The DiskStation is, like many network storage solutions, a fairly plain black box. The design used here is definitely aimed at function over style and given that this product covers both the home and small business markets that's to be expected. The DiskStation measures in at 18.4cm (W) x 23cm (L) x 16.8cm (H) and weighs 2.2kg, without any disks in it.
Taking a closer look at the front panel the DiskStation offers a large power button surrounded by a number of LED indicators. From left to right we have a Status indicator, LAN indicator and then an LED for each of the 4 drive bays the DiskStation provides. Each LED is a colour display based on a number of factors; we find a list of explanations of the colours in the full user guide provided on the installation CD.
Each side of the DiskStation features the Synology logo stencilled into the case. This is a nice styling touch and makes what could have been a very plain black case a little more interesting.
On the back of the DiskStation there are two 80mm Fans and these produce very little in the way of noise, the normal operating volume is no louder than a standard PSU. Surprisingly when forcing the unit to perform under heavy load for a long duration the fan noise doesn't increase to anything troublesome, even from a few feet away.
In terms of connectivity we have gigabit Ethernet port, 2 USB ports and an eSATA port. The USB ports are available for expansion of additional storage, printer or USB speakers.
Opening the DiskStation is a very simple matter of removing the 4 screws from the back plate, which then folds down. Once this is free we can easily lift the top of the case of, which exposes the drive bays for quick disk installation.
The drive bays slide out of their housing so that we can install a drive in them. Each bay supports either a 3.5" or 2.5" drive and Synology provide enough screws to secure 4 of either type. The maximum internal capacity of the DiskStation is 12TB (4 x 3TB HDD) and it supports a wide variety of RAID configurations - Synology Hybrid RAID, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5+Spare, RAID 6, RAID 10 and JBOD (Just a bunch of disks).
Also inside the system we find a 1.6GHz CPU with 512MB of DDR3 and power use varies from 11w to 29.7w depending on use.
For the purposes of our review we simply installed a 2TB HDD in the first bay and utilised the Synology Hybrid RAID configuration. Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) is an intelligent management of multiple disks that maximises storage space when combining drives of varying sizes/types into an array. It can provide up to two hard disks for fault-tolerance/data protection and can be expanded to and additional storage space when more hard disks are inserted into the array during future upgrades.