Synology DS710+ review
Synology's DS710+ isn't much bigger than the company's single disk NAS enclosures, but it has room for two SATA hard disks. The disks are mounted inside a pair of easily removable disk trays that slide out from the rear, so fitting and replacing disks is very easy. With two disks fitted, it can support both RAID 0 and 1. At this price though, it's disappointing that it can't take four disks. The disk trays can't be locked either, which may disappoint those paranoid about data security.
If your time is precious and you don't want to sit around waiting for files to copy, then the DS710+'s high price immediately justifies itself. It's one of the fastest NAS devices we've seen in almost all our tests, falling behind only when reading small files. When configured as RAID 0, it copied large files at speeds approaching those of a FireWire 800 hard disk - 42MB/s when writing and 44.7MB/s when reading. Performance wasn't quite as record breaking when dealing with small files, with read speeds falling behind write speeds, but it's still very quick at 13.8MB/s and 24.3MB/s respectively.
As expected speeds were slower when configured as RAID 1. Large files were written at 34MB/s and read at 34.8MB/s. The difference between RAID 0 and 1 wasn't as great when transferring small files though. They were written at 21MB/s and read at 13.8MB/s – very similar speeds to RAID 0.
The DS710+ isn't all about speed though. It has all the same useful features as Synology's other Disk Stations. Although it was a little picky about which USB printers it would share over our network, we had no trouble sharing the contents of a USB disk. It worked flawlessly when used as both UPnP and iTunes servers.
More advanced features included the ability to act as a web server, so you can host your own websites. It can even record footage streamed directly from IP surveillance cameras, and you can use it in conjunction with Synology’s VS60 to view the feeds directly on a VGA monitor or TV.
Like many other NAS devices, it can also download files over BitTorrent or from a website independently of a computer. Unlike competing NAS devices though, it has a separate download manager which means you don't need to give other users on your network access to the web management interface where they could tamper with other, more sensitive settings.
The slick and responsive AJAX-based web management interface is much easier to use than the management interfaces on other NASes. Although there are a lot of options, they're all logically organised and can be searched by keyword. The controls for creating user accounts, organising them into groups and assigning them differing access permissions to different shared folders are all grouped together making an otherwise tedious task much simpler.
Synology's DS710+ is an impressive NAS enclosure – it's compact, very fast at transferring files, easy to set up and packed full of features. It's undeniably expensive for a two bay NAS enclosure, but if money is no object then this is the one to buy.
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