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Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Synology

Synology DS1019+ Review

Synology this week is launching the DS1019+, a 5-bay counterpart to last year's 4-bay DS918+. Like most of the company's "Plus" series devices, it is aimed at higher-end home users and small businesses with a price (without drives) of $649.99.

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Synology loaned us a review unit of the DS1019+ prior to launch, and after adding it to our growing shelf of network storage devices, we spent some time seeing how this new model compares to its predecessors and counterparts.

Specifications & Design

The design of the DS1019+ is virtually identical to that of the DS918+, with the same style of drive bays, same case material and color, same basic layout of ports and status lights, and even an almost identical list of technical specs. The biggest difference between the two by far is simply the addition of a fifth drive bay on the DS1019+. So, if you liked the look and feel of the DS918+, you should feel the same way about the DS1019+.

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Following the design trends of other Synology NAS devices in recent years, the DS1019+ is compact considering its capabilities. It measures in at 166mm x 230mm x 223mm (about 6.5 x 9.0 x 8.8 inches) and weighs about 5.6 pounds without drives. Included in the box is the power adapter with region-appropriate power cord, two five-foot Cat5e Ethernet cables, an accessory kit with two keys for the drive bay locks, 20 screws for mounting 2.5-inch drives in the 3.5-inch drive bays, and a quick installation guide.

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Like almost all Synology NAS devices, the DS1019+ ships without drives, so you'll need to add your own mechanical or solid state drives in order to use the device. If want to configure the NAS with a traditional RAID, you'll want to populate the drive bays with drives of the same capacity and ideally from the same vendor. If you need to mix-and-match drive vendors, at least aim to use drives with identical performance specifications. Similar in concept to Drobo, Synology also offers a "Hybrid RAID" (SHR) option that allows users to combine drives of different sizes or later expand the array by replacing smaller drives with larger ones. Depending on drive types and size mismatches, however, there is a performance penalty to going this route compared to a similar RAID configuration utilizing identical disks.

As alluded to, the 1019+ is powered by the same CPU found in the DS918+: the Intel Celeron J3455, a quad-core 10-watt Apollo Lake part. With base and boost clocks of 1.5GHz and 2.3GHz, respectively, the J3455 is more than powerful enough to accommodate the transfer and management of data on the NAS, and it also supports hardware video transcoding, which is a huge advantage for services like Plex.

Continue reading for our complete review of the Synology DS1019+!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Thecus

Introduction

The Thecus N2560 is a dual-bay NAS Server powered by an Intel Atom SoC. With the addition of HDMI output could this be the answer for some basic HTPC needs as well?

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The Thecus N2560 at work in the living room

The N2560 is similar in some ways to the Thecus N2310 NAS we looked at a couple of months ago, but it builds on both the functionality and power of that unit. Both are 2-bay designs with support for up to 8TB of storage via dual 4TB hard drives, and they run the same OS (ThecusOS 6). There are some very big differences, too. The N2560 boasts an Intel Atom SoC which provides dual 1.60 GHz cores, compared to the N2310’s single 800 MHz PowerPC core. The N2560 also features a full-size HDMI output as well as SPDIF digital audio output, making it a potential alternative for some HTPC tasks.

The Thecus N2560 is an attractive-looking device, with the smooth lines and finish of a more expensive product. But beyond the N2560's appearance and basic function as a NAS, this is really a server. Digital audio and video output is certainly an impressive addition for a device that retails for around $180, making it a compelling budget HTPC option if the OS and media software work well. Since the basics of the Thecus OS and NAS usage were covered with the N2310, the media output potential of the N2560 is the area of focus for this review.

Continue reading our look at the Thecus N2560 NAS Server!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Thecus

Introduction

The N2310 is a budget dual-bay NAS from Thecus and an interesting product beyond the low cost for this category, boasting a number of features that help set it apart.

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Apart from the primary role of a network attached storage (NAS) device - you know, storage - there are some interesting things a piece of hardware like the N2310 can do. This inexpensive NAS is actually a server, too, so beyond storing up to 8TB of data it’s powerful enough to replace a dedicated PC for certain tasks - the kind of tasks that some of us leave a PC running 24/7 to accomplish.

