This dual-disk NAS has the same exterior design that we first saw back in 2007. Synology has only replaced it with something different in a few newer models. The case is not very large at 8.8 x 22 x 16.6 centimeters. There are not many dual-disk NASes available which are smaller. The DS211 can only be installed upright.
The case is trimmed with glossy plastic. Most of the surfaces are white. The panel with indicators and buttons is gray. The NAS stands on four rubber feet and has as many as six indicators: status, network activity, disk activity, USB copying status, and power. One of the two buttons on the front panel is a Power switch. The other button is used for copying data from an external disk attached to the front USB connector.
We can see a fan grid, a power connector, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB connectors and a Reset button on the back panel. There is a vent grid in the bottom panel, too.
The DS211 is based on the ARM platform. Marvell’s processors have got faster and acquired DDR3 support over the years. The DS211 features a 6282 chip with a clock rate of 1.6 GHz, 256 megabytes of system memory, and 4 megabytes of flash memory. The peripheral interfaces (SATA, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB 2.0) are all integrated into the processor. The only non-integrated controllers are a USB hub and an auxiliary network chip.
The PCB is divided into two parts. The main one carries the processor and its accompaniments whereas the secondary one supports the front-panel connectors, indicators and buttons. This must be intended to unify product design and reduce the manufacturing cost. Early Synology NASes used to have cables to connect HDDs but now combined data/power SATA connectors are used for higher reliability.
Notwithstanding the rather high clock rate, the processor is cooled passively with a metallic heatsink. The NAS on the whole and the installed HDDs in particular need more cooling, of course, so there is a 70mm system fan inside. The air flows in through the grid in the front part of the bottom panel and leaves the NAS through the back panel. The noise level is low; the speed of the fan is controlled automatically.
We tested our DS211 with firmware version DSM 3.0-1354.