NAS - Synology bad?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iOrbit, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. iOrbit macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    buying a NAS drive - is synology bad?
    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. packerfan macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2007
    This isn't a problem that's unique to Synology. The QNAP NAS software does exactly the same thing. You can get around this "issue" by using the desktop software (called Synology Assistant) to upload your images so that you leverage the faster CPU in your laptop/desktop to create the thumbnails. If you don't use the PhotoStation plug-in in the Synology NAS software, then this isn't even something to worry about.

    I've been a Synology owner for years and couldn't be happier.
  3. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    packerfan, if i dont use these software packages, am i able to use it as just a Hard drive?

    all i'm looking for is a 1 or 2 TB drive accessible to my mac, where i can store all the media files. and i will tell itunes and my apps where to find them. i'm not looking to browse my files on the nas drive with any other application. i just want the HDD to feel like an integrated part of my system in a hardware like manner.

    do you know if i can do this, is it simple? some reviewers saying its very difficult.
  4. blazeken996 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2009
    Any reason for making two threads about the same thing?

    Synology is really popular here in China, so I'd say their pretty good.
  5. packerfan macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2007
    If all you're looking for is a "dumb" networked drive (i.e. just push/pull files from/to Windows Explorer or Finder), then I suggest looking at something a bit cheaper and simpler. The Synology and QNAP drives require you to install their NAS software in order to function, even at a basic level. Synology's is called DSM, and it's essentially a customized operating system that you can access from a web browser. It formats the drives in the NAS using a custom format that's optimized for their software and handles everything for you. QNAP has something very similar, although I'm not sure what they call it. If you want something simpler, if you have the option of plugging in a normal USB hard drive into your router, that may be a lot easier and more of what you're looking for.

    Here is an example of the DSM web interface.
  6. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Amazing, I love Synology NASs but didn't know the photo uploader did the thumbnails. I almost felt sorry for the poor Marvel processor crunching away for hours & hours doing thumbnails when I simply dropped jpegs into the photo folder.
  7. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    i made one topic in here originally, and it dropped with no replies but plenty views, so my intuition said try another forum, but it was moved to this forum.

    interesting, well i'm happy to spend less, but i want something that performs fast too you know? i want itunes and other apps to be able to access, i.e. play my music, promptly as possible (as close as possible to matching the speed of itunes playing files from the drive in the actual laptop)

    wont buying a cheaper one suggest it will be slower?

    im surprised by the OS implementation, can't imagine what people would want that for?

    so if i buy the synology, i cannot use it as a dumb drive? i mean, all i want to do is have itunes folder, my iphoto library, just all my media files, in a drive that can be accessed as quick as possible.
  8. packerfan macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2007
    You can definitely use a Synology drive and mount it in OSX as a AFP or Samba share (I do that for my movie library). I just think you can accomplish the same thing in other ways that may be able to save you some money.

    If speed is your primary concern, do you plan on using wireless or wired connection? If wireless, you'll most likely be limited by that connection anyway, so you probably won't see the performance penalty of a slower drive. For example, if I'm transferring a large file (multi-GB) to my Syno NAS on my 2.4GHz wireless, I only get about 6-8 MB/s. When I switch to 5GHz, I get 10-12MB/s. On GigE wired, I get about 25 MB/s. Reads are faster than writes, but hopefully this gives you a decent example of what to expect.

    If you have no problem spending the money on the Synology, then I suggest going for it. Once you get DSM up and running, you don't have to use the software if you don't want to. When connecting to OSX, I suggest mounting the drive as a Samba share (smb://foo) instead of AFP. You'll get better performance.
  9. eric44 macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    I've got a DS212 thr' an airport extreme and couldn't be happier.
    I know it takes ages to create the thumbnails but it can do all that in the background!
  10. iOrbit, Jul 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012

    iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    i'm on 10MB broadband, and i intend to be wirelss most the time. are you sure that if i have a slower nas device, i wont see a difference in how fast i can browse my files with itunes/iphoto, finder?

    does anyone know if my ideal is unrealistic? im using a macbook pro, and the ideal is to use it wirelessley with a nas storage device over wifi on 10mb broadband speeds.

    im hoping that with a more expensive and reliable nas like the synology, when i click play on songs in itunes, they play pretty promptly (within 4 seconds, but preferebly within 2 or 3), something similar with movies too.

    what would it be like browsing the nas storage device with the finder? will that be instantaneous?

    and what about browsing files like photos and documents, videos? will iphoto have a few seconds wait for a photo to load??

    i currently use a external wired usb hdd with my imovie projects on that, i dont mind keeping them on there, but using them from the nas instead would be even more convenient, but would it be too far from fluid to edit 1080p movies in imovie from a nas device?
  11. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    Use my MBP with my NAS wirelessly all the time. I find it just as fast as having a local external drive. No problems whatsoever.
  12. iOrbit, Jul 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012

    iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    what nas do you use?

    and do you store your itunes library on it?

    if so, is that too about as fast as when your library was on your local internal drive??

    im newb to all of it, im not sure how to set up itunes best.

    sigh.. after doing a bit of research, i feel im at a dead end with deciding on buying this or not. the impression is that the ideal is simple, but complicated and maybe not even real.

    has some one with a synology nas drive, successfully got their itunes library on the nas, but accessing the library as if it was on a local drive (so its in the music library, not under 'shared', not a server!)