In this review we’ll take a look at some of the functionality that helps set the N2310 apart, as well as the kind of real-world performance you might expect to see.

It’s All About the Gigabytes

There are more reasons now than ever before for large storage options. Even though SSD’s are at their lowest prices ever most of us still need to supplement a fast boot drive with some traditional spinning disks. Just think about what accumulates in an average year on your PC… photos, music, videos, program backups and images, you name it. All those GB’s have to go somewhere, and there are obviously internal and external hard drives to share the load. However, regardless of the local storage option you might chose, it’s not always so convenient to actually access this stuff again. Clearly, the easier it is to access your files, the better - and not just from one device. So, having centralized storage is a great idea, right?

Between computers, tablets, and of course our phones, there are generally quite a few connected devices in the average technology-inclined home. And while every device mentioned can connect to the internet - and cloud storage has become very popular - there's still something to be said for local content management. Beyond the convenience of sharing sometimes massive amounts of data easily at home, another benefit of always-on storage is backup. Ideally, every computer in the home would be backed up locally as well as the cloud, and a great way to take care of the local side of backup is with a NAS. Setting one up is very easy these days, with a growing number of affordable options from various vendors.

Thecus makes an interesting case for a budget NAS with the N2310. For a comparison, Allyn recently looked at Western Digital’s My Cloud EX2 network drive, and this is a highly polished all-in-one solution is now selling for about $199 (without drives). The Thecus N2310 is less expensive at $149, and both offer two 3.5” drive bays. (The My Cloud is also offered pre-populated with drives providing up to 8TB of storage.) These “diskless” enclosures present a good opportunity to save some money up front, and whether you choose to run on two drives you happened to have around the house or office, or if you want to go out and grab a couple of Western Digital 4TB Red drives, they can accommodate your situation.

Let’s take a look at the Thecus N2310.

Continue reading our review of the Thecus N2310 SOHO NAS Server!!

Just Delivered: Drobo FS 5-bay Network Storage

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 20, 2011 - 09:06 PM |
Tagged: storage, raid, network attached storage, NAS, drobo

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less. 

When the time is right for dedicated network storage and you don't want to go through the hassle or complication of building your own FreeNAS or other type of device, one of the best options on the market according to our own Allyn Malventano is a Drobo. 

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For an upcoming review we just received a new Drobo FS, the network attached version of the Drobo lineup.  Available in both a standard and a "Pro" model, the former with 5 bays the latter with 8, they are about as idiot-proof and easy to setup as a NAS can be.

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The Drobo FS only has a single connectivity option: the Gigabit Ethernet port for connection to your primed-and-ready router.  Adding or swapping hard drives for larger models is super easy and the "BeyondRAID" technology makes it reliable as well as simple to use. 

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We are looking forward to putting the Drobo FS to the test in the coming days and reporting back to you on the performance, features and reliability of it.

Source: Drobo

Can Plextor compete with Drobo?

Subject: Storage | June 6, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: plextor, network attached storage, NAS, external drive

There once was a time, when dinosaurs like Compaq ruled the earth, when there was only one choice for the true enthusiast when buying a CD burner.  Plextor was by far the most reliable choice in a time when CDs were more sensitive to external vibrations than a fine souffle. Things have changed a great deal since then and the looks you get when you ask how many sheep your burner has can be quite amusing.   This has left Plextor looking for alternative revenue sources and the area they have chosen is NAS devices.  The new Plextor PX-NAS4 has impressive stats but it is competing against heavy hitters like Drobo.  Think Computer tries out this ~$400 NAS device and contrasts its features and controls with similarly priced competitors offerings in their latest storage review.

 

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"Plextor introduced the PX-NAS4 quad-bay network attached storage device late last year to augment its PX-NAS2 dual-bay device and break into a market with larger storage needs. The dual gigabit Ethernet PX-NAS4 can house up to 8 TB of storage in several RAID configurations and sports volume encryption and low power consumption among other standard enterprise and business features. ThinkComputers takes a look, and finds that while the PX-NAS4 provides the basic features, it leaves something to be desired for users with more. Read on for the review."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

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