Late last year, Synology announced its newest twelve-bay DiskStation DS2413+ for small to medium sized businesses who need loads of storage. Along with supporting up to 48TB worth of drives out of the box, the DS2413+ can be paired with the company's DX1211 expansion enclosure that houses an extra 12 drives, doubling the maximum storage capacity of the base unit to a whopping 96TB.

The DS2413+ is currently the flagship model of the latest x13 Series, featuring more memory and greater storage than any other NAS in the line. A little over a year and a half ago we tested its predecessor, the DS2411+, which also supported the DX1211 expansion enclosure and looked similar to what we have here today -- at least on the outside. It's a different story under the hood.

The DS2413+'s processor has been upgraded to a gutsier Intel Atom model and there is twice as much memory. Synology has also been working hard to improve their DSM (Disk Station Manager) software, which is already widely regarded as the best in the industry and just so happened to receive an update recently. DSM 4.2 includes new features and performance improvements over version 4.1.

For those of you who haven't seen what DSM includes since our review of version 3.1 on the DS2411+, you'll be amazed with what's been added. We should also make a quick note before you get to the end and scoff at the price: the DS2413+ isn't for average home users. It's retailing for $1,700 without drives or the 12-bay expansion. With that in mind, let's see what the DS2413+'s upgrades offer.

DS2413+ NAS in Detail

The DiskStation DS2413+ is based on the same design as the older DS2411+ and therefore looks very similar barring minor changes that we will get to shortly.

As you would expect, this 12-bay NAS is anything but small. The unit measures 270 x 300 x 340mm which are the exact dimensions of the DS2411+, while the weight also remains the same at 21.89lbs (9.93kg), roughly twice that of Synology's 5-bay devices. Considering that the average hard drive weighs about 1.50lbs (0.68kg), the DS2413+ will weigh around 40lbs (18.15kg) once fully loaded.

The front of the case features twelve hot-swappable drive bays, each with a pair of green activity lights. Synology has designed these bays in a way that is very practical.

Rather than make each individual drive bay lockable, Synology has simply included a small lock at the top of the unit which lets you lock or unlock every bay at once. Because this is a business-class product, security is a concern and the DS2413+ does a fair job of physically securing each drive.

Once unlocked, the bays are easy to release as you just have to press down on them. Sliding the drives in and out of the DS2413+ is a breeze.

Above the hot-swappable bays are four more activity LEDs which indicate status, LAN1, LAN2, and alert. We should point out that there are no front-mounted USB connectors which are used on the lower end small office/home office models for the quick copy function, as Synology does not believe this is a requirement for business use and we tend to agree.

Spinning around to the back reveals a pair of 120mm fans, dual Gigabit LAN ports, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a COM port and a VGA port. There is also a 3-pin power connector that attaches to a standard PC power plug, meaning the power supply is located internally.

Compared to the older DS2411+, the DS2413+ brings USB 3.0 support to the table, making it possible to copy data from supported devices much faster. Synology has also given the rear of the DS2413+ a coat of black paint whereas the previous model was unfinished.

By installing the power supply inside the enclosure, you don't have to worry about dealing with external power bricks, which could become a nuisance for those pairing the DS2413+ with a DX1211 expansion enclosure. Speaking of which, the DX1211 supports another 12 drives expanding the maximum storage capacity to an incredible 96TB.

Synology has also included a factory reset button along with an InfiniBand port labeled "expansion." In the past, the company used eSATA to connect its expansion devices, but the DS2413+ requires more bandwidth than a single 3Gb/s SATA port can deliver. The InfiniBand cable can carry 12Gb/s of data to and from the DS2413+ for maximum throughput.

The dual Gigabit LAN ports are used to achieve the claimed 196.87MB/s write and 201.03MB/s read performance. They do this by using Link Aggregation technology which allows grouping several physical Ethernet links to create one logical Ethernet link for the purpose of providing fault-tolerance and high-speed links between switches, routers, servers and in this case the Synology DS2413+.

You should notice the lack of front mounted connectivity and this is becoming common practice for high-end Synology products. Those wanting to quickly attach an external hard drive will have to gain access to the rear of the DS2413+, which could be a hassle. Considering the intended purpose of this device, most data is going to be transmitted to and from the network anyway.