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Synology Diskstation DS1010+ and DX510 Expansion unit review

The Diskstation DS1010+ arrives in a hefty, heavy duty box with the model sticker on the top and ‘for Windows and Mac’ branding at the bottom. Synology also make a point that no hard drives are included, so be sure to budget additional funds for storage.

The packaging is pretty much faultless. The accessories are supplied in a thin box with literature resting on top. The unit itself is protected between two very thick layers of foam with a felt wrap to protect against scuffing during shipping.

A UK power cable is supplied, as well as a welcome ‘quick install’ guide, drive mounting screws and two high quality Cat 6 cables.

After unpacking our initial impressions were positive – this is a heavy unit at 4.25kg without drives installed. It is 157mm x 248mm x 233mm in size and has clearly been built to a higher standard for the business market with a metal chassis and strong plastic fascia to give it a slightly more attractive appearance from the front.

There are five removable drive bays at the front and along the top are various lights for on the fly report feedback (Status, LAN1, LAN2 and alert). The rear has dual gigabit lan RJ45 connectors as well as 4 USB 2.0 ports, eSATA (more on this later) and a dual fan cooling system. There is also a reset button, bottom right. Lastly they have included a VGA port for console monitor attachment.

The fans are Sunon 80mm units and work in tandem at fairly low speeds to create high airflow while keeping noise levels down. I would prefer to see a single larger fan installed (120mm or 140mm) but I will reserve judgement until I get to dBA noise reading later.

The chassis looks very attractive but it easily marked with fingerprints and we also found that dust adhered to the surface easily. Synology have left the underside naked and on each corner is a strong foot rubber system for rock solid operation.

The five plastic drive mounts are easily removed by a simple button/lever system, however we were slightly disappointed not to see these being constructed from metal. It may sound like a small point, but in the business category QNAP have been using metal for a long time and they offer much added strength and longevity. There is also no key based locking system which is an unusual omission.

After removing all five drive bays we can see the sata controller inside – a straightforward 3GBps 5 array card attached to a motherboard at the side. There is also a fan on the interior to the left, which helps to cool the processor and outlaying components.

The motherboard is home to the dual core Intel Atom D510 1.67ghz processor which is paired up with 1GB of DDR2 800 mhz memory, supplied as standard. This is based around the Intel ICH6 southbridge with a 128MB flash module attached for caching and there is a ITE IT871820F controller for interface operations. A Silicon image SiL3132 SATAlink PCI Express to 2-port Serial ATA II Host controller deal with the eSATA interface. Two Intel 82574L gigabit ethernet controllers handle the throughput.

For those of you looking for upgrade options, Synology do offer a 1GB and 2GB ram module for added performance in specific situations – a full listing of supported modules is available here. That said, the default memory configuration should handle everyday tasks. Unlike QNAP units, there is no plastic layer isolating the motherboard from the side panel, so extra care should be taken when removing and attaching the chassis panel as carelessness could cause irreparable damage.

On the other side is a 250W Seasonic power supply which handles the drives, fans, and all system operations. There are various power and control headers out to the front panel, running across the top of the chassis.

Installing drives is a simple process, there are 3 screws required on either side for locking into the bays. Although we are using 3.5 inch drives, the trays also accommodate 2.5 inch units. Drives can be configured in Single Disk, JBOD, RAID 0/ 1/ 5/ 6/ 5+hot spare volumes.

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  • Tim

    Christ that is simply stunning. what a fantastic product from Synology. the internal design is fantastic.

  • Hank

    our business just bought the RS810RP+ and it is a fantastic performer. this one looks even better. great company

  • Thomas

    Any chance of a review of something I could afford. like the 200 model they sell ?

  • Joe

    so 750 without drives, add 5 x 2TB drives at 90 quid each, thats 1200 quid, then add the expansion pack with 5 more. another 800 quid.

    Still 20TB is a nice amount of storage. not sure id ever fill it. thats a lot of word documents :p

  • Luke

    These are great, follow up with some lower priced reviews please Allan, these are a little out of my price bracket

  • Frankie

    synology are great. nice to see all the high end samplez, but I agree, lower models now as a follow up.

  • Thomas

    Quick question, can any of their NAS systems use the new operating system or is it only the business models?

  • Raymond

    The OS looks brilliant. multitasking over IE as a control panel is really showing they are trying to make great products

  • Stephen

    synology FTW. 🙂 I might pick up a nas in the new year, wont be this one tho, thats a months pay for me, or more.

  • Terry

    Business product reviews now too. what a great idea 🙂 im all for something different. keep it up.

  • Tech Head

    My boss saw this last night and ordered 5 of these for our business. We have a lot of biggish files in the video sector and i cant wait to get my hands on setting them up.

