Synology DiskStation BeyondCloud Mirror 3TB NAS Review

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Measuring performance of a device such as the BeyondCloud 3TB is a bit tricky since it operates over a network connection. Also, performance for NAS drives is usually not even listed in the bullet points, as the value of these drives is dictated by their feature set typically--the drives themselves are usually capable of transferring data faster than a gigabit network connection. That said, it can be painful transferring large files over a slow network connection, so we obviously want the drive to be as fast as it can be.

ATTO Disk Benchmark 
More information here:

ATTO is a "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes and a queue depth of 6 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc.

synologyNAS atto
Synlogy DiskStation

ATTO EX21002
WD EX2100

Overall, we'd describe the Synology's performance in this test as "moderate." It peaked at about 81MB/s read speeds, and 58MB/s write speeds, which is a bit slow but not mind-numbing. For comparison, the WD EX2100 hit 118MB/s in both directions on this test, so it's much faster than the Synology drive. Of course, this is not a surprise as the WD drive has much better specs, including more RAM (1GB versus 256MB), and a higher-clocked processor as well (1.2GHz versus 800MHz). We suppose Synology's focus is on the overall package and accessibility as opposed to straight-line speed, which is fine, but a little more speed wouldn't hurt.

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks
Synthetic File Transfer Tests

 CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to drive performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.

synologynas crystaldiskmark
Synlogy DiskStation

crystaldiskmark EX21002
WD EX2100

In CrystalDiskMark, we once again see read and write speeds that are nothing to write home about, but are acceptable for average to mid-size file transfers. Its average sequential read speed of 75.48MB/s is slower than average though, as is its write speed of 60.90MB/s. Though we have not tested a massive amount of NAS drives in the past, we do believe the Synology Diskstation's lower performance are a direct result of its low-power processor and minimal amount of RAM, as this is the type of device that would be used in a consumer's home given its two-bay design. For that role, it should be sufficient.  

As for actual real-world use, the Synology drive worked well and was easy to use. Its interface certainly gives us an "IT manager" feel, and we think the average home user will have a bit of learning curve. It's not super complicated, but we don't think our parents would understand what is happening despite Synology's efforts to make it streamlined and intuitive.

In terms of accessing the files on the drive, we were able to do so locally and remotely as well with the drive's QuickConnect feature. It works extremely well, and took just a few minutes to set it up. Synology has really made the process simple, so we applaud its efforts on that front. All you have to do is enable the service, give your NAS a name, and create a login. Once that is all set up, you can log into the NAS from any Internet connection, and it looks just like you are at home since the administrative interface is in a web browser. You can also access any of the contents of the NAS from a mobile device, though you have to install a litany of mobile apps to access all the different capabilities. To illustrate, these are the iOS apps we saw when we visited the App Store:
  • DS file
  • DS video
  • DS photo
  • DS cloud
  • DS audio
  • DS finder
  • DS download
  • DS cam

It would certainly be handy if Synology could somehow combine all these apps into one, because having to have a separate app for video and photos seems a bit much. To its credit, the apps we tried worked well and were easy to use. Here's what the Photo app looks like:

synology nas photo

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