buying a NAS drive - is synology bad?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iOrbit, Jul 27, 2012.

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  1. iOrbit macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    in the last 2 days, iv ordered the first two parts of my upgrade scheme for how i use my mbp.

    16gb RAM
    and a 256GB Samsung 830 SSD.

    i don't want to clog up my ssd with data, i want to keep it spacious, un cluttered, free, and low maintenance when dealing with data on it (i.e. easy to wipe and clean install if needed, keep it fast and healthy)

    now, even if i wanted to keep all my data, i can't fit it all on there. i don't want to spend so much money on a 500gb ssd that could fail either.

    so its time for a nas.

    heres my problem:

    i was set on choosing the Synology DS212 over the QNAP TS-210.

    but im reading some reviews on amazon (i always read negative reviews) and i'm left concerned.

    here are some reviews that worry me, and i would like others who have used synology, especially this line of model, to share their experience to either back up these reviews or refute them:

    "By T. O'Neill (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
    This review is from: Synology DS212J 2 Bay NAS Enclosure (Accessory)
    I am writing this in the vague hope that Synology read these reviews and fix the problem. And it is a massive problem. There is a major bug and that is that the device churns at 100% CPU for several days if not weeks to create thumbnails for all the photos. And without letting it churn away for days on end you can't view thumbnails of the photos on your devices.

    Search for "thumb.conf" in the synology forums and you'll find all the disgruntled clients. And why no-one has posted this on Amazon directly is a mystery?

    And don't bother with the HACK that edits the thumb.conf file to stop the unsharpening of the thumbnails or indeed stop the production of the 1280 version altogether because it makes very little difference. My DS212j has been churning @ 100% for 8 hours overnight to thumbnail 330 photos and 55 videos. So that's not even 1 a minute and with 24,000 to go that's going to take 2 weeks!


    Have returned this as unfit for purpose as it will take literally weeks (no, I'm not exaggerating) to index a reasonable number of photos uploaded to it.
    The problem is with thumbnail generation, which is necessary for the media server or the app called Photo Station to work.

    There are many people on the Synology forum complaining of this issue.

    and lastly.. I bought this item thinking I could have a single place for all my photos and music. The story so far is one of massive frustrations and not much success. Putting the drives in is very simple but setting it up is far from plug n play. You litterally have to install each component you want. Eg you want to store and access photos you must install photo station package from the package centre. Trouble is there is nothing to say that's what you must do! There is masses of info on how it works and the more sophisticated stuff like setting up port protocols (whatever that's all about) but almost nothing regarding basics like how to get your files onto the drive. Even loading something simple like music is a hassle at 1st I have been struggling with this drive for a few weeks but it's actually getting somewhere. I keep finding new little tweaks that open up new areas and it's now allowing me to load the way I wanted. If only it was a more plug n play option it would be getting more stars!

    all of that sounds awful, and really inconvenient.

    all i want to do, is have a drive that is constantly accessible, like as if it was an external drive plugged in. i'm not looking for any software or special servers to do anything more unless it can do that basic need first.

    because i just want to store my itunes library and iphoto library etc to a drive, so my laptop is spacious.

    do i really need to use some software application to pick photos and music? i just want to drag and drop and tell my apps where my files are.

    please help with any suggestions.
  2. omr macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    I'm in the process of switching from windows to mac as my primary system, so most of my experience with my diskstation is via windows.
    I've never had the cpu maxing issue and/or the indexing issue with thumbnails. Maybe it's because I was putting data onto the drive little by little, but in theory you should not need the synology apps in order to use the diskstation as a network drive and transfer files.

    When I first got my DS210J, everything went extremely smoothly. There are downloadable drivers for windows to map the DiskStation as a network drive viewable within explorer so that all I do is drag and drop any file to and from, as well as create and delete folders, just as though it were any other connected drive. Maybe it's how I have windows configured but I see thumbnails of all my photos and videos when I access those folders, but it usually needs to index the thumbnails each time I access the drive after windows has been rebooted. Same as when I access via a browser.
    Yes, you do need to install the different packages in order to use those services and apps, but not if you're just accessing files through your operating system's file system, i.e. windows explorer, etc.

