Like the RN626X, the 524X is built like a tank. Internally, NETGEAR has deployed a steel frame and outside a mix of metal panels and plastic bits. The drive trays are metal, but tool-less, a positive in my book, and the LCD panel is clear with blue with white text. The front panel five-button system can be confusing for the novice but is self-explanatory if you are tech savvy at the least.
Performance of this solution was quite amazing as it was able to keep up with larger bay platforms including the 626X which uses better internal hardware. Single Client testing with NASPT is really on its last leg as far as 10Gbe units are concerned but it does give a third metric over IOMeter results and to that point we did see the 524X take top honors in a few testing scenarios. The first was RAID 0 2x playback at 868 MB/s with the next best unit being the ReadyNAS 626X at 665 MB/s. RAID 5 had a few moments of its own including 4x playback at 977 MB/s and file copy at 644 MB/s.
Moving over to sequential performance, we found the 524X to read the quickest at 1173 MB/s while write performance was above average at 870 MB/s. Adding in RAID 5 and 6, we have a NAS that is consistently the quickest with sequential read operations. With workload testing, the 524X provided a consistent 8000 IOPS with RAID 0 and 5000 – 6000 in RAID 5 and 6.
A large part of the NAS experience comes from the firmware OS, and as of this writing, NETGEAR is on version 6 for the 524X. With that said the platform hasn't changed much over the years and for me has always been stable supporting most used features such as SMB, AFP, and NFS file services with iSCSI, Rsync and onboard Antivirus for those that want that added bit of protection and functionality.
The Bottom Line: Taking all things into consideration, NETGEAR's 524X is a solid entry-level 10Gbe storage appliance with stunning file performance and a class leading five-year warranty to back it all up.
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