Patriot Javelin S4 Media Storage Server Review

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Patriot Javelin S4 Test Set Up

As I confessed I have been heavily using, er I mean, testing this system for a couple of weeks and have been very happy over all.  To test the performance of the Patriot Javelin S4 Home Media Server I installed 4x Western Digital 2TB 64MB cache Caviar Green series drives model WD20EARS.  To simulate the way most people would use this system I configured the drives in a RAID 5 Array for the best blend between capacity and fault tolerance.  I will not explain the differences between RAID types but note that while RAID 5 is great for this blend it is not the best for mission critical can not lose it data.  RAID 1 (mirroring) or RAID 1+0 (striping + mirroring) are much better.   For shear performance RAID 0 (Striping) is best but no fault tolerance. Personally I would configure it as RAID 5 for in house storage and supplemented this with a cloud based off site back up solution for items such as my kids pictures.  RAID 5 is great but a flood, tornado, or fire and all of it is gone.  Off site is the best overall plan but it does come with an additional cost.


The computer I used as the client side for these test was my main daily machine as I found no performance difference by using my i7 Sandybridge test system and thought this would be a bit more real world.   My daily rig consists of a Intel i7 870 CPU OC to 4.3Ghz, 16GB of Corsair Vengence running at 1600 Mhz , PQI 256GB SSD,  5 WD drives in raid and stand alone, ASUS P7P55D Deluxe Motherboard with dual GigE NICs, and NVIDIA GTX470 GPU also overclocked running Window 7 Pro 64-bit. 

Test rig


 

For my home network I used my Cisco Catalyst 2960C 10/100/1000 switch that supports 9K Jumbo Frames with Cat 6 wiring. 

Cisco 2960


 

I do have a bit of a funny story that should give you food for thought as you decide which drives to utilize in the Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server.   Patriot sent along a nice little reviewers pack with this unit that had a few screen shots of the performance they were getting with a WD Carvier black drive in the S4 just as a reference to say if your not near these numbers, something is wrong, call us.  

Ok, fair enough, so when I started playing with the unit pre-review I grabbed two 1TB WD Green drives laying around and stuck them in the enclosure.  I started running some of the benchmarks and wow, not even close.  So I stuck a spare OCZ Vertex 2 LE 100GB SSD into the drive with the 1TB drives and performance was still way off.  I called Nate and said, something is wrong should I call Patriot?  He gave me a few suggestions and I poked around a bit more but still not getting anywhere close on performance.  Finally it was time to work on this review so I went and grabbed four WD Green 64mb cache 2 TB drives to populate the enclosure and ran a test knowing Green drives are not nearly as fast as the Black series.  But since the Green series are better on power, noise, and heat they are actually a better choice for a typical home NAS and should have more than enough throughput for multiple 1080p streams.  Benchmarks is where they will suffer with the variable spindle speed and max around 5400 RPM but I would rather have silence and lower power than absolute maximum performance in my network.

WD Drives

I reran my tests again and guess what,  they significantly beat the Patriot sample numbers. What the heck I thought to myself??? A quick check and I realized my old 1TB drives were a bit older than I thought and were actually  SATA I drives not SATA II’s like the new drives.  I also occurred to me that if one drive on the back plane running at SATA I speed then they all will default to that speed and kill my performance.  What was the difference? Running SATA I gave me around 14MB/s upload and 40MB/s download.  However, with the new WD Green SATA II drives you can see for yourself the improvement below.

Just in case you are trying to keep track of the costs, four 2TB WD Green WD20EARS drives at $75.99 each shipped adds an additional $303.96 to this configuration which brings the overall price as tested to $640.27 for 8TB of storage.  If you wanted to max it out with WD Green 3TB WD30EZRSDTL for a total of 12TB it would run you $159.00 each shipped or $636.00 in addition to the $336.31 for the Javelin S4 and push your total price to $972.31.
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