 turn
32 teams in the queue
65536 queues
65536 commands per queue
Uncached accesses to the registers (2000 cycles each) 6 teams out of turn
9 in the command queue
2 per team
MSI-X and interrupt management One interrupt
No control
2048 MSI-X interrupt
Concurrency and multithreading To be fixed timing for issuing a command Fixation is not required
Performance for 4K teams Requires two serial request DRAM Requires a single 64-byte request DRAM

All this has a positive effect on delays. As practice shows, the proposed NVMe interface method of access data, which is a natural for solid-state drive, allowing you to reduce overhead expenses almost doubled. This, in particular, opens the way for an alignment with the latency at the level of a dozen microseconds. And here is not a hypothetical argument, such NVMe drives are known: for example, Optane Intel or Samsung SSD Z SSD. Such service is at the SATA interface simply impossible to implement.

  A typical SATA SSD Typical NVMe SSD
The speed of sequential operations Up to 550 MB/s read
Up to 500 MB/s write
Up to 3500 MB/s read
Up to 2500 MB/s write
Speed random operations Up to 100K IOPS read
Up to 90K IOPS write
Up to 400K IOPS read
Up to 400K IOPS entry

If you delve into the technical details, NVMe, you can see a lot of useful solutions that make the interface very simple and responsive. For example, the transfer of the most typical 4-Kbyte blocks it requires submission of only one team instead of two in SATA. And the whole set of control instructions is simplified so that processing at the driver level can significantly reduce CPU usage and associated latency. As for concurrency and scalability, it is assumed NVMe simultaneous servicing of up to 65,536 queues, and each of them can have depth to 65536 commands. Of course, for personal computers, such degree of parallelism impossible, but by the simultaneous operation of multiple applications that are actively communicating with the drive, CPU usage thanks to NVMe can be somewhat reduced.

Thus, from the point of view of the user NVMe is the maximum throughput for a linear access, the maximum performance with random operations and minimal delays when accessing data. As well as some additional facilities like lower load on the processor and lack of performance degradation when multithreaded operations. Give all of that makes no sense, that’s why we decided to come to grips with the tests NVMe SSD.

#Why is M. 2?

Together with the emergence of a wide range of SSDs that use the NVMe interface, widespread new form factors SSD. And this is natural, since NVMe requires a different connection they are connected to the system, not the SATA cable, but via the PCI Express bus. While the industry has not come to a consensus about how it should look NVMe drives in the market you can find three different versions of these products: HHHL PCIe extension card, M. 2 module and 2.5-inch case products format U. 2. But in any case, the NVMe drive for data transport uses the PCI Express bus, which means the type of execution speed performance is not affected. Just different formats of the SSD can be comfortable in different situations.

The most obvious option NVMe SSD, given the use of PCI Express, it is a standard expansion card. HHHL (Half-Height, Half-Length, half-height, half-length) PCIe-card drives like the graphics card are installed in a regular PCIe slots perpendicular to the motherboard and are quite impressive dimensions — 167 x 111 mm. the Disadvantages of this form-factor is obvious: the drives are bulky, require of free slots and obviously can not be used in compact or mobile systems. However, there are advantages: they are without any obstacles can be equipped with an efficient radiator which will provide a high-performance SSD for the necessary cooling. However, due to imposed restrictions drives expansion cards gradually fade into the background.

Even more rare NVMe storage solutions in the form factor of the U. 2. This includes the entire NVMe SSDS in traditional 2.5-inch enclosure, which allows, in particular easy to mount the drives into a standard basket and provide the functionality of “hot replacement”. But this connection is necessary to meet the special PCIe cable standard SFF-8639, and the motherboard needs to have the appropriate connectors SFF-8643. Such an embodiment NVMe SSD in virtue of their nature, are more typical for servers and desktop computers is almost never used.

The most popular in the NVMe SSD for personal computers, format M. 2 modules. Such drives are made in the form of open-frame compact child card with a stab connector that are installed in a special slot M. 2 on the motherboard parallel to the surface. The typical size M. 2 card – 22 x 80 mm (there are also varieties of 22 × 42, 22 × 60 mm and 22 × 110 mm), i.e. it is relatively tiny items, which may find use not only in desktop computers but also, for example, in thin-and-light laptops. Any system based on modern processors, necessarily provided with one or more slots for M. 2 drives, so compatibility issues this form-factor is gradually fade into the background.

