It isn't pretty, but this low-cost, four-bay NAS has all the powerful features of Synology’s more expensive products
4 disk bays, N/A storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
The DiskStation DS413j is one of Synology’s latest and most inexpensive four-bay NAS devices. It’s not as stylish or quite as sturdy as many of its siblings, but it has full support for the latest features of Synology’s DSM 4.1 operating system.
Unlike more expensive Synology products, there are no front-accessible drive trays, but installing your hard disks is still a simple process. Just unscrew four thumbscrews at the rear of the NAS to open the back plate and you can remove the drive trays. The main part of the brushed metal case can also be removed to provide greater access. Although the case flexes and feels a bit flimsy when you slide it on and off, it feels sturdy enough when it’s in situ.
Inside is a simple four-bay drive cage with sliding plastic trays for your hard disk. The bottom tray’s a bit fiddly to remove because of the fans mounted on the backplate, but we could easily install our 3.5in SATA hard disks in the drive bays. Conveniently, there are also mounting points on the trays for 2.5in drives.
Once you’ve physically installed the hard disks, you’ll have to connect the NAS to your network and run the setup program provided on the accompanying CD. This installs the Synology assistant, which in turn allows you to install the DSM operating system on the NAS. The disks are automatically formatted using the Synology Hybrid Raid, which automatically picks the optimal RAID configuration for your disks.
We tested the DS413j using a set of four 3TB Western Digital Red hard disks in both SHR and RAID5 modes. In each mode, we performed transfer speed tests using large and small files, with the NAS set up as both an SMB share, which makes a shared folder available to multiple PCs on the network, and as an iSCSI target, which can be used by one PC as if it was a local hard disk.
Using the default SHR filesystem configuration with an SMB share, we got average transfer speeds of 61.7MB/s for large files and 14.9MB/s for small files, while the iSCSI target saw speeds of 48.3MB/s and 25.7MB/s. While iSCSI configurations typically produce faster transfer speeds than SMB, the limited memory of the DS413j means that it can’t compete with the blistering iSCSI speeds of more expensive devices that have more RAM. We also tested the NAS in a RAID5 configuration, which produced slightly faster transfer speeds in both of our tests. SMB transfer has a large file average of 62MB/s and a small file average of 14.9MB/s, which is the same as SHR, while iSCSI transfer has a large file average of 51MB/s and a small file average of 30.2MB/s: a marked improvement.
These aren’t particularly fast transfer speeds when compared to devices such as the Thecus N5550, but at around £260, the DS413j also costs around £100 less than Thecus’s NAS. The DiskStation has a 1.6GHz Marvell Kirkwood mv6282 ARM processor and 512MB RAM. On its back panel it has a Gigabit Ethernet port for network connectivity and two USB ports, which you can use to connect USB printers or external hard disks. The NAS can take up to four 4TB hard disks for a maximum of 16GB of storage at RAID0.
The security of the redundant storage provided by a RAID configuration means that your valuable data can be recovered even if one (or more, depending on your configuration) of your disks fails. The DS413j supports RAID 1 for two-disk configurations; RAID 5, which is still the most common configuration for arrays of more than two disks (it can also be configured with a hot-spare in case a disk fails); RAID 6, which gives you less space but greater security against failure and RAID 10, which is a two-disk RAID1 array fully duplicated to a second pair of drives.
|Default file system||ext4|
|Price per gigabyte||N/A|
|3.5in drive bays||4|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||4|
|RAID modes||JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5 + hot spare, RAID 6, RAID 10|
|USB direct access ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Other USB ports (front/rear)||0/2|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|Universal Plug and Play support||yes|
|UPnP media server||yes|
|USB disk server||yes|
|Protocols supported||TCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, NFS, SSH, Telnet, WebDAV, iSCSI|
|Ethernet cable included||no|
|Power consumption active||26W|
|Warranty||two years RTB|