by Greg King on February 13, 2012 in Networking, Storage
It’s been a while since we last evaluated a NAS device, so to help kick things back off, we’re taking a look at Synology’s 2-bay DS212 NAS server. Synology has long offered not only robust hardware, but exceptionally good software, so let’s see if that still stands today, as our last look at a Synology product was a full three years ago.
As mentioned earlier, we havenâ€™t touched a Synology device since 2009 at Techgage. That doesnâ€™t mean I havenâ€™t. I personally own a DS411 Slim. It was the only 4 bay NAS that I could afford at the time but I have put it to great use. I have scripts that run nightly, backing up everything I hold dear. Itâ€™s also the media hub of my home. My PS3, Xbox and Boxee Box all see the NAS as a discoverable device and can read from it.
I have Logitech Squeeze Center installed and stream music from it as well. My point is that the offerings from Synology are extremely robust in possible uses. So even though we havenâ€™t publicly looked at a Synology NAS since the DS209+, I have been keeping up with the latest versions of DSM. Itâ€™s now in beta for 4.0 and I can say on the record that I am personally impressed with the look and feel of the new OS. For those of you who run Synology devices and can afford to test out beta software, give it a spin. Itâ€™s a good sign of things to come.
The DS212 impressed me. On paper itâ€™s identical to last yearâ€™s DS211+ but with half the system memory. This is a trend that many companies use. They take last yearâ€™s top of the line product, change it a bit to hit a lower price point, in this case halving the RAM from 512MB to 256MB, and selling it with a new model number. I love this. It allows users on a lower budget to get last yearâ€™s best technology for a lower price point.
There are complaints that I have, but they are small. As I said earlier, I prefer a metal housing. Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t trust plastic; the DiskStations that I have seen and dealt with are solid devices. Metal is just a personal preference, but it’s kind of a silly complaint. Think about it – NAS boxes are hooked up and then if nothing goes wrong or gets upgraded, they sit stationary for the remainder of their life. With that thought, plastic is perfectly fine.
My plastic criticism aside, Synology makes enviable devices. They perform very well and they have got their pricing down to somewhere more competitive. When we reviewed the DS209+ three years ago, it was selling for around $500. The $299 price tag of the DS212 seems way more reasonable in comparison. Considering the stellar system software, the stable of products for all needs and the efforts the company makes to include extras like the mobile apps, Synology has proven once again that it cares about its users.
If it sounds like I am heaping praise on the DS212, I am. But thatâ€™s not to discount the competition. Like Synology, prior to this review, we havenâ€™t looked at much from QNAP, Thecus, D-Link and the rest of the SMB NAS competition. Regardless of that, I know that they all make very good products. We just happen to be reviewing the DS212 and I just happen to love it.
For those on the market for a new storage solution, whether your needs are professional or personal, you would be well served to include the Synology DS212 in your list of devices to consider. Whether itâ€™s a standalone device or a rack mountable one youâ€™re looking for, Synology has something for everyone.
Synology DS212 NAS Server
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