Published on January 8th,2012 at 9:38 AM
By >Ike

[REVIEW] Synology DiskStation DS712+, DX510 and security special

Synology recently launced a new model in their business class network attached storage division, namely the 2-bay DS712+. Over the last week we took the time to play around a bit with this particular model and let you know how it handled the stress tests.



This 2-bay unit comes, like most Synology business class units, in a highly airflow optimized form factor. The 2 disks are mounted vertically with a small gap between front trays, optimizing the way air  naturally flows through the hard drives. The rear 92mm fan assures both hard drives get plenty of cool air.

Brackets come in PVC, just like their home user models. Since they are very easy to deploy, we have no negative comments on the usage of using PVC materials for business/SOHO equipment. Hard drives are not supposed to reach temperatures higher than 50 degrees (Celsius), and the PVC solution can resist values well over 100 degrees without risk of deforming shape.

The combination of using a solid metal outer shell and inner skeleton gives this unit a very robust feeling, and assures an extra measure of heat conduction. The 92mm fan in the DS712+ does a great job of keeping the internals cool; though even on silent mode it isn’t as silent as the home user units. For most office environments I would not advice you to crank up the cooling to “normal” or “high performance”, as this will most definitely audibly annoy your employees. There is no need to have the cooling system on any higher than the lowest setting; the drives inside stay perfectly cool even under high workloads.



  • CPU Frequency : 1.8GHz
  • Floating Point
  • Memory : DDR3 1GB
  • Internal HDD/SSD : 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA(II) X 2 (Hard drive not included)
  • Max Internal Capacity : 6TB (2X 3TB HDD) (Capacity may vary by RAID types) (See All Supported HDD)
  • Hot Swappable HDD
  • External HDD Interface : USB 2.0 Port X 3, eSATA Port X 1
  • Size (HxWxD) : 157 X 103.5 X 232 mm
  • Weight : 1.69Kg
  • LAN : Gigabit X2
  • Link Aggregation
  • Wake on LAN/WAN
  • System Fan : 92x92mm x1
  • Wireless Support
  • Noise Level : 19.2 dB(A)
  • Power Recovery
  • AC Input Power Voltage : 100V to 240V AC
  • Power Frequency : 50 / 60Hz, Single Phase
  • Power Consumption : 27.5W (Access) ; 17.6W (HDD Hibernation)
  • Operating Temperature : 40 to 95°F (5 to 35°C)
  • Storage Temperature : 15 to 155°F (-10 to 70°C)
  • Relative Humidity : 5% to 95% RH
  • Maximum Operating Altitude : 10,000 feet
  • Certification : FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
  • Warranty : 3 Years



The DS712+ unit is a 2 bay unit, meaning the RAID options are very limited. In a business environment I would strongly not advice you to use JBOD (Just A Bunch of Disks) or use striping RAID (RAID level 0). The DS712+ has multiple disk formatting options available, yet mirroring RAID (RAID level 1) is the only option that should be considered to assure daily failsafe operation.

We obtained Synology’s 5 bay expansion unit (model: DX510) for further testing purposes, combined with the DS712+ this unleashes additional safety and performance gains. To briefly sum up what the DX510 exactly adds to the kit:

The Synology DX510 is connected to the Synology DiskStation using an eSATA cable with custom-designed connectors on both ends, ensuring a reliable connection and maximum throughput. The eSATA 3.0 Gb/sec definition allows the hard drives in the connected Synology DX510 to operate like they are native internal disks of the Synology DiskStation.

DiskManager 3.2

The DS712+ unit came with the latest and greatest DSM software package pre-installed. We had tested this DSM thoroughly before, but this time we will give you an extended look at the Surveillance Station and show you how to connect a Synology expansion unit.


