Performance & Verdict

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Synology DiskStation DS411slim

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Good looks and functionality are nothing without performance in the NAS world and here the DS411slim's bolstered hardware comes to the fore. Over Gigabit Ethernet (now ubiquitous on all modern NAS) the slim managed extremely impressive read and write times of 57.4MB per second and 42.1MB per second when transferring large 4GB files. By comparison the older DS411j hit just 34.5MB/s read and 26.3MB/s write, in line with the 34.4MB/s and 24.6MB/s of the newer budget focused DS211j. Interestingly the slim's transfer rates are not far off those for the DS712 (57.2MB/s read and 43.2MB/s write) without Link Aggregation.

Synology DiskStation DS411slim

It is a similar story when transferring smaller files. The stop start nature of small files stops any NAS from getting up a head of steam, but at 24.5MB per second read and 21.1MB per second write it again easily bests the DS411j (19.8MB/s and 17.9MB/s), DS211j (19.9MB/s and 18.1MB/s) and plays in the same ballpark as the DS712 (27.1MB/s and 23MB/s). All of which goes to show when transferring large files 2.5in HDDs are not the speed bottleneck many would have you believe (we used 5,200rpm drives) while transferring small files exposes the weakness in all HDD access times no matter how powerful the NAS.

10

It is worth mentioning these results were attained using Synology's Hybrid RAID. Like Netgear's X-RAID, SHR allows for disks to be dynamically swapped out for larger volumes without powering down the device. When the new drive is inserted the array is rebuilt automatically and all content is available throughout the upgrade process. SHR is highly efficient as well (storage examples are shown above), though if you want to use a more standard option, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5 Spare, RAID 6 and RAID 10 are all available.

So ultimately – unless you crave the capacity of 3.5in drives – the only aspect which can bring down the DS411slim is price. Happily Synology has got this right as well. The slim retails for £229 and while a quick search online reveals minimal web discounts this still makes for an eminently affordable and remarkably stylish NAS device. Yes naysayers will point out that 3.5in-compatible NAS cost little more upfront and subsequently save money because of 3.5in drives' cheaper pricing, but that would be to miss the point. In the slim Synology has created a NAS which is every bit the performance and functionality rival of its larger siblings, but with a more living room friendly demeanour.

2

Verdict

The Synology DS411slim won't convert those looking for a capacious 3.5in NAS, but it isn't meant to. Instead the slim sheds size and decibels to create a diminutive yet powerful alternative for those happy to compromise storage but not performance. Synology's DiskStation Manager also remains one of the most ingenious and easy to use NAS UIs on the market and extras like mobile apps, security camera and printer support make it a thoroughly comprehensive solution. Tying it all together is a price tag which won't break the bank, just remember to factor in the higher cost of 2.5in drives.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Value 8

BogBeast

January 6, 2012, 1:21 am

I'd be interested in the difference in power consumption between a 4gig 2.5" v's 3.5. These things are generally on 24x7x365 so if these is a significant reduction in power consumption per gb then these would be worth considering over the larger for factor

Jesper

January 6, 2012, 2:19 am

Sound like a great little device. Regarding the noise levels. Is it quiet enough to keep in the living room?

Martin Daler

January 6, 2012, 4:44 pm

Like BogBeast says, power consumptions (with comparisons) would be useful in a review like this. Likewise: + noise + full-up cost with discs installed - you flirt with all these topics, but without consumating!

otaku888

January 6, 2012, 5:18 pm

I'd be interested to see what the reviewer has to say about high idle temps. According to the forums and amazon reviews a lot of users are reported really unacceptably high idle temperatures. Here's an example: Still, it's the idling unit temperatures that have been causing users issues (check Synology forums). Synology replies with temperature specs that are incredible. "76C is normal because 105C is the max, and the unit shuts down at 95C" (paraphrasing). In other words 167F is ok, because Synology doesn't consider it an issue until 203F! To be clear, this is when the unit is Hibernating. Once everything is up and running, the unit cools down considerably. This is so even when all four drives are pushed to the max. The reason is the fan does not spin while the unit hibernates and the CPU, which does NOT throttle down, sits scant millimeters away from drive four.

Martin Daler

January 6, 2012, 6:50 pm

Wow! That is going to be a safety hazard, you could cook an egg on it, keep your tea scalding hot, take the skin off your hands, or even ignite combustible material (like books) nearby. The power consumption can't be too clever either - and that is at hibernation (makes a mockery of that word's etymology, perhaps they meant aestivation?) And if the situation is only ameliorated by the running of the fans during 'normal' operation then the power consumption can only be higher still, and the noise must be quite impressive too. Can this be real?

Mike B

January 6, 2012, 10:31 pm

Since the quoted power consumption for this unit is only 9.6W idle and 16.8W with disk access it would be hard to achieve such high temperatures! Reading the forms some issues may come from the way the temperature is measured via the silicone die. If such high temperatures were a problem then many users would be having lots of reliability issues which do not seem to be reported. But I would agree all reviews for devices such as this should give a indication of the units temperature during testing.

Gordon394

January 9, 2012, 10:52 pm

I didn't notice any overly high idle temperatures, but we only have the device for the time it takes to review the product - over time it may be a different story. Our sample was quiet and cool.

Gordon394

January 9, 2012, 10:54 pm

As a base unit the NAS is extremely quiet, but it will depend on which 2.5in drives you choose. All are typically much quieter than 3.5in drives, but with 4 of them running together you do need to be make sure you are picking drives that are specified to have low db under load.

Gordon394

January 9, 2012, 10:56 pm

2.5in drives have far lower power consumption than 3.5in drives and when 4 drives are used this is only multiplied when compared to 4 3.5in drives. As for individual figures, that would depend on the specific drive models you choose.

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