The one thing that I was a little thrown off by when I first set up the DS112, is that it requires an internal hard drive and will not function at all without one, unlike other NAS drive bays such as ZyXEL units which store the operating system on internal memory. I was hoping to simply plug in my external 2TB USB 2.0 hard drive and go, but I did have to purchase an internal hard drive in order to get things going, and then I was able to connect my external USB 2.0 drive. I bought a Seagate Barracuda 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 32 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Drive (ST310005N1A1AS-RK-Retail Kit) refurbished from Amazon for about $50 (so I spent a little more than my planned budget of $200) and installed the DSM operating system and was up and running fairly quickly, although the installation process is probably intended for those with intermediate to advanced computer skills.
The DS112 is fairly quiet (the fan only creates minimal noise), and it goes into standby automatically when not in use (which is rare, because it's mostly always in use--more on that later). It has a 1.6GHz CPU, 256MB DDR3 RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet port (1,000 Mbps), and supports USB 3.0 and eSATA, which is nice--although I don't have any devices to use on these interfaces yet. The product design looks pretty decent, although the glossy, molded plastic exterior seems a little cheap. Full specs are available on Synology's site.
In terms of specific file transfer performance, I have not yet conducted any formal benchmarking. Synology boasts average read speed at 110.19 MB/s and write speed at 71.84 MB/s. Other reviewers have found similar and slightly lower performance numbers.
The DSM operating system that runs on the DS112 (and all Synology NAS devices) is updated regularly, and has many features, 80% of which I don't use (I'm only using the media server and file server). The package manager allows you to install a myriad of apps such as web, database, DNS, VPN, FTP(S)/SFTP, WebDav, mail, printer and directory servers, Python, Perl, Amazon Glacier backup, iTunes Server, Time Machine backup, cloud file sharing services, home surveillance server (using IP cameras), and more. You can interact with a live demo of DSM on Synology's site.
|This particular batch of photos has been creating thumbnails for well over a month.|
It's not perfect, but for the most part, I have been pretty pleased with the Synology DS112, and I give it 4/5 stars. If Synology would fix the DSM operating system to address this issue, I would have given this unit 5 stars.