23rd April 2013, 12:17 PM
Synology DiskStation DS1812+ User Review
A few weeks back, I was informed of the opportunity to take a look at the Synology DS1812+ 8 Bay NAS device. Given my experience (I already own a Synology 4 bay NAS - DS413), I gladly accepted the offer to provide a better insight for this most popular 8 Bay NAS in the market.
This will be a 3 parts review with Part 1 focusing on the overview of the NAS device. As the saying goes - a picture is worth a thousand words. In this review, I focus on providing a more real life user experience write-up.
The NAS box arrived at my place via courier, and I was surprised to see the size of the packaging. Until I unpacked the NAS, then I realized the reason why it was packed in such a big box.
Before I unpacked:
The words (NEW NAS Experience) printed on top remind me of 1st time I bought my DS413 and similar feeling while unpacking this popular 8 bay NAS from Synology.
The actual size of the NAS is 157 X 340 X 233 mm, but the box itself is almost double due to the packaging.
Taking out the actual item :
The NAS includes a set of two custom made keys which facilitate locking and unlocking the drives in their bays. This helps to ensure drives aren't accidentally (especially if you have kids at home) removed during operation.
Taking a closer look at the front and back views:
A brief look at the Synology DiskStation DS1812+ Specs
- CPU Frequency : Dual Core 2.13GHz
- Floating Point
- Memory : DDR3 1 GB (Expandable, up to 3GB)
- Internal HDD/SSD : 3.5" or 2.5" SATA(II) X8 (Hard drive not included)
- Max Internal Capacity : 32TB (8X 4TB HDD) (Capacity may vary by RAID types) (See All Supported HDD)
- Hot Swappable HDD
- External HDD Interface : USB 3.0 Port X 2, USB 2.0 Port X 4, eSATA Port X 2
- Size (HxWxD) : 157 X 340 X 233 mm
- Weight : 5.21Kg
- LAN : Gigabit X 2
- Link Aggregation
- Wake on LAN/WAN
- System Fan : 120x120mm X2
- Easy Replacement System Fan
- Wireless Support (dongle)
- Noise Level : 23.1 dB(A)
- Power Recovery
- AC Input Power Voltage : 100V to 240V AC
- Power Frequency : 50/60 Hz, Single Phase
- Power Consumption : 71.5W (Access); 28.6W (HDD Hibernation);
- Operating Temperature : 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
- Storage Temperature : -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
- Relative Humidity : 5% to 95% RH
- Maximum Operating Altitude : 6,500 feet
- Certification : FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
- Warranty : 3 Years
The Dual Core 2.13GHz CPU is common across all Synology NAS ending with +. This CPU is key to some of the NAS operations, especially to those who store and stream videos and/or make use of the native Download Manager (BT, FTP etc) that comes with the native NAS OS.
As seen in the last picture above, Synology is generous when it comes to providing external interfaces (like USB and eSATA). Some of you may ask why the need for external interfaces when you can always connect to your NAS via network. Based on my personal experience, the USB 3.0 hdd transfer is certainly much faster, and my preferred way of file transfers as USB 3.0 offers transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbps vs the 1Gbps network link connected to the NAS. Moreover, you won't want your network to be crawling when you are doing a huge backup or file transfer over the network.
As for network, DS1812+ comes with two Gigabit ports that support failover and dynamic link aggregation (802.3ad). But one important point to take note here, link aggregation requires smart/intelligent switches that aren't available in most end users (home) environment.
One other key feature I like stress in this part of the review - though DS1812+ comes with 8 internal HDD slots that give you 32TB (8x4TB) disk capacity, potential buyer should take note of the possibility that allows you to connect 2 five-bay DX510/513 expansion units. This provides up to 40TB additional capacity for those who require that extra space!
A popular question that always comes into a NAS buyer's mind : What's the additional cost it (NAS) will add on to my current electricity bill ?
Let's look at the Power consumption : Power Consumption : 71.5W (Access); 28.6W (HDD Hibernation).
