Synology DiskStation DS214 NAS Review

Synology have been one of the key players in the Network Attached Storage Devices for some time now, and each new DiskStation model is eagerly anticipated. The DS214 is no exception with it first being teased at Computex in June of this year, along side its more powerful DS214+. This release also ties in with the latest update to the DSM Operating system; version 4.3.
The DS214 is based on a dual-core ARM chip running at just over 1 Ghz whereas the DS214+ features a dual-core Intel Atom processor running at a nifty 1.6 GHz. That said, we now see faster processors in our mobile devices, so is this enough to handle all the server requirements we expect from a Synology NAS?
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Specifications
CPU FrequencyDual Core 1.066GHz
Hardware Encryption EngineYes
MemoryDDR3 512MB
Internal HDD/SSD3.5” or 2.5” SATA(II) X 2 (hard drives not included)
Max Internal Capacity8TB (2 X 4TB hard drive) (The actual capacity will differ according to volume types.)
Hot Swappable HDDYes
External Storage InterfaceUSB 3.0 port X 2, USB 2.0 port X 1
Size
Size (HxWxD)165mm X 108mm X 233.2mm
Weight1.3kg
LANGigabit X 1
Wireless SupportWireless Support Yes (wireless dongles not included)
Wake on LAN/WANYes

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The Synology DS214 comes packaged in a similar looking box to all the previous models, like the DS213 air we reviewed a while back. The design of the packaging is simple, and lists the key features on the one side.
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On the other side of the box we can see the hardware specifications and the package contents.
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The packaging is well designed and fits neatly into a small box, while still providing a lot of protection for the device.
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Synology have included a power supply which is made up of two parts, giving it a very long combined length.
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Synology have also included; a quick start guide, a set-up CD ROM and some screws.
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As you’d expect with a Network Attached Storage device, they have also included an Ethernet cable.
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The Synology DS214 is a stylish looking device, much like its predecessor the DS213.
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We have always liked Synologys’ approach to adding their logo to the device by turning it into an air vent.
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The front of the device has a highly reflective surface and features a range of lights and buttons on the right-hand side.
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At the top of the device we find 4 LED’s, one each for; Status, Lan, Disk 1 and Disk 2. Whereas on the lower part of the device we find a USB 2.0 port, a reset button and the power button.
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The back of the device features a large fan intake, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a Kensington locking bracket and the power socket.
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The bottom of the device features several air intake vents and four rubber feet to ensure enough cool air passes over the HDD’s.
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Removing the front of the device gives access to the two HDD’s trays, which slide in and out of place.
DSCF0649Each tray features two screw-less clips which will hold the drive in place – or, you can use the provided screws for a more secure fit.
When you first receive the Synology Device it will of course not have anything installed onto it. The first part of set-up is therefore to install the DiskManager Operating System onto the HDD’s. 
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The handy Web Assistant will find the device for you, or you can type in the IP address, if known, directly into your browser. You can then connect to the device.
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If the device has not yet been set-up the DiskManager software will tell you a few details and then warn you that all data on the HDD’s will be erased.
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Then you can select how to install the new Operating System. For most users, you will simply be able to press install software automatically and it will find the latest version – we had to install the software manually as the DS214 had not been released when we were testing this device.
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Before installing the new operating system the software asks for you to set-up a password and also asks whether you want to set-up the Synology Hybrid Raid – which is effectively a Raid 1 configuration.
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Finally the device begins to install the DiskManager Operating System onto the device. This process may take a few minutes, but we know from experience it is certainly worth the wait.
Log-on
Once it has installed, which took around 10 minutes from start to finish, you are met with the log-on screen.
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Once logged on you will be met with a standard looking desktop arrangement.
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In the top left-hand corner of the screen we find a ‘start menu’ style button, which allows us to access a basic menu. There are 11 options installed by default, including; Control Panel, File Station and System Information.
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Taking a look at the control panel we find a large list of options, allowing you to set-up everything from FTP and sharing settings to firewall and VPN settings.
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The next option from the Start Menu is the File Station allowing you set-up all your folders, and then which ones you want to share with which users.
