A compact NAS enclosure with lots of features, low power consumption, low noise and a small footprint - a superb choice.
0 disk bays, N/A storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
This is the first barebones NAS we’ve seen that exclusively takes 2½in laptop hard disks (up to four of them) rather than 3½in desktop drives.
The benefits are numerous, including a more compact case, quieter operation and lower power consumption. Plus, laptop disks tend to be more reliable than desktop drives, as they have slower 5,400rpm spin speeds.
The DS409slim isn’t as ugly as previous Disk Stations, and the front panel has six LEDs to show the status of the system and each installed disk. There’s a USB port, too, but the power and USB copy buttons (for backing up USB flash drives) are neatly tucked around the side. At the rear is a Gigabit Ethernet port, another USB port and an eSATA port. A 60mm fan is mounted in the base, but spins up at a predetermined temperature. Even when it’s running, the whole unit is virtually inaudible.
Installing disks is as easy as pulling out a sled, screwing in a disk and sliding the sled back in. You can choose between RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 5+spare. The 5+spare option means three disks are used in a RAID 5 configuration and the fourth – the spare – is used if one of the first three fails. Setting up the DS409slim is easy, too. You must download the latest firmware but once this is uploaded, you can log on to the friendly web interface and create a RAID volume.
Synology has added even more features with the latest version of Disk Station Manager. A Network Recycle Bin allows accidentally deleted files to be quickly recovered. The DS409slim can manage up to five IP cameras, which means it can help monitor your home or office. Surveillance Station 2 is easy to use for configuring motion detection and recording schedules, as well as locating events in recordings. Download Station is useful, too. As well as BitTorrent support, it can handle FTP and HTTP downloads, so you don’t need to leave a PC on for large transfers. You can also schedule power on/off times and select the days to which this applies.
There’s a web server with PHP/mySQL support and a print server for sharing a USB printer, while the eSATA port allows you to add an external disk. With the new 2.2 firmware, you can write to NTFS-formatted disks.
We configured four 5,400rpm 250GB disks as a RAID 5, which took around 10 minutes in Rapid mode. Performance was OK, but not the fastest we’ve seen from Synology. Speeds weren’t much faster when configured as a RAID 0 array, and were around 4MB/s slower for reading and writing under RAID 6.
With 2?in disks costing around twice as much as 3½in disks for the same capacity, the DS409slim isn’t a good choice if value is your top priority, and for £300 the enclosure isn’t cheap, either – but if size, noise and power consumption are the critical factors, it wins hands-down.
|Default file system||EXT3|
|Price per gigabyte||N/A|
|3.5in drive bays||0|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|RAID modes||Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5 + spare, RAID6|
|USB direct access ports (front/rear)||1/1|
|Other USB ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/1|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|Universal Plug and Play support||yes|
|UPnP media server||yes|
|USB disk server||yes|
|Protocols supported||CIFS, AFP, FTP, NFS, Telnet/SSH|
|Ethernet cable included||yes|
|Additional features||Download Station 2, Surveillance Station 2, Photo Station 3, Audio Station, Mail Station, SqueezeCenter, Webalizer|
|Power consumption active||20W|
|Warranty||two years RTB|