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Updated 10/11/2009: DS209 has 256 MB RAM
Updated 10/7/2009: Incorporated feedback from Synology

Synology DS109+ and DS109 Disk Stations

At a Glance
Product Synology Disk Station (DS209) (DS209+II)
Summary New, faster versions of Synology's two-bay multi-function BYOD NASes
Pros • Many features including full LAMP webserving
• Fast attached backup to USB and eSATA drives
• High performance
• iSCSI support
Cons • No eSATA on DS209

Synology's DS209, 209+II pair are refreshes of its popular two-bay SOHO / SMB NASes. Like all Synology's NASes, they share the same feature set (hardware allowing), which is among the industry's broadest. Both came loaded with Synology's AJAX-based DSM 2.2-0942 operating system, which includes an extensive list of improvements over the previous DSM 2.1.

The DS508 review covered many of DSM 2.1's features and the 2.2 release notes summarize its many improvements. So I'll be taking a closer look at only a few of the new features in this review. You can check out many of the rest via the live demo of DSM 2.2.

The 209 comes in Synology's older version white case, while the 209+II comes in a two-bay version of the black, slightly spiffier case used by the single-drive DS109+. Neither case supports hot-swapping of drives, however.

Figure 1 shows the front and rear panels of single-drive Synologies; the User Manual doesn't have a similar diagram for two-drive products. But the controls and ports are the same, with only one difference. The DS209 doesn't have an eSATA port, while the DS209+II does.

Front and Rear panels

Figure 1: Front and Rear panels

Both 209s have variable speed fans, which I never heard spin up beyond a very quiet level. The two Samsung Spinpoint F1 750 GB drives (HD753LJ) that Synology provided in the review units brought the noise level up just a touch so that the NASes were slightly noticeable in my quiet home office. Power consumption for the 209+II measured 34 W active and 20 W with drives spun down, while the 209 measured 25 W active and 10 W with drives spun down.

Like all Synology's current-generation NASes both 209s have the ability to spin down the drives after idle times from 10 minutes to 5 hours and have a shutdown / startup schedule set for further power savings.

Internal Details

Updated 10/11/2009: DS209 has 256 MB RAM
Updated 10/7/2009: Corrected DS209 flash size

Figure 2 shows the DS209's main board, which is based on Marvell's 88F6281 "Kirkwood" clocked at 1.2 GHz supported by 256 MB 512 MB of soldered-on DDR2 RAM and 64 MB 4 MB of flash (the second Elpida E1116AESE is on the other side of the board). The venerable Marvell 88E81116R provides the single Gigabit Ethernet port, which supports jumbo frames in 1000 Byte increments to 9000. There's also a PIC16F627A 8 bit flash microcontroller to handle front panel and other control duties.

The complete list of supported drives includes 3.5" SATA, 2.5" SATA, 2.5" Solid State Drives (SSD).

DS209 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: DS209 board

Figure 3 is a shot of the DS209+II board, which has a significantly higher parts count due to its use of a Freescale MPC8533 @ 1.06 GHz—same as in the DS109+ and DS409+. The board is very similar, but not exactly the same as the DS109+' because of the difference in the way the drives connect to the board; the DS209+II via cables and the DS109+ directly via onboard connector.

DS209+II board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: DS209+II board

The CPU is hidden under the black heatsink plate and that's a 512 MB SoDIMM that will void your warranty if you choose to upgrade it. Other components include 4 MB of flash, two Silicon Image Sil3132 SATALink PCI Express to 2-Port Serial ATA II Host Controllers, 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 sticker. I'm guessing the second Sil3132 is there to handle the front panel eSATA port.

The inside topside of both NASes look very similar. So I'm just showing the DS209+II in Figure 4.

DS209+II inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: DS209+II inside

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