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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2012
As my iTunes folder and iPhoto folder continue to get larger over the past year, I've notice an increasing number of problems leaving the data folders on the Synology.

I recently purchased a Thunderbolt drive to move these two data folders to them to gain speed, and the speed gains are significant. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend putting these data folders in the Synology and access them via NAS.

The Synology is still a powerful workhorse, but it is now reserved file-sharing only. Still highly valuable in that role as I have a lot of data and multiple computers accessing it.

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I've been reading some negative reviews about the Synology, and while I have been really lucky, I can imagine that many setup types might not be ideally suited to the synology design.

If you've read some reviews, and are interested in the link aggregation piece but nervous because of the bad reviews, here's what went through:

Initially, i tried plugging both ethernet ports and connecting the two cables to an unmanaged switch. This caused me some issues, and then i realized there is a port bonding that needs to occur. I did that thru the synology interface, but it didn't bond proerly. I then just un-plugged one of the cables and everything worked great.

As i wanted the 802.3ad feature to work, i then purchased a cisco gbit managed switch with 802.3ad. Plugged everything in, and still couldn't get it to work right, until i realized u have to bond the ports on BOTH the switch and the synology. Now, everything works. Bonding is pretty easy, just a few clicks in the synology interface and the same in the cisco interface. I also set jumbo frames just cuz the pull down menu was right there on both interfaces, and then happily noticed that in the osx system references under network/ethernet, the same pull down menu was there.

Just some thoughts to share if you're thinking about the synology because of the ability to bond ethernet ports. Save some headache and get a managed gbit switch. Cisco's sg series can be had for cheap and works great but there are others that are cheaper.

On another note, some reviewrs said they can't mount the synology when their laptops are in wifi mode...can't help there as mine works fine.

Once again, i love the ds1812+ and if you decide to get one, hope you do too.

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I still think the Synology is pretty amazing, but I've discovered some limitations.

First, Plex doesn't work very well beyond a few hundred movies or a few tv seasons.

My guess? It all comes down to the limitation of the computer on the Synology itself. As great as it is, at the end of the day, it's a computer, it's a motherboard, it's chip, it's ram. And my guess is that it runs into the same limitations that running server software on a general purpose computer run into. When there's too much load, it slows down, hangs in weird ways, etc.

File copying (writing to the Synology) was also a discovery. When copying, up to about 50GB of data, it's pretty fast and consistently so. But when doing a single copy that exceeds 50 GB or thereabouts, it slows down right around the 50GB mark. Considerably. So fast until then, and suddenly, it's painful to watch... Stare at it long enough and you see bursts of speed of about 10GB or so, but then it slows down again. Very strange. I found that it's faster to copy in about 35-50GB increments. More of a hassle, but after the first copy, I imagine it's not something that would occur that often.

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What's there to say about the DS1812+?

Plenty.

in short, If you want a super easy to use and setup NAS that's affordable, reasonably fast, fairly secure and mostly worry free, with a ton of cool server features to boot, this is about as it good as it gets.

Most multi-disk enclosures have one key purpose and one secondary purpose growing in popularity. The primary purpose of these devices is to make multiple disks appear as one big disk and design it so if one disk fails, everything keeps on working, giving you a day or two to take out the broken hard disk and replace with a newer one.

The secondary purpose that is growing in popularity among these multi-disk enclosures is NAS functionality. This means you connect it to your network through an ethernet switch, and all the other computers on the network can access it and mount folders/volumes to use either as production storage or as backup.

There are a few competitors here, and Drobo and QNap are the other two well known competitors in this market.

I own an older Drobo 4-bay enclosure that doesn't have the NAS capability, forcing my desktop computer to be the file server for the Drobo, which was attached directly to the server via Firewire.