    I tried connecting with a mac at the beginning as well, and at the time osx snow leopard had native drivers that recognized the diskstation on the network, and additionally as a TimeMachine device. Back then the synology iTunes server was seen on all my connected computers that were running iTunes as well. In the last year or so apple changed some things in osx and synology itunes server stopped being compatible. synology I believe is working on this.

    In the last several months I've had trouble with snow leopard seeing the diskstaion at all, ethernet or wifi, but this issue happened coincidentally around the time I updated my router's firmware, and I still haven't definitively figured out whether it is a conflict with the router or the diskstaion os itself. This happened briefly on my windows pc as well, but the conflict resolved itself.
    I still have no issue connecting and communicating with the diskstation through a browser or with any synology apps on my iphone or ipad or with synology's cloud station service. It is mostly communication within the LAN and by the different operating systems that were having issues, but all other paths worked fine, i.e. through proprietary apps or manually directing a connection. So, it might be that currently the best connections with the diskstaion are through native apps, like you suggested, but this wasn't always the case.
    The other day I updated a couple packages on the diskstation and for a brief time snow leopard saw and connected to the diskstation again and then almost as suddenly was lost again. In the synology forums I see a couple people say everything's working fine for every one person who says they have a similar connection issue on a mac, and it's not clear whether synology software is working any better or worse with lion, but I do think there are some new conflicts between apple and synology right now. Hopefully this will pass as synology works to resolve them, but apple is making it more difficult for non-apple/proprietary/3rd party software to inter-operate with their stuff. So, I'm not sure that any non-apple NAS would be a necessarily better choice.
    Synology has some cool apps and packages in the pipeline and for the most part is an extremely functional and convenient NAS platform. They're small so things take longer to be developed, but their hardware is great and their software is innovative if not general consumer friendly.

    I'll let you know if I learn anything more as I will be receiving an airport extreme base station soon and will be examining my network settings to see what the conflict/s that I've been encountering are from. Settings, router, or diskstaion... I'll also be installing mountain lion soon and it'll be interesting to see how that integrates into the mix.

    In general though, your best resource for info are the synology forums.
  3. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    thanks so much for sharing your experience, and yes thats exactly what im after, thats all i'm after really, a Drive that is always there. accessible through the finder/system.

    its a shame that it may not be working with apple's os so well, i'm not sure what to do. i guess i will google the experience of mac os 10.7+ with this synology.

    do you know how simple or straight forward it is to set up as just a normal drive for drag & dropping files? people are critical of the product saying its difficult and the manual assumes you know what you're doing.
  4. spdntrxi macrumors regular

    May 11, 2012
    I'm looking for a new NAS as well...

    Leaning towards Promise because I do like the idea of a thunderbolt cable since I already have some portable TB drives. I currently use a WD Sharespace which is a hold over from my windows days. Lion and ML OS's are not officially supported, but with some internet searching and some terminal commands, I'm able to read and write to the drive now. The last hurdle that remains is my iTunes library (again on the WD NAS and created with windows) which I can only access via home share when the windows PC is on, which is kind of a downer.

    The two negatives I see on the promise is the cost and lack on knowing the status of the machine accessing it. My WD drive will sleep thus saving power and is extremely quiet.. too things I love about it since it's in the main living space.
  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I have had my Synology for well over a year or two now, and use it only with my MacBook and iOS devices.
    I have NEVER had any issues whatsoever. It's always run perfectly fine for months on end with no reboots necessary. CPU usage is always very low, as is RAM usage.
    Remember that most people wh are happy rarely create reviews etc. it's mainly those who have issues that write about the product, so online customer reviews can be biased. Check some proper reviews from trusted websites, where most, if not all, say Synology make some excellent NAS units.
    I work in IT, and I always recommend Synology. They are so flexible, versatile, and reliable hat I really can't see any reasons why not to go for it!
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