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The third option is the Storage Manager, which gives you all the intricate details of the installed HDD’s and their current health. You can of course create more than 1 volume, much like on Windows with multiple partitions.
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As with most NAS devices, it is now possible to install lots of Apps, or in this case ‘Packages’ onto the device. These range from Antivirus protection to Backup software to PHP servers. These are all easy to install and only take a few clicks to set-up.
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We chose to install the Essential Antivirus, and while it may lack a lot of features you’d see on a desktop computer, it has a simple but intuitive user interface that allows you to set it up in seconds.
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As with previous DiskStation devices, the DS214 features the ‘EZ Internet Wizard’, which is a very simple and useful tool that will alter your router configurations and set-up your domain configuration all in one handy wizard. This is easily the best set-up wizard for any router/NAS device.
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Another option from the Control Panel is the Resource monitor. This is a very thorough application that gives you graphs for CPU usage, Memory and Disk Usage, as well as network traffic. This application can also show you all the running processes and connected devices.
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If you want to see all the system information  there are 5 pages relating to Network, Storage, Service, Support and a general overview.
OS11As already mentioned, Synology haven’t just made packages for their devices, they have also made a range of products for Android and iOS mobile devices. We searched on Google Play and found 8 official Synology products which are all compatible with this device, allowing you to easily access files, stream music and much more straight to your mobile device.
We are testing the Synology DS214 within our gigabit network which is pretty much as good as you will get for a home or small office environment. It is a mixed network with several 1GBit switches for ultimate performance.
All tests are performed ten times to ensure that no abnormalities can creep into the final results.
file reading
file writing
As we would expect with a Synology product, the performance is good. We couldn’t quite reach the claimed read or write speeds around 100 MB/sec.
The Synology DiskStation DS214 is a feature rich 2-bay NAS device featuring the latest addition of the highly-acclaimed Disk Manager Operating System.
For the general user, the DS214 will allow you to store all your photos and videos on one device and then to be able to access and stream them from any device on your network. For the more technically minded, the DS214 can act as a business server, hosting your website and serving emails while performing all of your companies backups.
The device itself is the refinement of many years development. The 2-bay configuration allows for a large amount of storage, but with the DS214 offering a Synology Hybrid Raid, you get fast speeds with the added security of a Raid 1 configuration.
While our speeds didn’t quite hit the claimed Synology reference results the bandwidth is unlikely to disappoint the target audience. The Dual-Core ARM CPU clocked at just over 1.0 GHz seemed more than enough to cope with all the networking demands we could throw at it, including streaming large videos to our laptop and tablet, as well as transferring a large number of files at the same time.
The device is fully compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac operating systems. Not only that, it can be connected to a MAC and configured to work as a Time Backup Capsule or to automatically synchronise to cloud-storage applications.
The latest version of the Disk Manager Operating System is excellent, it is extremely responsive and pages load almost immediately. The only time you will have to wait is when adjusting router or storage configuration settings. There are plenty of options and features available in this latest release, but it is all intuitive and easy to find.
The equivalent start menu and task bar give you easy access to the most commonly used parts of the device, and the control panel gives you quick access to every configuration setting. The desktop even features several ‘widgets’ which give you live information on disk and CPU usage, for instance. Overall, we found the latest update to be intuitive and very user friendly.
The Disk Manager OS V4.3 might not look much different to its predecessors but they have improved several areas, including streaming to mobile phones and other devices. They have also improved the Cloud Station feature which now has a much larger maximum file size of 10 GB.
Synology are at the top of their game in terms of Network Attached Storage, and this DS214 device reinforces that. Synology have confirmed the price will be around £215 inc vat.
Pros
  • Easy to set-up
  • Great flexibility with storage
  • Plenty of processing power and RAM
  • Great Operating System
  • Lots of apps/packages
  • Good integration with mobile devices
Cons
  • Doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi like DS213 air.
Puppy says: Another impressive device from Synology, with very positive improvements to the DSM OS.
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About Yomal Malinda

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2 comments:

  1. So i could stream a Full HD mkv file direct to my Tv over LAN?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Need a UPS compatible with Synology NAS system? Power Backup Solutions offers UPS compatible with Synology NAS devices, ensuring a continuous power supply. If you want more information then click synology compatible ups

    ReplyDelete

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