If you were to build a NAS for yourself, what would you build? Would you start out with an underpowered two-core processor? Or, would you rather have the full power of a quad-core Xeon processor with Turbo to 3.5GHz? What about DRAM; do you want 4GB of vanilla DDR3, or 16GB of ECC DDR3?
Most pedestal style NAS products ship with Atom, Pentium, or Core i3 dual-core processors, and paired with 2GB to 4GB of DRAM. It's a cookie cutter mold; companies tell you what you need, and then make your needs fit into this mold. Some even offer 10GbE capability, but stick with the base platform that can limit performance. If you want to gain more performance, then companies try to push you into large rackmount products that increase exponentially in price, and provide features that everyone may not need, like redundant power supplies, and more drive bays.
Earlier this year Netgear, the largest NAS shipper on the market, broke the mold. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X is a small pedestal NAS with six drive bays, a high performance Intel Xeon E3-1265L v2 (L for low power) processor, and a massive 16GB of ECC DRAM. The increased processing power is necessary because the RN716X includes dual 10GbE connectivity as a standard feature, right out of the box.
With disk drive capacity increasing, now up to 10TB in a 3.5" form factor, SMB NAS products no longer need to fit into a 19" rack space to have sufficient capacity. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X specifications sheet lists capacity up to 24TB with the six drive bays, but when it was made, the new larger 8TB and 10TB drives were not announced. Netgear also makes a pedestal expansion unit that increases disk capacity, and you can stack the units.
Hardware Specifications and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS, you need to look at the extra I/O hardware, and the mountain of potential software features.
The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X looks nearly identical to the ReadyNAS 516 we reviewed early in the year. However, internally, the new RN716X is a different animal. At this time, no one NAS manufacturer ships an equivalent pedestal NAS; the RN716X is a sports car in a parking lot of family sedans.
The core of the system is the Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge E3-1265K v2 quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2.5GHz and a Turbo speed of 3.5GHz. The 16GB of ECC DRAM feeding the processor is four times the standard for pedestal NAS products on the market today.
The processing power specifications may seem like overkill, but the RN716X needs the power to effectively use the dual 10GBase-T network communication ports that are responsible for I/O to and from the system. The system also has two additional gigabit Ethernet ports for failover, or to run this system as the central storage for four networks at the same time.
Three eSATA ports on the back of the ReadyNAS RN716X increase storage capacity potential. The system also has two USB 3.0 ports on the back, and a single USB port on the front for quick, removable storage like thumb drives. The system also has a HDMI port on the back.
The ReadyNAS RN716X isn't your everyday NAS, so don't expect an everyday NAS price. At the time of writing we were able to find the RN716X for $2885.99. That is squarely in rackmount NAS territory, but not rackmount units with this much processing power or this density of DRAM. Newegg lists the ReadyNAS 716X with a three-year warranty, but end users can purchase additional coverage from Netgear.
PRICING: You can find the Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Netgear ReadyNAS RN716X retails for $3,481.23 at Amazon.
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