However, it should be borne in mind that the M. 2 slot on the motherboard can be summed up not only what the fastest NVMe SSD four lines PCI Express 3.0, but with fewer lines or more lines of the old standard PCI Express 2.0. Moreover, there are M. 2 slot and SATA interface, which PCI Express connection do not support. Usually for outdated or ultrabudgetary configurations, but once again check compatibility of your system with NVMe drives in the M. 2 format, requiring for its operation four (or for some models of SSD or two) lines PCI Express 3.0, before purchasing the SSD will not hurt. This information can be obtained on the website of the manufacturer of the motherboard or in the user manual.

One important caveat to keep in mind when using M. 2 SSD, it is the need of cooling. In high-speed NVMe SSD has a compact design and multiple heat-producing components are concentrated in a small area. Therefore, for normal operation of such products it is recommended to install radiators or to organize an additional air cooling M. 2 module air flow. Otherwise, drives can overheat and not give the expected performance.

Nevertheless, we recommend you to use NVMe SSD in the form factor M. 2. First, if we talk about high-performance models, such drives are prevalent the most. The range of M. 2 NVMe SSD compared to NVMe drives in other form factors is much broader, and to find a suitable combination option is much easier. Second, the M. 2 NVMe SSD is more compact than the other options: they require no wiring and do not change the dimensions of the Assembly after its installation. Thirdly, to adopt M. 2 NVMe SSD ready today almost any modern desktop or mobile system. Compatibility issues with NVMe drives in the form factor M. 2 is currently the least. In addition, for an M. 2 NVMe SSD has a large selection of boards-adapters that allow you to install them not only in specialized connectors, but in a standard PCI Express slots on the motherboard.

#Table of characteristics of the tested SSD

In the laboratory 3DNews consolidated testing was attended by eighteen modern SSDs with NVMe interface. All of them were made in the format of M. 2 modules, and all of them had the volume a quarter of a terabyte, that is from 240 to 256 GB.

A short list of tested models with their main technical specifications, taken from official sources, is given in the following table.

A more detailed description of participants can be found on the next page of the review.

SOURCE

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Peripherals

Overview of the NAS WD My Cloud Pro PR2100: the best iron for your money

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From a home user network attached storage company Western Digitalusually associated with something simple, not demanding to understand network technologies and offering only a basic set of functions for personal data storage and remote access. But the model number NAS of this manufacturer for a long time already there are models that are not inferior in its capabilities and characteristics to other players in the market for personal file storage. One of these patterns found in our lab. We are talking about a two-Bay NAS WD My Cloud Pro PR2100, which is a whole lot of different interesting features, but costs less than its competitors.

#Supplied

 

The package WD My Cloud Pro PR2100

WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 comes in a compact cardboard box with color printing — this is easy to carry from store to home in his arms, but she handles no. Inside, in addition to the drive, was found to have the following accessories:

  • power adapter with detachable cable;
  • Ethernet cable;
  • a sheet with the sequence of actions by putting the device into operation.

A detailed user manual in Russian and other languages if necessary you can download from the manufacturer’s website. Also note that the WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 comes without pre-installed hard drives and disks with a total capacity of 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 TB on the user’s choice. In our instance was equipped with two WD Red WD20EFRX adapted to work with NAS, with a capacity of 2 TB each.

#Specifications

WD My Cloud Pro PR2100
HDD 2 × 3.5″ SATA II/III HDD
File system Internal hard drives: EXT4;
External storage: FAT32, NTFS, HFS+J exFAT
RAID level JBOD Mode join drives, RAID 0/1
Processor Intel Pentium 1.6 GHz N3710
RAM 4 GB DDR3L
Network interfaces 2 × Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Additional interfaces 2 × USB 3.0
Protocols AFP, NFS, FTP, WebDAV, iSCSI, SSH, SNMP, Samba, HTTP
Customers Windows 7 and more modern, Mac OS X 10.8 and more modern;
iOS 7 and more modern Android 4.0 and more modern
Cooling system 1 × fan 70 × 70 mm
Dimensions, mm 217 × 109 × 148
Guarantee, months.
(with pre-installed HDD / without HDD)
36 / 24
Estimated price*, RUB
(without HDD / 4 / 8 / 12 / 16 / 20 TB)
33 353 / 49 890 / 59 220 / 67 284 / 77 312 / 86 619

*Average price in “Yandex.Market” at the time of this writing.

