According to our tests, the DS211 model, positioned by Synology as a mainstream NAS, is not far inferior to its top-end counterparts in terms of data transfer speed. We guess Synology products can be viewed as falling into two categories only: the entry-level ones (with the letter j in their model name) and the others. Considering also that the firmware provides the same basic functionality for all of them, your shopping choice should be based on such factors as price, the type and number of supported HDDs, I/O ports, hot swap capability, etc., rather than on the processor frequency or the amount of system memory. Unfortunately, we do not expect a reduction in prices because Synology prefers to improve something and keep the price of the resulting product at the previous level rather than to make a simpler and cheaper NAS.
Synology’s dual-disk NAS series is numerous right now, but you can see clear differences with each model. The junior DS211j model has a 1.2GHz processor and 128 MB of memory. Costing half as much again, the DS211 adds 400 MHz to the processor frequency and doubles the amount of system memory. The next step, the DS211+, doubles the memory again, provides an eSATA port and features a stylish black case. These improvements will cost you 30% more than the price of the DS211. We’ve been talking about ARM processors so far. The top-end DS710+ has an x86 processor, 1 GB of system memory and the hot swap feature. It is also about 25% costlier than the DS211.
Thus, the top-end model is about two and a half times as expensive as the low-end one, but the performance difference is much smaller. Perhaps we would see more difference in speed at heavy multitasking applications such as downloading multiple files, multimedia streaming or video surveillance, but we haven’t been able to perform such tests so far.
As for the specific model, the DS211 is an excellent modern NAS. It is fast and functional just as you can expect from a Synology product. The only downside we can see about Synology devices is their rather high price. On the other hand, this price is quite justifiable because it would be a very difficult task to build a similar NAS with your own hands.