Synology USB Station 2
Neat networker for external drives and printers
I then copied the same data, across the same 10/100 network and router, to a 1TB Netgear Stora drive for comparison and saw 9m17s and 8m38s, respectively. So, even though the transfer rate should be throttled by the speed of the LAN, the Sata-based Nas is still noticeably quicker, by around 8 per cent on average.
Simple, effective, but pricey
Other software supplied with the USB Station 2 includes Audio Station, for music housekeeping, Internet radio and iPod playback and Download Station for working with torrents when local computers are turned off overnight. There’s an iTunes server built in and DS audio enables streaming to iPhone, iPod and Android phones.
With an RRP of £85 and on-line price not far short of that, the USB Station 2 looks overpriced. Rival products, such as Seagate’s FreeAgent DockStar – which has three USB sockets and a hard drive dock built in – costs little more than half this Synology device.
If you need to add the cost of a suitable USB drive, you’re looking at £130-140. For that money you can get something like a Stora or Buffalo’s LinkStation Duo as a discrete unit, already populated with faster, Sata drives and with RAID options for improved security.
The USB Station 2 works well enough, though its speed is restricted compared to a Sata-based Nas (particularly if you run a gigabit LAN) and it should be around half the price. If Synology wants to play in the consumer market, it should make Windows setup more straightforward, or even automatic, and be a bit more generous with the USB sockets. ®
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