The Synology, therefore, is a new experience for me. And it is pretty amazing. You don't actually have to do very much at all to get it up and running. It's pretty....ummm...for lack of a better term....stupid easy. I would, however, recommend checking out the reviews for Drobo NAS products and QNap NAS products, just in case. My research lead me to the Synology, but that just means it's a better fit for me, not necessarily for everyone. For instance, with QNAP and Synology, there is a list of compatible disks. You can't go and buy disks willy nilly because the disks you buy might not work. You have to check the compatibility list first. Luckily, the DS1812+ has a pretty good list, but it's not endless. That's one great thing about the Drobo. You go to your local store or go online and you buy whatever you want, and if it's SATA, it'll work. Simple as that. It does seem that the Synology has a better list than the QNAP. But QNAP has some physical interface advantages over the Synology. I read something about esata III or something like that. I have no need of that, so it didn't factor in my research, but it might be important to you.

Add the disks, plug in power, plug in ethernet cable, turn it on....from a physical setup perspective, that's about it.
- having said this, installing disks on the Drobo is a tad easier. With the Drobo, the naked SATA disk just slides into the enclosure slots on a simple rail system. With the Synology, there are actual cradles you have to unlock and remove, and then you screw each disk into a cradle and then slide it in and close the corresponding door. Not a big deal, taking just 1 minute per disk or less, but still a hassle compared to the Drobo.

Then go to one of your computers on the same network, load the Synology auto-discovery sw, and it'll automatically find the disk (assuming both the computer and the Synology are on the same subnet) and after that, it's just a web page.

What makes the Synology DS1812+ especially cool is that the web page looks basically like a computer desktop.

Which brings me to the third advantage.

With Drobo, you have a special software that really just helps you to maintain and monitor the health of the Drobo. With the Synology, and this desktop like GUI inside the web page, you can do all that the Drobo software can do, but so much more.

Synology has several native and third party application packages that are normally only available on general purpose PCs that you can install and run, giving you tons of cool server features. After all, as a NAS, there's a computer in there, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to run some applications. What an inspiring idea. I have a Plex server and file server and print server running on my computer. I can now off load those server functions to the Synology DS1812+. Some others include: Cloud Station internet file sharing, DHCP Server, LDAP server, Photo Station, Surveillance station, Mail server, Syslog and VPN servers, plus third party apps like iTunes server, OpenERP, Python, WordPress server, php, Logitech media server, and others. The Control panel has native apps for file sharing and network mounting for Windows, Mac, NFS (CIFs, of course), FTP, WebDAV, anti-virus, and some other cool features. Oh, did I mention Synology support double byte/unicode?

Even better, the Synology has Link aggregation capability with two ethernet ports, each of which is Gbit ethernet. how cool is that? Of course, you need an ethernet switch that supports Link aggregation (a.k.a. 802.3ad), but if you do this, you have two ports that support each other fully and can load balance, thus giving higher throughput. TrendNet has some low cost 802.3ad supporting switches as does Zyxel. It also of course supports jumbo frames. Something which i wish OSX supported.

It comes with 1GB of RAM, but in actual use, I've noticed it hit that 1GB ceiling pretty easily, so I'd recommend getting the RAM upgrade (2GB, totaling 3GB altogether). It helps. Now that I installed the upgrade, when monitoring the NAS, it appears to rarely go above 60% RAM usage.

But wait....there's more...

This is the coolest part of Synology solution. You can actually expand the Synology and have a large single volume by adding extension kits. You can add two 510's, and each of these 510s holds 5 disks. So you can aggregate to 18 disks total. Is that crazy or what? I haven't bought an extension kit yet, so can't say how well this works.

----

Now, given, the 4 bay Drobo I have is a few years older, indicating older motherboard technology, and the 4 bay Drobo is much cheaper, but it continues to blow me away just how far NAS has come that a device has come out at this price point that can store that much data and still work reasonably fast with dual disk failure tolerance.

On another note, I'd also say that the Synology is quieter than the older 4 bay Drobo. There are two fans on the Synology, but they don't spin up very often, at least not yet.

-----

Incidentally, the 4 digit model number "1812" I think divides into two parts. the "18" stands for total number of disks. The "12' is really a generational indicator, I think. Right now, the "12" seems to be the latest hw/fw/sw you can get and comes with the DSM 4.0 software, which I believe is a Linux OS and allows for the cool web GUI which emulates a computer desktop.

