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Synology DiskStation Diskless Attached DS213 | by raneritas
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Synology DiskStation Diskless Attached DS213

Synology DS213 After deciding to buy a NAS to improve my haphazard and inadequate backup of two networked computers, I deliberated for weeks over the various options. Wishing to minimize my cost, I first looked at the sealed, single drive options such as the WD MyBook Live and Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex but rapidly became discouraged by their many limitations. The next consideration was a NAS box with user replaceable drives, which generally offer better hardware specs and more features, and I quickly focused on the several 2bay, diskless options that were available for $200 or less. As I read the reviews, it became apparent that only the Synology units earned consistently high ratings while the others seemed to have a Jekyll & Hide character, with as many reviews slamming them as praising (or worse). This, despite the fact that several of the units had better hardware specs than the most price comparable Synology DS212j. It appeared that the Synology operating system had no equal and that the DS212j worked well enough, specs notwithstanding. However, because of the 212js bare bones hardware, I began to consider the DS212, which at 50% higher price than the "J", was far more than I had anticipated spending. In the end, I reasoned (rationalized) that the shock mountinghot swappable drive carriers, USB 3.0, front panel USB 2.0 and SD card ports, wake on LAN and 33% faster clock speed justified the $100 premium of the DS212. I bit the bullet and ordered the DS212 and one WD Red drive. A few days later, while my order had not yet shipped, I noticed that Synology had just announced the DS213, with double the RAM and 25% faster clock than the 212, but at the same price. I cancelled the DS212 and ordered the DS213, which was not yet in stock. When I received a shipping notice from Amazon 3 weeks earlier than their earliest estimate, I was pleased, but anxious that shipping was via an unfamiliar carrier, Lasership. My angst increased as I read many negative reviews of Lasership, including reports of packages reported delivered which had not been. I was, however, pleased to see my order reported received in my city and out for delivery 47 hours after shipping and it was at my door 4 hours later, in good condition. I could see opportunity for difficulty with Lasership as the driver appeared disorganized and confused and packages were strewn haphazardly on the seats and floor of his vehicle, but there was no problem with my delivery. The Synology packaging is sturdy, although with little shock isolation. The DiskStation appears well made and the allplastic housing is rigid and attractive. The drive carriers and bays are elegantly simple and appear to provide good vibration isolation for 3.5" drives although perhaps less so for 2.5" drives. The 3.5" drives are mounted to flexible tabs of the plastic carrier, which have rubber grommets inserted into the mounting holes. The drives are secured by flathead, shoulder screws that limit the compression of the grommets to assure the proper preload. 2.5" drives are screwed directly to the back plane of the carrier, without grommets, although the flexibility of the carrier will no doubt provide some damping. Note that some reviews refer to an adapter for 2.5" drives, but my carriers have mounting holes provided. There is no obvious way to open the case and although there is no need to do so in normal operation, any fancooled device will eventually need to be opened to remove accumulated dust, particularly one intended for 247 operation (and I have cats). In operation, the DiskStation is innocuous; quieter than my fanless WD MyBook, and after 3.5 hours of continuous operation during volume creation with CPU utilization averaging about 50%, neither the case nor the exhaust air were perceptibly warm and S.M.A.R.T. reported a maximum disk temperature of 88F (in a 75F environment). Volume creation on a 1TB drive (931.51GB) was completed in 326. Initial setup was quite easy with the diskstation readily found from both Vista and XP machines using Synologys Internet utility. DSM is a welldeveloped, "windowed" operating system with a wealth of capabilities, which I am just beginning to explore, and it appears to offer an extensive network management system (LAN and Internet). Backup via Data Replicator 3 is simple enough, although I was somewhat confused by the directory structure. DR3 will warn that you are saving to a "low privacy" directory and it was not apparent to me what a "high privacy" directory is, until I referred to the online help files. Synologys WEB support is excellent, with wikis and tutorials to answer every question that I have had. A few features are a bit obscure, however, such as File Station does not automatically refresh when an external device is connected to the DiskStation; I searched vainly for my USB drive, until I noticed the refresh button at top of the window and, voila, there it was. Synology provides their own antivirus software for the Disk

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Taken on October 28, 2013