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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Synology DS109+ and DS109 Disk Stations

At a Glance
Product Synology Disk Station (DS409+) (DS409)
Summary Latest, faster versions of four-bay multi-function BYOD NASes
Pros • Many features including full LAMP webserving
• Fast attached backup to USB and eSATA drives
• High performance
Cons • No iSCSI

Synology's DS409, 409+ pair are basically four-bay versions of their DS109 / 109+ that I looked at not too long ago. The duo have the same feature set as the 109s, plus support for basic, i.e. separate drives, JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6, and RAID 5+Spare volumes. So after a brief look at the physical features and internals, I'll hit the performance highlights and wrap up the review.

The 409s come in identical black cases except for the different names and color of the control and indicator labels (the 409 uses white; the 409+ green). The front panel has been restyled for a cleaner look, but the enclosures' dimensions are the same as their older CS407 / 407e "Cube Station" siblings (9" X 6.6" X 7.25" or 230mm X 168mm X 184mm).

Figure 1 shows the front and rear panels. The front holds indicators and the Power button, but no USB ports, while the rear has two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA and a Gigabit Ethernet port that supports jumbo frames up to 9K.

Front and rear panels

Figure 1: Front and rear panels

Both 409s have two small, quiet fans, but you'll hear the four drives whirring in a quiet room. The 409+' power consumption measured 46 W active and 27 W with drives spun down, while the 409 drew 36W active and 21 W with drives spun down.

Both 409s 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 2 shows the inside of the DS409+, with the cover removed and backplate swung down. Note that cabled connections are used to carry power and data to the four 3.5" SATA drives. The complete list of supported drives includes 3.5" SATA, 2.5" SATA, 2.5" Solid State Drives (SSD).

DS409+ inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: DS409+ inside

Figure 3 is a shot of the DS409+' board, which requires complete disassembly to access. So I just removed the drives and shot what I could. The CPU hidden under the heatsink 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. There is 4 MB of flash.

DS409+ board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: DS409+ board

The 409+' design is unusual in that it uses both the Silicon Image Sil3132 SATALink PCI Express to 2-Port Serial ATA II Host Controller used in the DS109+ and a Marvell 88SX7042 4 Port SATA controller! Other components are the same as used on the 109+' motherboard including an 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 "Syno V1.01" sticker at the back left of the photo.

The inside of the DS409 (Figure 4) reveals a cleaner, cable-less design with drives mounted on plastic carriers and plugging into a backplane.

DS409 inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: DS409 inside

Once again, getting complete access to the board requires full disassembly, so you also get only another partial board photo. The board, shown in Figure 5, uses many of the same components as the DS109. The CPU is Marvell's new "Kirkwood" 88F6281, clocked at 1.2 GHz. Synology was a bit more generous with memory, giving the 409 256 MB vs. the 109's 128 MB.

DS409 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: DS409 board

Other components include 4 MB of flash, Marvell 88E116R Gigabit Ethernet controller and Microchip PIC16F627 CMOS FLASH-based 8-bit microcontroller. There is no separate USB hub, probably because the Marvell processor handles the two USB 2.0 ports.

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