 

The main motherboard WD My Cloud Pro PR2100

The word Pro in the name of the drive attached for a reason. The fact that the basis of this device is the processor Intel Pentium N3710 is the most powerful Intel Braswell. NAS from other manufacturers, this processor can be found only on the most expensive models, costs and capabilities which significantly exceed those for WD My Cloud Pro PR2100. The processor has the architecture Airmont, made on 14-nanometer process technology and operates with a base clock speed of 1.6 GHz with the ability to increase to 2.56 GHz. He has a 2 MB cache second level, and another difference — very low heat dissipation: only 6 watts.

Центральный процессор со снятым радиатором

The CPU with removed radiator

This processor has an integrated graphics core Intel HD Graphics 405 eighth generation with sixteen actuators operating in the frequency range from 400 to 700 MHz. For home NAS will probably be important that the adapter works with the 4K UHD resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels (2160p) at a frequency of 30 Hz or 2560 × 1600 for 60 Hz, and can also carry out the decoding of data at the hardware level H. 264 (AVC) MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2 and VC-1. He still has the HDMI interface, but the NAS the output is not provided.

 

Memory modules Samsung K4B4G1646E-BYK0

Intel Pentium N3710, like other models of Intel Braswell processors, has an integrated dual channel memory controller. It works with DDR3L-1600 memory, and its maximum amount is limited to 8 GB. On the motherboard WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 coming with eight modules of Samsung K4B4G1646E-BYK0 capacity of 512 MB each. Thus, WD My Cloud PR2100 Pro has 4 GB of RAM DDR3L-1600. To increase the amount of RAM in this case is not possible.

Микроконтроллер ARM STM32F0

The ARM STM32F0 microcontroller

On Board of the NAS has two Gigabit network interface represented by the widespread controllers Realtek RTL8111H with the PCI Express bus. The SATA controller built into the processor. It works with two interfaces 6 GB/s, which fully corresponds to the specifications of the NAS. The external eSATA ports of the novelty, but there is two USB 3.0 ports, which are also implemented with built-in CPU controller. It remains to note that to control the device on the motherboard of processor ARM STM32F0 from the company STMicroelectronics.

Hardware WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 largely very unusual. So unusual to see in a NAS of this class Intel Pentium. But even more amazing to know that this NAS zadublirovanny power connector – just like very expensive models, designed for continuous operation in the big office! Supplied with the device there is only one power supply, but if you want you can always buy a second. In General, the circuitry not only meets the stated technical characteristics, but also deserves profound respect for originality, and elaboration.

#Appearance

 
Внешний вид WD My Cloud Pro PR2100

Appearance WD My Cloud Pro PR2100

Unlike the vast majority, and expensive, and not network drives on the market today, the product is made not in plastic and metal body, painted in Matt black. The device looks expensive and noble. Only front panel with compartments for discs, traditionally made of plastic. Unpainted left only the back and lower part of the body. On the side metal walls, closer to the front panel, placed vents through which air enters the device. Well, on the lower surface of the pinned soft legs that allow the device to slide on a table or shelf, and dampen vibration.

Лицевая панель

The front panel

On the front panel can be seen as a practical matte plastic and decorative glossy. Two-thirds of its area is a disk compartment. Instead of common doors used here, separate opening panels with ventilation grilles for each disk. Under the panels is written numbers, and to inform the user about the activity or malfunctions with an led indicator. To the left of the disk-chamber is placed a decorative panel with the round power control button, the rectangular button to initiate the copy process from the connected external media storage and a USB 3.0 port for connecting to these carriers.

Задняя панель

Rear panel

All other specifications of the interfaces located on the rear surface of the device. In one vertical row they built two connectors to connect power adapters, two Ethernet RJ-45 port, a USB 3.0 port and recessed deep into the body reset button the device. Just above is a hole for attaching a security lock such as the Kensington. Well, almost all of the remaining space taken up by a ventilation grille, behind which hides a 70-mm fan. The cooling system is arranged according to the classical scheme of air sucked by the fan through the holes on the faceplates of the disk skids and side walls, passes through the inside of the shell is heated, cooling the drives and electronic components, and exits through the ventilation grille on the rear wall of the housing.

#Installation of hard drives and internal structure

Unlike most other NAS in the design of the WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 missing disk sled. It deprives him of the ability to install a 2.5-inch hard drives and SSD, but greatly simplifies the Assembly and disassembly of conventional, 3.5-inch disks. In addition, the design without the slide in this case it is harmonious, no unnecessary elements subject to vibration.