The features of this DSM version:

  • File Browser
  • File Station
  • FTP Server
  • Bandwidth Control, Custom FTP Passive Port Range, Anonymous FTP, Transfer Log
  • Mail Server
  • Supported Mail Server Protocol : POP3, SMTP, IMAP
  • Web Station
  • Virtual Host (up to 30 websites)
  • Alternative HTTP Error Page
  • 3rd-Party Applications Support
  • Surveillance Station
  • MAX IP cam # (Licenses required) : 12 (1 Free License) (See All Supported IP Cameras)
  • Total Frames per Second (FPS) : 120 FPS @ D1 (NTSC:720×480, PAL:720×576), 30 FPS @ WXGA (1280×800).
  • Recording Modes : Manual, Continuous, Motion Detection, Alarm, Motion Detection and Alarm
  • Event Playback : Sync Mode (4 Channels), Time Slicing Mode
  • Centralized Management
  • Compression Formats : MJPEG, MPEG-4, H.264
  • Photo Station
  • Supported Image Format : BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f)
  • Supported Video Format : 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, FLV, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, QT, WMV, XviD, RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3
  • User can click and download the following video formats: RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3, but not able to play it in Photo Station as compressed
  • Flash video.
  • Audio Station
  • Supported Audio Format (USB Mode) : AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WMA VBR
  • Supported Audio Format (Streaming Mode) : MP3, M4A, M4B
  • Supported Playlist Format : M3U, WPL
  • Internet Radio : SHOUTcast, Radioio
  • DLNA/UPnP Media Server
  • PS3/Xbox 360 Support
  • Supported Audio Format : AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA
  • Supported Video Format : 3GP, 3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, DVR-MS, ISO, M2T, M2TS, M4V, MKV, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MTS, MOV, QT, SWF, TP, TRP,
  • TS, VOB, WMV, XviD, RMVB
  • Supported Image Format : BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO
  • Download Station
  • Supported Download Protocols : BT/HTTP/FTP/NZB/eMule
  • Custom BT Port Range
  • BT / eMule Bandwidth Control
  • iTunes Server
  • Supported Audio Format : MP3, M4A, M4P, WAV, AIF
  • Supported Video Format : M4V, MOV, MP4
  • Supported Playlist Format : M3U, WPL
  • Print Server
  • Max Printer # : 2
  • Printing Protocols : LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk, Appel AirPrint, Multi Functional Print Server (Only PostScript USB printers are supported in MAC environment)
  • Packages Center
  • VPN Center
  • Squeezebox Server
  • Mail Station
  • Webalizer
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Time Backup
  • iPhone/Android Applications
  • DS photo+
  • DS audio
  • DS cam
  • DS file
  • DS finder

A big plus for Synology is the fact that they have many 3rd party developers who produced some nice integration apps for your current DSM version. There are plenty of add-ons to choose from, they have about everything starting with Blog Systems, Bulletin Boards, Content Management, Customer Relationship Managers, Database Managers, E-Commerce, E-Learning and Gallery Ticket Systems up to Wiki & Groupware apps.
Your DSM can also be upgraded by Synology’s own free add-on packages. They vary from a VPN server, Syslog, Squeezebox server, phpMyAdmin, HASP, HiDrive Backup, WordPress or OpenERP apps.



For our first test, we assembled the unit in RAID1, mainly because it serves no purpose to use any other non-protected disk management structure for business deployment.

By plugging in an expansion unit (test 2), like the 5-bay Synology DX510, we can boost both reliability and speed. Since the default DS712+ will appear like it’s a 7 bay unit (2 + 5-bay over ESATA), so equally extending the choice in RAID options. One can extend his DS712+’s mirrored RAID (RAID1) to RAID5, RAID6 or even RAID10.  The connection between the expansion unit and DS712+ is done by ESATA, this assures transfer speeds of 150mb per second (and higher); making sure your combo kit pushes the limits of your network cables.

Table 1: Native 2 disk mirrored RAID.

Description Copy from NAS in MB/sec Write to NAS in MB/Sec
A set of 100 photos in folder 95-108 45-56
A bulk of 1000 itunes audio files 55-76 45-66
A 4GB folder containing mixed small files and folders 60-76 50-69
A 8GB single file archive 80-97 75-83
A 30GB folder with 20*1.5GB files inside 75-105 60-83
An 800MB single file archive 80-81 71-77
A 350MB episode 90-115 80-83


For this test setup we have been using a gigabit switch with every device connected to Cat6 cables, assuring the possibility for high transfer speeds. We used 2x 160Gb 7200RPM hard drives in our DS712+ and another 160Gb hard drives to test the DX510 expansion unit.

