Introduction and Testbed Setup


Synology launched the DS415+ last month. It is their first product based on the Intel Rangeley platform. One must note that Synology is not the first COTS NAS vendor to bring out a product based on the new Atom SoCs. That credit goes to Seagate for their NAS Pro lineup. However, unlike the dual core Rangeley variant used by Seagate, Synology has opted for a quad-core version that is clocked higher. This makes sense, since Synology's Disk Station Manager OS (DSM) is quite advanced compared to Seagate's NAS OS (which is in the early stages of its life cycle). There are plenty of third-party apps for DSM users. The more the horsepower at the disposal of the end user, the better it is in scenarios where they have multiple apps running.

The DS415+ is a typical 4-bay SMB NAS with dual GbE ports and a host of virtualization certifications. The major attraction is the availability of AES-NI in the Rangeley series of Atom SoCs. Enabling encryption of shared folders should result in minimal performance impact. Other than that, the Rangeley SoCs bring in an updated Atom microarchitecture along with lower power consumption. These aspects should help the DS415+ make a compelling case over the other 4-bay units from Synology based on the older Atoms. The specifications of the DS415+ are provided in the table below.

Synology DS415+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom C2538 (4C/4T Silvermont x86 Cores @ 2.40 GHz)
Drive Bays 4x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 3 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
Network Links 2x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Synology DS415+ Specifications
Price $600 (Amazon)

The gallery below takes us around the DS415+. The chassis is retained from the previous-generation 4-bay NAS units (such as the DS412+ and DS413).

In addition to the standard drive mount screws, quick start guide and US power plug, the main unit was also accompanied by a 100 W power adapter (12V @ 8.33A).

In the rest of the review, we will first look at the Intel Rangeley platform in detail and how the Synology DS415+ takes advantage of it. This is followed by benchmark numbers for both single and multi-client scenarios across a number of different client platforms as well as access protocols. We have a separate section devoted to the performance of the DS415+ with encrypted shared folders. Prior to all that, we will take a look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The Synology DS415+ can take up to four drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We benchmarked the unit in RAID 5 with four Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

The above testbed runs 25 Windows 7 VMs simultaneously, each with a dedicated 1 Gbps network interface. This simulates a real-life workload of up to 25 clients for the NAS being evaluated. All the VMs connect to the network switch to which the NAS is also connected (with link aggregation, as applicable). The VMs generate the NAS traffic for performance evaluation.

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Platform Analysis
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  • ganeshts - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    Encryption testing is with a single client. The limitation is on the client side which has only a single GbE link.

    Reason it is done this way is to make sure we have data that can be compared against other units that have been evaluated before.
  • thewishy - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Well, the client side isn't entirely the problem here. You could do LACP on the client side too, and still only see gigabit. Ethernet was never designed to receive frames out of order, and the two interfaces aren't easily syncronised - so traffic between a pair of endpoints is sent over only one link. Fine and dandy for busy networks, poor in this scenario
  • Sonic01 - Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - link

    Makes sense, it's a shame you guys don't test this as some of us might be using a client or server configured with link aggregation.

    I've purchased this NAS, a LAG capable switch and network card for my desktop and server, will see what kind of performance I get...
  • xenol - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    Gallery: Gallery Title!

    I laughed harder than I should at that.
  • shelbystripes - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    Two questions I can't find the answers for anywhere:

    1) Does the 415+ come with ECC RAM?

    2) If not, does it work if you put ECC RAM in it?

    One of the key potential benefits of Avoton/Rangeley is support for ECC RAM, but Synology doesn't mention it, and it seems like the kind of thing you'd advertise (or at least list in the specifications) if you used it.
  • ganeshts - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    Nope, no ECC RAM. The platform may support it, but Synology's board doesn't. At this price point, ECC support is difficult to get.
  • shelbystripes - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    ganeshts: I don't understand this. I'm not saying I don't understand you, or don't believe you. (If I didn't think your answer was possible, I wouldn't have asked the question.) What I am saying is, I don't understand why ECC RAM isn't supported in this model.

    From the block diagram under "Platform Analysis", it appears that the memory controller is built into the CPU/SoC, and the C2538 they're using does support ECC RAM. DDR3 SODIMMs are 204-pin whether they're ECC or not, and while it's not really discussed in this review, a teardown on shows the memory as a single SODIMM module. Since Synology is using an SoC with an integrated ECC-capable memory controller, I can't understand why they would leave out ECC memory support. It seems like it would have to be an active choice on their part not to, in order to discourage people from sticking in ECC RAM on their own. (Synology doesn't like its users upgrading RAM and claims that doing so will void the warranty, which is something the PC industry stopped pulling a decade ago.) All the necessary hardware should be there, right? So why doesn't it work if you just stuck an ECC UDIMM in there? Did Synology actively disable this feature of the SoC?
  • chubbypanda - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    While dimensions and sockets for DDR3 and ECC DDR3 modules are physically the same, they've got different electrical layouts! Inserting regular memory module into ECC DDR3 equipped board would result in damaged memory module and possibly the board.

    As why Synology chose not to use ECC memory (despite they could have), Ganesh already answered that.
  • jabber - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Plus it leaves them open to sell a version in the future that does support ECC and charge you an extra $400 for the benefit.
  • shelbystripes - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Chubbypanda: Thanks for your reaponse, it put me on the right track.

    I was about to say that I don't buy this, since both ASUS and SuperMicro make Avoton boards that are listed as taking both ECC and non-ECC RAM. But on a closer look, only the SuperMicro mATX boards (which have full-size 240-pin DIMM sockets) claim to support both ECC and non-ECC RAM. Their mini-ITX boards (which have 204-pin SODIMM sockets) support ECC RAM only. The missing pins in SODIMMs must be ones that would allow cross-compatibility (probably by providing separate electrical signals for ECC and non-ECC RAM, at least for detection at startup).

    I think that's it. Since the Synology unit uses SODIMMs, it can only support one or the other, and they chose non-ECC. Boo. If (as jabber mentioned) they release a higher-end version with ECC RAM, I'll buy it... If I haven't given up waiting for it and built myself a FreeNAS box. I had been waiting and hoping for the inevitable Avoton Synology box, but I hadn't anticipated this.

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