HOW WE TEST

PC & Tech Authority - - GROUP TEST -

As usual, we’ve awarded star rat­ings out of five to the prod­ucts in this month’s Labs. This rat­ing takes into ac­count each ap­pli­ance’s strengths and weak­nesses in sev­eral ar­eas.

The first is per­for­mance: we tested this by us­ing the Crys­talDiskMark bench­mark and a se­lec­tion of real-world file-copy op­er­a­tions on each drive, to get an idea of how quickly it could read and write both large sin­gle files and fold­ers full of tiny files. As our graphs show, most models proved ca­pa­ble of sat­u­rat­ing a Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net link, but some fell be­hind the pace.

We also fac­tor in the range of fea­tures on of­fer. If a NAS unit of­fers a good se­lec­tion of phys­i­cal con­nec­tors, ver­sa­tile man­age­ment op­tions and a wide range of apps, this con­trib­utes to a high score. Power con­sump­tion is an­other con­sid­er­a­tion: you’ll see our mea­sured power con­sump­tion for each fully pop­u­lated drive, while sit­ting idle and while stream­ing video. Note that most ap­pli­ances can be con­fig­ured to spin down the hard disks af­ter an idle pe­riod, which typ­i­cally re­duces power con­sump­tion by around 4W per in­stalled disk.

Fi­nally, we look at value for money – not merely con­sid­er­ing the price, but whether it’s jus­ti­fied by the per­for­mance and fea­tures on of­fer. Fac­tor­ing all of th­ese con­sid­er­a­tions to­gether, we ar­rive at our over­all star rat­ing.

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