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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Synology DS209+

At a Glance
Product Synology Disk Station (DS209+)
Summary High performance dual-drive BYOD NAS with many features
Pros • Gigabit Ethernet with jumbo frame support
• RAID 0, 1 w/ RAID expansion
• Built-in servers for Web, FTP, iTunes, Printer, UPnP AV, Photo sharing, Backup, and Bit Torrent download.
• Direct recording from IP-based cameras
• High performance
Cons • Not cheap
• Drives don't hot-swap

Simply put, the DS209+ is Synology's solution for those who are looking for the best performance in a dual-drive NAS and don't care how much it costs. Since Synology uses the same "DSM-2.0" OS across its NAS line and we've previously detailed the numerous features it supports in the DS508 review, this review will primarily focus on the 209+'s performance.

But first, a quick run-through of the product layout and a look at the innards. Figure 1, taken from the User Guide shows the 209+'s front and rear panels (the + comes in a black, not white, case).

DS209+ Front and Rear panels

Figure 1: DS209+ Front and Rear panels

There are a total of three USB 2.0 ports for drive expansion, UPS connection and printer serving and a single front-mounted eSATA port for drive expansion. The external universal voltage power brick is relatively large and heavy, so it's nice that there is a cable strain relief clip in the back. The single Ethernet port is 10/100/1000 and supports up to 9K jumbo frames in 1000 Byte increments.

The NAS runs very quietly and I didn't hear the 3-stage fan switch to a higher speed even when I was running the performance tests. Power draw with two ST3500320AS Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives installed was 30 W, dropping to 14 W when the programmable HDD Hibernation kicked in.

I should note that I could not get the drive hibernation to work unless I physically disconnected the Ethernet cable from the unit. I had run into this when testing the DS408 and it looks like Synology still hasn't fixed it. Perhaps it is staying awake due to Windows networking or LAN broadcast traffic. But awake it stays, even when nothing is accessing it and I don't have a browser logged into it for administration.

Figure 2 shows the inside of the product with the Seagate drives that Synology provided installed. Everything is tidy and even the SATA power and data cables are properly sized so that there is no excess to have to tuck away somewhere.

DS209+ internal view
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: DS209+ internal view

Unlike the DS408, I was easily able to get to the 209+'s board, which is shown in Figure 3. The basic platform is the same as the DS408 and DS508, with an 800 MHz Freescale MPC8543 CPU, 512MB of DDR2-667 SODIMM memory and 4 MB of flash.

DS209+ board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: DS209+ board

That's a "Remove this and void your warranty" sticker over the SODIMM and yes, Synology means it.

A Marvell 88E8001 PCI Gigabit Ethernet controller is used instead of the Marvell 88E1118 found in the DS408 to provide the single gigabit Ethernet LAN port. A Marvell 88SX7042 4 Port SATA controller handles the drives and eSATA port and an NEC D720102 3-port USB 2.0 Host Controller is behind the three USB 2.0 ports.

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