  • Rock

    Excellent ! I have been waiting on a good tech site to review this and finally I have one. I have a QNAP system which is a little outdated now and I will have to replace the fan as it is making a whiring sound. I might replace the fan, sell it and put the funds into one of these base units. I have already got 5 1.5TB drives, so this is perfect.

  • Brook

    Good to see the partnering equipment used on KitGuru is up to spec. I have seen a few NAS system reviews lately which get poor marks but its actually due to a reviewer not using the right gear to measure performance.

  • Tri Color

    QNAP should fear these guys, they seem to be making a push into the business sector now. I know our company wouldnt buy this however as it doesnt have a key locking system. our IT boss has all the systems locked out hard and carries the keys with him everywhere. It wouldnt be an issue for a server room which only allows key staff inside, but our room has footfall from other departments. with unlocked drives it is a potential security issue.

  • IBM – IT guy

    Thanks for the detailed analysis. We have just ordered a couple of this in for our marketing department.

  • Kern

    Hello, can the reviewer tell me which is better for a business dealing with a lot of medium sized files ? a QNAP 639 pro or this ?

  • Kern – Well there are several factors to weigh in.

    QNAP 639 Pro – has lockable system for security. Synology doesn’t.
    Synology DS1010+ is faster
    QNAP 639 pro – is built a little better, especially the drive bays which are metal.
    QNAP 639 Pro has an extra drive bay over the 1010+ base unit
    Synology DS1010+ has expansion capabilities with the DX510 added, giving 4 more bay options than QNAP 639 Pro.
    Synology DS1010+ is slightly cheaper in the UK right now by £120 or so.
    OS on both is great, although Synology is multitasking now so id say it would be a little stronger. Qnap 639 pro has a lot of options however so I wouldn’t discount it completely.
    In regards to medium sized files, they would both be quite close, although id give the edge to the 1010+ it has a faster controller. Your networking specialists would need to correctly configure jumbo frames for these file sizes and ensure the network is all set up for this specific request.

    Overall its a close call, both are brilliant systems for a business. Personally id give the edge to the 1010+ because I feel it offers a little extra performance which can be critical depending on the demands. Future expansion with the excellent unit we tested also factors in. A business can expand and easily pay more for additional storage and capabilities.

  • Kern

    The drive bays, you mention them a few times, do they look as if they could be easily damaged? It is hard to tell the strength going on pictures.

  • Hi Kern – no the material is strong, but its not metal. The business market can expect this with a high end system for long term use. I wouldn’t class it as a critical issue, but it is something that could be improved, especially as competitors such as QNAP are already doing it.

  • Colin

    I decided to order one of these today, I have a few hard drives and I almost bought a buffalo system last month, but it looks too slow. I want to store all my HD movies and tv shows and I need something more substantial. thanks for the great buying advice as always KG.

  • Hakuren

    Seriously, only useful for people who will use this kind of stuff occasionally or where speed is not essential. Transfer rate is appallingly low. OK if you running unattended backups when you are away from PC/terminal, but transferring some TBs of data when speed is vital (like watching movies in HD) NAS is completely bonkers solution.

    For that kind of money (in particular if you do not require network access) you can get great (even if not very new) RAID controller like Areca 1231/61ML (660/790 Euros). Of course there is additional cost of backplanes, but transfer rate in RAID0 will go through the roof when you fill every channel [12/16] with SSD disks. Plus you can increase cache to 2GB on this card to improve performance even more – it doesn’t matter if you running RAID0, 6 or few mixed arrays.

  • Tech Head

    Hi Hakuren – I fail to see your point. you are saying not to get this, but to get an internal RAID setup with 16 SSD drives? if you wanted to have good storage capacity, you would need 16 512GB drives at 1000 each. thats £16,000 for 8TB. 20TB here would be around a tenth that price. There are very few businesses or home users who need SSD transfer rates for watching media or backing up files. I dont understand your point at all. Its a completely different demand you are talking about.

    This is network assisted storage, not internal RAID 0 over 16 drives. completely different audience and demand.

  • Colin

    Not to mention you can set up 10 x 2TB drives into 10 Raid 0 configurations so you can easily saturate the gigabit lan crossover point. I dont think anyone needs network assisted SSD raid 0 in a 12 or 16 drive configuration. You certainly wouldnt be looking at a business market for the majority of tasks. unless its broadcast video requirements.

  • Mathieu

    Would there be a performance increase using 7200rpm drives instead of 5400prpm (which you’ve used in this test) ?

  • Ralph

    Has anyone tried one of the expansion units directly connected to a PC eSATA port? Would it work as a DAS?