Netgear ReadyNAS RN524X Premium SMB 4-Bay NAS with 10GbE

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Netgear RN524X
Netgear RN524X

Today we have a Netgear ReadyNAS RN524X 4-Bay NASS in the lab to run our tests. The RN524X enters Netgear line up as a high-end, high-performance NAS in the desktop segement. Although it is a four bay NAS, it the underlying hardware is capable of providing a signficiantly higher degree of performance than we would expect to see from lower-end NAS units.

Netgear RN524X Front Quarter View
Netgear RN524X Front Quarter View

The RN524X also comes equipped with 10GbE network capabilities which greatly speeds up large file transfers and is something that we are going to see more of in the future. Netgear ReadyNAS includes five levels of data protection for increased data security. Using ReadyCloud allows you to access your personal cloud from any location that you have access to the internet.

Netgear ReadyNAS RN524X 4-Bay NAS Specifications

Before delving into why this is high-performance hardware, here are the basic specs of the machine:

Netgear RN524X Specifications
Netgear RN524X Specifications

In the specification list, the CPU choice makes it apparent that this is going to be a higher-end product. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN524X utilizes an Intel Pentium D1508 dual-core CPU that we first reviewed here.

For the VMware users, we see the RN524X is VMware and vSphere ESXi 6.0 certified which means that you should have no issue using VMware as a hypervisor and then using the ReadyNAS RN524X as your primary network storage and backup target.

As part of the Pentium D1508, which is essentially a dual-core Intel Xeon D from the Broadwell-DE generation, one gets access to 10GbE via the SoC if a vendor implements the physical connectivity level. Here, Netgear includes a 10GBase-T port which means that the potential is about 10x higher than on lower-end machines. If you are using two SSDs in this unit in RAID 1 for VMware storage, the 10GbE networking is going to have more throughput than your RAID.

Netgear ReadyNAS RN524X 4-Bay NAS Overview

The Netgear RN524X package was double boxed which included ample foam inserts to protect the contents. After removing the RN524X from its packing material, we can now take a look at the NAS.

Netgear RN524X Front
Netgear RN524X Front

The front of the RN524X includes a LED display that shows NAS status and other information. The white bars with center dot light up blue when powering up the NAS. These 5-point touch buttons are also used to navigate options in the LED display. If you are deploying these in a remote site for clients, having some local diagnostic information can be helpful.

Here we see the back of the RN524X; a large 92mm cooling fan dominates this area. At the top right, we find an eSATA port and two USB 3.0 ports. Below we have the 1GbE and 10GbE ports and at the bottom is the power connector.

Netgear RN524X Back
Netgear RN524X Back

This front panel is a door that opens to access the drive bays inside. We also spot a front USB 3.0 port below the front door. There is not much space for USB devices here; large thick USB drives will have a hard time fitting here but if you have the door open, you can make backups or load data from USB devices.

Netgear RN524X Open Front Door

Here we have the front door open and find the four drive bays with a power button below the bays. The door itself feels solid and has magnetic locks to secure the door when closed.

Netgear RN524X Back Plane
Netgear RN524X Back Plane

The backplane of the RN524X is one solid PCB when ventilation holes that allow for good air flow across the drives. Many cheaper NAS units do not perforate their PCBs sufficiently which restricts airflow and can cause hard drives to run hotter than intended, shortening lifespans.

Netgear RN524X Drive Tray
Netgear RN524X Drive Tray

The drive trays are metal and support tool-less installation for HDD’s but will require the provided screws to install 2.5” drives. This is a reasonable compromise.

Netgear RN524X Accessories
Netgear RN524X Accessories

Accessories included with the RN524X are:

  • 1x RN524X main unit
  • 1x Quick Installation Guide
  • 1x Accessory Pack, Drive screws
  • 1x AC power cord and Adapter
  • 1x RJ-45 LAN cable
  • 1x Wi-Fi adapter

Overall, this is a solid set of accessories, but you may need additional bits such as a second LAN cable as the unit comes with two LAN ports and one cable.

On the next page, we will show the Netgear ReadyNAS RN524X management.

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