It is fair to say that this unit ousts the numbers of previous models in this segment by a fair margin. With 83Mb/Sec upload peak and 115Mb/Sec as maximum recorded download speed, we can say the DS712+ lives up to Synology’s business promises.


Table 2: RAID5 ( 3 disk mode, 2 native in DS712+, 1 disk in DX510)

Description Copy from NAS in MB/sec Write to NAS in MB/Sec
A set of 100 photos in folder 60-65 50-56
A bulk of 1000 itunes audio files 110-116 35-57
A 4GB folder containing mixed small files and folders 74-93 50-74
A 8GB single file archive 117-118 75-82
A 30GB folder with 20*1.5GB files inside 110-118 79-85
An 800MB single file archive 116-118 71-78
A 350MB episode 100-117 73-79


In our RAID5 test we clearly see the expansion unit performing excellently. Actually I dare say, if you didn’t know it was an expansion unit, you’d think the RAID array came from a 4-or-more bay NAS. The ESATA interface connecting both DS712+ and DX510 is clearly the antithesis of bottleneck, guaranteeing even faster upload speeds on larger files. The reason smaller files were transferring a tad bit slower was mainly caused by the internal CPU having to create more parity bits (RAID5) thus lowering the actual speed of splitting the small files over multiple disks. This is perfectly normal for small files, though the DS712+ reaches peak performance at files larger than 100Mb. Additionally we wish to add that, the more drives you put into your RAID5 array, the more stable your speeds start to become. In our table you will see “average – top speed” comparisons, yet the more drives you add the more your average will lean towards our top speed. Gigabit networking usually is at its peak at 125Mb/Sec, so we can say our 118Mb/Sec top speed qualifies this baby for the racetrack.


Note: Make sure you RESET (unplug the power cord, plug it back in again) your network switch, as most will not push speeds like this until they properly detected this device. Also make sure you enable Jumbo packets in the DSM, as this could be the issue of slow network speeds as well. Last, I would recommend checking if the LAN indicator led is GREEN (as in: Not orange, orange means something is not right = slow speeds guaranteed).

You will notice something is not right when you first start uploading files and get upload speeds of around 11-12Mb per second, then try to enable the jumbo packets (9000) and next you reset your switch. We tried many things, and spend hours testing this unit, so except for these little “hiccups” the DS712+ (and expansion unit) worked flawlessly.



Synology’s DS712+ might look like its only big enough to hide a small rabbit, let me assure you, a hare will come out when you push that power button. We will give you a couple of scenarios/types of workspace befitting this particular unit:

–        Office environment focusing on solely office document sharing: at top speeds nearing the maximum of gigabit you can connect up 50 users, giving them a 2Mb/second user margin. This should be plenty to allow all co-workers to edit and share documents live without your NAS being the bottleneck.

–        Small-scale video editing studios: Stable gigabit speeds are certainly a necessity for HD video/Blu-ray editors. If the NAS is used solely as a “dump” space, you can easily use 1 unit for 5 users, if its purpose is both storage and network editing (live) you might want to keep this unit limited to 2-3 users.

–        Media creation/web development studios: For most studios/agencies developing for the web, this unit is perfect for 10-15 users. Imagining you have a couple of programmers, flash developers, some DTP guys and the upper-management, the DS712+ will give you performance to please all. File sharing, mail server, php and mysql server, hosting your own website, supplying ftp access..  I dare say this type of enterprise will get the most “return” for their investment.

–        Self-employed: Perfect for people running their own business. The DS712+ comes at a very affordable price tag, bringing professional networking equipment in the grasp of small business owners. You can run your own website, back up your PC’s/Mac’s, use it as secure file storage, personal mail server, … the possibilities are endless, won’t break the bank and will make you sleep sound knowing your data is safe.



One of the additional features of Synology’s products, is the fact that you can add at least 1 IP-camera to your network and control it with the DiskManager software. And there is a whole lists of brands supported by Synology if you intend to buy a camera to either actively put to good use or play around with. Most brands are supported, but I’d recommend you to first give this link a go, it’s a list of all supported brands and models:

Setting up a new camera is very easy. Go to the DSM http address (via Synology Assistant or by entering the NAS’s IP manually in your favorite browser). Log into the DSM and go to  the little arrow above the icons and choose “Surveillance station”, or you can also click the icon to enter the Settings menu and go to the Surveillance station there. Personally I’d recommend the first time to go to the Surveillance station via the Control panel, since here you can immediately check if you enabled the feature to be accessible. You can also configure customized access ports here (either HTTP or HTTPS).

