Until last week, ReadyNAS 516 was the flagship Netgear SMB offering, but the company recently released a new model with 16GB of DRAM and an even faster processor: ReadyNAS 716. We'll have the new 716 review online prior to CES 2014. Given the performance of the ReadyNAS 516, the 716 surely won't disappoint.
Before we go too far ahead of ourselves, let's sum up the ReadyNAS 516. This unit is an attractive offering for a broad range of groups. Small offices looking for big performance will find the NAS responsive. Medium sized offices will find the NAS scales well with a lot of people accessing the NAS at the same time. Individual users in a home or home office environment will see very fast file transfers and backups to and from the NAS.
Our unit shipped with Toshiba 1TB HDDs but we did notice better performance with Western Digital Red HDDs. That means most users will get better performance from the ReadyNAS 516 if they purchase the diskless model and add their own Red Series hard drives. The difference in performance wasn't great, but if your office has more than 200 people connected to the NAS, every bit helps.
This was our first run with the new operating system, OS 6. It's been quite a while since we tested any other Netgear NAS, so we can't make direct comparisons to older software versions. OS 6 is easy to navigate and easy to configure.
At roughly $1,200, the ReadyNAS 516 costs around the same as the Thecus N6850, but is faster in nearly every test. The price jumps up to just over $2000 with six 1TB drives. In our testing, we found that the included Toshiba drives were slower than our standard Reds, so the better buy would be the diskless ReadyNAS 516 with six 1TB Red HDDs; you save a little money that way and get better performance.