Synology Disk Station DS408
Great software, horrible design
- AJAX-based Web interface, RAID capability, easy to use, comprehensive multimedia capability
- Messy design, not hot-swappable, no quick backup function
Although the DS408 certainly has good software and strong multimedia capabilities, it is ultimately let down by a poor case design that restricts the ability to hot-swap hard drives. This will suffice for home use, but is inadequate for situations where data integrity is a must.
Price$ 1,010.00 (AUD)
Synology’s DS408 is an easy to use network-attached storage (NAS) device. While its basic functionality and software are strengths of the device, poor design and the inability to properly hot-swap drives make it unsuitable for heavy use.
The DS408 is a four-bay NAS device capable of housing up to 4TB of storage in a range of disk configurations, including basic, JBOD, and RAID 0, 1 and 5. Running off Gigabit Ethernet, the DS408 manages to fit two USB 2.0 ports to attach a shared printer, external hard drive or USB-capable uninterruptible power supply. Unfortunately, there is no button on the device itself to facilitate a quick backup of an external disk or USB stick.
The DS408 doesn’t open from the front like many NAS devices. Instead access is through the device’s back panel, requiring the user to remove four thumb screws and detach the back cover as well as the top and sides. The DS408 doesn’t have fixed SATA ports — there are separate cables provided, but they must be attached to the device’s motherboard by the users themselves. The DS408 also doesn’t utilise hard drive trays to facilitate easy ejection. Drives are instead supporting by a cage resembling those found in cheaper PC cases; thankfully, they can be screwed in for some extra security.
To add to the mess created by non-fixed cables, the hard drive power cables that accompany the device aren’t positioned the right way. Since SATA power and data cables can only be attached in one way, the power cables in this instance must actually be positioned upside down in order to fit. As the cables are quite short, doing this inevitably increased tension on the cable and decreased the manoeuvrability of the disk itself. These odd design choices culminate in a setup inferior to competitive NAS devices such as QNAP’s TS-409 Pro. This probably won’t faze those who intend to set up the NAS once and leave it alone, but users intent on regular hot-swapping or worried about disk failures won’t see too much to like about the DS408.
Thankfully, there are some upsides to the device. Server set up and configuration is semi-automated, thanks to bundled software for both PCs and Macs. Server administration is also extremely easy using the device’s embedded Web server. Synology has clearly focused on the software side of things with the DS408, resulting in one of the most user-friendly interfaces we’ve seen in a NAS device. Advanced tasks like configuring RAID tasks and administering FTP servers are almost as easy as creating a photo station or backing up data through the Web server. Given the interface’s resemblance to Windows Explorer it’s unlikely that many novices will be confused when attempting to configure the DS408.
Hard drive management is fairly easy, though a little odd. Although initial set up involved formatting the hard drive, when it came to mapping a drive we discovered that we had to format the drive again through the Web server. Nevertheless, hard drive formatting is fairly quick, with the DS408 managing to perform a basic format on a 1TB disk in under 2min. Drive management may not offer enough options for advanced users, but it should suffice for home and small office use.
The DS408 can host a HTTP or FTP remote server as well as a dedicated photo station for sharing photos across the Web. The device is also able to host iTunes and UPnP servers for network media streaming, while an integrated download station allows users to schedule HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent downloads. The DS408 also allows users to configure BitTorrent settings, changing upload and download speeds as well as changing BitTorrent protocol encryption. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the DS408, however, is the Surveillance Station, which allows users to record video from IP cameras attached to the same network — essentially transforming the DS408 into a four-terabyte surveillance digital video recorder.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Western Digital begins production of the world's tallest 3D NAND 'skyscraper'
- WD will make a record-breaking 14TB hard drive available next year
- Start hoarding SSDs: Prices are expected to spike as supply gets tight
- Intel's silence on Optane SSDs raises questions about launch and focus
- Google Earth VR lets you explore our beautiful planet on the HTC Vive
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSystem EngineerVIC
- TPIT Project Manager - Office relocationVIC
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerACT
- TPBusiness Analyst - PeopleSoft HR/Payroll ProjectVIC
- CCTest Planner - Infrastructure/Data CentreACT
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCBusiness Analyst - Cyber SecurityACT
- CCPMO ManagerNSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- FTSenior IT Business Analyst - Permanent OpportunityNSW
- TPBI Commercial AnalystVIC
- FTClient Delivery ManagerSA
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)QLD
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- TPIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTSenior .Net Developer with Silverlight proficiencyVIC
- FTSenior Network AdministratorNSW
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- FTBusiness Intelligence Analyst / DeveloperNSW
- FTJava Developer - Fixed Term ContractQLD