Synology DS413j review

The Synology DS413J is a four-bay NAS device aimed at the small office and home user market. The unit itself is all plastic and quite neatly designed – coloured in white, silver and black, with blue and green LEDs adorning the front. See all stroage reviews.

The unit has a single gigabit ethernet port to connect to the network and two USB 2.0 ports for additional external hard drives and printers. Note however that Synology's DSM operating system still lacks support for HFS+, Apple's OS X disk format, which leaves Mac users unable to use large external disks.

As with most NAS systems with four or more bays, various flavours of RAID are offered including 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10. The most interesting is Synology's own proprietary RAID system it calls Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR). SHR allows you to mix different-sized drives from any vendor without reducing total storage to multiples of the lowest capacity drive in the array, as normally would happen. And data is still preserved after one disk failure.

For example in our test system we had two 3 TB and two 4 TB hard drives. That would normally provide 9 TB of useable space in a RAID 5. In this example using SHR you gain an extra 1 TB of usable space by splitting the disks into smaller chunks.

One of the most compelling features of the DS-413j is Synology's excellent Disk Station Manager (DSM) software. Included in DSM is a feature called EZ-Internet, which allows you to connect to your Synology NAS from across the internet with minimal setup.

To test this unit's speed we installed four Seagate Enterprise drives, two 4TB Enterprise Capacity and two 3TB Enterprise Value. These drives were selected as they are designed to run in a 24x7 business environment where the disks will be continuously spinning. They have very low advertised MTBF rates of 1.4 and 1.2 million hours. The drives were set up as an SHR volume. We benchmarked the system connected over gigabit ethernet using CrystalDiskMark in Windows and QuickBench in OS X. 

CrystalDiskMark showed sequential read and write speeds of 55 MB/s and 51 MB/s respectively. Random 512 kB read and write were at 24 MB/s and 47 MB/s respectively.

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