Synology DiskStation DS112J Single Bay NAS Storage Review

The Sorcerer

oh wow...Xenforo!!!
Network Storage is picking up the pace not just for SOHO, but also for personal storage as well. Digit India sent a DS112J for evaluation and the first NAS storage review in Hardware BBQ.


Synology DS112J is a single bay NAS Storage device and just like how NAS are usually meant for, this one is made to provide a simple solution for backup and sharing/streaming data.




The NAS drive comes in a basic carton carry package but with the basic information about the feature and the primary usage of the device.


The contents of the packaging comes with all the basic necessities you’ll need for the setup of the NAS with a 3.5" drive:

With the unit you get the reading material, Setup disk, Power brick, A/C Adapter, an RJ 45 cable, 3x screws for the NAS casing and 4x screws for the hard drives. I am not sure what Synology meant by “assembling kit” on the packaging.

Hardware
  • CPU Frequency : 1.0GHz
  • Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Memory : DDR2 128MB
  • Internal HDD/SSD : 3.5" or 2.5" SATA(II) X1 (With optional 2.5" Disk Holder) (Hard drive not included)
  • Max Internal Capacity : 4TB (1X 4TB HDD) (See All Supported HDD)
  • External HDD Interface : USB 2.0 Port X 2
  • Size (HxWxD) : 166 X 71 X 224 mm
  • Weight : 0.72 Kg
  • LAN : Gigabit X1
  • System Fan : 60x60mm x1
  • Wireless Support
  • Noise Level : 17.1 dB(A)
  • Power Recovery
  • AC Input Power Voltage : 100V to 240V AC
  • Power Frequency : 50/60 Hz, Single Phase
  • Power Consumption : 12.1W (Access); 4.4W (HDD Hibernation)
  • Operating Temperature : 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
  • Storage Temperature : -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
  • Relative Humidity : 5% to 95% RH
  • Maximum Operating Altitude : 10,000 feet
  • Certification : FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
  • Warranty : 2 Years

Notes :
  • Noise Level Testing Environment: Fully loaded with Seagate 1TB ST31000520AS hard drive(s) in idle; Two G.R.A.S. Type 40AE microphones, each set up at 1 meter away from the DiskStation front and rear; Background noise: 17.2 dB(A); Temperature: 23.6˚C; Humidity: 58.2%; More details about dB(A) value, check http://www.memtechacoustical.com/facts.asp
  • Power consumption is measured when fully loaded with Western Digital 3TB WD30EZRS hard drive(s).

Applications
  • File Station
  • Virtual Drive
  • Remote Folder
  • Backup Solutions
  • Network Backup
  • Local Backup
  • Desktop Backup (Window: Synology Data Replicator 3, Mac: Apple Time Machine backup application)
  • Shared Folder Sync - Max task number : 2
  • Configuration Backup
  • Mail Server
  • Supported Protocols : POP3, SMTP, IMAP
  • FTP Server
  • Bandwidth Control, Custom FTP Passive Port Range, Anonymous FTP, Transfer Log
  • Web Station
  • Virtual Host (up to 30 websites)
  • PHP/MySQL
  • 3rd-Party Applications Support
  • Print Server
  • Max Printer # : 2
  • Printing Protocols : LPR, CIFS, IPP, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Multi Functional Print Server (for Windows PC only)
  • iOS/Android Applications
  • DS photo+
  • DS audio
  • DS cam
  • DS file
  • DS finder
  • Windows Phone Applications
  • DS finder