Here's the assumption for those who are using the NAS 24/7 (access):
- Usage : 0.0715kWh (71.5W) x 24 hours x 31 days = 53.196 kWh
- The electricity tariff for households is 26.70 cents per kWh (as of http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/irj/portal/tariffs)
- Total cost per month = S$14.20
Obviously, not every DS1812+ user will see the same cost figure in their bill but this should give you a good idea on the power consumption and associated electricity costs involved.
I hope part 1 of this review provides some basic insight to every reader, and I will be covering the setup and software aspect for this NAS in part 2.
Last edited by Jason Ho; 26th April 2013 at 10:10 AM.
Reason: PS : Please excuse my grammer and spelling as usual :)
23rd April 2013, 05:44 PM
Re: Synology DiskStation DS1812+ User Review
In this part 2 of my DS1812+ review, I will focus on the software applications that come with every Synology NAS - a key differentiator why I chose Synology over other offerings in the market.
With DS1812+, I was given the privilege of pairing it with the Western Digital (WD) Red 3TB NAS Hard Drives for my review. The WD RED hdd is a fully supported by Synology NAS. WD Red hard drives are designed specifically for home and small office NAS server. Featuring NASware™ and 3D Active Balance Plus technologies, the WD Red line is enhanced to drive reliability, improve overall performance, and simplify integration process.
WD Red Specifications
- 1TB: WD10EFRX
- Host to/from buffer: 150MB/s
- 2TB: WD20ERFX
- Host to/from buffer: 145MB/s
- 3TB: WD30ERFX
- Host to/from buffer: 145MB/s
- SATA 6Gb/s interface
- 64MB DDR2 Cache
- Intellipower low-power spindle
- 1TB drive platters
- Operating Temperature: 0-70C
- Non-Operating Temperature: -40-70C
- MTBF: 1,000,000 hours
- Non-recoverable read errors per bits read: <1 in 1014
- TLER Enabled
- 2TB/3TB: read/write 4.4W, idle 4.1W, standy/sleep .6W
- 1TB: read/write 3.7W, idle 3.2W, standby/sleep .6W
- 2TB/3TB: idle 23 dBA, seek 24bBA
- 1TB: idle 21 dBA, seek 22dBA
- 3 year warranty with phone support
- The WD RED Hdd comes in 3 favors
I don't want to bore every one with similar WD RED reviews that you can google on the net. So here's my observation after using WD RED hdd for a week : The WD RED hdd is designed with innovative technology to reduce power consumption and lowers the operating temperature, resulting in a more reliable and affordable solution for those who are thinking of a 24x7 NAS setup. Compared to my DS413 setup with Seagate Barracuda 3 TB, the WD RED hdd runs cooler (avg of 5C - ymmv). For future purchase and additions of HDD for my NAS setup, Western Digital Red 3TB disks will be my choice.
Setup and Configuration
The DS1812+ is very easy to install and setup. After screwing in all 8 hard disk drives into the DS1812+'s drive bays, I connected the power and turned it on. I immediately notice a blue glow illuminated the power button along with a flashing green LAN1 (connected to my Asus router) light. After a 2 minutes wait, all hard drive LEDs turned green.
The DS1812+ showed up in my Asus router as "DISKSTATION" but I couldn't access the web GUI yet. For 1st time setup, I had to run the Synology Assistant software included on the CD. For those CSers who are Mac users, you will be glad to know that Synology Assistant also supports Mac OS (10.5 and above).
Once I finished the quick setup through the Synology Assistant, I was able to access the NAS via web interface : DSM (Disk Station Manager). The first time you start the DSM you will be greeted by the Quick Start Wizard which will walk you through the first steps you should follow, to quickly configure your NAS server. The very first thing to do is to make use of the Storage Manager to create a single or multiple volumes as follows :
Here are some information regarding Storage Manager :
- Features graphic interface; all information neatly displayed on screen.
- Create volume with RAID protection
- Easy configuration with wizard-based instruction
- Support various RAID types: 2-4 bay RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10, etc
The best way to configure a volume on DiskStation is with Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR). There’s nothing complicated. It automatically optimizes volume size and leaves you nothing to worry about.