 

Disc compartment

The door of the disk compartment have a combined design with large rubber grip in the center, ensuring reliable contact of the disk with the connectors on the Board and not allowing it to vibrate during operation. The quality of execution of each element is worthy of the highest rating discs cling to nothing, neither during installation nor when dismantling.

 

The internal structure of the body

Disassemble your case your WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 the user does not have — the device has no removable memory modules, and disks are installed from the front panel. However, make it quite easy. More interesting. Removing the outer u-shaped casing, we expected to see under it a rigid frame of metal profiles. Imagine our surprise when inside actually showed one case with Tselikov metal panels. Such a structure makes the device extremely rigid and protected from various external influences. To break or damage the metal double wall accidentally will be very difficult. This is another plus in the Treasury of the merits associated with the reliability of WD My Cloud Pro PR2100.

Крепление системной платы

Motherboard mounting

The inner housing can also be disassembled. To one of its sidewalls a vertically mounted motherboard. Additional system Board interface connectors for the hard drives mounted on a transverse metal partition. In General, the internal structure of the novelty causes a feeling that this device was not done in a hurry, and saving on materials and production technologies is not intended in the first place and had no impact on quality and reliability. Cheaper mechanical design sin today almost all manufacturers of NAS and Western Digital, to the surprise of all, demonstrates the opposite. It is very nice.

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Peripherals

Overview Synology NAS DS1618+ excellent

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Company Synology with its wide range of SSDs has long established itself as a standard. It is oriented other manufacturers NAS, and most users agree that the network drives of this brand is often close to ideal. While we can argue endlessly about not the lowest cost products of the company or to be criticized for its rather conservative and strict policy of choosing the hardware base, but the quality, performance and huge potential is now widely known DSM from Synology continues to remain unsurpassed. In other words, most of the Synology NAS is close to the ideal, but often remain some little things that don’t allow to put the device high score plus.

The new NAS Synology DS1618+ is another attempt to create a perfect model of the NAS. Judging by the declared technical characteristics and a cursory familiarity with the device, the chances is he has a very good. A six device belongs to the family of high-performance models Plus designed to perform demanding tasks. Like other NAS devices in this series, Synology DS1618+ suitable for working in the business segment, and for the average home user enthusiast.

The package

 

The supplied Synology DS1618+

The device comes in a large cardboard box with a plastic handle for easy transportation. Inside, in addition to the drive, was found to have the following accessories:

  • power cable;
  • two Ethernet network cable;
  • set of screws for mounting drives form factor 2.5 inch;
  • two keys to lock the disk sled;
  • the printed manual to get started with the device.

Package is standard and requires no comment. The lack of it set of screws for mounting drives form factor 3.5 inches due to the design of the slides, and a detailed user manual as the fresh version, the manufacturer offers a download from its website.

Specifications

Synology DS1618+
HDD 6 × 3,5/2,5″ SATA II/III HDD or SSD
File system Internal hard drives: EXT4, Btrfs;
External drives: EXT3, EXT4, Btrfs, NTFS, FAT, HFS+, exFAT (license paid)
RAID level Synology Hybrid RAID, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
Processor Intel Atom 2.1 GHz C3538
RAM DDR4 4GB (expandable up to 32 GB)
Network interfaces 4 × Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Additional interfaces 3 × USB 3.0
2 × eSATA
1 × PCI Express Gen3 ×8
Protocols CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP, WebDAV, CalDAV, iSCSI, Telnet, SSH, SNMP, VPN (PPTP, OpenVPN), Samba, HTTP
Customers Windows 7 and later, Mac OS X 10.10 and later;
iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian
Cooling system 2 × 92 × 92 mm fan
Power Consumption, W Mode of access: 56,86;
In the hibernate mode of 25.76
Dimensions, mm 166 × 282 × 243
Weight, kg Of 5.05 (without HDD)
Guarantee, months. 36
Estimated price*, RUB 66 000

* Average price in “Yandex.Market” at the moment of writing of article

 

The main motherboard Synology DS1618+

In contrast to the recently tested cosmeticology NAS Synology DS1817+, consider the NAS is built on the new generation of Intel Atom processors C3000 family Denverton, based on the architecture Goldmont and produced on 14-nanometer process technology. The NAS is a Synology DS1618+ is equipped with a Quad-core SoC-processor Intel Atom C3538, running with a clock speed of 2.1 GHz and has 8 MB cache memory of the second level. This Junior processor family, based on work in network drives and file storage.

