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Synology DS213+ NAS Server Review
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Synology DS213+ NAS Box
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by Greg King on September 4, 2013 in Network-Attached Storage

A great thing about the NAS market is that competition is huge, and in our minds, Synology has done a fantastic job of making sure that this competition has been keeping on its toes. Each one of the company’s NASes we’ve tested to date have impressed, and fortunately, the DS213+ isn’t about to become an exception.

Introduction

In many of my network-attached storage device (NAS) reviews, shamelessly plugged here, here and here, I have tried to drive home the importance of backing up your most important data.  Whether it be to a NAS box, a USB external hard drive or one of the many cloud-based solutions available, it really doesn’t matter.  The point is to always “back it up.” For my look at Synology’s DS213+ NAS, I don’t plan to extol the virtues of having a home disaster recovery plan – except, I just did… damn.

I have reviewed enough NAS boxes over the years to have developed a fairly easy-to-reproduce set of tests.  I get the device in, I photograph it and then I run the standard battery of tests that we have been using for quite a few years.  With Synology, I always know what to expect.  While the company has changed up the design of the units themselves, I have come to expect a certain subtle quality in the company’s products. 

When the DS213+ showed up reading for testing, I was immediately brought back to our review of the DS212 earlier this year.  In it, we covered a considerable amount of available options that Synology’s firmware has to offer.  We went through the mobile apps, connecting the NAS to a VMware host, Apple’s Time Machine functionality, as well as the standard tests we have always run.  For those looking for a shallow dive into those waters, I suggest you give that review a quick once over.  For those of you looking for our take on the DS213+, carry on.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - Close-up

The DS213+ is a two-bay NAS, marketed as a small-to-medium sized business solution.  The enclosure is built almost entirely with black plastic, with the front face of the NAS being removable.  For those of you that can remember when their boxes needed to be taken apart to access the drives, being able to swap out a failed drive without shutting down the NAS has been a luxury long known to Synology fans.

Powered by a dual-core SoC, Freescale’s P1022,  that runs at 1.067 GHz and is capable of floating point computations and hardware encryption, the DS213+ should be able to deliver in the performance department.  With a single onboard gigabit Ethernet that is powered by a Realtek RTL8211E, along with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, the DS213+ is certainly spec’d to provide good numbers.  Before we get too much further into that, let’s take a quick tour around the outside of the NAS.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - Overview

The front of the DS213+ looks very familiar to the DS212.  A USB 2.0 port and SD card reader can be found on the face of the NAS, as well as a power and copy button.  There are four LEDs that indicate the overall status, or health, of the NAS, LAN activity and hard drive activity.  While most are self-explanatory, the copy button, by default, will copy an attached thumb drive (or any USB storage device) to a designated directory on one of your volumes.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - LEDs and Inputs Close-up

Both sides of the DS213+ have the Synology brand name running down the length of the NAS.  They not only showcase the brand, but also allow cooler air to come in through well placed openings.  Also visible on the right-hand side of the NAS are the same LED indicator lights that we saw on the front.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - Right-side

On the back of the DS213+, we find a 92mm fan, guarded by black plastic grill, one gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA port, a power port and one Kensington lock port.  Again, this has not changed from the DS212 that we looked at earlier in the year, so it appears that the only difference between the two units is the internal hardware used to power the NAS.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - Back, Fan

The bottom of the DS213+ simply shows the four rubber non-slip feet that helps keep the NAS in place as well as dampen any hard drive vibrations that there might be.  Also found are two rows of openings, allowing for ample air circulation within the interior of the DS213+.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - Underneath

As mentioned earlier, the face of the NAS comes off, exposing the two drive slots and their carriers.  As with many of our other review units, the DS213+ shipped from Synology with a pair of 7200 RPM Seagate 1TB drives (model number ST31000524AS).  Even though they are the same model as with the DS212, these drives were removed and the original drives used with the DS212 were used, for the sake of consistency.

The carriers are made out of plastic and hold the drives in place with the help of provided screws.  Never touching the carriers themselves, the drives sit on soft rubber grommets, helping to dampen any and all vibrations that originates from the drives.

Synology DS213+ NAS Server - Installed Drivers

Operation of the DS213+ consumed only 29W with both hard drives being accessed and a paltry 8W when the drives were idle and the NAS was in hibernation mode.  The UI offers two options for fan speed: cool mode and quiet mode.  I was unable to notice a difference between the two and for all testing, cool mode was selected.  This mode kept the drives on average, around 29 degrees Celsius; 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

Page List:
Top

1. Introduction
2. Testing & Final Thoughts


  • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

    It might be a bit expensive, but its featureset backs that up. It seems perfect for a small business or for someone who needs a robust NAS solution at the home but doesn’t have serious storage needs. You’re right – at that price, the lower-end 4-bay NASes become pretty intriguing.

  • http://www.norrafi.net Norrafi

    I prefer Ds213 than it + version. 213 equipped with ARM processor.

    • Greg King

      The DS213+ uses an ARM based processor as well.

  • The Focus Elf

    I think I am going to buy this, based almost entirely on your review. Now I just need to determine what HDDs to buy, the Seagate NAS 2TB drives seem to get the best reviews, 3TB seems to be a reliability hurdle… I like setting these systems up with mirroring, but I don’t like to have to USE the mirroring feature… =]

    • Greg King

      This is wonderful to hear, thank you for the comments.

      While I tested with 1TB 7200 RPM drives, I run WD green drives at home in my personal NAS boxes and have not had a single issue with them. I have both 2TB and 3TB in use and again, I’ve yet to have an issue. I would determine what you intend to use the NAS for. Will it be data retention, sharing or media streaming? Obviously you can get away with slower disks if its simple backups. The WD Red drives are solid middle ground but a high performer would be the black drives.

      Keep us posted on your build. I’m always grateful to hear that our reviews helped someone make a decision… that’s why we are in this business. :)

      • The Focus Elf

        Wow and an update. I ended up buying it, put some 2TB drives in there and love the unit. Thanks again Greg!

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      When it comes to NAS drives, I’d go with whichever can be had at a better price. I trust both Seagate and WD for these needs completely.

  • Yousif Elamin

    just i want to help me , we stay in one home and using same network with another person , he insert this device on network what is purpose of DS213 on network because i thing that he want to take information from may laptop
    pls help me

    • Greg King

      Yousif,

      With a storage device on the network, data from an unprotected PC (your laptop), could be stored on it. That being said, if your roommate wanted to take data on your laptop, he could already do so with his own laptop. With a Synology, you can administer who can access to it so you might ask for the ability to log into it and check on what he has setup. The most important thing you can do, if you don’t trust your roommate, is secure your laptop with a strong password. From there, it’s dealing with your roommate, which will always be the most difficult.

  • Msdcs

    I have had this model for over a year, it has run 24/7 and never had problems, it is perfect.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Glad to hear it’s working out well!

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