Once you’re in the Surveillance zone, the first tab that should be activated is called “Management”. From here the neat part starts. First you want to connect your camera (depending on the Brand/Model this can be detected wired or wireless, as long as this particular camera is connected to your local network. You connect a camera by opening the “Device => Camera” menu item on the left side. Configuring can be done manually or quick, if you are experienced with network camera’s you might want to go manual and enter the IP manually, but for first users I’d recommend sticking to the “Quick install” option and letting the DSM do the detection for you. Further settings you can change for every camera are the resolution, video format, data limitation till overwrite (in Gb), frame rate, …

Adding more cameras (default 1) requires buying a special license from Synology. We had an additional license to test 2 models; Dlink  Wireless N Home Network Camera (DCS-930) and the more advanced VivoTek PZ7132. The Dlink is a very simple and cheap solution delivering “owkay” monitoring capabilities, it is fixed positioned and will do the job. The other one we got our hands on was from VivoTek, a Taiwanese company you might not have heard of before. VivoTek creates high quality surveillance equipment, and the PZ7132 we tested does them grace. VivoTek’s model is an advanced camera with a 360° angle and zoom features, assuring every corner in the room can be covered. Both models feature motion detection and depending on the number of rooms you wish to cover you can always purchase additional licenses and cameras to add to your DSM.
Synology’s Surveillance station’s options are pretty broad for a feature that might not strike you as a core point of sales. Notification wise the system can be set so it sends you an SMS (up to 2 phone numbers) or Email notification once the camera(s) detect motion. With your Android or IOS device you can monitor and operate the cameras inside your local network, but the motion detection service only sends text (video will be recorded by the device, so you can watch it once you get home/to the office). There is a possibility to remotely watch the camera’s live view, this requires making sure your router forwards your IP request to the NAS  (ex. service). Where you can log on to the DSM’s Surveillance station. Or you could make sure your router forwards you directly to the IP of the particular camera that triggered your NAS to send you the SMS or Email notification.

The Surveillance station really adds a lot of services to the already great feature package of your Synology product. Depending on the amount of data (in Gb) you allow a camera to record, the system can be very effective in protecting your house or small office at no extra cost. Since setting up the Surveillance station is easy and does not require separate dedicated surveillance hardware and is fully IOS/Android compliant.



When you unbox it, the DS712+ might strike you as a small cookie box. It’s very light and looks too pretty to be considered “business”. Assembly can be done by anyone capable of holding a screwdriver. So, from an enterprise point of view this isn’t worth a second regard, right?

Not quite so…

Hold onto your horses, take a cup of coffee and take your time to go through the various network settings in the DSM. Next up reset your gigabit switch. Now turn this little bad boy on. Be amazed!

Synology’s DS712+ is a networking razorblade! Runs like a cougar, camouflaged like a lamb. It really was a gob smacking experience to unwrap and assemble a 2-bay NAS unit in less than 10 minutes, take 30 minutes to create users and set all my favorite settings in their DiskManager Software (a package that honestly deserves an award for top notch usability). In less than one hour, you yourself can experience a NAS unit, fully set up and functioning at networking speeds worthy of the name “Gigabit networking”.

The size that repulsed us the most when we first took it out of the box, became our most beloved feature of Synology’s new sprout in their business class Networking lineup. The DS712+ is so small; it will blend in any office environment; is non-obstructive  (not requiring a separate server room) and when it spreads its wings; will give you networking speeds you could only have dreamt about in the past.

Coming at very competitive prices (+- 400€/500$), being very ECO friendly (27,5w operational), acceptably silent (20Db) and flawlessly expandable with Synology’s 5-bay DX510 unit (not compatible with the 12-bay DX1211); we have a winner. At top speeds of 118Mb per second download and 85Mb per second upload, the DS712+ makes you take back every word (if you ever said it looked like a cookie box).


Via Synology
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