Synology DS411j NAS Honest Review

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by blevins321, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. rhett7660 macrumors G5


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    This is how I do it and it works fine for me. I actually have a windows xp box running iTunes and Audiogalaxy with the library pointing to my NAS box.

    No complaints other than having to have the computer run iTunes. I don't have a Synology, I have a QNAP and I did not like the iTunes functionality on it. I may give it another try but it was a hassle to do.
  2. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010

    I have a DS411j and all is good but for the backups I do I have tens of thousands of tiny files (like one folder is 22,000 479Byte files). The 411j literally chokes and dies on these... 8+hours to make a copy of the folder (~10MB) and with CCC it still takes a long time just to verify nothing has changed (processor on NAS is floored at 99% the whole time) -- copy this folder to time capsule ~20 minutes!

    Is the performance boost for the 412 or 413+ enough to fix this??

    For everything else copy speeds are 20 to 40MB/s and no problem.
  3. blevins321 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Yeah, unfortunately that's a problem inherent in any network storage medium. Upgrading may help a bit, but not the gain you're hoping for. It's all because of the network protocol encapsulation that your OS uses to package the files for transport. Take a look a few posts up when I talk about using a disk image for an Aperture library. You might want to give that a shot for your files. It takes care of the speed problem and makes it just as fast as transferring to a local volume.
  4. PaulInTasmania macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    Hi guys, hope someone might be able to help me. The above quote has filled me with hope - please don't let it be unfounded!

    I've just got a DS213j - my first NAS, and largely chosen on the basis of this review. But now I'm in trouble with it. My set-up is that I have three macs on a wireless network. It has to be wireless - the only telephone outlet is in an awkward spot, and since we only have ADSL broadband access, that's where the router is. There is no way to cable from the router to the computers, and (here's the kicker) there's no room to put the NAS near the router either.

    So I'd been anticipating instead connecting the NAS to the ethernet port of the Mac Mini - blissfully unaware of the complications that would entail.

    So - I did connect it to the router initially, and got the set-up done. I gave it a static IP (I think), and then disconnected it and set it up connected to the Mac Mini.

    Now the Mini can see the NAS straight away - so far so good - but no other computers on the wireless network can "see through" the Mini to detect the NAS. And logging in to the NAS from the Mini to administer it is glacially slow (five minutes to log in, for instance).

    The guy quoted above said "After setting it up and installing the OS on the NAS, I gave it a static ip and returned to plugging it directly into the Mini. All worked as expected then." Well, maybe I'm naive, but this isn't what I expected! I was hoping for something I could connect to from the other computers on the network.

    Can anyone advise me on what I need to change in (a) the Synology NAS settings (b) the Mac Mini settings and/or (c) the router settings to get the NAS integrated fully into the network? Or am I chasing a rainbow here?
  5. blevins321 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    To be honest, I don't want to mess up my fragile UVerse network to test what I'm about to tell you, but I don't there's any harm in doing it - if you have problems just reset the empty NAS.

    I think the problem lies where you set the static IP. If memory serves, the Mac will assign a local IP to the shared device through its network connection. It won't use the router-provided address set. If you leave it all on automatic, then set your Ethernet connection on the Mac to share the Wifi connection, I think you'll be all set. It'll broadcast Bonjour addressing and should appear as available in the finder sidebars.

    To get to admin, you can go to http://NASNAME.local

    Let me know if that works for you!
  6. PaulInTasmania macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    Thanks for the advice, but unfortunately it didn't work. When I switch back to auto, the Default Gateway changes to - which I expect is the Mini. And the Synology's IP changes to So it seems you're right, it's set up its own little ethernet network. But nothing else on the network seems to be able to see the Synology. It appears in the Mini's sidebar, but nowhere else. Nothing seems to show up in the list in the router admin screen either.

    I have enabled internet sharing - sharing internet from airport to computers using ethernet. That's correct, right?

    I wonder whether there's something else I need to be doing. One thing I've noticed is that if I go to the Mini's network pane in System Prefs, the ethernet has a yellow indicator light, with the message "Ethernet has a self-assigned IP address and will not be able to connect to the internet."

    It also has Configure IPv4 as "Using DHCP". There is a different IP address there too.

    I'm stumped. Would appreciate further suggestions! If the worst comes to the worst, I might be able to connect it to the router using ethernet over powerline adaptors - I can't run ethernet cables, but EoP might be acceptable. More $$ though, and a bit clumsy. I get the feeling I'm just so close, but can't quite get there.
  7. d.steve macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    The IP addressing stuff about the self-assigned IP address is because you don't have a DHCP server on the ethernet network, so it can't get an IP address. So, it assigns itself one in 169.254.x.x range. You can get around this by going back to assigning a static IP address on a separate range from your wireless network.

    Edit: You'd need to set a static IP address in the same range for the Synology, too.

