Synology Disk Station DS409+ NAS Device

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In order to test the functionality of the DS409+, we placed it on a Gigabit-Ethernet network and accessed it from a variety of Windows and Mac desktops and laptops. We connected to it via both wired and wireless connections, as well as remotely over the Internet.

To test the device's performance, we used a combination of synthetic benchmark testing and real-world file copy tests. Throughout the tests, the DS490+ was configured with a 4-drive RAID 5 array configured as a single volume (all four hard drives were 500GB Western Digital Caviar Black (WD5001AALS) hard drives).

Our first test was conducted with the synthetic ATTO Disk Benchmark. We mapped the DS409+ as drive letter Y: on the test machine and ran the default ATTO test. On the test, the DS409+ performed best with block sizes that are 32K or larger when reading, and 64K or larger when writing. The fastest read speed the DS409+ put in on this test was 79.1MB/Sec (512K), and the fastest write speed was 46.3MB/Sec (64K).

We can't make direct comparisons between the DS409+ and the business-class Thecus N7700 NAS device we recently reviewed, because the two NAS devices were tested with different test setups and environments. However, both test setups are fast enough to mostly minimize any bottlenecks that the testbed systems or network infrastructures would likely introduce to testing. On the ATTO Disk Benchmark, the N7700 saw read speeds of 110.2MB/Sec and write speeds of 116.0MB/Sec. Such a performance difference can, in large part, be explained by the N7700's more powerful processor (an Intel Core 2 Duo) and greater amount of memory (2MB DDR2 SDRAM).

We conducted a number of real-world data-transfer tests to and from the device over our network using an HP Pavilion Elite m9550f desktop (2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300, 8GB PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM, 1TB NTFS 7200RPM SATA hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB, Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit) via a Gigabit-Ethernet connection. We conducted large-file write and read tests where we copied a 1.7GB ISO file between the DS409+ and the m9550f. We also conducted small-files write and read tests where we copied a 267MB folder made up of 70 JPGs ranging in size from 2.27MB to 4.38MB between the DS409+ and the m9550f. We conducted these tests by dragging-and-dropping the folders and files in Windows, with the DS409+ connected as a mapped drive.

We compared the performance of the DS409+ against that of a number of NAS devices we've looked at, including the WD My Work World Edition, Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition, Linksys by Cisco Media Hub, HP MediaSmart Server LX195, Addonics NAS Adapter, and the Pogoplug. We also repeated all of our tests on an older 500GB Maxtor Shared Storage NAS device--copying files between the Maxtor Shared Storage device and the m9550f. Additionally, we ran our tests on an external hard drive connected directly to a USB 2.0 port on the m9550f; the drive we used was a 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue drive (7200RPM SATA-II, 16MB cache) placed into an external enclosure and formatted using the NTFS file system.

When transferring large files, the DS409+ is one of the speediest NAS devices we've seen. It is slightly faster than the HP MediaSmart Server LX195 when writing, and over 31% faster when reading. The DS409+'s write speeds are even faster than the performance of a Western Digital Caviar Blue drive directly attached to our testbed via a USB 2.0 connection. The DS409+'s performance on our large file test works out to be approximately 33.0MB/Sec (276.4Mb/Sec) writing, and 60.5MB/Sec (507.5Mb/Sec) reading. Synology claims that the DS409+ is capable of up to 40.2MB/Sec write and 57.5MB/Sec read speeds. While the write speed we saw falls short of Synology's estimations, we actually saw a read speed that exceeded Synology's claim--of course, different test setups make doing direct comparisons an impossibility. As far as the N7700 goes (and once again, we can't make a direct comparison here, because of differing test setups), it saw a read speed of 83.4MB/Sec and a write speed of 82.2MB/Sec.

As is usually the case for NAS devices, the DS409+'s small file transfer performance is not as speedy as it is when transferring large files. That said, its small files write speed of 24.3MB/Sec (203.7Mb/Sec) and read speed of 38.7MB/Sec (324.9Mb/Sec) are the fastest we've seen of the eight NAS devices we've tested with our current test setup. The DS409+'s small files write performance is even about 24-percent faster than what we saw with the direct-connected, USB 2.0 external drive. (We couldn't generate useful numbers for the USB drive's small-files read performance as Windows cached the files in memory and essentially performed instantaneous transfers whenever we repeated the file copy--all of our tests were run multiple times to ensure repeatability). As a point of reference (but not as a direct comparison), the N7700 had a small files write performance of 62.5MB/Sec and saw read speeds of 54.9MB/Sec.

As an iTunes server, the DS409+ is very speedy. Even with a 54.7GB music library that contained nearly 6,200 songs (26.7 days worth of music), it took only just over 2 seconds to access the complete library stored on the server from our Windows testbed system. The DS409+ is able to display the full contents of the iTunes library so quickly because whenever you copy files to the DS409+'s music folder, the device automatically indexes the contents of the folder.

We also connected the DS409+ to a power meter to get a sense of how much power it consumes. When the device is sitting idle, it uses around 46-watts of power. When under load, its power consumption appears to top out at around 51-watts. When in Hibernation mode, the device uses about 25 watts of power.

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