A Walk into DiskStation: the Soundless Design

Performance-wise, DiskStations have literally taken off these past few years, allowing for great speed and storage capacity. Paradoxically, they have become ever more silent, making their quietness a key feature we are today particularly proud of. And how this has been achieved by our engineers is an interesting story I’d like to take you through.
Before going into details, what actually generates noise on a NAS?
The main culprits are the hard drives and system fan: a
s soon as you start writing or reading data on hard drives, they spin up and click, as well as cause vibrations which in turn generate noise. Indirectly, hard drives also heat up: to cool them down, a fan needs to be spun, yet another source of noise.
So let’s take a look at the solutions to making DiskStations quiet and brilliant.

Less Fan Spin, More Airflow

The most visible solution, though maybe not the most obvious, are the openings on the side of the DiskStations – the ones in the shape of the “Synology logo”. Stylish as they may be, their function is less aesthetic than to improve the flow of air inside the DiskStation, evacuating heat more efficiently and reducing the temperature of the hard drives. Fans can then be spun slower, which reduces the overall noise levels.

These “gills” also have another big advantage: they avoid vibrations getting trapped and reverberating inside the shell, which on certain older DiskStations would sometimes create a slight buzzing sound.

Intelligent Fan Speed Calculation

If you’ve played around with the Resource Manager in DSM, you may have noticed hard drive temperatures can hike up in summer or if the Synology is living under very tropical latitudes. But what’s interesting here is that instead of spinning the fan at full speed when a small amount of cooling is required, it’s adjusted depending on just how much cooling is necessary. Again, the result is an overall quieter NAS in operation.

Rubber Pad, the Vibration Absorber

Let’s continue with the hardware, with a solution present on models equipped with HDD trays: you’ll find small rubber pads mounted on the screw holes of these HDD trays. Once the screws holding the HDD and its tray are tightened, these rubber pads eliminate the hard drive vibrations we mentioned previously, before they even have a chance of spreading through the rest of the structure. Very simple, but extremely effective.

A final add-on design change has to do with the noise due to the CPU fan. Well that’s not exactly true: to nip it in the bud, most recent DiskStations are equipped with fanless CPU, which removes the need for cooling altogether, the main fan ensuring the flow of air for all elements inside the NAS.

Further tips to use at home

In addition to the design techniques used to make DiskStations nice and quiet, you can also consider the following tips at home:

1. If your “NAS budget” allows for it go for SSD drives, as they are not mechanic, they eliminate any spinning and are 100% silent.
However, SSD drives are slightly pricey – to say the least – so you may want to stick to conventional hard drives. In that case, what can be done?

2. Keeping the DiskStation clean and regularly removing any dust which could block the flow of air inside will avoid fans spinning pointlessly. Also, when assembling your DiskStation, make sure all parts are well fitted together: as mentioned previously, anything loose can potentially start generating vibrations, so don’t hesitate to keep a tight grip on them.

3. Position your DiskStation so as to have its rear facing a wall, roughly 10cm away: the fan being at the back, noise levels are lower in front of the NAS, and projecting towards a wall will always reduce the amount of decibels coming your way. Again, a simple point but worth considering: