Network Speed Performance with Buffalo Linkstation Quad Pro
I have recently upgraded my home network to gigabit. The main beneficiaries of this upgrade are my primary desktop and the Buffalo Linkstation Quad Pro. The rest of my PCs still run at 100M speed, notably my wife’s netbook and 2 of my notebooks.
My real world file to file transfer between the NAS and the PC is pretty bad. By copying a large file from the NAS to the PC, I am only getting 16-18MB/s (PC to NAS and NAS to PC) in transfer speed. Not good at all, and this is even with the NAS’s jumbo frame set at 9kB.
Not satisfied, I decided to tune the network card settings on my windows 7 box. This is what I did:
- Use Realtek’s drivers instead of the TP-Link’s driver. I find the realtek’s drive has slightly better performance. I am not sure why.
- Set Flow Control on the NIC – Off
- Set Intetrupt Moderation to On – I would like to set this off but doing so will render the network really unstable.
- Set Jumbo Frame to Disabled – Currently set to disabled as setting it to anything else will kill my network.
- I have also experimented with the settings for the various checksums but I am unable to turn these settings off without affecting the network one way or another.
With this very minor changes, my file to file transfer (copying from NAS to hard drive) improves to 32-33MB/s. That’s a modest 83% speed increase with respect to the earlier 18MB/sec benchmark. Copying from hard disk to NAS is now 28MB/sec. A modest 55% speed increase.
I am still not very happy especially knowing that a gigabit network is “theoretically” capable of 125MB/sec (being 1000 divided by 8. Remember that 1 byte = 8 bits). With all the overheads of a TCP/IP network taken into consideration, I would have expected a 45MB/sec real world transfer speed, to be the absolute minimum.
Here are some benchmark test results when I use CrystalDiskMark. I have mounted one of the share on the NAS as my Drive B. For whatever reasons, the results on CrystalDiskMark seem to be too optimistic and I am just not able to produce this kind of results on actual usage.
Running NAS Peformance Tester v1.2, I get the following result:
These are not very fantastic results by the way, especially when compared with this user here at the Singapore hardware forum. His results are 57MB/sec read and 39MB/sec write. I am lagging behind by about 10-12MB/sec. That is a lot of difference given that a typical 100M network has an average performance of 10MB/sec or so.
Benchmark test on the local Drive D (which belongs to the 1TB WD drive) gives the following results:
So if I were to interpret CrystalDiskMark’s results, I would have to say this:
- Reading a file from the NAS gives an average speed of 44MB/sec.
- Writing a file to the local D drive gives an average speed of 64MB/sec.
So why would transferring a file from the NAS to the local drive D be only 33MB/sec? Something does not add up and I do not know why.
If any reader is able to offer an insight into this, I will be greatly appreciated.
Just out of curiosity, I wanted to know what is the transfer speed from the NAS to a ramdisk on the desktop.I downloaded a free ramdisk utilities for windows 7 that allows me to create a ramdisk for testing. You can download this here – http://www.mydigitallife.info/free-ramdisk-for-windows-vista-xp-2000-and-2003-server/. This is an informative read by the way.
Installing is a breeze and I setup a ramdisk 1GB in size. Now some test results if I run the benchmark on the ramdisk.
Now copying a file from the NAS to the ramdrive (I copied a 700MB AVI file) gave me a speed of 38MB/sec. A 5MB/sec speed increase as compared with copying from the NAS to the hard drive.
Copying the same 700MB AVI file from the ramdisk to the NAS give me a speed of 30-33MB/sec. Again a 5MB/sec speed difference compared with copying from the hard drive to the NAS.
So the ramdrive only gives me a 5MB/sec speed advantage?. Not very impressive.
I still do not know why my desktop’s network transfer speed is so slow but for now, I will conclude that it is the limitation of my current hardware. The PC is afterall a 3-year old PC and is certainly getting a bit long in the tooth. But it is also to be noted that the gigabit hardware that I get are not world class standards by any means. I suppose this is what people say “you get what you paid for”.
I have recently updated my main PC to a Haswell i5-4670 with 16GB ram and 128GB SSD and re-run the same diskmark test. Here is the result:
None of the settings have been changed on the Buffalo Linkstation since the earlier tests….so it is quite apparent that the disk benchmark is also highly dependent on the speed of the PC. In this case, the sequential read improve from 53MB/s to 68MB/s and the sequential write improve from 32MB/s to 55MB/s. I have not done further test however.