Back in June, when Synology released their low profile DS419slim, the Synology press rep told me to keep an eye out for the 6-bay slim device they were planning to release in the fall. According to Synology, the new $450 (without drives) DS620slim has the same specs as their full-sized DS218+, but with 6 bays that are optimized to use NAS-quality SSDs. So my interests were, of course, piqued. I've had a chance to test out Synology's claims and found the DS620slim to be more than enough NAS in just the right amount of space.
- Powerful server in a small package
- Rock-solid Synology DSM
- Easy setup
- All services can easily be made available outside your office environment
- AirPrint and Google Print Sharing
- None significant
Powerful Server in a Tiny Package
As was the case with the DS419slim, when the box for the DS620slim arrived it was hard to believe there was anything in it. It was light and airy, even though Synology shipped the unit to me with two hard drives installed. The DS620slim is both wider and deeper than its 4-bay sibling (5.785W x 6.785D x 4.25H), but significantly smaller than my 5-bay DS1019+, which uses full-sized NAS HDDs and weighs a ton, towers over the DS620slim. So, while it may not be likely for you to take a NAS on the go, you'd have no problem doing so if you needed to in a pinch.
The DS620slim sports a dual-core 2GHz (2.5 GHz burst) Intel Celeron J3355 processor, 2 GB of onboard memory, upgradable to 6 GB, 2 gig LAN ports that can be aggregated for load balancing and redundancy, and supports up to 6-5TB 2.5" drives. There are also 2 USB 3 ports on the back you can use to attach external drives for backups or as an additional volume share.
Disk Station Manager
As with all Synology devices, the strength of this NAS lies in the software that drives it. Synology's Disk Station Manager (DSM) is, for my money, the best NAS software out there. Easy to configure and manage, you'll be up and running in a matter of minutes.
Once the initial DSM setup is complete, you need to configure services on the the DS620slim to make it useful. Like any good server, this NAS offers many options including a file and print server, VPN and DHCP services. The file server supports SMB, AFP, and SMB file sharing services. Both SMB and AFP are enabled by default, but, unless you're using older Macs in your environment, SMB is really all you need as that is the default file sharing protocol for both Macs and PCs.
The speed of any network attached device is dependent on the speed of your network and how the server handles file requests. I only tested this in my private network with limited network traffic and just a few users, but I found the DS620slim to be very responsive. I had no issues streaming video and copying files at the same time. Obviously, if you're serving data up to your office masses you'll likely want to upgrade the RAM and use NAS-quality SSDs to get the most bang for your buck.
As I mentioned in my DS419slim review, one of Synology's most outstanding features is the Synology Drive Service. Synology Drive provides you with cloud-syncing capabilities, similar to what you'll find with services such as Dropbox, but hosted on your own servers. In addition to syncing data between your devices and your server, Synology Drive can also sync information between multiple Synology NAS devices, and offers on demand syncing, so you don't have to download every file from your server to your local hard drive, and offers backup and versioning options for all the files you store on the server. The best part of this feature is that it's built in to DSM, so you don't have to pay anything extra for it.
Print Serving Made Perfect
I made a new service discovery while playing with this version of DSM. While setting up the print server, I noticed an option for iOS and Google print sharing. iOS print sharing allows you to print from any iOS device. Previously, you had to buy AirPrint capable hardware or purchase a copy of Decisive Tactics Printopia to print from your iOS devices. DSM's print server now makes this possible with the click of a button.
At this point in time, Synology, hands down, makes some of the best NAS devices you can buy. The DS620slim, with it's small profile, hefty hardware features, SSD support, and Disk Station Manager make it a simple and perfect choice for anyone needing a small office, home office, or home server.
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