D-LINK ShareCenter DNS-327L review
2 disk bays, storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/ Ethernet ports
The D-LINK ShareCenter DNS-327L is a passively cooled two-bay NAS enclosure, which is almost completely silent as it has no cooling fans. Because of this you’ll want to keep it in a well-ventilated area and avoid blocking the top and rear cooling vents. It can accommodate two 3.5in SATA hard disks and fitting them is easy. You screw a pair of handles on to the disks and simply slide them into place vertically.
Software setup was simple thanks to the clearly illustrated CD-based setup wizard, which guides you through the entire process of setting up the NAS, from installing disks and connecting it to your router to choosing a RAID setting and mapping a drive letter. Oddly, the wizard doesn’t prompt you to create user accounts, so the DNS-327L is available to everyone on your network by default.
While some other NAS manufacturers such as Synology employ management interfaces that resemble a fully fledged operating system, D-Link has employed a simple tabbed interface. It’s straightforward to use, though, and we had no trouble setting up user accounts, setting usage quotas and organising user accounts into groups for easier management.
There are plenty of extra features, too, including a BitTorrent server, a web server and a server for hosting your own blog. As the DNS-327L has a USB3 port, you can connect USB printers and drives to it and share them across the network, which we did without trouble. However, the iTunes and UPnP media servers were more troublesome. The iTunes server worked fine for sharing music, but not movies. The UPnP media server worked fine with a network media player, but not with Windows Media Player on a Windows 7 PC.
We fitted the DNS-327L with two 3TB WD Red hard disks and tested the DNS-327L’s performance in JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations. Whether configured as JBOD and RAID 0, the NAS was fast at copying large files, but much slower when at copying small files. Small files were written at 11.5MB/s and read at 18.5MB/s, while large files were written at 80.7MB/s and read at 71.1MB/s.
As expected, performance was noticeably slower when the NAS was configured as RAID 1. Small files were written at 7.6MB/s and read at 7.8MB/s. Large files were copied far faster, with write speeds of 56MB/s and read speeds of 60MB/s.
The D-Link ShareCenter DNS-327L is by no means a bad NAS. Disk installation and configuration is easy and it’s also quiet. However, the Synology DiskStation DS-213j has more consistent performance and extra features that work more smoothly. Although the DS213j is more expensive, it’s a better buy.