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Synology DiskStation DS419slim Review

Home users that want the smallest NAS appliance in the world have only one place to go – Synology. Since launching its palm-sized DS409slim ten years ago, Synology has had no competition in this market sector and its latest DS419slim continues this tradition.

Externally, there are no changes as the DS419slim uses exactly the same chassis as its predecessor, the DS416slim, which measures a miniscule 105mm x 142mm x 120mm (WDH) and weighs 0.66kgs unpopulated. It support up to four SFF SATA hard disks or SSDs mounted in simple plastic carriers which slot in at the rear.

Processing power gets a modest boost as out goes the 1GHz dual-core Marvell Armada CPU in the DS416slim and in comes a 1.33GHz dual-core Armada. Both are 32-bit CPUs so the number of limitations in terms of file system and app support are still present.

Memory changes from DDR3 to DDR3L but it’s still only 512MB which is not upgradeable. USB 3 ports are provided fore and aft, you get dual Gigabit network ports and beneath these is a socket for the external PSU.

Build quality and deployment

The DS419slim support a wide range of DSM apps and offers plenty of backup features

The DS419slim is carved from a solid piece of plastic and feels sturdy enough. The front panel is festooned with LEDs above the USB 3 port which show the status of each drive bay and both network ports.

The side panel nearest the LEDs also has status indicators for the system and power while below these is a small power button. Remarkably, there is a 6cms fan located underneath the unit which is also thermally controlled and during testing, we found the appliance to be extremely quiet.

For performance testing, we opted to use the best possible storage option and chose a quartet of the latest 1.92GB Seagate IronWolf 110 NAS SSDs. These are screw-mounted in the carriers which slip neatly into the receptacles at the back.

Installation is a breeze as Synology’s discovery web portal located the appliance, downloaded the latest DSM software and requested that we secure administrative access with a new account. We allowed the wizard to select the default SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) option and automatically create a 5.2TB fault tolerant array from all four IronWolf SSDs.

Data protection features

The Drive app provides a handy cloud file syncing service for client data backup

Synology’s DSM software is packed to the gills with data protection services but snapshots and replication are off the menu for the DS419slim. Its 32-bit CPU doesn’t support BTRFS so the appliance can’t run the Replication Service and Snapshot Replication apps.

No matter, as there are plenty of others to choose from with the Hyper Backup app managing local, remote, Rsync, cloud and iSCSI LUN backups from a single console. It integrates with Synology’s C2 Backup cloud service for off-site storage while the Cloud Sync app supports 23 public cloud providers including Amazon Drive, Dropbox plus Google Drive.

The DS419slim is designed to offer personal cloud services to home users. Desktop backup and folder syncing can be run using the Cloud Station Server app which works with the free Backup and Drive Windows clients.

The newer Drive app replaces Cloud Station Server, provides Dropbox-like synchronization services for collaboration and file sharing and will migrate your cloud settings across when it’s installed. All management is carried out from the separate Drive Admin Console app while users download the Drive agent for two-way folder syncing on Windows workstations or iOS and Android mobiles.

Fair performance

The 32-bit Armada CPU will struggle with heavy storage workloads

The Armada CPU may not be very powerful but it mustered a creditable performance in our speed tests. With a share mapped over Gigabit to a Xeon Scalable Windows server, we saw Iometer report good raw sequential read and write speeds of 113MB/sec and 96MB/sec.

We increased the pressure by mapping a dedicated share to another Xeon Scalable Windows server connected to the appliance’s second Gigabit port and with Iometer running on both hosts, we recorded cumulative read and write rates of 220MB/sec and 110MB/sec. These results are in line with Synology’s claims but we did see the CPU getting hammered at 99% during both tests.

Real world performance was also in the same ball park, with drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file delivering sustained read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 82MB/sec. Our general backup test proved more demanding with our 22.4GB test folder and its 10,500 small files secured to the share at a modest 66MB/sec.

The Armada CPU may have a hardware encryption engine but it struggles with this task. Copying our 25GB test file to an encrypted share over Gigabit averaged only 30MB/sec.

Multimedia apps

Synology offers a good selection of free multimedia apps which include its Video, Audio and Photo Stations. We liked the Audio Station as we used the DS Audio iOS app on our iPad to remotely access our music store on the NAS appliance.

The Video Station provides streaming services plus a media library to help organise all your movies. The Photo Station also offers a complete online gallery along with facilities for sharing your pictures.

The Moments app keeps your photos organised as it uses image recognition techniques to sort them into various categories such as people, subjects and places and can identify duplicate images. We loaded the iOS Moments app on our iPad and used it to automatically backup all our existing photos and send new ones directly to the appliance as soon as they were taken.

 Conclusion

Home users and SOHOs that want a highly compact and portable NAS appliance for cloud services and data backup will find the DS419slim a good choice. Our performance tests show that although its Armada CPU struggles with heavy workloads, it is quite capable of handling light storage duties and Synology’s DSM software offers a wealth of valuable features.

7.6 Total Score
Good Choice for Cloud and Data Backup

Home users and SOHOs that want a highly compact and portable NAS appliance for cloud services and data backup will find the DS419slim a good choice. Our performance tests show that although its Armada CPU struggles with heavy workloads, it is quite capable of handling light storage duties and Synology’s DSM software offers a wealth of valuable features.

Performance
5.5
Features
7.5
Build quality
8.5
Usability
8
Value
8.5
PROS
  • The smallest NAS on the planet
  • Low power
  • Very quiet
  • Good backup features
  • Multimedia apps
CONS
  • 32-bit CPU
  • Modest write performance
  • No snapshot support
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