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Update 5/9/09: Corrected UPnP server information

Synology DS109+ and DS109 Disk Stations

At a Glance
Product Synology Disk Station (DS109+) (DS109)
Summary Latest, faster versions of single-drive multi-function BYOD NASes
Pros • Many features including full LAMP webserving
• Fast attached backup to USB and eSATA drives
• High performance
Cons • Relatively expensive

The last time we looked at Synology's single-drive NASes, we put the DS107, 107e and 107+ to the test. This time, Synology sent their single-drive replacements, the DS109 and 109+. They did not send the 109j, the "economical" member of the 109 family. I hope they will sometime soon, however, since the "j" costs 65% less than the top-of-group 109+ ($140 vs. $400). But, I get ahead of myself...

The 109s (which is how I'll refer to both the 109 and 109+) both come in cases that look a lot like the previous generations', but have reworked front panels that put the indicators and switches on a wider flat surface and have some styling details that give them a fresher look. That's the 109+ in black and the 109 in white in the opening product shot above.

Figure 1 shows the indicators, controls and ports, which include an eSATA connector for speedier backups to attached drives in addition to two rear and one front-mounted USB 2.0 ports. Unlike the fanless QNAP TS119, both 109s have small, but quiet fans. (The TS119 is the most relevant competition to the 109s, so I'll be making comparisons to it as I go along.)

Front and Rear panels

Figure 1: Front and Rear panels

The 109+ isn't as frugal with power as other single-drive NASes that have passed through the lab lately. It measured 23 W / 17 W standby, compared to 14 W / 7 W for the TS119 and 11W for the Buffalo LinkStation Pro XHL. The 109, by comparison, draws only 14 W active and 9 W with the drive spun down. Both 109s had a Samsung HD753LJ 750 GB drive installed by Synology for our testing convenience.

Both 109s also have the ability to spin down the drive after idle times from 10 minutes to 5 hours and have a shutdown / startup schedule set for further power savings.

Internal Details

Figure 3 shows the inside of the DS109+, with the cover removed. The 3.5" SATA drive plugs into SATA power and data connectors and is secured to the metal base plate with four screws. Synology also sent along a 2.5" Disk Holder for those who want to experiment with installing 2.5" SATA drives, but I didn't try it out.

The complete list of supported drives includes 3.5" SATA, 2.5" SATA, 2.5" Solid State Drives (SSD) and even IDE drives for the DS106j that Synology still has in its lineup.

DS109+ inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: DS109+ inside

Figure 3 is a shot of the DS109+ board, which mounts to the bottom of the base plate. The CPU hidden under the black heatsink plate is a Freescale MPC8533 @ 1.06 GHz and that's a 512 MB SoDIMM that will void your warranty if you choose to upgrade it.

DS109+ board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: DS109+ board

Other components include 4 MB of flash, Silicon Image Sil3132 SATALink PCI Express to 2-Port Serial ATA II Host Controller, NEC D702102GC USB 2.0 controller, Marvell 88E8001 Yukon Gigabit Ethernet controller, Microchip PIC16F627 CMOS FLASH-based 8-bit microcontroller and a Lattice 4032V CPLD under the DS109+ sticker.

The inside of the DS109 looks the same as the 109+, so I didn't bother with a photo. The board is different, however, as you can see in Figure 4. The CPU is Marvell's new "Kirkwood" 88F6281, clocked at 1.2 GHz, which is also used in the QNAP TS-119 and Buffalo LinkStation XHL. Memory has is a paltry (by today's standards) 128 MB.

DS109 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: DS109 board

Other components include 4 MB of flash, Genesys Logic GL850G USB Hub 2.0 controller, Marvell 88E116R Gigabit Ethernet controller and Microchip PIC16F627 CMOS FLASH-based 8-bit microcontroller.

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