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Synology DiskStation DS411j - Performance and Verdict

By Hugo Jobling



  • Recommended by TR
Synology DiskStation DS411j


Our Score:


Once you do have your storage set up, accessing it is made easy. You can add a shared volume as a mapped drive with the same Synology assistant tool used to install the DS411j’s firmware, navigate your network to find the system yourself, or use an FTP client if you have enabled that connection method. Transfer speeds are respectable given the DS411j’s price; we saw a single large file copy to the DS11j at 26.3MB/s and read from it at 34.5MB/s. A mix of small files transferred the NAS at 17.9MB/s and from it at 19.8MB/s. We were pleased to note that, thanks to the dedicated hardware handling the process, encrypting the data stored on the DS411j doesn’t lead to massive slowdowns in transfer speed.

Setting up Synology’s Data Replicator backup software was frustration free, giving plenty of control over what data should be saved and how frequently. Mac users will be pleased to find that the DS411j can have Time Machine support enabled. Windows users get a few extra software options, such as a Download Station for intercepting downloads and having the DS411j handled them for you, be they standard http and ftp transfers, or BitTorrents – you can also access this functionality via the web interface if you don’t want to install software.

Any media on the DS411j can be access in a variety of ways. Videos, images and music can be served to any DLNA-compatible device on a local network, and an iTunes server lets you keep all your music in a central repository if using Apple’s media player. The aptly named Audio station and Photo station also let you serve up files of the respective types over the web – a feat made easier if you use the built-in DNS – and Photo station even has an iPhone app. Web station lets you host a basic PHP and MySQL based website, but we wouldn’t recommend using the DS411j to host anything likely to see a lot of traffic.

What really sets the DS411j apart from the competition isn’t so much the amount of functionality it has – though it certainly has features a-plenty – but rather how smartly it exposes them. Whether you just want a safe backup repository for your data, or need to access it from several locations using various different client devices, from PCs to media streamers, the DS411j will hold your hand configuring it if you need it to, and let you manage by yourself if you can.


For the price, we can’t think of another NAS that offers such a comprehensive combination of powerful features made so easy to use. The DS411j may not be the most exciting product in the world, but it’s definitely a good one.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 9


January 31, 2011, 12:07 pm

I bought theDS410j based entirely on your review, and remain a very happy owner.

I am curious about two points though; you state "unless you install four 2TB drives from the off, in which case you’ll have maxed out the storage capacity of the DS411j" however I know that my 410 will support some 3TB drives. Surely the 411 will too?

The second issue is that it would have been interesting to compare how the two drives transfer speeds are, since they are so similar. On that point, it's worth clearly noting that older NAS boxes (such as the 410) can also very easily be updated for DMS 3.0 (the newer Operating Environment that you like so much with the new model), and so if an older model can be found for a bargain price, it's surely worth picking up!


January 31, 2011, 2:27 pm

Good Timing. I'm considering this model against a QNAP TS-410, any chance you might review this soon - although this is an older model?

The QNAP ticks a lot of boxs - 256MB Memory and 2 Gigabit NICs versus only 128MB in the DS411j and a single NIC, but the processor is only 800Mhz, versus 1.2Ghz in the DS411j

I note a lot of people have high regards for both.

I note that 3TB drives ARE supported - http://www.synology.com/enu...


January 31, 2011, 2:33 pm

I have the DS210j (the 2-bay version), which, as MSIC says above, runs the same software. Having had several NAS boxes over the years, the Synology stuff is just nice. User account set up is much simpler than on other systems, with easy to understand permissions etc. Thanks to the built-in audio station, my sister can listen to radio stations streamed from my NAS to her in Saudi Arabia, which are blocked on the normal Saudi internet. Good stuff - and definitely worth picking up an 'earlier' model.


January 31, 2011, 5:10 pm

I have used a DS410J for more than a year and I am quite happy with its reliability.

I can only expect this new model to enhance what is already an easy to configure and use device.

I use the Hybrid RAID mode (I was forced into reinstalling as something went wrong when upgrading to DSM 3.0. fromthe previous version)

The initial installation is rather un-eventful, but quite long due to the size of hard drives.

After that it is plain sailing.

The video streams nicely to the DNLA enabled HDTV in native DVD/MPEG quality, while at the same time I can stream lossless music (FLAC 24bit/92Khz and ALAC) to two different rooms in the house, each with its own program. Not a hitch!

It may help HiFi buffs who would consider this NAS, to know that I have installed a DacMagic from Cambridge Audio on one of the USB ports at the back.

The DacMagic was recognised without a bother when rebooting and provides a cheaper alternative to dedicated high end systems without significant compromise on sound quality.

DSAudio allows me to use my iPhone to control the system.

That beats a Sonos or Squeezebox in versatility and quality any day!

