In order to test the functionality of the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition, we placed it on our Gigabit-Ethernet network and accessed it from a variety of Windows and Mac desktops and laptops. We connected to it on our network via both wired and wireless connections (the device was attached to a wireless router), as well as remotely over the Internet.
To test the device's performance, we conducted a number of data-transfer tests to and from the device over our network using an HP Pavilion Elite m9550f desktop (2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300, 8GB PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM, 1TB NTFS 7200RPM SATA hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB, Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit) via a Gigabit-Ethernet connection. We conducted large-file write and read tests where we copied a 1.7GB ISO file between the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition and the HP Pavilion Elite m9550f. We also conducted small-files write and read tests where we copied a 267MB folder made up of 70 JPGs ranging in size from 2.27MB to 4.38MB between the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition and the HP Pavilion Elite m9550f.
For comparison, we repeated these tests on an older Maxtor NAS device, a 500GB Maxtor Shared Storage device--copying files between the Maxtor Shared Storage device and the HP Pavilion Elite m9550f. We also ran the tests on an external hard drive connected directly to a USB 2.0 port on the HP Pavilion Elite m9550f; the drive we used was a 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue drive (7200RPM SATA-II, 16MB cache) placed into an external enclosure and formatted using the NTFS file system.
The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition took 150.5 seconds to write and 132.5 seconds to read a 1.70GB ISO file. This is certainly not as speedy as the 66.9-second write time and 12.7-second read time of the directly-connected USB hard drive, but we wouldn't expect network transfer performance to be anywhere as near as fast as a directly-connected drive. That said, the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition is still significantly faster than that of the older-generation Maxtor Shared Storage device. In fact, we found the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition's large-file transfer capabilities to be quite impressive. The large-file transfer rates on our tests equate to about 11.6MB/Sec (92.5Mb/Sec) for writing and 13.1MB/Sec (105.1Mb/Sec) for reading.
The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition took 28.9 seconds to write and 29.9 seconds to read a 267MB folder of small files. The small-file transfer performance is still very good--especially when compared to the older Maxtor NAS device--but the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition's small-file transfer performance (at least on our tests) was not quite as speedy as its large-file transfer performance. On our tests, the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition writes small files at about 9.2MB/Sec (73.9Mb/Sec) and reads small files at around 8.9MB/Sec (71.4Mb/Sec). The USB-connected hard drive, obviously, bested both NAS devices. In fact, we couldn't even generate useful numbers for the USB drive's small-files read performance as Windows cached the files in memory and essentially performed instantaneous transfers whenever we repeated the file copy (all tests were run multiple times to ensure repeatability).
As to more anecdotal performance observations, we found the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition to be very quick to respond to file queries and copies. The only time we noticed any significant lag time was when the device had gone into Sleep mode and our query only then caused the device to wake up. We did find, however, that the Central Axis Admin Web Page is a little sluggish to respond, and takes a few seconds to switch from one screen to the next. This response time gets even slower when you try to use the Central Axis Admin Web Page while the device is actively transferring files.
We connected the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition to a power meter to get a sense of how much power it consumes. When the device is sitting idle it uses about 20 watts of power. Under load, its power consumption goes up to about 23 watts. When in Sleep mode, the device uses about 14 watts of power.