It is almost unfair to call Synology
's DiskStation DS212 a NAS server. It is capable of so much more than simply providing network attached storage, that a different classification should be established. Sure, it does a great job as a NAS, but owning one simply to serve files on a network would be like buying a really nice Swiss Army knife just for the tooth pick. The firmware is packed with features to simplify your life in a home or small office setting, and things like sharing files, streaming media, sharing printers / scanners, managing surveillance cameras, and hosting your website / email are just some of what it can do for you.
The user interface is extremely user friendly and the operating system-like user interface makes it easy to work with. In addition to having an intuitive interface there is plenty of help available with each task and a "desktop" search function which combined should guide you through any task that you weren't quite sure of. Having used plenty of NAS devices where the interface was a bit sluggish to respond to commands, I was very impressed to see how quick the DiskStation Manager was!
Performance is an obvious key feature for a NAS, and the DS212 does not disappoint. Transferring large files to/from the DS212 netted transfer rates in the range of 60-90MB/s, and on occasion I would see surges to above 110MB/s. After years using other NAS servers where a surge to over 30MB/s was considered good, this added speed is obviously welcome. There is no longer any concern about multiple transfers slowing the speeds to unusable levels, and streaming high definition media has plenty of bandwidth for smooth, enjoyable playback.
There is not much to say on the negative side of things... the DS212 works, and it works well. When I first saw that it had USB 3.0 ports built in, I was excited to think that I could expand the storage and have Super Speed transfers across the network. After I saw it was not possible, and educated myself a bit more, I realized that the 13MB/s I was getting across the network from USB 3.0 devices attached to the DS212 was pretty good.
The Bigbruin.com Shopping Pages
show the DS212 is available from Amazon.com for just under $300 (US)
. You can obviously find a 2-bay NAS device for less, but you will undoubtedly get less, too. The features, capabilities, and performance of the DS212 easily make it worth the price.
All things considered, it is just about a no-brainer that the Synology DiskStation DS212 earns the Bigbruin.com "Highly Recommended" award.
» Excellent transfer rates - Sustained at close to 90MB/s and bursts to over 110MB/s during testing
» Feature packed - like the Swiss Army knife of NAS servers
» Energy efficient
» 92mm fan is extremely quiet
» Intuitive user interface is visually appealing and very quick to respond
» Includes an SDHC slot and USB 3.0 ports for flexibility
» Fast RAID array build times
» Reliable USB printer/scanner server
» Would be nice if attached USB 3.0 devices offered USB 3.0 like transfers over the network
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