The Hardware

The DS211j runs on a 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood MV6281 processor, 128 MB of DDR2 RAM and a maximum storage capacity of two 3 TB SATA-300 3.5” or 2.5” hard disks (6 TB total) in JBOD, RAID 0 or 1 arrays, with iSCSI support also included. Our review unit came preconfigured with a 1 TB drive installed in one of the two drive bays inside.

There is a 70 mm fan inside that keeps airflow circulating to the drives, and Synology has made a point of presenting the DS211j as an energy-saving unit. The drives can be set to hibernate when idle, including the option of telling the unit to power on and off based on your preferred schedule.

Synology has clearly considered all types of consumers in designing the hardware and software to make it as user-friendly as possible for the setup process. From the hardware side, you only need to plug in the power cable to the slot in the back and a wall outlet, and then plug the included Ethernet network cable directly into your router. It’s advisable that you ensure you’re either using a router with Gigabit ports or a Gigabit switch; otherwise, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the speed that the DS211j can offer. To be truthful, having a media server to stream content almost demands that you have a ‘fatter pipe’ through which to push the data.

The unit comes with very basic setup instructions that take you through to the step of sliding in the included install disc into a Windows PC, Mac or Linux computer, and then launching the DiskStation Assistant software. After the install is complete, the DiskStation should immediately become recognizable across the network, though we found it interesting that Macs recognized it in the Finder even before we ran the Assistant.

Ted Kritsonis is a respected technology journalist, video personality and consultant based in Toronto, Canada, whose love affair with the wide world of tech began at a young age with a computer and game console in tow. Ted contributes to a dozen publications in Canada and the U.S., and can be found on Twitter at @Teddy__K.