-----

If you're looking for a multi-bay storage solution, you would be hard pressed to find a more cost effective RAID solution than the Synology DS1812+.

For Q2 2012, this is my #1 pick for performance to cost effectiveness, with some temporary future proofing in storage.

As photos, home movies, music, document files and email databases continue to grow and grow, the importance of data integrity, when considering the nightmare of lost data is strong enough that a solution like this, despite the price (which while reasonable compared to others, is still expensive), is becoming increasingly critical for me. If it is for you as well, then this might be just the ticket.

Whatever you decided, best of luck!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2012
Best NAS I ever had my hands on. I am replacing my HTPC with this NAS to save some energy (400 WATT HTPC against 50 WATT NAS) and my first try was NetGear ReadyNAS and even it was a great unit, it destroyed my data volume when powering the ReadyNAS off. This was because I used new, just released 4TB Hitachi drives and the netgear ReadyNAS 5 HDD unit had problems with it (firmware bug). Than I tried Drobo NAS and it worked right out of the box but I was missing all the features the Netgear ReadyNAS has to offer and in addition the Gigabit Ethernet (DROBO E)was super slow (20 MB/sec max) what made it impossible to stream Blue-Ray files.
Finally I found my little superstar! The Synology DS1812+ is incredible. It is fast, feature rich and rock solid.
I have now 6 x 4TB Hitachi drives in it and keep expanding. I highly recommend this unit and advise to stay away from the mid-level products if you planning to really use your NAS. You get what you pay for. I am a big happy customer after returning all the other units.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2012
I really wanted to leave a glowing review regarding the quality of the hardware and the industry leading software. Unfortunately, I have had two units fail on me. The first experienced the blue LED issue, more on that below. The second unit was RMA'd to me by Synology, and that one failed to boot 99% of the time. We think it was a power supply issue, so I guess that was just bad luck. The third unit (2nd RMA) turned out to be rock solid and stable.

The first batch of units produced were highly susceptible to a common issue. Synology eventually acknowledged the issue and stated it was due to flawed flash memory chips. They assured their customers the problem was contained, and that no future shipments would be affected. I had one of the original units that were affected, and I requested an RMA. Eight days after I reported the issue, they shipped me a new unit. I received that unit exactly a week later.

To their credit, the migration of my old drives was fairly straight-forward. There was no data loss, and I was back online in a couple hours.

The next day, the unit was no longer running. I tried booting it, but each time it would automatically restart on its own before it came online. This turned out to be a bad power supply.

My third unit came in and has been running great. I now have four drives, all Seagate 3TB, model ST3000DM001. They have good acoustics and performance so far, and temps are 34-41C. I put two drives in bays 1 and 2, and two more in bays 5 and 6. Staggering the drive bays seems to have good results with airflow and cooling, and I can fill in the gaps down the road.

I have to say, the software interface is top-notch and the box itself is very slick. I really liked being able to update DSM (the OS) via the web interface, no need to download files off their website and use the Windows app. I have been able to create shares accessible on Windows and Mac, and setup streaming to my PS3.

I would have been happier if only for the double RMA experience, or at least, Synology support was doing more than politely replying once per day (about a 20-28 hour turnaround on each reply). Their reputation seemed to be amazing, but the 2012 models (1512+, 1812+) had their initial issues. The data on the drives was be safe, but four weeks of downtime was quite tiresome.

Synology support did improve when it got to the second RMA. I received the unit in five days via 3-day shipping. That last unit has been working well. I'm going to leave my rating at 2-stars because of the extensive downtime and my initial support experience. I don't want that to deter anyone from buying Synology, that's just a reflection of my own experience.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
What can I say? My expectations were more than met with the Synology DS1812+. This is an amazing piece of hardware. It's small, sleek, quiet, well-built, capable, and loaded with more functionality than I could ever dream of using.

I bought mine from Amazon along with an extra 2GB stick of RAM (Kingston ValueRAM 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL7 SODIMM Single Rank x8 Notebook Memory) and four Seagate 3TB Barracuda hard drives (Seagate Barracuda 7200 3 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST3000DM001). Everything came packaged very well.

