At Patriot Memory's booth at CES this year Cameron and I were given the opportunity to see Patriot's new Valkyrie Network Attached Storage server. Little did I know that the company already had a growing line of NAS products designed for small office and home users looking for centralized storage for multiple client computers.
At CES we are used to seeing products that are two to three months out, but this year appears to be different. Maybe the world economic recovery has a little something to do with it, but this year no one is waiting to get their new products in consumers hands and the Valkyrie is ready to go as well, all ready having retail availability.
Today we have the Patriot Valkyrie NAS server in house for testing. Over the years I have preached he uses for NAS servers and how one day just a device may save you from a total data loss. The Valkyrie is designed to be such a savior, but in this case does it at a low cost of ownership.
Let's move on and take a look at the specifications and feature set that the Valkyrie provides.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Patriot Valkyrie is a two disk storage system that is accessible via Gigabit Ethernet or USB 2.0. The retail product ships without hard drives, so you will need to supply your own to have the system up and running. Users should use two identical hard drives for best operation, but it is possible to use a mismatched pair.
The Valkyrie uses a 500 MHz processor and 128MB of memory that is embedded for smooth trouble free operation. The NAS also has a built in operating system that is held on an independent, onboard 16MB flash drive.
For storage you can set your hard drives up as JBOD (single drives), RAID 0 (high speed, no redundancy) or RAID 1 (data protection redundant). Most users looking for long term storage should opt for the RAID 1 setting as it will mirror the data from one drive to the other. If a single drive fails then all of your data is safe and secure.
The Valkyrie also utilizes the latest Gigabit Ethernet technology that allows for high speed transfers to your computers. Unlike Direct Access Storage devices that attach to a single computer, Ethernet allows for all of your computers to access the data independent of other computers on your network.
The Patriot NAS also has all of the built in media sharing functions that we have come to love about the larger models being offered from some of the larger, dedicated NAS providers. If you have an Xbox or PS3 then you are already familiar with media sharing over Ethernet and the Valkyrie will enable you to tie those and more devices to it. Another feature that some of the younger crowd may enjoy is the built in BitTorrent client that when used will download your items without tying up your PC.
When it comes to the cost, I was surprised to see the Valkyrie being sold for only 165 USD on Amazon and only145 USD after a mail in rebate. Over the last few months we turned our attention to DAS products and this is right around the same amount of money most DAS systems sell for without network connectivity. Being able to access data through Ethernet is much more appealing than having your music, movies and documents tied to a computer.
Let's take a look at the Valkyrie's hardware.
Here we see the front of Patriot's retail packaging. The box has a nice image of the Valkyrie right on the front and a small product description at the bottom.
On the side we found an in-depth product description as well as a list of key features.
The back of the package uses images to show what the Valkyrie is capable of.
The other side shows the full specifications as well as the package contents.
The inner package is designed to secure the NAS as well as keep the accessory package separate from the NAS so it doesn't get damaged or scratched during shipping.
The Patriot Valkyrie 2-Bay NAS
Here we get our first look at the Patriot Valkyrie. On the left side each HDD gets two LEDs dedicated to their operation status. Along the top is where we found the power and one touch back up button. We will cover the backup features with the software in the following page. Also on the front is a single USB slot for backing up data off of your thumb drive.
Behind the front door is where you will find the dual drive sleds. It should be noted that there is not a locking mechanism for the drives or the plastic door. Both drives slid in and out very easily after you press the extraction button shown here on the left.
Patriot uses a metal housing for the Valkyrie and on the side you can see the label that is silk screened.
As with most NAS servers, most of the action is happening on the back of the unit. Here we see the second USB port that makes enabling the print server over Ethernet function a snap as well as your Gigabit Ethernet port, software reset function and power plug. The Valkyrie uses a small fan to cool itself and the hard drives inside. The fan is silent when in operation at two feet away.
Patriot put together a nice manual that will walk you through the setup procedures and software configurations. Here we also see the supplied power adapter, driver disk and Ethernet cable.
Software Setup Functions
One of the great things about the Patriot software is that it doesn't need to install files to your PC. The executable just runs from the software disk and makes setup a breeze.
Since the software is so user friendly, we are just going to show you the initial setup pages so you can become familiar with the layout. On the next page we will go over the advanced features.
Advanced Software Features
The Patriot Valkyrie has nearly all of the advanced software download functionality that we generally see only on the QNAP and Thecus models. The following images are of the advanced setup area on the NAS and are self explanatory.
Test System Setup
Motherboard: ASUS P6T7 WS SuperComputer (Supplied by ASUS)
Processors: Intel 975 EE (Supplied by AVADirect)
Memory: Corsair Dominator 1600 MHz Triple Channel Kit, Single Slot Used
Graphics Card: Leadtek Quadro FX1700 (Supplied by Leadtek)
Enclosure: Lian Li V2000
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 (Supplied by Noctua)
SAS Controller: LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i (Supplied by LSI)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate X64
Today we are testing the Patriot Valkyrie on our TweakTown Storage Product Workstation in conjunction with Intel's NASPT software.
The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct measurement of home network attached storage (NAS) performance. Designed to emulate the behavior of an actual application, NASPT uses a set of real world workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications. Traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation and more provide a broad range of different application behaviors.
Intel recently added support for Windows 7 in NASPT version 1.7, but it is advised to only run 1 or 2GB of system RAM as more than 2GB will throw the results off. Version 1.7 also changed several of the tests and we are no longer able to mimic multiple machines hitting the NAS at the same time.
Since this is our first NAS test with the newest version of NASPT, we do not have other product test data to use to compare to the Patriot Valkyrie. At this time we are testing larger units from QNAP and Thecus so more data will be available in a few weeks. Testing large NAS servers takes a considerable amount of time due to the long lead time formatting large arrays. These can take up to 24 hours on some devices.
Benchmarks - NASPT
During the setup process we noticed that the Valkyrie does not have an option to enable Jumbo Frames. This option would have increased the scores of a few of the benchmarks if it was available. Also, we are quickly learning that version 1.71 of Intel's NASPT has radically changed the scoring system and even our high dollar NAS servers are putting up numbers that average around 25MB/s with two drives in RAID 0.
With this information in hand and what we are able to see from the Valkyrie RAID 0 numbers, it is easier to understand these benchmark numbers. Here the Valkyrie is able to perform at around half the speed of the 1200 USD Thecus N7700 Pro when using two of the same drives in the same RAID 0 configuration.
In RAID 1 we see that the performance is lowered by a small margin. Still, the numbers show that it would be possible to view more than one movie at the same time off of the Valkyrie.
We test a dozen or so NAS servers every year, but have never come across such a low cost unit until the Patriot Valkyrie hit our office. Patriot has managed to deliver a product that everyday consumers have asked for at a price that those users can afford. The feature set of the Valkyrie is advanced and useful without being overbearing and complicated.
When it comes to the performance, the Valkyrie is able to do common tasks at a speed average users can appreciate. It should be said to not expect blistering performance like the enterprise models that we are accustomed to testing, but to get that level of performance you are going to pony up 4x of the cost of the Valkyrie.
Speaking of the price, at 145 after a mail in rebate, Amazon already has units in stock and ready to ship. Newegg lists the Valkyrie but the price is not yet published and they do have stock available. At this price there is no reason why just about every digital household should not have a NAS taking care of their digital entertainment storage needs.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca
Deutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de