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I set up a little NAS system for my personal use. It's an Ubuntu system running on a fan-less Atom-powered mini ATX mainboard which I extended with a usb3 pci card to get best possible performance for the whole system. There are 2 USB3 external drives which I write to using Gigabit ethernet.

I get ~12 Mb/s writing to the NAS and roughly 75 when reading. (I'm good with that reading rate.)

The Ubuntu is running on a usb pendrive and is rather slow in terms of write operations, but writing to the pendrive should not be involved in the process - right?

I set up a web server on my computer and used wget to pull a large file into /dev/null. I copied with 70Mb/s and more which is good. Writing to the usb mount instead gives me the ~13 Mb/s I already saw from the smb transfer.

When I connect the external drives directly to my computer I get insane writing speeds. Could you guys give me a hint as to how to find the bottleneck?

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Further specifications on the hardware and setup would help. – Bobby Apr 30 '12 at 13:15
this mainboard: a pci usb3.0 card (nec chipset) and the latest ubuntu (12.04) – Niksac Apr 30 '12 at 14:20
i did some more research and found out the NTFS file system of the hdds might be the problem. Does anyone have anymore informaiton about ntfs performance ? – Niksac Apr 30 '12 at 14:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

This was totally a filesystem issue. The Linux ntfs-3g driver is just to slow to perform at reasonable speed. Bot HDDs are now formatted with EXT4 and the speed increased to more than 70mb / S.

I wanted ntfs to be able to quickly connect the drives to my Windows PC which now needs a plugin to handle the EXT4 Drives.

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If it's a NAS, then the filesystem can be anything because you're exposing the files through another protocol like NFS or CIFS. Direct-attached storage is another story. – Joel E Salas May 1 '12 at 22:17
my Windows PC which now needs a plugin to handle the EXT4 Drives. This should not be the case if what you have built has even a slight passing resemblance to what the rest of the planet would call a NAS. If you really do need a plugin then congratulations, you've managed to get it wrong in a way that's actually more difficult than getting it right would have been. – RobM May 1 '12 at 22:57
Whats wrong about keeping the possibility to quickly take one of the drives from the nas and attach it directly to the computer? I chose the low budget way - why give away the advantages. I'm (usually) accessing the files via Samba Ftp and a coud storage solution... sounds like Nas to me – Niksac May 12 '12 at 12:16

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