Physical setup of the unit was a breeze for the most part. Installing the extra memory was as simple as removing six screws, a cover, and popping the stick into an easily-accessible memory slot. That took all of five minutes. Installing the hard drives was also simple. You simply slide a hard drive into one of the eight provided drive cages, screw it in with four manufacturer-provided screws, and slide the cage back into the NAS. That took about 10 minutes. After that, you plug the unit in and begin the installation process.

One of the only problems I encountered was with the installation disk. For some inexplicable reason, my computer could not read the disk that came with my DS1812+. The disc wasn't damaged as far as I can tell, but still my computer could not read it. No big deal, as you can just go to the Synology website and download whatever software you need, which is what I did. The installation process after that was pretty simple. I used an online Synology wiki guide to help with each step, and I was done in about 30 minutes. At first I had a hard time connecting the NAS to my home network, but after powering down the unit and powering back up, I was good to go.

In case anyone is curious, I elected to go with the Synology Hybrid RAID function (SHR). All four of the Seagates Barracudas were recognized by the DS1812+, and after initialization, I was left with roughly 8.2 TB of usable space. I plan to expand very soon with four more of the Seagate drives, which should give me right around 19.1 TB of usable space, which is more than enough for my video, music, book, photo, and game collection.

I haven't used or even figured out how every feature of the DS1812+ works yet, but I am learning. There is a bit of a learning curve involved with buying and using this unit. That's not to say that you need to be a networking expert to use it, but it does take a bit of reading and research to make sense of everything. There are so many features and extra applications you can download to improve functionality.

Some pros and cons...

Pros:
+ Aesthetics: I love the simple, refined, black casing. The blue and green status lights aren't obnoxious, either.

+ Build quality: It feels solid like a tank without being too heavy. Nothing about the unit feels flimsy or half-ass. However, I really wish the drive cages were aluminum and not plastic.

+ Size: Absolutely perfect size and shape. No wasted angles or space. Looks less like a piece of computer equipment and more like a piece of high-end audio/home theater equipment. Only about 13 inches wide, 6 inches high, and 9 inches deep. Yes, you read that right. The product dimensions listed here on Amazon are WRONG. Those dimensions (18 x 12 x 14 inches) are for the cardboard box it comes in. My dimensions are the correct dimensions, for the actual unit itself. The DS1812+ is perfect on an A/V shelf in the living room. Very high Wife Acceptance Factor.

+ Acoustics: I can't hear mine. It's about 9 feet away from me and I cannot hear it at all. Then again, I'm not sensitive to low-level white noise like some people are. There's no rattling or anything like that, either. Your mileage may vary on whether or not you can hear the fans.

+ DSM software: Absolutely brilliant user interface. Almost dummy proof. Very easy to pick and choose which features you wish to utilize. Package Center is also nice. It allows you to download various add-on apps (antivirus, Plex Media Server, torrent downloads, cloud station, audio station, photo station, Wordpress, iTunes server, etc...).

Cons:
- Documentation: At this price point, I would like to see a decent paper manual in the box for quick, non-electronic reference. Yes, I know I can download the online user guide and either print it off or look at a PDF file on my monitor, but an actual manual would both be preferred and appreciated. For one thing, I don't own a printer. Secondly, I would like to read about the features of my new NAS without opening a web browser or PDF.

- Learning curve: The great functionality of the DS1812+ is both a blessing and a curse. With limited functionality, there's far less to explain to your user base. With high functionality, there's quite a bit to explain to your user base, and much of the Synology user base isn't as technically advanced as the people who designed the DS1812+. In future versions of the DSM software, I hope the folks at Synology will take greater pains to explain some of the features in greater detail to the laymen among us.

I recommend the DS1812+ and look forward to many years of reliable use.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
After two and a half years (4/6/2015 update)
22000 hours of uptime! I only had one real issue when an bad firmware upgrade caused my array to become unavailable. Synology support fixed things and no data was lost. I'm now replacing the original 3tb WD Reds with 6tb WD Reds. Each swap is taking around 36 hours to repair the array (8 drives in a Synology Hybrid Array with two disk redundancy). Eventually this will be a 48tb array with 36tb available.