Add-on Packages
  • Surveillance Station
  • MAX IP cam # (Licenses required) : 5 (1 Free License) (See All Supported IP Cameras)
  • Total frame rate (FPS) : 50 FPS @ D1 (NTSC:720x480, PAL:720x576), 10 FPS @ WXGA (1280x800).
  • Directory Server
  • LDAP Directory Server
  • Backup and Restore LDAP Database
  • VPN Server
  • Maximum Connections : 5
  • VPN Method: PPTP, OpenVPN
  • DHCP Server
  • Independent DHCP Server on Different Network Interfaces
  • Multiple Subnets Support
  • Address Reservation
  • Syslog Server
  • SSL Connection
  • Log Rotation: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years
  • Email Notificaiton
  • Mail Station
  • Webmail Interface for Mail Server
  • Receiving Mails from Multiple POP3 Mailboxes
  • Customizable SMTP Server
  • Antivirus Essential
  • Full System Scan
  • Scheduled Scan
  • White List Customization
  • Virus Definition Auto Update
  • Time Backup
  • Maximum Task Number : 1
  • Multiple File Versions Retained
  • Instant File Restoration
  • Cloud Station
  • Maximum User Accounts : 4
  • Retain Historical and Deleted File Versions
  • HiDrive Backup
  • Backup DiskStation data to STRATO HiDrive online storage
  • Photo Station
  • Supported Image Format : BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f)
  • Supported Video Format : 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, FLV, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, QT, WMV, XviD, RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3
    User can click and download the following video formats: RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3, but not able to play it in Photo Station as compressed Flash video.
  • Audio Station
  • Supported Audio Format (USB Mode) : AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WMA VBR
  • Supported Audio Format (Streaming Mode) : MP3, M4A, M4B
  • Supported Playlist Format : M3U, WPL
  • Internet Radio : SHOUTcast, Radioio
  • iTunes Server
  • Supported Audio Format : MP3, M4A, M4P, WAV, AIF, The music in WAV and AIF format can be streamed, but the metadata (ex: title, album) may not be indexed on the iTunes
  • Supported Video Format : M4V, MOV, MP4
  • Supported Playlist Format : M3U, WPL
  • Supported Client : iTunes for Windows and Mac
  • DLNA/UPnP Media Server
  • PS3/Xbox 360 Support
  • Supported Audio Format : AAC, AIFF, APE, FLAC, M4A, Apple Lossless, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless
  • Supported Video Format : 3GP, 3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, DVR-MS, ISO, M2T, M2TS, M4V, MKV, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MTS, MOV, QT, SWF, TP, TRP, TS, VOB, WMV, XviD, RMVB (The actual playback capabilities may vary depending on the DLNA/UPnP client)
  • Supported Image Format : BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO
  • Download Station
  • Supported Download Protocols : BT/HTTP/FTP/NZB/eMule
  • Maximum Concurrent Download Tasks : 20

The exterior is a glossy (fingerprint magnet) plastic shell.


The front panel has a Status/Lan/Disk Activity LED Indicator with a Power Button and LED light. Towards the rear, there’s a 60mm fan followed by a Kensington lock hole, Hard Reset button, 2x USB 2.0 hub, an Ethernet port followed by the usual A/C adapter plug. Do note that the NAS storage has a MAC ID/Serial Number label on the rear.


Both side panels are plain white with the company’s name written on it with vents on the side.


On the underbelly, there are 4 rubber case feet and vents.


To open the NAS, all you need to is slide out a part of the shell.


As stated before, this is a single bay drive and looking at the mount support for the drive, its more for 3.5" SATA drives. Now I know that Synology have mentioned that you can dock 2.5" drives as well but it doesn’t seem to have a 2.5 dock converter or anything like that.

Moving on…


DS112J comes with a Y.S. Tech FD126015LL 60mm 3 pin header fan for the rear exhaust. Initially I thought its a ball bearing fan, but after googling out the model number, it uses Sintetico bearing which (according to YS Tech) gives better reliability and low noise compared to sleeve bearing that I wouldn’t be surprised if many NAS manufacturers use it in their single bay drives by default. The advertised max airflow is 15.9 CFM with advertised lifespan of 50,000 hours under operating temperatures of 40 degrees celcius.

Now taking the look of the PCB


The second part of the casing is screws against the metal plate which holds together the main board, the power/LED PCB viz. connected via the Ribbon cable and the 3 pin fan.


The processor that this NAS uses is Marvell 88F6-LG02 88F6702-A1 1 GHz processor which basically uses an ARM core (can’t find the actual Specification) with Hynix H5PS1G63EFR 128MB DDR2 ram module. For 2x USB 2.0, its powered by Genesys Logic GL850G controller, PIC16F627A 8-bit Flash based CMOS and Marvell 88E1318S Gigabyte LAN controller on the other side of the PCB.


The second PCB has those 4 LED lights and the power Button.

There’s no issue when it comes to mounting a 3.5" drive like the Western Digital 3TB RED NAS Storage Hard drive but a 2.5" is a different story.



