At a Glance
- Speedy performance
- Remote sharing, tons of features
- Can be somewhat difficult to configure
- Drives not user-accessible
Speedy NAS box has tons of robust server-level features and streams photos, music, and videos well.
The Synology Disk Station DS209+ has lots of benefits: Compact, two-bay design; user-accessible drives; speedy performance; and RAID 0, 1, and JBOD configurations (it supports up to 3TB of storage; PC World tested the 1TB RAID version in a mirrored RAID 1 setup). The unit is sold with drives ($700 as of 3/13/09); or, you can buy just the enclosure ($490 as of 3/13/2009).
Unfortunately, when we first tried it, it refused to serve high-definition WMV files to the DMAs (Xvid and others worked fine). After we talked to Synology, the company provided updated firmware (version 2.1-0833, which should be publicly available by the time you read this), curing the problem. From then on, it was smooth sailing and we could sit back and enjoy this feature-packed NAS box. The unit served up audio and images smoothly, as well as the aforementioned high-definition WMV.
This model screamed through our performance tests: It required just 216 seconds to copy our 3GB folder of files.
The DS209+ (as well as the Hewlett-Packard MediaSmart Server ex487 and the Linksys by Cisco MediaHub 410,) will allow access to music and photos via your network or the Web with its built-in Photo Station 3 and Audio Station apps (the latter supports iTunes streaming as well as Internet radio). You can keep all your photos and music on your server, and access them from anywhere by simply browsing to the NAS box’s address–without interfacing with or getting lost in the noise of a social networking site. The only thing missing is a “Video Station” to stream video; so far the only NAS box we looked at with that capability is the Linksys by Cisco MediaHub 410, albeit at a reduced resolution.
–Jon L. Jacobi and Melissa J. Perenson