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Synology DS412+

By Matt Simpson - Saturday, March 31, 2012

There’s just no way around it. I love Network Attached Storage. It takes the load off of having a gaming PC running all of the time in order to serve up the Terabytes of media I have digitally stored. From a space and power consumption standpoint, it’s also superior to a dedicated file server. There’s just no going wrong, except on which one to get.

Synology

Fortunately, there is a British company that does the home NAS better than anyone else. Yes, I said British. Those across the pond, but not too far across aren’t the first people we think of when it comes to tops in high tech, but in this case, they are just that. Synology is in my opinion, the maker of the finest home NAS boxes in the world. Were I ever to shill for a company in return for merchandise these guys would likely get the nod. They offer some of the highest performing, and most feature packed NAS boxes you can get. They may not be able to dredge the bottom of the cost spectrum such as companies like D-Link, but the return on your dollar, or pound, is far greater. Synology has just released two updates to its 2012 product line and both should interest those who are shopping for a NAS. For me, however, the DS412+ is just what I have been waiting for.

DS412+

This is the go to model for many home NAS users and it’s even better than ever. Without the sky high prices of 8 bay NAS boxes and yet still having room sky high storage numbers with its 4 bays, it hits a sweet spot for the heavy network user. In last year’s trim, the DS411+II, this box was already ahead of the game in almost every way, but not content with perfection it seems, Synology has made several major improvements this year.

The DS412+ gets the overhaul starting in the most logical place for an upgrade, the CPU. The dual core model used goes from 1.8 GHz to 2.13 GHz. Not a night and day difference, but a bin or two faster and still being careful about power consumption. The 412+ weighs in with a 44 watt total operating consumption by the way. Memory is also upgraded from DDR2 to the higher bandwidth DDR3 version. These improvements are combined with a new dual link gigabit LAN which can operate with the devices in port aggregation mode or as a LAN interface failover. Add it all up and you have advertised write speeds of 182.66MB/Sec. and read speeds of 205.68MB/Sec. That’s Megabytes with a big B. These come out to be between 70 and 80% faster than its predecessor and many orders of magnitude faster than those bargain basement NAS boxes.

The good stuff doesn’t stop there either, as the new box gets a redesigned look to go with passive CPU cooling, externally replaceable fans and Hot-Swappable drive bays. The external USB ports used to transfer data to and from the NAS and portable devices has been updated to USB 3.0, so no matter how much data you have on that USB 3.0 memory stick; it’ll be transferred in no time. There’s an E-sata port as well and this box supports the latest and greatest 4TB drives. That gives you the potential for 16TB of storage. Many of the lesser NAS boxes are still trying to cope with supporting 3TB drives, so it’s good to see Synology officially supporting the newer 4TB units.

The Rest

The amount of software available for the 412+ is amazing. You can incorporate this NAS into your small business and end up using it as an E-mail or even and E-commerce server, or a security server, or a VPN server. The list goes on but you get the idea. What’s the big hold up then for everyone to own one of these NAS boxes?  Unfortunately like so many things, price is what is keeping one out of my networking closet.  Amazon offers it hundreds cheaper than the competition and still wants $650 for a diskless version.




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