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Synology DiskStation DS712+ review

Gordon Kelly




  • Recommended by TR

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Our Score:



  • Blistering Link Aggrregation Performance
  • Dynamically Expansive RAID
  • Intuitive graphical user interface
  • Reasonable RRP


  • Link Aggregation requires further investment
  • Limited scenarios for maximum performance
  • Unnecessary benefits for casual users

Key Features

  • Link Aggregation Technology
  • Dual Bays
  • Synology Hybrid RAID
  • Synology DiskStation Manager
  • 3TB HDD Support
  • Manufacturer: Synology
  • Review Price: £399.00

Last month we took a look at the Synology DiskStation DS211j, a superb two bay NAS which brought networked storage to the masses. Now Synology is trying to overhaul the performance sector too…

Like the DS211j, the 'Synology DiskStation DS712 ' is a two bay NAS server, but it is a radically different beast. The key feature is speed. Synology claims files can be transferred at over 180 megabytes per second and written at over 105Mbit. As sharp eyed readers will note, this is faster than a gigabit LAN connection so Link Aggregation (aka bonding two gigabit LAN connections together} is required to hit full speed. Needless to say, for the vast majority, this will mean NAS performance far in excess of anything they have seen to date.


To make such mighty claims the DS712 is kitted out with an Intel Atom 1.8GHz CPU and a full gigabyte of RAM (specs which seem closer to a netbook than a NAS). It also supports 3TB drives, sports USB 2.0 and eSATA ports for connecting external HDDs and – needless to say – is equipped with x2 gigabit ports with Link Aggregation. Note you will still need Link Aggregation at your router, typically provided by a separate network switch (such as the D-Link DGS-1224T), but compliance with the 802.3ad industry standard is all that is required to ensure compatibility. In place Link Aggregation doubles gigabit performance to 2Gbps (256MB/s).

Despite this horsepower, the DS712 isn't much bigger than the budget friendly DS211j measuring just 157 x 103.5 x 232 mm and weighing 1.69Kg. Power draw is higher though at 27.5W when active and 17.6W in standby compared to 23W and 11W for its baby brother making for an immediate trade off. On the plus side operation is living room quiet at 19.2dB, but unless you install whisper quiet drives (or for the extremely well heeled, SSDs) cumulative noise levels mean the DS712 is best kept out of sight. This isn't to say the NAS would look out of place on display, however, the tasteful matt black finish is combined with excellent build quality and looks better than most AV equipment. Kept in a convenient location, the front loading drive bays also allow for easy HDD access and each bay can be locked to secure it against prying hands.


So what about setup? The DS712 has options galore. Drives attach to rails which slide in, locking into place and once inside JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5 Spare, RAID 6 and RAID 10 compatibility mean there are a virtually limitless array of storage configurations. That said the majority will use Synology's Hybrid RAID, which allows drives to be hot swapped with the array automatically rebuilt to support a larger capacity. D-Link has been providing a similar feature for years courtesy of its X-RAID proprietary technology, but seeing it here is no less welcome.


October 26, 2011, 7:06 pm

>> which can add another five drives

I wondered why it had support of Raid 5/6, not really much use for a 2 drive setup.


October 26, 2011, 10:20 pm

The ProCurve 1700-8 only has one 1Gbps port and seven 100Mbps ports?!


October 27, 2011, 2:29 am

I recommend that anyone thinking of buying an NAS googles for the HP Proliant N36L.

You can find these for around £230 but there's a £100 cashback from HP if you buy before the end of October. Also advisable to add at least 4GB RAM (around £25).

I have one of these and a Synology DS410. The 410 is great as everything's set up and it can do a hell of a lot out of the box. However the CPU is too slow to do justice to the RAID array and Gigabit network. Also it's not a full OS so you're limited in what you can do on it.

The HP comes with no OS. However there's FreeNAS, which is almost a free version of the Synology software (it's unrelated but does much of the same stuff via a web interface). Or you can install Ubuntu, or Windows Server 2008 R2, or all of them using the free VMWare server software.

By the way FreeNAS can format the drives as ZFS, which in many ways is better than RAID5.

Also the CPU is far more powerful and can saturate my Gigabit network; I get double the read/write speeds I get from the 410. Well I do when FreeNAS runs directly on the machine; when running it as a VM I get half that. More tweaking may yet solve that though.

Given the price unless you really don't want to do any work yourself then I recommend getting the HP. Installing FreeNAS is pretty easy; you install it to a USB key and run it from there. There's even a USB slot inside the HP that's ideal for secreting a USB key. Setting FreeNAS up is less easy but still not rocket science.


October 27, 2011, 10:35 am

Thx Bugblatter for that information. Will look into the HP !


October 27, 2011, 3:02 pm

Because it can be expanded with the DX510 to make a 7-bay NAS server....

Carl Abudephane

October 28, 2011, 2:03 am

This gives you a potential 21TB setup with blazing performance for around £800

Isn't the key word here 'potential'?
£800 buys you the empty units, NOT a 21TB set-up. How much would an ACTUAL 21TB set-up cost, after filling these with seven 3TB drives?

Just wondrin' is all - if £800 bought me an actual 21TB set-up then I'm there in minutes handing over the cash. I can afford the potential set-up, not so sure about the actual one. 3TB drives(quality ones certainly)aren't exactly cheap are they?


October 28, 2011, 1:33 pm

I found that the HP ProCurve 1810-8G has eight 1Gbps and supports "four trunks of four links each" and costs about £112 incl. VAT.


October 28, 2011, 1:43 pm

@Stexo9990: Did you actually read my reply :), especially the bit were I do the quoting.


October 28, 2011, 11:47 pm

If you look around, especially on ebay, you can get a 3TB drive for around £100.

Your best bang for the buck is currently 2TB drives.

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