From Intel new Atom C2000 series processor you’ll be including more profitable hardware equipment. So, in SoC implemented eight USB 3.0, two dezetilirovanny and two Gigabit Ethernet interface, twelve SATA 6 GB/s and denotationally controller PCI Express 3 ×2/×4/×8. Heat pack in this model is a standard 15 watts, which allowed to use passive cooling. Outside the CPU is closed by a small aluminum radiator.

 

RAM DDR4 2400 4 GB

Intel Atom C3538 has a built-in controller, dual channel memory DDR4-2133. On Board storage provides two slots for installing RAM modules with a total capacity of up to 32 GB. A regular complete NAS comes with only one RAM of 4GB. In our instance it was installed module SDRAM DDR4-2400 total capacity of 8 GB, assembled in eight chips Samsung K4A4G085WE-BCRC with a capacity of 512 MB each.

Контроллер Gigabit Ethernet Marvell Alaska 88E1543

Controller Gigabit Marvell Alaska 88E1543

The four Gigabit network ports which the Synology DS1817+, the answer is not the tools built in to the SoC processor, and is further mounted on the system Board microcontroller Marvell Alaska 88E1543 production Marvell Technology Group.

Контроллеры Marvell 88SE9170

The Marvell controllers 88SE9170

SATA III to connect the internal speakers of implemented SoC. But two eSATA, apparently, work by microcontroller Marvell 88SE9170. The controller is connected via PCI Express 2.0 and provides the two interfaces SATA III. To the eSATA ports you can connect external storage units, significantly increasing the total capacity of the disk space of the NAS. As the extension module in this case you can use the Synology DX517, having five bays for hard drives.

USB-концентратор Realtek RTS5411

USB hub Realtek RTS5411

Three USB 3.0 ports are implemented via USB hub Realtek RTS5411 manufacturing company Realtek Semiconductor.

 

Module flash memory S34ML01G2

Storage firmware uses a removable flash memory S34ML01G2 production California-based company Spansion Inc..

 

FPGA Altera 5M240ZT100C5N

To store information about the configuration of your network drive uses non-volatile programmable circuit (FPGA or PLD) Altera 5M240ZT100C5N.

Слот PCI Express ×8

The PCI Express ×8

As Synology DS1817+, a six NAS Plus series boasts of having the PCI Express ×8 version 3.0. This slot can be used to install one of the expansion cards. In one case, the PCIe slot can be used under the adapter Synology M2D17 for two M. 2 SSD drives with SATA interface. With this adapter we met when meeting with NAS Synology DS1817+. The SSD in this case is used as a cache to increase throughput and reduce latency of input / output. Adapter sold separately, the cost is about 12 000 rubles. The second option is to use a PCIe slot for the installation of deathgyunos network card with one or two corresponding ports with a maximum throughput 1551 Mbps when reading and 586 MB/s writing. The list of compatible adapters can be found on the website of the manufacturer.

“Iron” component of the model Synology DS1618+ fully complies with the specifications. After familiarization with the hardware of the NAS is still very good impression, not only based on relatively high performance and wide capabilities of the component base, but also on the fact that at the heart of this NAS is fresh platform, oriented to work with devices that this type. Thus, in contrast to the model of Synology DS1817+ used in the new processor, a new Intel Atom C3000 has no hidden problems with long-term intensive exploitation and coupled with the rest of the component base makes NAS Synology DS1618+ is almost the perfect machine for creating a file server.

#Appearance

 
 

Appearance Synology DS1618+

The case of the model Synology DS1618+ unified with NAS enclosure Synology DS1817+, as well as some other NAS models from this manufacturer. It is almost whole, including the external u-shaped casing, preferably made of metal. Only the front panel and the grille is made of black matte plastic. Not painted in this case, only the lower part and fixed on it four large legs on which the device rests. From decorative elements can be noted located on the sides of the vent slot in the form of traditional for other NAS models, the words “Synology”.

Лицевая панель

The front panel

The front part of the body does not have a removable or drop-down panels. Almost all the space is given to the storage compartment, the user looking at the same covers a vertically placed disk sled. Disk slots are numbered, and on the covers of the sled there are indicators drive activity. Indicators for network activity, power, status, and errors located on the narrow top edge, in the Central part of which is the power control button. Well, in the lower right corner of the front panel, near the narrow vent holes, placed one of the three available on Board NAS USB 3.0 ports.

