Articles: Networking

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The overwhelming majority of entry-level and midrange network attached storage products are based on Marvell’s ARM processors whereas more advanced NASes feature the x86 architecture and the various CPUs of the Intel Atom family. Unfortunately, there is no sharp line separating the two categories from an end-user's point of view as they can be very similar across most applications and features.

The single tangible advantage of x86 NASes is their compatibility with x86 code, which may come in handy if you need to implement new services, especially related to specialized peripheral equipment. But one notable downside of x86 NASes is their generally higher price.

The DiskStation DS411 is Synology’s fastest ARM-based product that can accommodate four disks. It is more advanced than the DS411j model which is equipped with a 1.2GHz ARM processor and 128 MB of memory but less advanced than the company's Atom-based NASes. Thus, the DS411 looks like the golden mean for those users who want a large-capacity NAS but do not want to pay extra for the x86 platform.

Package and Accessories

Synology’s products come in different types of packaging. This time around, it is a blue cardboard box with icons denoting usage scenarios. The specific product is only indicated by a sticker with such information as model name, technical details, supported languages and box contents.

There is a plastic handle that helps you carry this rather large box around (it’s 28.5 x 24.5 x 23 centimeters). The accessories include an external power adapter with cord, an Ethernet cable, some screws, an installation guide and a CD. Plastic mounting frames for HDDs are already inside the NAS.

The included disc contains DSAssistant (a NAS setup utility available in several versions for different OSes), firmware, Data Replicator (a backup tool) and Download Replicator (a frontend to the NAS’s integrated file download system). You may want to get the full version of the user manual from the Synology website. The firmware and its features are being updated regularly, so a printed manual would soon become outdated.

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