    I think what you're really trying to do isn't just internet sharing but ip routing. I've not had to do either of these on a Mac, but that's based on what I think internet sharing is and deep knowledge of ip routing in general.

    I'm assuming that internet sharing only works for connections initiated from the shared clients, and not connections being established to them, like is the case with sharing your NAS. There might be a way of modifying it to do what you want, but it could be pretty complicated.

    However, it might be easier to just tell your Mac to route between the two interfaces. The relevant term is "ip forwarding", so search around on how to enable ip forwarding on mac os.
  8. cschmelz macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    I just ordered a Synology DS413j w 4 3tb WD Red drives as a result of this and other reviews.

    I was leaning strongly toward the DS1512+ initially but then realized as a home user I really didn't need that kind of horesepower. Besides the DS413J plus 4 drives was $1080 delivered versus $800 just for the DS1512+.

    I'm very excited about moving my backup (time machine) from a JBOD 2 2tb drive attached via FW800 (aka 1/2 as reliable as either of the drives) to something much more reliable/robust.
  9. Non-Euclidean, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013

    Non-Euclidean macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Paul, did you ever get the issue solved?

    I think you arent going to get what you want until you have that NAS with a static IP from router. Since you cant hook it up directly, I think you need to make your Synology wireless, then it can be assigned an IP from your router.
    There are a couple ways to do this. I think Synology sells some add on/plug in to do this. There is also a huge number of USB wireless dongles you can get, compatability list here:

    There is also something like this:

    ASUS WL-330N 5-in-1 Wireless-N150 Mobile Router IEEE 802.11b/g/n

    Which can be plugged in to the ethernet port on the Synology and be used to connect to your wireless network.

    Once the Synology is on the network, any other machine can access it via either a web browser at the NAS IP, or by running the synology assistant.
  10. cschmelz macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    What an awesome little box. I got my Synology 413J from Amazon delivery to up and running with 4095gb time machine user/shared folder setup in 1/2 hour. Now it took 1.5 DAYS for it to back up my 1.9gb of data as an initial backup but a good, consistent 20mb/sec over gigabit ethernet all while it was still doing the parity checks (still is 3 days later in fact, but finally at 78%)

    Amazing device, especially for less than $400 bare!
  11. boombass macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2008
    I've been looking into a Synology NAS to replace my cobbled-together FreeNAS box. I have some questions I hope you can answer.

    On models that have USB 3.0 ports as well as gigabit ethernet ports, can more than one port be used at a time? Can I connect my Mac to a USB 3.0 port and my router to an ethernet port at the same time so my Mac has the benefit of the faster USB 3.0 connection, and my other computers in the house can access the Synology wirelessly through the router?

    Synology's website shows some transfer speeds, but I haven't been able to find out what kind of HDD they are using to get those speeds. Should I assume they are the fastest enterprise drives available? If I use WD Red drives, can I expect similar speeds? What sort of transfer speeds are you seeing with USB 3.0, gigabit ethernet, etc?

    Lastly, I had a Drobo at one point and I liked the way it could accept different hard drive sizes, even allowing hot-swapping. Many of the Synology models do the same thing. The weird thing about the Drobo was it would report, in the finder, the volume size as being much bigger than it actually was. For example, 3 x 1 TB drives would show up in the finder as 17 TB. This was because of the way the dynamic RAID worked. Do the Synology machines do the same thing?

  12. blevins321 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    The USB ports on Synology NAS's aren't meant to be connected to a computer. They're to plug in external devices and drives. Hard drives, printers, Wifi Adapters, etc...

    As far as what shows up, since the NAS itself controls the volume size, the info that will be shown to the Mac will be the actual size that is available. You can swap out different drive sizes as you wish, and the web-based manager will allow you to integrate them with the volume. Some units have hot-swapping, but not all.

  13. AC Rempt macrumors 6502

    AC Rempt

    Feb 24, 2008
    More praise for Synology! I have a DS212j that replaced a horrible NetGear unit (when will I learn that NetGear is awful?), and it hums along happily, backing up files and serving as cloud storage. It was effortless to set up, and it's been running problem-free non-stop for a year now. :)
  14. boombass macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2008
    Oh. Darn. Thanks for the info. I was hoping it could be used as both a NAS and a fast external HDD.

    Can I clarify what you said about how Finder reports the drive size? So if your Synology volume has 1.47 TB of free space, it's Finder window will report "XX items, 1.47 TB available" at the bottom? (The Drobo was not like this.)

  15. blevins321 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    It works like you think it should. Almost. Attached image is mine. There appears to be a slight variation in the reported numbers, but it isn't like Drobo where it reports the maximum size. I assume that the variation is unreported formatting/RAID loss and the space needed for the NAS' operating system.

    I should note: Below is with 4x3TB drives.

    Attached Files:

  16. boombass macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2008
    Perfect. Thanks very much for posting the picture!
  17. bluebellring macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hi, any chance you can accept my friend request or simply send me an PM? Thanks :)

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