As for the Olive, well... it can... you know...

Ian Yates

January 31, 2011, 8:26 pm

I've been running my DS411j for a couple of months now, and am very happy with it. I toyed with getting the 410, but couldn't justify the extra cost.

Expanding the array by replacing small drives with bigger ones is completely painless, aside from the amount of time it takes to prepare the drive (replacing a 250GB drive with a 1.5TB drive took a little over a day); your data is still accessible during the upgrade, and the new space becomes available in stages, as the box finishes preparing.

The extra features in DSM3.1 are pretty impressive as well.

I tend to get a sustained about 9.4MB/s when transferring large files; so it could be nippier, but it's plenty for streaming music or HD video.

Plus, being able to expose it through the router and upload/download files is worth every penny.


January 31, 2011, 8:49 pm

I'm having a bit of a comprehension fail here. Could someone please explain to me the benefit of spending £250 on one of these WITHOUT any drives compared to, for example, a few 1TB NAS drives for £90 each including drives and a Gigabit switch? I realise I may simply not be the target market for one of these, but the disk-free price seems obscene given the other options on the market! Isn't this approaching the cost of a purpose-built ITX build that can be a headless firewall, router and NAS/server as well?


January 31, 2011, 9:34 pm


A collection of 1TB drives that you can attach to a network will give you very limited functionality compared to a full blown NAS. Most people go with the NAS option for comparative ease of use, space, power consumption etc. They will also usually have out of the box functionality for media streaming, sharing files remotely (if required) and lend themselves to tweaking if you want to get into that.

They will also give you the option to use RAID (of some description) to give you a little more resilience should you suffer a disk failure (unless you want to mirror files across your multiple 1TB drives manually). RAID isn't backup though, so most of these can also backup to remote destinations (eg via rsync or the QNAPs will also backup to S3 as well).

@Hugo, some retailers (such as Experts in Storage) will configure the units before shipping if you purchase disks at the same time. They did this for my QNAP TS-410 and they also sell Synology (amongst others). No connection with them other than being a satisfied customer.

Martin Daler

January 31, 2011, 10:08 pm

@AOD I think you missed the point of ChaosdefinesOrder's post. He was not talking about just "A collection of 1TB drives", rather a collection of 1TB NAS drives. So, four NAS drives for less than the price of, er, no NAS drives at all. If you've only got £250 to spend, I'll take four NAS drives over none at all.


January 31, 2011, 11:21 pm

What sort of 1TB NAS can you get for £90? Do they have RAID redundancy, or is it just a single drive in each one?

Obviously for each drive you would need another plug socket, with another one for the switch, however I could see how in some circumstances, providing that each can be assigned it's own IP address and that data was not critical, a bunch of single drive NAS'es could be worth it. For me, having had 4 separate USB (non-NAS) external drives of varying capacities sitting connected to various machines ended up too painful and annoying for what I wanted, and my single box NAS streams beautifully to my media player, stores documents from my 4 different PCs, and all whilst giving me peace-of-mind in case of hard drive failure. It's not the only way to go, but it is a good way.

Martin Daler

February 1, 2011, 2:16 am

@MSIC "What sort of 1TB NAS can you get for £90?"

one of these (2p change!): http://www.bestbuy.co.uk/pr...


February 1, 2011, 4:50 am

@Martin Daler:

I did refer to the drives as ones that you "can attach to a network" so I think that covers the NAS angle :-)

BTW, which four 1TB NAS drives can you get for £250 as this may be a good option for some folk?

As MSIC mentioned, it isn't the only way to go (you could also hang several "dumb" USB drives off a Pogoplug which TR have already reviewed).

The My Books are a decent product, but the "dedicated" NAS will give you more flexibility (eg the ability to easily increase your drive capacities) and the ability to centrally manage your backups etc. To my mind, having multiple "My Books" hanging off a switch just increases the overall complexity but ymmv.

At the end of the day, there are a number of different solutions and the best option is to choose the one that fits your needs.


February 1, 2011, 12:26 pm

I've been coming to TR for ages ... years ... and this kind of review is what first drew me here ....

But is it me or does this review read much more like a paid for piece of journalism by the manufacturer ... ?

Maybe I'm seeing something that's not there - but the technical reviews used to have some passion and spark to them - like the reviewer actually cared - this read like the reviewer was told "write a piece on this and if you don't like it much - just stay moderate"


February 3, 2011, 4:42 pm

Okay I am late to the party here but have been reading up on this device and i'm looking to buy the 2 bay version whenever I finally stop bleeding money (at least another month of pain). I only have one question, I use a site that uses torrent files but needs a log-in. All uploads and downloads are tracked, would this device be suitable? Could I continue uploading finished files? That is one ability I really need.

Otherwise thank you for the review.

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