I've taken to using the MySQL server for my XBMC/Kodi installation, which I wish I had done sooner. The bulletproof uptime of this box really comes in handy!

Original review
I have been looking at NAS units for years for clients and perhaps one day myself, and alas I recently got serious about replacing my hodgepodge of Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drives with a permanent solution. I opted for this unit based on great reviews, huge capacity, and potential expandability.

Pros:
* very quit (due to huge fans and solid design)
* drives stay cool (see above)
* fast performance even with two drive redundancy (RAID 6 and equivalent generally run slower than RAID 5)
* small (a bit larger footprint than a Xbox 360 4GB Console
* robust list of compatible drives (including 3 and 4 terabyte drives) and UPS (opted for 5 Western Digital 3 TB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare or OEM Drives WD30EFRX and a CyberPower CP1000PFCLCD PFC Compatible 1000VA 600W Pure Sine Wave Tower UPS)
* dual gigabit ports and loads of USB and eSATA ports as well
* low power

Cons:
* expensive
* optional add on Synology 5-Bay Plug-n-Use Expansion Unit to DS1010+, DS710+, and DS1511+, & DS712+ Network Attached Storage DX510 (Black) is a bit pricey
* included RAM is low (1gb), but I've never had an issue, and 2gb can be added cheaply--Kingston ValueRAM 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL7 SODIMM Single Rank x8 Notebook Memory
* expensive

I expected a lot (based on reviews and investment), and this delivered way more than I anticipated. It keeps my The Boxee Box by D-Link HD Streaming Media Player and XBMC machine fed with 1080p video, and it also houses all of my photos, music, and other media. Others have successfully used this for media creation and more professional tasks, but my uses are on the modest side.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
Solid construction, speeds 75MB/Sec+ and I actually love the way it looks. The con for some is that it is twice as loud as the DS411+ or DS409, but not a problem if you have it in a dedicated server area. I wish it had multiple eSata ports (vs 4 USB) so I could expand and have a cheaper attached back-up raid. I upgraded 409->411+ a while ago and the configuration back-up works well and migrated to the same RAID is a breeze. Problem is the configuration backup doesn't work for your surveillance station camera settings and expansion license keys. This is twice it has failed to work and I have to go through and manually add my IP cameras. I have the 409 set-up for back-up so it wasn't hard to sign-on and get my license key

The upgrade to the DS1812+ is taking a lot more time than I had hoped and would like to use the remainder of my review to comment on this.

This is to warn people that plan to upgrade from a Raid 5 to SHR multiple drive!

I upgraded from a DS411+ Raid 5 to DS1812+ with then the intent of doing SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) with 2 drive redundancy. It should be noted that you can not do a disk migration from a single drive redundancy raid to SHR 2 drive protection. You will have to move the drives to the DS1812+, delete the volume and then go through the painstaking process of copy all your files the server.

I have a large media collection that spanned 3 smaller back-up drives. The Synology restore worked great for the first drive, HOWEVER, there is a limitation that you can Not restore from an additional drive to a shared volume-same folder within. For example your shared folder is Video and you have comedy on 1 drive and drama on the second drive. You can NOT use restore to copy drama to the Video folder. Doesn't sound like a big deal, unless you have your files sorted into 20 different folders like I do. You have to go to the file station and copy the folders individually and if you have files at the root level each one individually. I have spent 2 days copying files, it has failed multiple times when I've tried to multi-select and then you have to check each folder to make sure the contents are the same. There is NO way to do a folder size check as the file station will not allow you to "get info" on the folder and do a size and file count like Mac/Windows OS. You have to manually do it. HUGE disappointment, but I have passed the point of no return. The copy also doesn't tell you how many MB/sec or estimated time so you have to keep logging onto the server to check progress. If the restore would work then you would get an email sent when completed.