Задняя панель

Rear panel

All other specifications ports located on the rear panel of the device, under the ventilation grilles are not too large for such a large body of 92-mm fans. Provides for discharge of hot air from the case. In addition to those in specifications four Ethernet ports, RJ-45, two USB 3.0 ports and two eSATA on the back panel reveals the standard recessed inside the slot for attaching the power cord, recessed deep into the housing the reset button, mount Kensington security lock slot, and the mounting mounted inside enclosure expansion Board PCI Express.

 

The bottom panel

The lower surface of the housing Synology DS1618+ no less interesting than the rear. Here is the rectangular hatch, behind which are two memory slots. To change the RAM modules, the user will not have to Unscrew the whole case, as in the case of Synology DS1817+. It remains to note that on the lower surface of the housing, near one of the legs, is the service connector is protected with a rubber plug. Overall appearance and layout of all ports and interfaces of the new NAS does not cause the slightest comments. The fault here is simply not happening.

#Internal structure

Дисковый отсек Synology DS1618+

Synology disk compartment DS1618+

The discs slide set from the front panel, so remove the housing cover of the device will be available only if you install an expansion card PCI Express. The slides are extracted from the housing after unlocking the plastic locks and pressing on the top of the handles.

Дисковые салазки

Disc sled

The skids themselves are made entirely of plastic. From the front, they have large plastic handle with spring lock, lockable with a key. Drives form factor of 3.5 inches are mounted in the slide without using a screwdriver and screws. The role fasteners play removable side plate with the pins. The latter are inserted into the appropriate threaded holes on the side faces of the discs and securely keep them instead of screws. The inserts spontaneously dropped into the holes on the sled is inserted a soft rubber bushings that the pins go in with some force. For mounting media form factor 2.5 inches will need a screwdriver. In this case, the discs are attached with screws to the bottom of the sled.

 

The internal structure of the body

Installing expansion boards PCI Express also does not require much labor, but they will have to Unscrew several screws on rear of housing and remove the u-shaped casing. The gaze of the user opens a sturdy internal frame of the NAS. On the other side of the PCI Express secured quite a large power supply with a neatly laid cables.

Вентиляционная панель

Ventilation panel

Inside the case is not so much free space, but the cooling problems should arise. All power metal walls have numerous holes for unhindered air circulation inside. And mounted in the housing the power unit has its own small fan. All wires neatly secured and connected, which eliminates their interference with the operation of the cooling system. It remains to note that the motherboard Synology DS1618+ located horizontally in the lowest part of the body, which also favorably affects the efficiency of the cooling system. It is due to this failed to realize easy access to the memory modules through a hatch in the bottom of the hull.

Quality of all items is very high, the internal structure of the NAS, as his appearance, also no comments. There is nothing on what the manufacturer saved at the expense of quality.

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Peripherals

Overview of the NAS WD My Cloud Home Duo: the easiest NAS

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Four years ago, we met two-disk NAS WD My Cloud Mirror. The decision was noteworthy original appearance and original software component that allows without any special knowledge of network technologies to organize my home file server with access the stored data via the Internet. For a long time the model number devices the WD My Cloud was only two NAS that have different number of hard drives installed (one or two) and, accordingly, of the disk space. But last year this family has replenished with two new network storage systems.

WD My Cloud Home and WD My Cloud Home Duo to each other and differ only in the number of preinstalled disk drives (one or two respectively), but from the products of the previous generation, the differences are much more. The new models have more efficient hardware as well, according to the manufacturer, the modified software. Looking ahead, we note that the manufacturer generally has revised the ideology of using network storage to significantly simplify not only the processes of connection and device settings, but its use. Moreover, he calls the new personal cloud storage, but never mentions the generally accepted abbreviation NAS, emphasizing their originality. Learn a new approach to device NAS we will for example double-disc of WD My Cloud Home Duo, to which we proceed.

#Supplied

 

The package WD My Cloud Home Duo

The device comes in a very compact cardboard box which can be easily placed in a plastic bag to carry it from the shop to the house in General is no problem. Inside, in addition to the drive, you can find the accessories:

  • power adapter with two removable plugs of different standards;
  • network cable;
  • brief printed manual: getting started.

Supplied with the device is the same as most other network drives. Required to work ON can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website, and hard drives already installed in the corresponding slide. The WD My Cloud Home Duo comes with drives for a total volume of 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 or even 20 GB for user selection. In our instance was equipped with two WD Red WD20EFRX capacity of 2GB each, adapted to work with NAS.