- SHR volumes come with 1 to 2 hard disk fault-tolerance of data protection
- Unused space can be reserved for usage in future RAID expansion
- Enjoy storage optimization effortlessly
For those who will like to find out the different hdd raid configuration and how much total usable space is made available, Synology provides a web page that shows you the information over at RAID Calculator - Synology Inc. Network Attached Storage - NEW NAS Experience
DSM and Applications
DSM 4.2 comes with many out of the box application. There are close to 50 application (Synology calls them Packages) ranging from Antivirus, File Sharing, Download Station, Mail Server, etc...
There are simply too many of them. So in this review, I focus on a few key ones - mainly using DS1812+ as a multimedia & storage solution.
Most CSer should be interested in Photo station - used for storing and sharing photos. For those who have tons of photos stored in I-dunno-where-they-are storage devices or worry about the storage limits from 3rd-party providers and will like to enjoy the freedom to upload photos as the capacity of your hard drives allowed., I will recommend you to look at what Photo Station can offer you today! Beside uploading and storing photos into the NAS, you have full control over who (be it friends or family) can access your photos. Beside that, it also allows you with the following features.
- Create albums and tag each photo with your meaningful description.
- Friends and family who have access, they can leave comments too!
- For those CSers who has geotag capable camera, your pictures have geotag information that can be linked to a google map too!
- Photos uploaded onto Photo Station can be synchronized or uploaded onto Facebook, Picasa Web Albums, Google+, or shared on Twitter.
For those movies lovers or folks who capture video clips using their camera, Video station lets you browse and organize all video contents stored in your DiskStation conveniently. You can select any folder (inside your NAS) and index it as movies, TV shows, or home videos, and everything can be neatly categorized. Enjoy movies with more convenience and less effort.
- Your video library: organized collection of movies, TV shows, and home videos
- A TV set for all: Video Station supports multi-channel TV streaming and recording (DTV dongle required)
- Customizable settings: offers localized movie and TV show information, favorite video watchlist, and schedule TV show recording
Information regarding the stored Movies and TV episode is pulled from the Net. While this works very well for English movies and TV shows, Chinese language ones a hit and miss.
And I almost forget to mention that the latest version of Video Station provides streaming function to AirPlay (Apple TV - Ya!) devices and sends your stored movies or recorded TV shows from DiskStation to your big TV!
To those music lovers like me, Audio Station is the place where you can browse, organize, and play the music from your NAS. Just grab the laptop or PC at hand, open a web browser, and you can get in the groove anytime you want.
- Stream music collection or Internet radio over the Internet
- Supports music streaming from computer, USB speakers, media renderer, AirPlay or Bluetooth devices
- Offers personal music collection and private playlist
This is a favorite app for both my wife and I - accessing stored songs using our iPAD and iPhone and our experience has been nothing but great so far.
One other package worth mentioning is Download Station. For those BT heavy users, you can turn your NAS into a sophisticated 24/7 download machine. You can simply drag-n-drop the existing BitTorrent™ files from your computer to Download Station and the downloading should start right away. It supports :
- Support BitTorrent™, FTP, HTTP. FTPS, SFTP, eMule, NZB news server, and multiple file hosting sites
- Set download schedules and limit bandwidth and download activities
- E-mail notifications can be sent when a download task completes
- Decompress downloaded files automatically
- Support regular expression in the RSS filter for more precise searching
For those iPhone users like me, you can access all the above mentioned applications (and more) by installing mobile apps in Apple Store :
You can manage your NAS , listen to stream music, watch recorded movies/shows, add on a new torrent (url) and show off your latest holiday photos (stored inside your NAS) to your friend using your iPhone/iPAD anytime anywhere! To those Androids users, please do not feel left out as you will also find similar Synology apps developed and made available at Google Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ogy+Inc.&hl=en
Coming to the end for this Part 2, I will like to take the opportunity to give credit to the Synology software development team for their effort in providing a user-friendly yet powerful software stack in their NAS!
Last but not least, for those who are keen, Synology provides a LIVE demo of the Web GUI over at DSM Live Demo - Synology Inc. Network Attached Storage - NEW NAS Experience . Give it a try today!
