We looked at Synology's previous disk-less NAS server, the USB Station 2 back in 2011 and the EDS14 is essentially a similar device. It allows you to hook up external storage devices, from USB flash drives to 3.5in external enclosures and turn them into NAS-like disks that can tap into the power of Synology's DSM operating system.
If you're familiar with the company's NAS offerings then you'll know that DSM is pretty much the best of its kind out there, so if you have sealed external storage units and don't want to have to smash them up to get at the hard disk inside to mount in a NAS enclosure, or buy a new hard disk, the EDS14 could be useful. It's extremely small too - imagine a box of Matchmakers chocolates and you'll get the idea.
If you'd rather not for fear of putting your diet in jeopardy, then it measures 31mm X 125mm X 125mm - a fraction of the size of even a single-bay NAS and barely bigger than a 120mm fan. In fact, it could be mounted behind a TV or cabinet quite easily, especially seeing as it weighs less than 300g.
The exterior is made of high density black plastic with the top centre section forming an aluminium heatsink, which is actually fairly elaborate, with protrusions on the underside reaching down to the hot spots, including the 1.2GHz Marvell 88F6-BM12/Armada 370 CPU, which is similar to that in the DS214se, although the EDS14 actually sports double the amount of RAM at 512MB DDR3 than Synology's current budget dual-bay NAS.
Even back when the USB Station 2 was new, the absence of USB 3 was palpable for a device that relies on external storage so needless to say, the EDS14 does include one USB 3 port along with a USB 2 port at the rear and an SD card slot at the front. The USB 3 port is rated up to 112MB/sec and 50.5MB/sec read and write speeds respectively, while the SD card slot is a little slower at 78MB/sec and 45MB/sec. However, the latter is clearly not running on a USB 2 interface with claims like that, so if you're keen to come back from a photoshoot and dump a few gigabytes of photos into your home network via the EDS14, then we're hoping it's just as fast as a dedicated USB 3 SD card reader.
There are also two gigabit LAN ports with failover support and this ties in with the eyebrow-raising price tag. At £170, this is more than twice what the USB Station 2 cost and is a good £50 more than the DS214se too. Synology is aiming at so called 'rigorous environments' with the EDS14 and combined with failover support, home users are getting something that's just a tad overkill for your average home network.
Local connections Front: SD Card reader, Rear: 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 2 x LAN
Network connections 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
Storage None (USB/SD card external storage only)
Cables 1.5m Cat 5 Ethernet,
Features FTP server, webserver, photo server, music server, independent download (via HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent), iTunes and UPnP media sever, DLNA, print server, storage server for external USB hard disks, surveillance server