Our review of external data storage have mainly revolved around the standard external hard drives and enclosures, however we were very gald to be able to get our hand on one of Synology's latest NAS drives, the Synology DiskStation DS410j. Synology specialise in NAS enclosures ranging from single drive up to five drive systems with a range of processor speeds and RAM.
The Synology DS410j comes with the following specs:
- CPU Frequency: 800MHz
- Hardware Encryption Engine
- Memory Bus: [email protected]
- Memory: 128MB
- Internal HDD: 3.5" SATA(II) X4 or 2.5" SATA/SSD X4
- Max Internal Capacity: 8TB (4x 2TB hard drives)
(See All Supported HDD)
- Size (HxWxD): 168mm X 184mm X 230mm
- External HDD Interface: USB 2.0 port X2
- Weight: 2.23kg
- LAN: Gigabit X1
- Wireless Support
- Noise Level (fan-only): 23dB(A)
- Power Recovery
- AC Input Power Voltage: 100V to 240V
- Power Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, Single Phase
- Power Consumption:3 42.9W(Access); 16W(HDD Hibernation)
- Operating Temperature: 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
- Storage Temperature: -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
- Relative Humidity: 5% to 95%RH
- Maximum Operating Altitude: 10,000 feet
- Certification: FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
As can be seen from the specifications, the DS410j can house four SATA/SATA SSD drives (either 2.5" or 3.5") supporting up to 8TB of data storage which can be arrayed in the usual RAID options, with the possibility of hot swapping disks in certain RAID arrangements.
In our opinion it's a great looking device, with a simple white plastic casing surrounding a silver metal frame. Access to the device is obtained through a set of four thumbscrews on the rear of the device and drive installation is a doddle using the simple tray system. Inspection of the device reveals that cooling of the system and installed drives is performed by two Sunon (renowned for their efficiency and quietness). The front of the device has a large blue LED lit power button as well as status LEDs for installed HDDs, the DiskStation itself and LAN. At the rear are the USB ports, the LAN port and the power adaptor port.
Installation of the device firmware has to be done through an PC using the included installation CD, which also provides Synology Assistant (a PC-based configuration utility), Data Replicator 3 (powerful backup utility) and Download Director (an excellent download management tool that utilises the DS410j as your personal download station). To be honest though, these really aren't required as the web interface (DiskStation Manager 2.3) for the device is second to none, providing access to all of the above features in a stable environment with clear options for every application of the device.
The web interface allows access to every facet of the NAS: HDD and RAID management, system management, backup management etc. Probably the most impressive to us though, beyond the built in BT client and download management was the ability for the NAS to act as a fully fledged media server, supporting iTunes as well as acting as an audio station, photo station or even as an ftp or web server (with MySQL support). Although the processor and RAM installed in the DS410j maybe aren't up to supporting major websites and huge amounts of bandwidth, for personal websites this facility is excellent and offers the chance to "sandbox" your project websites before they become mainstream. On top of this further applications appear to be in the pipeline, and applications such as a mail server application, Squeezebox server (if you don't want iTunes) and a Webalizer plugin (for monitoring visitors to your websites on the NAS) are already available.
Data transfer was admirable with transfer rates of ~28MB/s write speed and 50MB/s read speed when transferring a DVD image (~5GB in size), although speeds were slower (as expected) with multiple smaller files. Throughout the NAS was inaudible above the background of our desktop rigs and even our laptop fans.
Throughout, the use of NAS system is intuitive and easy to follow, every aspect of the device could easily be managed by a complete novice and support is available in the form of quick start and full manuals as well as a dedicated forum and a detailed Wiki which between them cover everything you could possibly want to know. In our opinion if you are looking to buy a budget multibay NAS server this has to be high on your list, if not at the top, and the features and performance that you get for your money compare very favourably with much higher priced contenders.
Amazon: Synology DS410J DS410j 4 Bay NAS Enclosure
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