More grunt than a game of Halo? You bet. The Synology DiskStation DS211j takes NAS to a whole new level.
The Synology is a standout NAS device, though it’s plainly not for everyone. The Synology DiskStation DS211j is packed with features, and really takes the whole NAS thing to another level.
The key here is the use of Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) as the front end for the operating system, which presents the user with pretty much a fully fledged OS shell through the web browser. We're talking desktop, icons, start menu, search features, the whole kit and caboodle.
With this kind of setup comes the ability to add and subtract complex apps if required. For example, the Download Station app doesn't just do BitTorrent: it does BitTorrent, it offers full search options for torrents, will also download NZBs through a service provider, downloads through RapidShare and Megaupload premium accounts and can monitor RSS feeds for new downloads.
You can stream your media via the web using an AJAX-based audio station, which allows you to browse your collection, create and manage playlists and do what you would normally do with most desktop audio apps, except through your browser. (It's slick.) Not to mention the optional remote control you can use to work your music when you plug in some USB speakers.
This is another unit that rocks the PHP and MySQL onboard, so you can create and serve complex web sites from your NAS device.
For us, DiskStation DS211j crosses the line between a home server and a NAS device, and that's a good thing. Considering the expense of buying and maintaining another PC to act as a server, grabbing a NAS like this is a great thing for home users. It's not the cheapest though, as this price doesn't include any disks for this two-bay unit.Available from SYNOLOGY, retailing for $290.APC rating: 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)