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High Idle Temps Make This No Go
on May 21, 2011
"...the fan does not spin while the unit hibernates and the CPU, which does NOT throttle down, sits scant millimeters away from drive four."
My initial testing of this unit was very favorable. Read speeds over 90MB/s, using basic 5400 RPM drives, on AFP with a 2011 MacBook Pro through an HP ProCurve 1GB switch. Writes speeds, using RAID 5, drop to half of this, which is still acceptable for a typical environment (i.e. home or small office share).
The size has to be seen first hand to appreciate how compact the unit is. The styling is nice, and the management software Synology's DiskStation Manager is pleasant to look at as well as easy to use (despite some options being scattered about).
However, PC transfer speeds (W7 on i7 with SSD over HP ProCurve 1GB, using FastCopy, and optimized network settings) seem to be much slower. I had trouble topping 50MB/s, while an i5 MacBook Pro can manage 70-90 MB/s on the same setup. Also, the CPU is banging away at 80% during single writes. I have doubts this would scale well.
Still, it's the idling unit temperatures that have been causing users issues (check Synology forums). Synology replies with temperature specs that are incredible. "76C is normal because 105C is the max, and the unit shuts down at 95C" (paraphrasing). In other words 167F is ok, because Synology doesn't consider it an issue until 203F!
To be clear, this is when the unit is Hibernating. Once everything is up and running, the unit cools down considerably. This is so even when all four drives are pushed to the max. The reason is the fan does not spin while the unit hibernates and the CPU, which does NOT throttle down, sits scant millimeters away from drive four. Synology considers the act of slowly baking your drives to be acceptable in their design.
If you do buy it, consider using no more than three drives. Also, check into the fan speed hacks, but do so with this warning. This is a direct quote from support:
"There are users on the forum who have submitted ways to edit the fan tables, but this voids our offer of support and you will need to proceed at your own discretion."