Synology DiskStation DS712+
The Synology DiskStation DS712+, sold diskless and and populated with hard drives, is a two-bay network-attached storage box that clearly anticipates the future. This business-friendly box can connect to Synology's five-bay DX510 external expansion unitto accommodate up to seven drives. If you don't need more than two drives right now but suspect that your burgeoning data set may eventually require a bigger storage system, that combination could make sense. Beyond expandability, the DiskStation DS712+ offers Synology's capable operating system and excellent performance.
Among the DiskStation DS712+'s appealing hardware features are two front-locking drive bays; dual ethernet ports that support aggregation for faster throughput as well as failover (when one connection fails, the other takes over); three USB 2.0 ports for peripherals such as printers, additional external flash or hard drives, and Wi-Fi dongles; and a single eSATA port for fast external storage. Conspicuously absent is a USB 3.0 port, which the cheaper, more consumer-centric Synology DiskStation DS212+ NAS box provides.
With a healthy 1GB of DDR3 memory and an Intel Atom D425 1.8GHz CPU on board, the DiskStation DS712+ delivered exceptionally strong performance for a two-bay NAS box in our tests. It wrote 10GB of folders and mixed files at 55 megabytes per second and read them at 51 MBps. When dealing with a single large 10GB file, the DiskStation DS712+ bumped those numbers up to 79 MBps and 105 MBps, respectively. Only the four-bay QNAP TS-459 Pro II and the eight-bay QNAP TS-879 Pro performed better overall.
Like other Synology NAS boxes, the DiskStation DS712+, runs the company's Linux-based DiskStation Manager 4.0 operating system. This comprehensive software includes features like remote access via HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, Webdav, and audio, video, and image servers. Plus, it provides iTunes and DLNA-certified media serving; a Wi-Fi connection via a dongle; and (new to the DiskStation Manager 4.0 operating system) the ability to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The box also supports remote synchronization via Rsync or proprietary means; one-camera video surveillance (additionlal cameras require a pricy license); and more.
The DiskStation DS712+ is superfast and potentially vast (with the DX510 five-bay expansion unit), and it has a wonderful operating system. However, at $500 (as of March 23, 2012) without hard drives, and $790 as tested with 2TB of storage, it's for speed demons only, and the omission of USB 3.0 smacks of penny-pinching at this price. If you're an average user who doesn't need the expansion capabilities, the nearly as fast but less pricey DS212+ probably makes more sense.
Synology DiskStation DS712+
Expandable with a great operating system and tons of features, this two-bay NAS box also moves data rapidly.
- Accommodates separate five-bay expansion unit
- Fast and feature-rich
- No USB 3.0