Synology D112J NAS Box

6/11/2012 5:38:26 PM

Mark find out what Synology has achieved with its new entry-level NAS box

Synology makes wonderful network attached storage solutions. I use a couple of them here, and they're the best in class. But when it comes to four drive or greater systems, that's not an investment everyone can make.

Luckily, this slice of the market wasn't ignored and Synology produced the DS111 and its variants, a single-drive, lower-priced option, which became very popular.

Description: Synology D112J NAS Box

So how does the new 12 series D112J build on the heritage of the DS111 ? At first glance, the D112J doesn't quite live up to its predecessor. The DS111J used a 1.6GHz Marvell ARMADA 300 CPU, where this one only has a Marvell 88F66702-A1 1 GHz chip in it, and it has half as much RAM -just 128MB. However, when I tested it, this unit seemed noticeably quicker, confusing me further.

How powerful this system is only became apparent when I installed a SATA drive and loaded it with some media. Streaming to a Sony PS3, the DS112J can process high-definition MKV files and deliver them to play very smoothly. MKV support is reasonably new to Synology DSM firmware, and needs some compatibility and data resilience work, but generally it works well. This system used DSM 3.2, and version 4.0 is currently in beta, so an update isn't far off.

Where this unit also can't fail to impress is in the range of functionality that Synology empowered it with. As with all its NAS solutions, the on-board OS provides the complete gamut of services and options. It can be a mail server, web server, file server, SQL engine, surveillance camera controller, media platform and BitTorrent client. However, that's just the tip of an enormous technology iceberg, which would sink most competing products completely. Just because this is an entry-level device doesn't mean that it's been limited in other respects. With the obvious exception of RAID drive options, this unit has almost identical feature functionality to Synology's dual- and quad-drive units.

The only caveat here is that with room for only one drive, so there isn't any protection from it failing, although you can get it to sync to another NAS box,  and it's possible to duplicate what's stored on it to an externally connected drive.

My only real disappointment was that it still only comes with USB 2.0 external ports, which could make backing up any installed 3TB drive a very lengthy process.

That said, these ports can be used to host printers and other networkable USB devices, where the bandwidth limitations of the technology aren't an issue.

Simply put, if you want a feature-rich single-drive solution for your growing media collection, then the DS 112J is the best one I've seen so far, and really moves the bar up on what entry-level devices can do.


Price: $182

Manufacturer: Synology


Required spec: Ethernet network, single SATA hard drive up to 3TB

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