    and how fast does it work? im reading experiences where itunes is really really slow.
  13. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I would not want my iTunes content on a NAS personally. When I've attempted this in the past it did not work well. It needs to be local imo.
  14. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    what is it people are doing with large libraries of music/video/photo/media with SSD's and notebooks??

    is everyone stationary and plugged in by usb/wire??
  15. fanchee macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2009
    I have my entire iTunes library on my Synology NAS, and I have no issues at all. Sync my iPhone and iPad to it, too. It was very easy to set up, but time-consuming because my library was large (music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps).
  16. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    really? could you possibly share how you set it up? im going to be trying it next week, i don't mean the nas itself, but itunes onto the nas?

    alot of people have reported difficulty here, particularly an issue where itunes is very slow.

    whats your experience? does itunes feel like its data is local drive?
  17. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Whatever bus you're using to connect to the NAS is going to be slower than a local drive. iTunes might run acceptable, but data on the NAS is never going to feel like it's on the local drive.

    Not saying that a NAS is bad, they certainly are very useful for storing data off the machine, but the any data stored on any drive not local to the machine is going to have a much slower access time.
  18. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    It's in my sig - Dynology Ds1511+ with a DX510 expansion unit.

    With an iTunes server you can sync your devices to it. It doesn't store your apps etc either. From my understanding it's just a way to share your music and movies with iTunes. So you don't sync to it directly, you still sync with an instance of iTunes directly, and store content on the iTunes server. This way any instance of iTunes has access to the content from the iTunes server.
    Hence an iTunes server is just that - it serves content to an instance of iTunes, or to an iTunes library. It's a way of sharing the same content to several iTunes libraries on the network. It's not the same as storing your iTunes Library on a server.

    It's pretty fast and works well, but not as fast as a local iTunes library on your local disk.

    To sync to it you need to move your entire iTunes library across to the NAS - not use it as an iTunes server. Depending on the amount of content you have, this will still be slower then a local library. Not majorly slow, but enough to notice.

    Most users struggling for space on their SSD have their library on an external drive connected via FW800 or TB. If you have no other uses for a NAS other then for your iTunes library, a DAS may be a better solution for you.
  19. iOrbit thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    yeah, i have realistic expectation, i dont expect it to play as quickly as a click but im hoping it doesn't exceed the 3 second mark

    i can't believe most users do that, i can only do that on a stationary iMac, i can't do that with a laptop.
  20. sfxguy macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2011
    Los Angeles
    How is their Itunes server? Are you able to stream video directly to an Apple TV or does it still need a machine in the middle, like most other NAS, setup with sharing?
  21. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    AppleTV needs an instance of itunes running to stream from - you cannot stream directly from an iTunes server without an instance of iTunes running in-between (unless you jailbreak the AppleTV).
  22. fanchee, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    fanchee macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2009
    I had an older library structure, and updated it as described here.

    Then, I set it up using this as a guide. That put all of my media files onto the NAS drive. I kept the actual library files on my ssd.

    Below is a screenshot of both the NAS and the SSD:

    It took FOREVER to copy my media files to the NAS, but it's because I have 305g of music, movies, tv shows. Seriously, like a day and a half.

    But it works GREAT. A couple of tips I can share with you if you do decide to go this route:
    • Create a shared folder, and then create ANOTHER shared folder inside of the first called 'music' (or whatever you want) and this is where your media files will go. It's important to note that this is NOT the music folder that synology creates for you by default. The synology music folder is used for an iTunes server set up. I did not want this setup; I wanted my local machine to store all media files on the NAS.
    • Make sure your shared folder is mounted whenever you fire up iTunes. If you are going to be away from your home network, I'd advise using synology's audio station to listen to your content.

    Hope this helps!
  23. jake- macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2012
  24. Pull n Pray macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2012
    I've had my DS2411+ for a couple of months now and I couldn't be happier with it. It is a lot more than just a NAS. It is practically a server. I used to have a Windows Home Server, and the Synology DS2411 is superior to it in every way for what I do. Here is a link to the manually for Synology's most recent operating system, DSM 4.0.

    I'm still not using most of the features yet. I just set it up to use like a big hard drive for all my computers. The file transfer speed for large files is about 100 MB/sec. Of course, it's not as responsive as a local drive. One thing I use it for is to store my movie collection and stream it to Windows Media Center on my HTPC. No issues at all doing this. I don't use it for my music collection, but I think it would work fine for what you want to do.

    One thing the Synology will allow you do do is map it as a drive even with a remote Client. For example, here on my work computer the "X" drive is my Synology Diskstation from home. And you can just explore your files like you can for any other drive. I opened up an audio file to see how long it would take to start playing, and it was less than 1 second. I opened up a HD video (720P, 3 MB bitrate), and it played fine too. So this would be a great feature to have with a laptop.

    The Photostation that the Amazon user was having problems with isn't something i've used yet. You don't need to use photostation to store and use photos, and you don't need to use audiostation to store and use audio. These services index and organize your media, and I imagine they would be good for streaming media to mobile devices. But even with mobile devices, you can access all of your files without using these services by using the DS File app, which is basically just a file browser app.
  25. Pull n Pray macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2012
    Just read Jake's post and the link he provided. I've used my Diskstation with Windows 7, iPhone, and iPad, and it has performed great. But it sounds like there are issues with OSX. A dumb NAS might be a better choice.

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