Unboxing the Synology DS218+ Diskstation NAS – Is Two Bays Enough?

Why should you buy the Synology DS218+II for Home and Business? Is it worthy of your data?

Synology DS218+ Retail Box
Synology DS218+ Retail Box

When it comes to buying your first, second or tenth NAS Server, it should come as no surprise to you that one of the biggest areas of conflict for most users comes down to finding the perfect balance between price and hardware power. Everyone wants a bargain and at the same time everyone wants to know that the hardware they buy will do everything they need today, tomorrow and years from now. This becomes one of the main reasons that many users end up finding out about the Synology DS218+. With the majority of NAS devices always seeming to provide either a low price and weaker hardware, or a high price and incredible hardware, this modest 2-Bay can be the perfect middle ground. One look at the recent September/October 2017 Synology releases show the following:

DS718+ DS918+ DS218+ DS418 Range 3

2-Bay and 4-Bay Budget NAS with ARM CPU and 1GB or less Memory

DS218j (£130+), DS218play (£220), DS218 (£230+), DS418j (£250+ ), DS418, (£350+)

2-Bay and 4-Bay Medium Cost NAS, Intel CPU and at least 2GB of Memory

DS218+ (£270+)

2-Bay and 4-Bay Powerful NAS with an Intel CPU and at least 2GB of Memory

DS718+ (£370+), DS3018xs (£1200+), DS418play (£415+)

(all prices shown are ex.VAT)

As you can see, it sits very neatly in the middle of the pack. But  is price the only real factor to consider? What about power?

Why would someone want to buy the Synology DS218+ NAS?

Synology DS218+ Accessories
Synology DS218+ Accessories

As you can see, this is why many buyers find themselves considering the Synology DS218+ NAS. Arriving with a price tag that is higher than the Budget models, BUT is still a good chunk cheaper than the Powerful and tasks specific NAS, you end up with NAS server that do most individual tasks that the big NAS devices can do, such as:

  • Transcode on a Plex Media Server
  • Play and Transcode 4K Media
  • Host a Virtual machine
  • Support multiple Apple Time Machine Backups
  • be accessible by many users at once
  • Host and provide business support via CRM and CMS systems
  • Act as a surveillance station by connecting several IP Cameras and viewing them on the Surveilance station software included free

But at the same time, it can out perform the Budget NAS devices by miles on more common and day to day NAS tasks, like:

Synology DS218+ USB 3.0
Synology DS218+ USB 3.0
  • DLNA Media streaming to Smart TVs, PS4, Xbox One, Chromecast, etc
  • Perform Active Backups and SYncs with your mobile devices
  • Host a Download server, supporting HTTP, BT and FTP
  • Act as an iTunes server, accessible over the network on many devices including BOSE and SONOS sound systems
  • Act as a Web and e-mail server for personal or business use

So, as you can see, the demand for a ‘value for money’ NAS is always high and synology maintain that the DS218+ is a great answer to that enquiry.

What has Physically changed with the Synology DS218+ NAS since the DS216+II?

Synology DS218+ NAS Unboxing 5

The DS218+ arrives over a year since the release of the DS216+II and it took every single detail of the older unit and improved in every way ot can. The first change is the chassis. Straight away we can look at that new case and removable front panel. Almost identical to that of the DS216+II NAS of 2016, this new chassis shares many of the aspects of the DS918+ and it’s redesigned exterior. Though the majority of this case seems similar to the previous unit, the removable front panel seems much more sharp and modern in design. When we measured the unit up against the older DS216+, we found them to be almost identical, with the older unit a little taller.  Though the front panel is mainly just a cosmetic, it is still a nice touch.

Synology DS218+ Removed Front Panel
Synology DS218+ Removed Front Panel

The plastic HDD trays are screw-less, so no fiddling with a screwdriver, however they cannot be locked. Luckily features like hotswapping and  SSD installation are possible and you can almost overlook the lack of key locks…almost.

Synology DS218+ USB 3.0
Synology DS218+ USB 3.0

Regarding the rear ports, we can see that they have provided 2 more USB 3.0 ports (3 total if you include that one touch copy port on the front, no USB 2.0 here thankfully), a single LAN port (so not the 2x of the DS718+) and an eSATA port for connecting the DX517 5-Bay expansion. However unlike the DS718+ NAS, the DS218+ can only see this expansion unit as independent storage – no spreading the RAID Over. This is another of the many examples where certain flagship/business features have been removed or reduced to scale the unit into that Price VS Hardware category.

How has the internal Hardware and Specs changed with the DS218+ NAS?

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The internal specification of the device are surprisingly impressive. More than just impressive, the unit arrives with the SAME CPU and RAM as the DS418PLAY 4-Bay device, which is £140-150 more expensive! Don’t believe me? Have a look at the DS218+ VS DS418PLAY HERE. This is just another big example of how the DS218+ is a perfect middle ground NAS in the diskstation Q3/Q4 Lineup. Further information on specifications of the DS218+ are:

The Synology DS218+ 2-Bay Diskstation NAS Server – Specs And Details Revealed 2

 

The Synology DS218+ – £270 without VAT and HDD media

Synology DS218+ Diskstation NAS 2018

  • Expected Release Date – AVAILABLE NOW
  • New Chassis
  • 2-Bay NAS – Expandable to 2+5 with DX517
  • Intel Celeron J3355 Dual Core 2.0 GHz (up to 2.5 GHz)
  • 2GB DDR3 Memory, expandable to 6GB
  • In terms of connectivity, this NAS has 3 USB 3.0 ports (including 1 on the front), 1 Gigabit network ports and 1 eSATA port.
  • 2 Channel 4K Transcoding of H.264 and decoding H.265
  • BTRFS support and SHR Support