#Specifications

WD My Cloud Home Duo
HDD 2 × 3.5” SATA
RAID level JBOD, RAID 1
Network interfaces 1 × Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Additional interfaces 2 × USB 3.0 Host
Customers Windows 7 or later (64-bit);
MacOS / OS X 10.9 or later;
iOS 9 and later;
Android 4.4 and newer
System cooling 1 × fan
Dimensions, mm 179×160×102
Weight, kg 2.3 to 2.4
Guarantee, months. 24
Price, RUB (4/8/12/16 TB) 22 000 / 26 000 / 36 000 / 45 000

* Average price in “Yandex.Market” at the moment of writing of article

While all the parameters of the previous NAS it was easy to find in the public domain, to the WD My Cloud Home Duo on the website of the manufacturer and the user guide provides only the most basic specs. No details about the hardware platform or network protocols, alas, is not given. In the instructions you can find only the data on the type of RAID array. Hard drives WD My Cloud Home Duo default assembled in a mirrored array RAID 1, but you can use the JBOD mode.

Unfortunately, to disassemble the new product without damaging the delicate locks plastic housing, is not possible. Breaking it, we did not, and because the hardware component of the device remained unknown. Manufacturer no data does not. The only thing we can confidently speak about the presence on Board storage Gigabit LAN controller, Ethernet and two USB 3.0 interfaces for connecting external storage media.

Appearance

 

Appearance WD My Cloud Home Duo

The product is made in the form of a parallelepiped with sharp edges and straight corners without fillets. Modest dimensions allow to put the device almost anywhere. For example, it can be a Desk, bookshelf or windowsill. Visually plastic case divided into two halves — white lacquered and silver, with a distinctive waffle texture. On the front panel of the device between them is a narrow transparent band that hides the led operation. No interfaces on the front panel of the WD My Cloud Home Duo no.

 

The panel design and ventilation system

The rear panel is more interesting. There are two USB 3.0 ports, network port, RJ-45, connector for external power adapter and recessed deep into the body reset button settings. Between the case and a slim power control button on the drive, but the entire top half given over to the vents. Behind them is the cooling fan blowing air through another grille, placed not in the front (as do other NAS models), and the bottom.

 

Compartment hard disk

Access to the Bay hard drives WD My Cloud Duo organized Home not the front like other NAS, and the top. There the device easy to see a removable flat panel. It rests on four heavy-duty rubber bushings and removed with a screwdriver, wrench, ruler or any other object that you can gently catch it over the edge. Under the hood accommodates a compartment for hard disks, which in this case occupies almost all the interior space of the drive.

 

Wheels with skids

The disks are placed in the compartment in a plastic sled as simple design. The drives in them are held not by screws, but by means of a small metal axes fixed in the soft rubber bushings. This decision has a positive effect on the ease of installation, and reduced vibration when working. Well, inside the enclosure drive sled fixed with simple plastic lock. However, to worry about what disks may accidentally fall out during operation or moving the drive from one place to another, just not worth it. With vertical placement you still manage to accidentally pull the sled from the housing.

As we have mentioned above, to analyze the case we, unfortunately, failed. But if the hardware component without an autopsy it is impossible to define the principles of the internal structure of the device can be understood without it parsing. Inside the case is WD My Cloud Home Duo has a metal frame, which you can see through the ventilation grille using the disc compartment. The system Board device is mounted vertically along one of the walls of the housing. Apparently, she’s quite young. Overall the WD My Cloud Home Duo design is not much different from a regular NAS is that the compactness of novelty, admiration and even astonishment. Otherwise it is quite cute classic NAS.

#Work with the device

Unlike conventional NAS that can be configured on a local network, connect a WD My Cloud Duo without Home Internet access will not work. The drive there own web interface, so communication with him either via the Internet service MyCloud.comor with installed special software that you can download for your desktop PC running Windows or MacOS / OS X, and mobile devices with Android or iOS.

Интернет-сервис MyCloud.com

Internet service MyCloud.com

When connecting via the web interface the device should be automatically detected. If not, then the Internet service prompts the user to enter the device code specified on the cover. Note that when testing with one of the Internet providers no problems with connection did not arise, and with the other device refused to decide. In this case network equipment and its configuration in one, and in another case were the same. What is the reason, we, alas, have not managed to find out.

