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Synology DiskStation DS411slim review

Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR
Synology DiskStation DS411slim


Our Score


User Score


  • Small, stylish design
  • Performance a match for more expensive NAS
  • Features galore


  • 2.5in drives expensive & less capacious

Review Price £229.00

Key Features: 4x 2.5in Drive Bays; 1.6GHz Processor; 256MB DDR3 RAM; Synology Hybrid RAID

Manufacturer: Synology

Thin is in. It doesn't matter if we're talking laptops, tablets, phones or TVs, these days less is considered more and that even applies to the humble NAS. As such we find ourselves testing the Synology DiskStation DS411slim, an evolution of the excellent (if rather chunky) DS411j.

Synology DiskStation DS411slim

While not strictly a successor (the DS411j supports 4x 3.5in HDDs, the slim just 4x 2.5in) the design of the DS411slim shows just how important svelte lines have become to all aspects of technology. Gone are the DS411j's white and beige colouring to be replaced by a mixture of matt and gloss black and the jutted front of the DS411j is replaced by a more rectangular and minimalist form factor. The slim also lives up to its name: disk free it measures just 120 X 105 X 142 mm and weighs 660g. All in all the slim is about as attractive a NAS as we can remember, build quality is top notch and drives bays slot in without the need for screws. If this is a glimpse of the styling Synology will use across future lines then it bodes very well indeed.

Equally promising is what Synology has done on the inside. Compared to the heftier DS411j, the slim has received a decent processor bump from 1.2GHz to 1.6GHz while memory has been upgraded from 128MB of DDR2 RAM to 256MB of DDR3. Just a single 60 x 60 x 10mm fan sees the slim produce a barely detectable 21.1dB of noise, though this will change depending on the noise of each drive you add.


Of course here we hit a snag inherent in any 2.5in-only NAS: capacity and cost. For while the DS411Slim is small, light and quiet and can hold four drives, the most capacious 2.5in HDD is just 1TB. This means a maximum internal capacity of 4TB, or 3TB with redundancy. With 4TB 3.5in HDDs now shipping a larger 3.5in compatible NAS with four bays can hit 16TB. 2.5in drives are also far more expensive per gigabyte so you'll be paying more for less. It is worth noting the slim has two USB 2.0 ports and one eSATA for connecting additional external drives, but such extra bulk would ruin the point of buying a sleek NAS in the first place. The key message is to remember Synology is selling the NAS equivalent of an iPad nano, not a Classic.

None of which is to say the slim is under featured. Despite its diminutive size the DS411slim ships with the same DiskStation Manager (DSM) software as Synology's premium lines, including the DS712. For our money DSM is one of the most intuitive NAS user interfaces currently available. It mimics the Mac OS X desktop (a live demo can be tried here) and uses rich graphics and an icon driven windows system (which includes multitasking and drag and drop) to make even complex actions relatively straightforward. This is vital because the functionality of the slim is immense.


It is *deep breath* DLNA and UPnP compliant, has iTunes Server built in, can stream Internet radio stations or even iPod playback (with optional USB speakers) and downloads over BitTorrent, FTP, HTTP, eMule and NZB (Usenet) without needing a PC. Mobile apps for iOS and Android also enable remote control, data access and printing and with a compatible IP camera the slim offers remote surveillance via a web browser.

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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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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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