Synology Disk Station 409Slim
Laptop storage drives nano Nas box
Review At first glance, the Synology Disk Station 409 Slim seems a rather strange concept. Why use 2.5in disks in a four bay Nas enclosure? Surely, you’d want to cram as much storage space as possible into a NAS? Moreover, 2.5in drives are currently limited to around one quarter of the capacity of their 3.5in counterparts, hence, limiting the total internal capacity of the device to 2TB.
Synology's DS406Slim four bay Nas
Also, smaller drives are also considerably more expensive. If you go for 500GB disks, you’ll pay around double for a 2.5in drive. Yet, by using 2.5in drives, the DS409 Slim is able to take advantage of many of the storage technology advances utilised by modern laptops.
At only 120mm x 105 mm x 142 mm and weighing only 660g, it’s around half the size of a Disk Station 209 which uses 3.5in disks – and that’s only a twin-bay model. While a four-bay NAS may prove a little large for many home users, you can put the DS409 Slim just about anywhere.
Low power consumption, critical for laptop users, is also of advantage to those of us wishing to run our NAS 24/7. Synology’s own figures rate the power consumption of the DS409 Slim at around 19W during disk access when using two drives. We recorded an even lower figure of 15.5W when writing to two disks in a RAID 0 configuration.
The smaller drives also make less noise. With reduced power consumption comes reduced heat output and therefore less external cooling is required - which in turn reduces fan noise. While the DS409 Slim isn’t silent, it’s certainly rather quiet at around 24dB(A).
Compact kudos, however, limits interfacing options
The smart fan system ensures that the fan remains off until cooling is required; making this an excellent choice for those you like to stream their music without the irritation of whirring fans. The device itself is also comes with its own stand and is fitted with thick rubber feet which help to eliminate vibrational noise.
70MB/sec isn't bad over gigabit ethernet, although isn't all that great compared to theoretical max. The benchmarks say that the equivalent products are slower, though, which probably explains the reviewer's enthusiasm.
I'd be more interested in seeing the ESATA performance, personally.
Pack this thing with 4 x SSDs and you have a very nice external disk array for a box limited by internal space. But very pricey if all you want is an external drive array - you would probably be better off using a 3.5" array with brackets to mount 2.5" disks if all you wanted was a 2.5" array.
WTB a dumb 2.5" external drive enclosure...
"So... you'd consider a product "bad" because you, personally, don't just happen to be its target demographic?"
Yes, if the Reg seems to think so, then so do I.
@ AC 10:10 GMT
So... you'd consider a product "bad" because you, personally, don't just happen to be its target demographic?
I don't know much about these NAS boxen (I'm a fileserver man, myself,) but ~70MB/s seems rather slow to me. Any 3.5" drive available for $60 will read at 70mb/s, and your average 5 year old desktop with a gigabit card can push that speed over NFS.
Plus with those notebook drives you have to consider seek time, which is miserable compared to full size drives. And when you've got a torrent client and a user or two on there, you'll notice that seek penalty, especially using raid5, which is pretty much the only way to fly for 3+ drives of storage.
I just can't see much advantage over standard NAS boxen, which I generally don't see a huge need for. I suppose they're good if you don't want to / can't build yourself a linux fileserver. As it stands I have more unallocated LVM space on my raid5 arrays than you could hope to cram into this little box, especially if you want your data to be redundant (oh, trust me, you do.)
the vanilla 409
Can take either 3.5 or 2.5 disks and has very similar noise levels, but a bit lower - probably because they can fit larger, slower fans into the case.
The power consumption on the 409 is similar at idle (16w for the 409 versus 12w for the slim)
If only the Reg editors would ask their hardware reviewers to study up on benchmarking methodoloy or else focus on the usability and cite more thorough benchmarks than they can provide. benchmarking a nas properly ... it's a complicated process and the benches here provide precious little info, as is invariably the case in hardware reviews.
My tests of the 409 gui leave me very disappointed. It is much prettier than the Promise GUI, yes.
However, all that enabling NFS support does is start the NFS daemon - there is no option to work with /etc/exports given (that I could see) in the GUI in either simple or full mode. The only editor available at the commandline by default is vi. Asking a newbie try to work in vi and then try to get a working exports file going is just atrocious. At least the Promise NFS gui actually did ask "oh, um, who should have access to the NFS mounts?" and then set up an export, even.
Raid level migration is similarly murky. Expanding a raid from 1 disk to three in raid 5, you are not shown which disk will be used as the data source, you have to trust the device that it is in fact going to erase only the newly added disks. Very pretty but very uninformative as to which disk is where. Or how many total you will be left with.
If only the original promise 4300 weren't such a noisy beast! The 4600 is somewhat tempting, but does not give you what Synology does, real root access to the box and a package manager.
If I were recommending one of these to someone who wasn't a pro, though, I might recommend the gen 2 2disk Promise system in preference over a Syn 209, because while ugly the UI is actually more functional. I will wait and see to find out how loud the next generation of Promise systems are. The claim is that the 4600 is fairly quiet and fairly fast.