Setup the drive takes place in fully automatic mode, without user intervention, which requires only to register on the portal with the username and password. In the future when working with the device owner of the WD My Cloud Home Duo also free from any network settings – the device works fully automatically and needs no supervision. For some, this feature works with the drive can be a real gift, because not all users like to customize the system to fit your needs. Some people just need to store data in one place and access them through the Internet, making personal cloud storage a full server. All the rest of you should pay attention to other NAS.

 

Access to disk storage using the My Cloud app Home.

Data access via web service MyCloud.comas through installed apps My Cloud Home, does not require too detailed descriptions. It’s a pretty simple file, which displays the entire file structure of the drive. When you install PC the drive is detected as normal, permanently connected network drive.

   

Data access via the My Cloud mobile app Home and its features

The mobile version has a few differences from the PC version. So, this app allows automatic backup of photos obtained with the camera of the smartphone. Also only a mobile version of My Cloud Home gives you the ability to copy data to the drive connected to its USB port flash drives. In addition, both apps allow you to sync the data, and using the web interface it is possible to synchronize data from some popular cloud storages: Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Working with storage through a separately installed or a web application, the user can search for any file or folder to create a link and share it with anyone, thereby giving someone access to your selected data. Also the system can create multiple users of the device that will receive certain access rights stored on the data drive. It remains to note that in a web application MyCloud.com the user can select the mode of operation of the drives: RAID1 or JBOD. Installed on your PC or mobile device with the My Cloud app Home reason did not allow to do this operation.

In General, the work with the NAS WD My Cloud Home Duo is extremely simple and does not require instructions. Some ambiguity slight difference with the web service and installed apps, but you get used to it. In terms of communication with the user, this model can truly be called the most simple NAS, if any abbreviation is applicable to the NAS.

#Testing

If the access to the WD My Cloud Duo Home Internet-only device performance will entirely depend on your provider and router. If you’re going to use installed apps My Cloud Home, in this case, you can achieve much greater speeds to read and write data, as these operations will be conducted on a local network. In this use case we carried out performance testing of new products. We used regular hard drives WD Red WD20EFRX. Test stand for testing the performance had the following configuration:

  • Intel Core i5-2320 3.0 GHz;
  • GIGABYTE GA-P67A-D3-B3 Rev. 2.0;
  • RAM 16 GB DDR3-1333;
  • the video card ASUS GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB;
  • SSD Intel 520 SSD capacity 240 GB;
  • Gigabit NIC Realtek PCIe GBE;
  • Windows 7 Ultimate.
Оценка производительности эталонного SSD-диска

Performance evaluation of the reference SSD-drive

Private speed reading and writing of the test stand was about 200 MB/s, so the stand will not limit the performance results of the NAS. When testing the device drives worked in a RAID level 1. Testing was conducted using test ATTO Disk Benchmark and Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit.

 

The performance test results WD My Cloud Home Duo with a disk array RAID level 1

The test results suggests that the performance of the NAS when you connect one client less bandwidth with Gigabit network, but it is quite enough for comfortable work with the device – that is, to transfer large files over the network. For the main scenario with WD Red WD20EFRX, that is when you exchange data with it via the Internet, demonstrated levels of performance even redundant. We also tested the device in a direct data transfer. As test data I used three video volume from 2.5 to 3.5 GB. The average write speed was 71 MB/s and read speed of 96 Mbps, which is fully consistent with the previous testing.

As for the noise, the new noise only when turned on. Then she calms down and the sound of the fan is not audible even when working. In General there are no deficiencies in the WD My Cloud Home Duo active testing device is not revealed. The device worked stably, without failures.

#Insights

Without a doubt, all network drives that have been in our lab, the WD My Cloud Home Duo can be called the most simple to operate. For organizations personal remote storage data to the user this device will not require at all any special knowledge. Even adjust it is necessary nothing – plugged in, checked in and enjoy! A bit puzzled and disappointed by the failure to connect to one of the providers, but it is possible that something we didn’t consider when you connect, the more so in technical support WD with this issue we have not addressed (it is possible that it has something to do with a large number of blocked IP addresses Amazon).

The device can not be called slow — speed, certainly enough for all those who will have enough of its possibilities. All of this suggests that the WD My Cloud Home Duo is clearly identified target audience — those users that do not need to do from a remote location, a full file server with a lot of features and dozens of different functions. This device is intended for those who need constant remote access to your files from any part of the world and point to backup data from mobile and other devices. If you don’t need the WD My Cloud Home Duo – your choice!

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