Please plan your upgrade path knowing this. You could move your files into different shared folders and then use file station once they are on the server to save time. I'm currently using eSata attached drives and it takes HOURS to copy just a few hundred GBs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
After many months of research I settled for this. It has been an awesome experience. The Synology 1812+ NAS has exceeded my expectation from performance and from its software extendability PoV. I have run 3 simultaneous back ups to it while streaming a 1080p movie from it without any problems or performance degradation. It is a well engineered box and the administrative interface is fantastic. Make sure you populate it with the right high performance disks.

To do this box justice, you need a Gigabit network and a Gigabit switch (preferrably with port aggregation capability).

The only drawback is that they nickle and dime you for additional security camera licenses should you want to have the box act as your security camera recorder.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2012
I purchased my DS1812+ last week Friday. I had 3 2-tb drives ready for install. They plug and play pretty easy. Install of clean drives took about 30 minutes and was simple with the browser interface. Install, add folders and shares, and then ready.
One issue, with 2 network cables hooked up, the software shows 2 connections with 2 I.P. addresses for the Dockstation. It then is ready to install the software to the Dockstation. Install to one and reboot. Then it will show both are installed and ready for use. If you wait and don't reboot, it will show the second one needing to be installed to.
I created the folders and started the network copy, got speeds of 75-80 megs. Once complete I added 2 more 2tb drives. Add them and tell it to extend the volume. With the additional drives I am looking at around 50-hours for it to complete. Once done, will add 3 more 2-tb drives for a total of 8. With 16-tb of storage I should have around 10.5-tb of drive space.
The drive tools that come with the browser do a nice analysis of the S.M.A.R.T., on the drives. One drive was found bad and waiting for my replacement from Seagate. The good part is it still used the drive as it had not failed.
Very impressed with the speed and complete software. At this point I would buy one of these again.

My HTPC is hooked up via a 2 path 1 gigabit switches. Hard wired cat5 cable. When pulling video and audio, the response is pretty instantaneous. I was unable to detect any lag. The largest file I tried was 10 gigs, no stuttering.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2012
Slid eight of these Seagate Constellation ES.2 3 TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch Internal Bare Drive ST33000650NS
Enterprise-class 3TB wonders into my new Synology DiskStation 8-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage - Black (DS1812+) and configured with 2-drive fault tolerance. Write speed is always in excess of 100 MB/sec and sometimes hits 123 MB/sec. These drives are expensive and worth every cent! Am also using the DS1812+ as iSCSI file storage for a VMware ESXi server and it's performing very well. Very pleased with these drives and with the Synology DiskStation 8-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage - Black (DS1812+).

This DS1812+ NAS becomes a primary file server, retiring a power-hungry Dell server. A Synology DiskStation 5-Bay (Diskless) Scalable Network Attached Storage DS1511+ (Black) that has been providing excellent service for about one year now serves as backup space (with 1-drive fault tolerance, the five 2 TB drives in the DS1511+ "only" supply 7.15 TB of file storage). I also recommend the DS1511+ as a reliable and fast NAS.

Set up of the DS1812+ was amazingly easy, including setting up the iSCSI file storage for a VMware ESXi server.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2014
Thought I was buying a new Synology DS1812+, instead got one that had been repackaged by the previous owner who did not include the screws to mount the drives, nor the CD with the installation software nor the ethernet cable nor the manual, nor the little bay locking keys. I feel ripped off given what you pay for one of these new and to get is used and without the required hardware and software is VERY disappointing. To be fair to Synology this was not their fault as they cannot control the way Amazon sells products as new that are in fact used and not inspected before they pawn it off on another victim.
Bezos if you are reading this you are reading the comments of a Prime customer who is feeling very ripped off by your company. I would in fact sue if it were not so expensive. You have committed fraud.

Just a small addition, if you visit the Synology support site you will find that they have shipped a LOT of these things with defective motherboards. You power it up and it works okay, power it down for whatever reason, then restart it and you get a flashing blue light the motherboard has failed. I seriously used to endorse Synology to friends and customers, the DS1812 line has brought that to an end. If you want to waste a bunch of money buy one of these if you prefer to get a working NAS look elsewhere.
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