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NAS Reviews

ReadyNAS 212
At a glance
ProductNETGEAR ReadyNAS 212 (RN21200-100NES)   [Website]
SummaryTwo bay quad-core Annapura Labs based NAS with OS based on BTRFS with built-in antivirus
Pros• Built-in antivirus
• Unlimited volume snapshots
• Cloud based replication, access, drop folder
Cons• Relatively slow iSCSI
• Drives power save not reliable

Typical Price: $202  Buy From Amazon

ReadyNAS 214
At a glance
ProductNETGEAR ReadyNAS 214 (RN21400-100NES)   [Website]
SummaryFour bay quad-core Annapura Labs based NAS with OS based on BTRFS with built-in antivirus
Pros• Built-in antivirus
• Unlimited volume snapshots
• Cloud based replication, access, drop folder
Cons• Relatively slow iSCSI
• Drives power save not reliable

Typical Price: $298  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Updated 11/2/2015: Clarified RN20X / RN21X differences

In June, we reviewed NETGEAR's dual-bay ReadyNAS RN202. Earlier this month, the company rolled out a higher-performance RN21X line, in the form of the ReadyNAS RN212 and RN214. The main difference between the RN20X and RN21X is the move from a dual-core Annapurna Labs processor to a quad-core version.

For this review, NETGEAR shipped us the four drive RN214. Though the main boards are different between the RN212 and the RN214, NETGEAR assured us that using the RN214 with only two disks properly reflects the performance of the RN212. The processor and memory is the same for both units.

NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN212 & RN214

Our review unit was the diskless model. However, for the RN212, NETGEAR also offers a 4TB version (2 X 2TB) and a 6TB version (2 X 3TB). For the RN214, in addition to the diskless version, NETGEAR offers the following models: 4TB (2 X 2TB) a 6TB (2 X 3TB) 8TB (4 X 2TB) and 12TB (4 X 3TB). Both NASes will work with 6 TB disks bringing the total "raw" storage up to 12TB (RN212) and 24TB (RN214).

For this review, I've chosen two other NASes to compare with each of the RN21X models. For the 2 drive RN212, I'll be comparing it to the ReadyNAS RN202 and ASUSTOR AS5002T. For the 4 drive RN214, I'll be using the ASUSTOR AS5104T and QNAP TS-453 Pro Turbo NAS. These same products will be used throughout the review for key component, benchmark summary and ranker performance comparisons.

The callouts below were taken from the latest hardware installation guide. The RN214, like the RN204, has a status display screen. The two drive versions rely solely on LEDs to display status. There is an error on the RN214 callouts - the front panel port is a USB 3.0 port. All ReadyNAS RN2XX NASes have three USB 3.0 ports and no USB 2.0 ports.

NETGEAR RN212 and RN214 front panel callouts

NETGEAR RN212 and RN214 front panel callouts

The image below shows the rear panel callouts for both RN21X NASes. Both NASes have the identical port complement consisting of two Gigabit Ethernet ports, eSATA port, reset button, Kensington lock slot and power adapter socket.

NETGEAR RN212 and RN214 rear panel callouts

NETGEAR RN212 and RN214 rear panel callouts

The chart below shows the LED indicator descriptions. The only real difference is that the RN214 has a Status display screen and additional LED indicators for the additional two bays. The Gigabit Ethernet ports have two status indicators. One shows link and activity. The other shows link speed (green=1000 Mbps; yellow=100 Mbps, off=10 Mbps).

NETGEAR RN212 and RN214 rear LED indictors

NETGEAR RN212 and RN214 rear LED indicators

Inside

The image below shows the main board. The heat sink on the processor in the center of the board has been removed for the photo. Disassembly of the unit was somewhat complicated by the use of silicone caulk to glue the fan connector to the drive backplane. The drive backplane had to be removed in order to slide the board out for inspection.

NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN214 PCB board top

NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN214 PCB board top

Table 1 below shows the key components for the two bay NASes used throughout this review for comparison.

Model NETGEAR RN212 NETGEAR RN202 ASUSTOR AS5002T
CPU Annapurna Labs Alpine quad-core AL21400-1400-A0-E-1AN-8-C @ 1.4 GHz Annapurna Labs 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex A15 Dual Core SoC (AL21200-1400-A0-E-1AN-8-C) Intel Celeron [email protected] 2.4GHz (dual core)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 on board Samsung K4B4G0846D (x4) 2 GB DDR3 on board Samsung K4B4G0846D (x4) 1 GB DDR3 SoDIMM, upgradeable to 8 GB
Flash 128 MB Spansion MS01G200BH100 64 MB ADATA IUM01-001GFHL (128 MB USB DOM)
Ethernet Atheros AR8035 (x2) Atheros AR8035 (x2) Broadcom BCM57781 (x2)
SATA Asmedia ASM1060 6 Gbps SATA controller Asmedia ASM1060 6 Gbps SATA controller ASM1061 ASM1466
USB 3.0 Etron Tech EJ188H 2 port USB 3.0 Host Controller Etron Tech EJ188H 2 port USB 3.0 Host Controller ASM1074
Table 1: Key component summary and comparison

Table 2 below shows the key component for the four bay NASes used throughout this review for comparison. Note that all three four-bays have quad core processors.

Model NETGEAR RN214 ASUSTOR AS5104T QNAP TS-453 Pro
CPU Annapurna Labs Alpine quad-core AL21400-1400-A0-E-1AN-8-C @ 1.4 GHz Intel Celeron [email protected] 2.0GHz (quad core) Intel Celeron [email protected] 2.0GHz (quad core)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 on board Samsung K4B4G0846D (x4) 2 GB DDR3 SoDIMM, upgradeable to 8 GB 2 GB DDR3 SoDIMM, upgradeable to 8 GB
Flash 128 MB Spansion MS01G200BH100 ADATA IUM01-001GFHL (128 MB USB DOM) 512 MB DOM
Ethernet Atheros AR8035 (x2) Broadcom BCM57781 (x2) Intel WGI1210A (x4)
SATA Asmedia ASM1060 6 Gbps SATA controller ASM1061 ASM1466 Marvell 88SE9215
USB 3.0 Etron Tech EJ188H 2 port USB 3.0 Host Controller ASM1074 Gensys Logic GL3522 USB 3.0 quad port hub
Table 2: Key component summary and comparison

With two WD Red 3 TB (WD30EFRX) drives active, the NAS drew 18 W; with four drives active, it drew 26 W. The drives did not go into power save mode after the programmed time, even with the Ethernet cable removed. Noise with both two and four drives was rated as low. A RAID 1 rebuild and sync (2 X 3 TB) took 6 hours and 40 minutes; four drive RAID 5 volume rebuild and sync took about an hour longer.

Changing RAID levels was a challenge since it appears the volume manager prefers absolutely virgin drives. Fortunately, most users won't change between volume types as often as we do for testing.

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