These are the specs of the Netgear ReadyNAS RN422:
CPU: Intel Atom C3338 dual-core
Memory: 2GB DDR4
Number of bays: 2
Maximum internal capacity: 20TB
Drive types supported: SATA/SSD 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch
Hot swappable drives: Yes
Ports: 1 x eSATA Expansion, 2 x Gigabit LAN, 2 x USB 3.0
It is important to realize that the bigger RN424 design has identical internal hardware and external ports. It differs only in the number of drive bays.
Those extra drive bays allow a total capacity of 40TB, and it can also offer RAID 5 resilience where only one drive’s capacity is sacrificed to make the pack capable of handling a drive failing.
With only two drives, the RN422 is limited in both capacity and resilience options, but there are plenty of roles where that wouldn’t be a significant limitation.
For a dual-drive NAS, the RN422 is overpowered for simple file serving duties, giving it the extra horsepower to handle multiple jobs without hindering the file serving service.
With a dual-core Atom CPU powering only a two-drive NAS box, the limiting factor here isn’t the processor, memory or even hard drive speed; it’s the Gigabit LAN ports. Netgear did include dual-Gigabit, and you can leverage those to double throughput by channel bonding or other aggregation methods.
To get the most out of this scenario you’ll need a switch that can be managed to handle a dual-line aggregation, and the extra performance will be spread over multiple users unless they are also using a dual-channel bonding connection.
With a single Ethernet port connected and the drives in mirror mode, the system managed impressive 118.5Mb/s read and 117.8Mb/s write speeds. With both LAN ports active that increased to 200Mb/s and 185Mb/s, although that bandwidth was divided over two clients.
The four-bay RN424 might be a little faster in the dual-LAN mode, because of the RAID layouts it has. But in the single LAN port scenario, there isn’t any more bandwidth in the network to effectively exploit and go any quicker.
You can use a Netgear EDA500, a 5-Bay ReadyNAS Expansion Chassis that connects via the eSATA port, to add additional drives, but it would be cost effective to buy a system with more bays from the outset.
This product is a very strong contender for the best dual-drive NAS box award. Netgear improved ReadyNAS OS 6, and the hardware is now powerful enough to make the most of those enhancements.
It is hamstrung by having dual-drive bays, but the bigger four, six and eight-bay models are there for those who need those greater capacities.
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