Taiwan-based Synology has many products that cater to this segment. One such device is the Synology DS710+ NAS, which they were kind enough to drop into our review labs. We must not forget that when it comes to digital storage options these days, consumers have lots and lots of choices. Besides external hard drives, one can either get a NMT (networked media tank) or a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
First of all, let’s talk about the whole package. The DS710+ comes along with an installation CD, AC adapter and an ethernet cable. What’s more, they also packed a Quick Start manual, warranty guide and even screws to fasten the hard-drives, and the accessories are also packed in a separate carton. This NAS is quite a looker and comes in black-matte finish. In fact, if you have a LCD monitor that is black in color, this would sit very beautifully next to it.
One thing about the servers and network-attached drives is the installation and sometimes it can be difficult. However, with the Synology DS710+ NAS you can say goodbye to all the pre-installation jitters. Even if you have never used a server, the software accompanying the device makes things a tad easy (more on the software later). When we started installing the NAS, it easily found and identified the server. All we had to do is put the .pat patch file. Afterwards, it indicated that ten minutes would be taken to install and after some time we had a formatted hard drive along with an installed firmware.
The front of the brick-shaped server is plastered with LEDs lined up to show you the Status as well as the LAN, HDD1, HDD2 and eSATA statuses. What else is on the front panel? Well, besides a power button and a USB port, which made us quite happy, there is a one-touch copy button that will let you copy / backup files and documents that are stored in the hard drives. The posterior part of the device has a LAN port and 2 USB ports as well as the place to put in your disk enclosures. The eSATA connection port, the reset button and a Kensington lock hole also find their way to the back of the device. Interestingly, there is a VGA port, but it is blanked off.
One thing that’s not noticeable on the front is the grill, which sits at bottom of the panel. Coming to the hardware part, this beast is powered by a 1.67GHz CPU and has a memory Bus of [email protected] They have put in a gig of RAM also. As for the cooling, Synology has just fitted one 80mm standard fan. This basically means that the NAS takes the air from the array of holes present in the grill.
So what does the DS710+ NAS exactly do? Actually, the question that you should ask should be ‘What does the Synology DS710+ NAS not do?’. Seriously, this piece of hardware will do things which will make many of your fantasies come true. Asides having support for UPnP/DLNA, it can also act as an iTunes media server that will spew not only audio and images but also video all over your network. It doesn’t stop here as this NAS can be used as an individual BitTorrent download station. Isn’t that amazing? No need to worry about the hard disk space in your PC. What’s more, this device also lets you access files using a smart phone. Only phones that have WM 6.0 or later, Symbian OS 9.1 , S60 3rd Ed or later and iPhone OS 2.2.1 or higher are supported.
But that shouldn’t be something you should complain about as there are lots of other features to look out for in the device. It can be used to as an FTP site as well as for hosting a website. The NAS also has offers support for MySQL and PHP. Interestingly they have offered an option of a file and photo browser that is based on AJAX. If you happen to have installed security cameras with IP, then Synology has one more reason to make you smile. It lets you store and share video from such security cameras.
Synology was thoughtful enough to include a media player that allows you to access and control audio from a web browser. Features such as the File Station, Audio Station, Download Station, Surveillance Station etc. can be tweaked and different users can be given different sets of authority, using the disk management software. It is something that amateurs would also be able to use it ease as the interface is quite uncomplicated, which means you can gift it to your granny without worrying she will call you every hour. If you own a small or a medium-sized business, you can use the NAS as a server for setting up email, all you have to do is install the MailStation package.
Again performance wise, the Synology did decently. We copied 30 MP3 files with sizes varying from 4MB to 50MB. It copied them quite fast from the PC to the hard-disk on the server. When downloading those files to another PC in the network using the File Station, it gave us a speed ranging from 10 .1 MB/sec to 11.5 MB/sec. The NAS can also be used as a printer server in your local network. It’s also effortless to monitor the server status and resources using the DSM software. You can even control the fan using the interface.
We give the Synology DS710+ NAS a rating of 9 out of 10 because this sturdy little device is quite practical for home usage or for a small / medium sized office and offers a lot of things. The place where it lost points is the price as we feel it is just a little bit expensive for a NAS. It costs USD 590 (before VAT).