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Synology DiskStation DS1513+ review

Kat Orphanides
25 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
526
inc VAT

This powerful and well-priced five-bay NAS is ideal for a business with serious storage requirements

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Specifications

5 disk bays, N/A storage supplied, 4x 4x 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports

While many small businesses can work effectively with a two-bay NAS enclosure, such as the Budget Buy winning Synology DS213j, others require significantly more power or space. For those who need more storage capacity than a two-bay NAS enclosure provides, there are plenty of powerful five- and six-bay NAS enclosures on the market, and the Synology DiskStation DS1513+ is one such device.

Synology DiskStation DS1513+

It’s a squat, compact black box with five lockable drive cradles that pull out from the front, which makes it easy to install and replace hard disks. The drive trays have plastic fastening panels on each side, and have screwless anti-vibration mounting bolts built into them. All you have to do to mount your hard drives is push the mounting bolts into your drive's screw holes until they click into place. Be they’re secure, though. Initially, we didn't push the bolts in far enough and our drive fell out of its cradle. Minor teething problems aside, this screwless mounting process is faster and less fiddly than screwing drives into a drive tray. However, this only applies to 3.5in disks, you must still screw 2.5in disks in place.

There are no ports at the front of the DS1513+, but there are plenty at the rear. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports let you connect it to multiple networks or give it multiple WAN connections so it can use link aggregation. In order to use link aggregation, the hardware at both ends has to support the LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) Ethernet standard. If both do, you can combine your WAN connections to give the DS1513+ additional bandwidth, load balancing or redundant backup network connections in case your primary connection fails.

Synology DiskStation DS1513+

You can also download packages that let you use the NAS as a DHCP server, giving the rest of your network the benefit of these features, as well as Synology’s powerful DHCP management interface.

Synology DSM4.2

If it keeps developing then one day Synology's interface may well supersede all desktop OS ...

The NAS also has two USB3 ports, four more USB ports and two eSATA ports, all of which let you add additional external drives to the NAS. You can configure these as backup targets for the directories of your choice, making it easy to create rotating backups that can be taken off-site. You can also use them to add extra storage or quickly copy data from a USB device to the NAS. The eSATA ports can also be used to connect additional storage units, such as the Synology DX513, which provides five additional drive bays. These can then be added to your RAID array.

The DS1513+ supports a wide range of RAID types, including RAID1, RAID5, RAID6 and RAID10, as well as allowing you to configure volumes without any redundancy and giving the option of designating one drive as a hot spare in case one of the other disks fails. By default, Synology NAS devices configure themselves using Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), which automatically selects a RAID type for you and eases the process of expanding volumes as you add more drives in the future. In the case of a five-bay NAS device, SHR effectively uses RAID5, which protects data should one of the installed disks fail.

SPEED TEST

We tested the DS1513+ using a set of five 4TB Western Digital Enterprise disks. We ran read and write speed tests using a standard SMB shared network folder, and also tested its iSCSI performance. To do the latter, we allocated a section of space on the NAS device as an iSCSI “target” so that a single computer could use the space as if it were a local hard disk. An iSCSI target typically produces faster access speeds, as accessing involves your PC’s more powerful processor.

In our SMB-based data transfer tests, the DS1513+ achieved a large file write speed of 105.4MB/s and a read speed of 94.8MB/s, which produced an average of 100.1MB/s. The speeds produced in our small file read and write tests are always significantly slower, but the DS1513+ compared well to similarly specified rivals, with a write speed of 18.2MB/s, read speed of 25.1MB/s and an average speed of 21.7MB/s.

Predictably, our iSCSI tests produced higher speeds, with an average large file speed of 107.2MB/s and and an average small file speed of 62.4MB/s.

Synology DiskStation DS1513+

The fast data transfer speeds are largely down to the DS1513+'s powerful dual-core Intel Atom D2700 processor, which runs at 2.13GHz. The device also has 2GB of memory, which can be expanded to 4GB if required. The relatively high-spec processor means you can take full advantage of the additional software packages available for the NAS, some of which are a little too processor intensive for less powerful NAS enclosures. These include a full Asterisk VoIP phone server, LDAP directory services and a web server with a variety of content management systems to choose, including e-commerce and human resource management systems. You could easily use the NAS as a complete server for your office network.

We’ve reviewed a number of powerful, high-capacity NAS devices and enclosures recently, from the Lacie 5big Network 5TB, which is pre-loaded with five 2TB hard disks, to the feature-packed Thecus TopTower N6850. While the Top Tower produced almost identical results in our throughput tests and gives you an extra drive bay, it’s currently more expensive than the DS1513+ and its interface lacks the polish of Synology’s DSM 4.2. If you need lots of storage space and plenty of power, the DiskStation DS1513+ is a perfect Business Buy.

Basic Specifications

Price£526
Rating*****
AwardBusiness Buy

Storage

CapacityN/A
Formatted capacityN/A
Default file systemext4
Price per gigabyteN/A
InterfaceSATA2
3.5in drive bays5
Free 3.5in drive bays5
RAID modesJBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5 + hot spare, RAID 6, RAID 10, SHR

Interface

Ethernet ports4
USB direct access ports (front/rear)0/0
Other USB ports (front/rear)0/6
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/2
Other portsnone

Networking

Ethernet connection speed4x 10/100/1000
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
UPnP media serveryes
iTunesyes
Print serveryes
USB disk serveryes
Web serveryes
FTP serveryes
Protocols supportedTCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, NFS, SSH, Telnet, WebDAV, iSCSI

Miscellaneous

Size157x248x233mm
Vertical positioningno
Ethernet cable includedyes
Additional featuresLockable drive bays
Power consumption active47W

Buying Information

Price£526
Warrantythree years RTB
Supplierhttp://www.digital-fusion.co.uk
Detailswww.synology.com

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