Last edited by Jason Ho; 27th April 2013 at 11:16 AM.
Reason: PS : Please excuse my grammer and spelling as usual :)
23rd April 2013, 05:46 PM
Re: Synology DiskStation DS1812+ User Review
This will be the Part 3 of my review. I received some feedback from fellow CSers asking about my typical workflow. In this last part of my DS1812+ review, I will share my workflow and how you can automate (to a certain extent) and streamline yours.
In my last post, I mentioned about the Photo Station application. Prior to owning a NAS, I had the similar issues faced by most of you. After shooting for the last 10 yrs or so, my photos were stored in many different places - both local and online. Many of us face the same problems of changing to a bigger disk - copying and re-organizing our photos store. It also didn't help when the (image) file size increases as many of us changed equipments over the years. How many of you can still remember when digital camera photos are 1.3 or 2.1 megapixel resolution? And how many of us were surprised to find out the size of a RAW file and realize how that impacted the way we store and organize our photos?
So how am I using NAS to help me to streamline the way I store my photos? Here's my simple workflow :
- Take photo using my camera
- Transfer photo from camera to my MacBook Air using CF card reader.
- Photo is stored in a Synology Cloud folder (more on that later)
- Edit photo and save the final copy back to the folder.
- Photos in the folder is synchronize with NAS.
- Use Photo Station for organizing, indexing and online viewing.
The above workflow is optimized based on my needs and experience. I started off using Synology File Station to create a shared folder and use that as the only folder to store my photos. I later realized that didn't work as I expected. The main reason is due to Lightroom (one of the editing tools I use) catalog issue with NAS devices! Yes, you cannot have your catalogue on a network drive, but you can certainly have your images there.
Then I found out there's a better way : Cloud Station .
If you have the need to access your photos across different devices, Cloud Station is perfect for you to have files synced automatically to all of them. Your work will always be up to date among Mac, PC, and mobile devices. Files are always accessible via the web and Cloud Station folders on your local computers.
- Maximum file size: sync files of up to 10GB size
- Enjoy speedy file transfer when your client device and DiskStation are in the same local area network (LAN)
- Get mobilized: use the free mobile app, DS cloud, to have your files stay in-sync on mobile devices, even for offline viewing
In the past, I used to backup my documents onto DropBox. Every since I had my NAS installed, I keep all my photos, documents and stuffs in 1 place. Cloud Station is like having your own private storage cloud solution!
Of course, this is not the only way to make use of Synology NAS to streamline your workflow. I came across another reviewer article showing his Photography workflow. He makes use of Lightroom feature (as shown in the picture below) to make a second copy to the NAS shared folder during import. After editing, he copies the catalog file into the folder.
As we all know, there's no 1 size fits all solution. I like to encourage CSers to share with workflow on this forum and I am sure many will benefit from this sharing.
To me, the DS1812+ is the most ideal solution for fellow CSers who require a perfect solution to safeguard their work. While the initial costs (*hinting at Synology for a special offer to ClubSNAP members*) can be a potential show stopper, the benefits of having a 1 stop storage solution for our photography hobby are enough to make me a proud Synology NAS owner today!
Last edited by Jason Ho; 27th April 2013 at 10:43 AM.
5th May 2013, 05:24 AM
Re: Synology DiskStation DS1812+ User Review
Great review. We've been running a Synology for close to 2 years now and here are some operational considerations.
Overall, it's been a very stable system. Our box is left on 24x7 and has gone through 5 firmware updates, 1 major, 4 minor. All updates went smoothly. We only met one issue so far, which is that previously the power saving feature was non-functional and we had turned it on. After the firmware update, it started working so our box would "randomly" turn off. Turning off the power saving feature quickly solved this.
We access our box via dual gigabit Ethernet in a bonded connection for additional reliability, running NFS for Macs and iSCSI for one server. This configuration is blazing fast.
We don't use the cloud sharing feature as we deem it a security risk but if you do, suggest you turn on and properly configure the built-in firewall at least.
All in all, a very good and stable box, high value for money, and easy to set up and operate., virtually fuss free.