The 2.5" drive does fit in the SATA slot, but there’s no way to slide it in properly. It could be different with a thicker 2.5" drive, even maybe a 12.5mm thick 2.5" drive, but isn't the case with something as thick as an SSD. There’s no mounting hole either. I wonder if the “assembly kit” that Synology mentioned in the specification is a 2.5" bracket. Another downer is that it uses SATA II rather than the current standard SATA III. I would have preferred to see a SATA III and/or USB 3.0 controller, with SATA III having the higher priority in this case.

Since its not here and since I’ll be testing this with WD30EZRX Red NAS drive, the same drive that’s tested by Synology as mentioned in specs, I am testing it in its full glory. I understand that this drive can support 1x 4TB drive, but I don’t have it- nor I am sure if you get one.

There are some things you need to know: I never used a NAS before- nor I am good at checking out software.

During installation, I used DiskStation Manager 4.1 from Synology’s website as well, so I am using the newer DiskStation Firmware.

Installation is easy with the disk once you connect it to your Router. Do note that formatting and installing DSM 4.1 takes a lot more time on a 3TB EZRX.


DSM looks plain for an OS, but that’s doesn’t matter.


There are lot of features in this NAS that I am not familiar with, but I was able to play few videos and music. I wasn’t able to play few files- one of them is a 1080p Big Buck Bunny open source movie in AVI format. I did get a pop up that JAVA is required for NAS. Why would I need Java to play 1080p AVI file, when other file types play via DSM just fine?

Tasks such as Compression via DSM and Copying to NAS seem to consume the processor upto 95-98%. I did somewhat expect this on a basic NAS. Also, between Time information and External Drive information, there is supposed to be a Thermal Status indicator but there is no option over here. Strange that its mentioned in NAS’s HELP guide but not in the feature. Also, it uses LED indicator rather than using temperature readout. Since its most likely taking the information from the drive’s S.M.A.R.T. readout, could have just mentioned the temps straightaway.

Test Setup for: Synology DiskStation 112J+ WD30EZRX 3TB Red NAS Drive
Motherboard+ Processor Gigabyte 890GPAUD3H Rev 1.0+ AMD 965BE
Memory Kingston KHX1600C9D3P1K28G HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII
Primary OS drive WD 3000HLFS Velociraptor 300GB
Power Supply Corsair TX750
Chassis Antec P280
[highlight]Router[/highlight] WD MyNet 900 Central

Do also note that I am testing WD MyNet 900 Central with 1TB viz. a NAS+ A/B/C/G/N Dual Band router too, so Synology DS112J is the first NAS that I am evaluating. Do note that this tested using a hardwired Ethernet Connection.

Do note the following Table:




As one would expect, due to limitation of SATAII is under-utilizing WD 3TB EFRX Red NAS drive’s full potential. Downloading large and uncompressed Video Directory files takes a lot of time than one will desire.


SATAII Single bay diskless NAS Drives with 2x USB 2.0 only and nothing else- the way I see it- would be great if it retailed for $120.

The way I see it, DS112J should atleast come with SATAIII. It doesn’t and that’s a little bit of a let down. I know this is a low cost NAS, but if you keep aside that it uses USB 2.0 and it uses a core which maxes out during transfer, let alone compression via DSM. Even if its a basic drive, its a solid basic drive. You need to understand that this is a diskless drive. So you spend on a NAS and spent on a 3.5" mechanical drive. Most of them will choose atleast 1TB in my opinion upto 3TB. The drives that you get these days are with SATAIII something that it walks amongst us for a very long time, followed by USB 3.0. It needs to keep up with the times Who knows, I might have overlooked the lack of 2.5" bracket.

Also, they need to put the Temperature LED /readout indicator in the DSM. But the bright side, it atleast support 3TB (specs say 4TB, but since I am able to get it working with a 3TB drive, I’ll take Synology’s word for it) with 2 years warranty period.
India (Estimated) U.S. U.K.
Rs. 9,000/- $149.99 £114.70

Negatives:
▼ No SATA III ▼ No USB 3.0 ▼ Playback using 1080p AVI File requires Java ▼ No 2.5" support bracket to secure right when mounted and unit kept upright as shown in video ▼ Considering the cons, could be a bit cheaper ▼ Tasks such as Compression via DSM and Copying to NAS seem to consume the processor awfully close too 100%

Positives:
▲ Pretty Quiet fan ▲ All the basic requirements provided with the NAS ▲Easy to Install ▲ Upto 4TB single drive support (Worked with WD30EFRX Red NAS Storage Drive) ▲ USB 2.0

Rating: 3 out 5/ Requires Improvement
 
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