Synology DS710+ 2-bay All-in-1 NAS Server
If you've followed this review from page 1 and not simply jumped straight to the conclusion it will be of absolutely no surprise to you that I'm going to praise the DS710+ to the high heavens. The range of features that Synology have managed to cram into this little box is utterly staggering and the interface that brings them all together works like an absolute dream. You want to listen to your MP3's through USB speakers on the NAS? You got it. You wanna share your music via UPnP or iTunes, you got it. You wanna browse through your photo's using a web browser interface...guess what, you got it. How about running your own PHP web server, controlling video surveillance camera's, download torrents overnight or access your files remotely using a web browser? No problem at all. Synology have literally thought of every possible task you could ever want to perform with a NAS and have seamlessly integrated them all into their slick DSM interface.
And then there's the performance. An Intel Atom 1.67GHz CPU coupled with 1GB of DDR2 memory might not get lips licking in the desktop computing world, but when it comes to a diminutively sized NAS box running on a trimmed down operating system, those are some pretty hot specs. Even when pitched up against a full-blown Quad Core file server fitted with 4GB of RAM the DS710+ didn't disgrace itself and managed produce hold read/write results within 10% of our energy sucking server. The only place that the requirements of a 'proper' server still appear to be beneficial is when multiple clients are performing read/write operations at the same time.
But all of this greatness does come at a very steep price. £409 to be exact.
"Youch" I hear you say. Youch indeed. After all, for that kind of money you could easily put together a cheap mATX system with a reasonable dual-core CPU and 4GB of RAM. But then what? Install Windows and watch as it gobbles up all of the resources? Install a Linux NAS distro and just pray that it supports the network cards or RAID controller? Even if you get the basics working, there's a lot more messing around ahead if you want it to do anything more than serve shared folders.
So in defence of the price, you really do have to look beyond the "hardware costs this much" aspect. You're paying for the whole experience with the DS710+ ...and what a nice experience it is too.
- Synology's DSM software is simply awesome - and set to get even better when DSM2.3 arrives.
- The performance in both read and write is on par with much higher specc'd file servers.
- Ability to upgrade storage when the DS510 comes out in March.
- Very low power consumption in comparison to a full server.
- Price is high, but justifiable if you intend on using the features of the device.
- Removable drive bays are round the back. Awkward to get to if you have a drive failure.
- Fan seems to lack ventilation space and is also easily audible in a silent room.