Most of Synology’s dual-disk NASes let you hot-swap your HDDs. This feature and the design of the case have been inherited from the last-year DS211+ model. The DS212 measures 10.8 x 23.2 x 16.5 centimeters, which isn’t very large for a modern dual-disk NAS.
The metallic chassis of the case is covered with exterior plastic panels. The panels are black and mostly matte, except for the glossy cover of the disk bays. There are vent grids shaped like the manufacturer’s logo in the side panels.
On the front panel we can see four indicators (Status, LAN, Disk1 and Disk2), two buttons with integrated LEDs (Power and USB Copy), a USB 2.0 port and an SD/SDHC card slot. A vent grid takes up most of the back panel. Below it, there is a power connector, two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a Kensington slot, and a hidden reset button.
The manufacturer has taken some measures to make the NAS quieter such as the large 92mm intake fan and rubber pads that suppress vibrations from the HDDs. Besides the side panels, the bottom and front panels have vent grids, too. The fan can be easily taken out for cleaning.
The DS212 runs on a 1.6GHz ARM processor Marvell 6282. It is not a hot chip and has only one small heatsink for cooling. There are 256 MB of DDR3 SDRAM as system memory. The OS is stored on a dedicated disk partition, so the flash chip with bootloader is only 4 MB large. SATA, USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet controllers are all integrated into the processor.
There is additionally a USB hub GL850G on the PCB. The USB 3.0 interface is based on a NEC D720200 chip while the card-reader uses a GL836 controller. Compared to its last-year predecessor, the DS212 has a different chassis and additional USB 3.0 and SD/SDHC controllers.
The hardware components are all assembled on a single PCB except for HDD connectors. There are no flexible cables in this NAS.
The fan uses a 3-pin connection. Its speed is regulated automatically depending on the temperature of the hard disks and processor. The regulation algorithm can be optimized for one out of three parameters: temperature, noise or power consumption. The NAS shuts down the HDDs as well as the fan in sleep mode, becoming absolutely silent.