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 Post subject: "Silent enough" NAS, is Synology or NetGear an option?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 7:20 am
Posts: 26
Location: Finland
I'm thinking about moving into the NAS world, and while I know none of the ready-built models are SPCR silent, at the moment I don't have the time or inclination to build my own. I also don't have the luxury of putting it in a garage, closet or attic (at best could try to place it behind some paneling or furniture to dampen some of the noise), so I would need a model that is or can be made at least tolerably quiet.

I've mostly been looking at 4-bay models, and so far narrowed down my research to either a Synology 412(+) or 413, or one of the NetGear ReadyNAS models. Those manufacturers mainly because of the flexible RAID modes (SHR and X-RAID), good interoperability including OSX Time Machine, a track record in firmware updates to maintain said interoperability, as well as a developer community for 3rd party add-ons, though I'd be happy to learn about other options as well.

The unit would most likely be populated with WD Red drives, which should help to keep vibration noise down (though probably not as good as my current suspension-mounted drives).

Synology has at least some kind of rubber mounts in the drive sleds, and there's been a couple of threads here to suggest that it might be possible to make fairly silent with good drives - anyone tried with the Reds yet?

ReadyNAS would probably need a fan mod (voiding warranty and possibly tech support, which makes me a bit reluctant to do it), unless they've started using more silent fans than what I've read. I'm thinking either swapping in a better 92mm fan, or also an adapter tube to accommodate a 120mm fan outside of the case (also putting some distance between the fan blades and the components). Any insight or experience with this?

If none of the 4-bay models fit the bill, I could also think about getting a 2-bay model, running it as RAID-1 at 3TB net capacity, and relegating it to a backup role if I need more space later - but I'm not sure if it would be noticeably more silent, especially if I would populate the 4-bay unit with just two drives at first. After all it's pretty much the same fans, same drive mounts and similar airflow design between those.


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 Post subject: Re: "Silent enough" NAS, is Synology or NetGear an option?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 676
Location: Germany
All 4-bay NAS (Netgear, Thecus, QNAP, no Synology) i've personally come across are silent according to spcr if placed next room. They might be reasonable quiet in an office environment, but certainly not spcr-silent.


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 Post subject: Re: "Silent enough" NAS, is Synology or NetGear an option?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 7:20 am
Posts: 26
Location: Finland
Thanks for that... If I had to pick one of those, has anyone here been able to do (or find) a proper comparison between models or brands, using the same or similar disks?

I haven't had much time to look further into this myself, but in case anyone else is interested, here seems to be one discussion about fan modifications for NetGear ReadyNAS. It's a bit dated, but at least for a still available model (NV+) which should be similar in basic hardware layout to the newer Ultra and Pro product lines. Other threads I found in my quick search were for older and obsoleted products.

At the moment I think would be leaning toward NetGear, if I had any certainty that it could be silenced to a reasonable level. Lots of good tips and information on the user community forums, and the hardware seems solid. I also found another thread though, which seems to suggest the manufacturer might not be so interested in their lower-end products any more, so I wonder how long there will be updates and how long that community will still be around.

Synology I didn't research that much yet. The brand seems to have much more life to it in product development, but it's also pricier, the design and hardware don't make me feel as confident, and the software feature set seems a bit fancy for my needs. Also found some complaints from Mac users that AFS shares would be slow. I may have to do some more reading another day perhaps.

What I'll probably do for now is just buy two 3TB WD Reds, pair them as RAID-5 in the old linux tower I already have (even though I had wanted to get rid of it), set up Samba shares for the other computers in the household, and see if I can get Time Machine backups for Mac working with Netatalk (even though I really wanted to avoid spending time tweaking and setting up things in the first place).

With the immediate needs covered by that, I can continue looking for better alternatives, whether that would be a self-built linux or FreeNAS box or one of the ready-built solutions. Worst case, I'd have to just buy a third 3TB Red, take one disk out of my array (to have two available for setting up the new NAS), copy my data over, and then add the first disk to that. And if I end up keeping a linux server box, luckily current versions of mdadm support RAID-5 expansion (probably what NetGear and Synology also use in their proprietary solutions), so I've got that base covered as well.

Any other suggestions or feedback still gratefully welcomed. :)


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