by Greg King on February 10, 2009 in Network-Attached Storage
Synology has become well-known over the years for producing some of the highest-quality NAS boxes on the planet, some of which we’ve taken a look at in the past, and the new DS209+ is no exception. Though expensive, it has a huge feature-set and superb performance to back it up, which makes it a good buy for anyone with a fairly lenient budget.
While the drives are different in the DS209+, our testing methodology has remained constant. To test out the unit, we ran our standard test of transferring a solid 600 MB file across the network from our host computer to the NAS. We then transferred a 600 MB folder containing many small to medium sized files including photos, documents and system files.
In each test we timed each transfer and after running the same test three times, the results were averaged. In each test, a write and read was run in RAID 1 and RAID 0 configurations. While my general consensus is that users who are going to purchase a dual-drive NAS have the intention to use it as a reliable backup solution, the need for testing in a RAID 0 configuration is necessary.
The host PC is a custom built Intel platform using a Q9450 (2.66 GHz), 8 GB of DDR2 RAM, a DFI X48 LANParty LT and connected to a TRENDnet 8 port gigabit switch via the DFI’s onboard Marvell Yukon 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit controller. The DS209+ is also on the TRENDnet switch.
The numbers don’t lie. This is hands down the fasted NAS box that we have ever tested here at Techgage. A sustained read of just over 42 MB/s for the solid file transfer and just over 33 MB/s for the write. This performance can partially be attributed to the upgraded processor and additional RAM.
Synology has another winner on its hands with the DS209+. With speeds creeping towards that of servers, the DS209+ is almost everything that a small business owner could need. With the 2.1 software (still in beta), you can leverage your DS209+ as a web server, a mail server (new to 2.1) and of course as a central location for sharing files. Users are a breeze to setup and with the NAS being compatible with Windows Active Directory (ADS), permissions are simple to setup.
Other users include encrypted FTP, support for HTTPS, scheduled downloads via HTTP, FTP or BitTorrent. Each of these options have the ability to be customized for sensitive networks.
Also included in the Synology software is the ability to connect web cameras, record the live feed and view it from any net accessible PC. This allows a business owner to use their Synology NAS as a security hub, on top of everything else. License packs can be purchased from Synology for anyone interested in using this feature.
By and large, the DS209+ is a top-shelf device, and with high performance, comes an equally high price. Synology has never aimed their products at the bargain crowds, so to justify this premium, they continually update their system software, adding new features with each new version. There are literally dozens of uses that the DS209+ can be used for.
As we mentioned many of these uses earlier, what’s astounding is that most all of these features are available on all of their NAS boxes. This adds a tremendous amount of value to their lineup of products, and while there will always be a trade-off between price and performance, you could pick up a cheap single drive Synology NAS and use almost all of the features that have made the DS209+ a complete and total winner in our book. With all that said however, the DS209+ is not a perfect machine, but it’s close. I enjoy the black build, and while a metal body would be ideal, the plastic used in its build is sturdy and in no way did it feel flimsy.
With all this taken into account, the Synology DS209+ has earned our Editor’s Choice award. Shipping without drives, the DS209+ will set you back just under $500USD, so once you add in a pair of drives, you’re looking at close to $700 US, if not more. This is not small change, but with the price, you do get a ridiculously fast NAS box, and a feature-packed one at that. As with all their devices, the DS209+’s available features is astounding and it’s clear that this is an area where Synology has invested a fair amount of resources.
If you have the budget, the DS209+ is a no-brainer.
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