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9/10

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Synology Cube Station CS-407e (2TB)

When Synology launched its Cube Station family of NAS appliances last year it brought some much needed design flair to a market dominated by bland cubes. The CS-406 also introduced a range of unusual features that many vendors have now added to their own appliances. The CS-407 appliances aim to build on these successes and add a few more ingredients to the melting pot.

The CS-407e on review is the entry-level model and comes equipped with the same 266MHz Freescale MPC8241 processor and 64MB of RAM as its predecessor. Nothing special here but Synology has improved internal cooling and uprated the appliance’s power supply adapter to allow it to handle 750GB SATA hard disks. One feature we’ve always liked about the Cube Stations is their extremely low noise levels and the CS-407e continues this tradition of silent runnings. The business level CS-407 has had a more substantial upgrade as it now sports a faster 500MHz Marvell 5281 processor although it keeps the same 128MB of memory. Both appliances offer Gigabit Ethernet and come with a pair of USB 2.0 ports for connecting external storage or sharing printers.

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Although the CS-407e doesn’t see any hardware improvements it’s still capable of notching up some reasonable performance figures. Copying our 690MB video test file from a Supermicro Pentium D 3.2GHz PC to the appliance and back again took 70 seconds and 49 seconds for write and read rates of 8.7MB/sec and 14MB/sec respectively. FTP speeds were in the same ball park with Get and Put operations from the Window FTP command line utility returning read and write speeds of 17.9MB/sec and 8.1MB/sec. Not bad but if you feel the need for more speed then check out Netgear’s (Infrant Technologies) ReadyNAS NV or Buffalo’s TeraStation Pro II.

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The CS-407e supports up to four SATA hard disks with the model on review equipped with a quartet of 500GB Seagate Barracuda ES drives. You can buy a diskless appliance for around £298 ex. VAT and add your own and the appliance will automatically create a RAID array for you. Add a pair of drives and it’ll serve up a RAID-1 mirror and if you go for all four you’ll get a RAID-5 array. Hot-swap is not supported so you’ll need to power the appliance down to replace a failed drive although this is simple enough as the rear panel hinges down and the cover slips off easily.

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