Synology DS413j NAS Box – Typical Four-Drive Solution

11/29/2012 3:09:33 PM

Single- or dual-drive NAS boxes are fine, but they don't offer much potential for RAID drive organisations. RAID packs can offer higher performance and greater resilience if you have three drives or more, with four-drive NAS boxes being a popular configuration.

The typical catch is that four-drive solutions usually cost more, as they need increased computing power to control that many drive mechanisms.

Synology usually makes three levels of a product range: a base version, an enhanced for business '+' model, and a cheaper 'j' derivative. The '+' hasn't appeared yet, but the DS413 and the DS413j have been released recently.


Description: Synology DS413j NAS Box

As this is a 'j', the first obvious question is what was taken out to reduce cost. From the outside there are a few clues: you only get USB 2.0 external ports not USB 3.0, and it has no eSATA port. However, the real differences between this and the $640 DS413 are all on the inside.

Where the base version uses a dual-core Freescale P1022 PPC processor, this design is built around the popular ARM derivative, the single-core Marvell Kirkwood mv6282. This is exactly the same chip as in the Synology DS213 I've previously reviewed, except in this installation it's only a 1,6GHz model, not the 2GHz variant that the dual-drive DS213 has. If that seems a little odd to you, then we share something, because I can't really follow the logic of that either.

Synology has also limited it to 512MB of RAM, rather than the 1GB of DDR3 that's in the DS413. Again, DDR3 is cheap, so why do this?

It may just be to differentiate the products and it has relatively little impact on the functionality, because in testing the DS413j runs very smoothly and isn't appreciably slower at file serving with a small set of users than its more expensive DS413 big brother. Where it's probably less suitable is if you start using more of the built-in services, like the mail server, web server and print server (to mention just a few), alongside the file serving functionality. In this respect the DS412j is fine       (for a small team of people, but it might start to show the strain if your workforce rapidly doubles in size overnight, for example.

The problem is that choosing which is right for you is a matter of some conjecture, but for the majority of home users the DS413j is probably man enough for the job.

Where it also excels is in a business context as a rapidly deployable solution to serve a website, or secure data backup, or media serving. And when that job is done, it can be rapidly repurposed into some other task, like a veritable Swiss army knife of network storage.

You can take multiple approaches to delivering business IT, and the DS413j is made for the 'divide and conquer' philosophy.

What's provides this level of flexibility to the whole Synology DiskStation product range is the DSM (Synology Disk Station Manager), now at version 4.1. It provides a fantastic suite of applications and service functionality, with the ability to download and add additional tools when and if you require them. The DS413j comes with all the standard ones each Disk Station gets, and another 24 or so apps can be selected for installation from within the web interface.

By default, you get a DLNA media server, Audio Station, Download Station (torrents), iTunes server, Mail Server, Photo Station and Surveillance Station (for security cameras). There's also a very sophisticated backup model, where you can synchronise multiple boxes, and even an app for delivering your own cloud service.

In terms of built-in applications Synology DSM is the authentic Rolls & Royce of NAS box operating systems, and the continuous development brings a wealth of new things to the party on a regular basis.

There are four drive NAS solutions about that cost less than this one, but the DS413J does offer a very tempting combination of Synology knowhow, excellent build quality, miserly power consumption, all at a price that's survivable.

Description: Synology DS413j NAS Box

That makes it a very useful solution for either a home system that's outgrown its hand-crafted origins or the small business environment that desperately needs central storage without administering a fully blown server.

If you can afford one, along with the drives, then you won't be disappointed, and if you can't then you can still dream of having something this well designed.

DS413j Specifications

Max Storage Capacity


HDD Interface

4 x SATA II - 3Gbps

HDD Form Factor

4 x 3.5"/2.5"


Marvell Kirkwood mv6282

CPU Speed


On-board Memory

512MB DDR3

LAN Type


External Connectivity

1 x LAN (10/100/1000) 2 x USB 2.0 1 x Wireless LAN

Noise Level

18.9 dB(A)

Max. Power Consumption

31.56W (access), 7.68W (HDD hibernation)


168 x 184 x 230mm (WxHxD)




Two years



Price: $435.3 (Scan)

Manufacturer: Synology


Required spec: Ethernet network and computers


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