Synology DS218j NAS Vs QNAP TS-228A NAS Comparison

Synology DS218j vs QNAP TS-228A NAS

Budget NAS is actually quite big business. Although there are many expensive or overpowered NAS drives out there, there is still a big demand for low end and modestly powered network. Whether this is because of emptier wallets or because of the 24×7 nature of NAS, big brands like Synology and QNAP make yearly efforts to release cost-effective and low price devices that, although not exactly earth-shattering, give end users a good taste of their software and brand, whilst still producing a product that will provide network and internet access to their data in the modern way that NAS provides. The Synology DS218J NAS, released late into 2017 and the TS-228A QNAP NAS, released a little further into 2018, still continue to be very popular with bargain buyers and without a new range of 2-Bay budget NAS anytime soon, these two NAS drives have continued to be popular all this way into 2019. As you would expect from these top tier NAS makers, both the TS-228A and DS218j have been consistently updated and support the latest versions of their respective operating systems (Synology DSM 6.2 and QNAP QTS 4.0). Though it is certainly worth noting that they have very different ideas of what their audience wants. As previously observed here on NASCompares, Synology is a brand that has a greater priority given to software, providing typically lower spec CPU and Memory than their likewise QNAP options, getting the very most out of that hardware. Whereas QNAP tend to give more attention to the hardware by comparison and you will often find their internal (and often external) hardware being far more powerful, still arriving with good and fluid software (though not quite as smooth as Synology’s, it has to be said). The DS218j and TS-228A very much embody the philosophies of their respective brands and regardless of which one you buy, you will have a very good device that gives you a good bite of what each NAS brand has to offer home and business users. Let’s start comparing these NAS drives.

Synology DS218j vs QNAP TS-228A – Who Is a 2-Bay NAS for?

Ever since the early days of network attach storage being more widely available to home and small business users, the importance of data protection from hardware failure has been paramount. Everything from the pictures of your family that are figuratively AND literally priceless, to the client and business data that your company is built on needs to be protected. In answer to this, a system called a redundant array of independent disks (or RAID) was devised. Although it can also be used to improve performance, it is more often used to allow you to have a safety net in the event of a hard drive breaking. As useful as this is, it means that you need more than one hard drive in operation (to supply sufficient space for the safety net/redundancy) and it’s because of this that a 2-Bay NAS is so popular. It gives you the bare minimum levels of RAID (RAID 1, or ‘mirror’), as well as a good level of storage space. 2-Bay NAS such as the TS-228A from QNAP and the DS218j from Synology are ideal for those that want:

  • Those who plan on storing irreplaceable data on the NAS – Photos of family, private events, data deleted from other devices to make room
  • Client/Business data that needs to be retained for insurance of security reasons
  • Surveillance NAS use to ensure that recorded data is not lost
  • in the case of a RAID 0, those looking for combined hard drive storage spaces that are greater than any 1 hard drive. eg 16TB is currently the biggest HDD you can buy. 2x 16TB in a RAID 0 = 1 32TB Storage Space

But RAID 1 in a 2-Bay means you will only have as much space available AT MOST as the biggest drive available, i.e. 2x 10TB HDD in a RAID 1 = 10TB Space Available at most.

Synology DS219j vs QNAP TS-228A – Specifications

One look below will show how the Synology DS219j has lesser hardware, compared with the QNAP TS-228A NAS. This is a common occurrence when comparing likewise QNAP and Synology NAS, largely the result of Synology investing HEAVILY in their DiskStation Manager Software included with the NAS, producing more universally used applications than those on the QNAP QTS Software. That said, both platforms have great software, with many first-party apps, as well as the support of 3rd party client apps on your Windows, Mac, iOS or Android systems.

Model Synology DS218j NAS

QNAP TS-228A NAS

Price £120+ ex.VAT £130+ ex.VAT
Where to Buy
Model Synology DS218j NAS QNAP TS-228A NAS
Design
Where to Buy
CPU
Marvell Armada 385 88F6820
32-bit Dual Core 1.3 GHz
Realtek RTD1295 64bit
Quad Core 1.4 GHz
Memory 512MB Memory 1GB Memory
LAN

x1

x1

USB 2x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 3.0
Expandable No No
Chassis Plastic, No hot swapping Plastic, No hot swapping
PSU (Watts) 60W 65W
CCTV Cameras 10 Cameras 12 Cameras
Warranty 2 years 2 years

Straight away, the specifications are distinct in how each brand has spent its investment. Synology invests HEAVILY in its first-party software, meaning that Diskstation Manager (the OS on the unit to put it plainly) will run all those 1st party Synology applications very smoothly. Whereas, QNAP (although they have a smooth OS) have prioritized the hardware more, with better expandability and access options, as well as better support of 3rd party apps, along with their own software too. The result is that, although both give you alot of functionality and an easy/smooth user interface, the Synology software is just that pinch bit better and the QNAP hardware is more accessible.

Why Should You Buy the Synology DS219j NAS?

The Synology DS219j is a device that does not try to hide how low powered it is. Yet it is still by FAR the lowest price you pay for RAID-enabled storage and experience Synology DSM 6.2. Despite the low end 32bit dual core 800Mhz CPU and rather poultry 512bit memory, you can still access many of the applications on the app store, such as 3rd party cloud backups, file management, surveillance station, local backups to USB devices and DLNA media streaming to TV’s, PS4s, Xbox, Amazon firestick and Chromecast.

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The DS219j also supports many of the client PC/Mac applications and the many, many mobile applications for tailored file access on Android and iOS. In short, you need to look a little past the hardware and see how they have developed the software on this device to get much, much more out of it. That said, with such a painful amount of memory, you will have ALOT of difficulty multi-tasking – both with other users and on your own if you want to run more than 2 apps at once. As soon as you run even 1 stream of media over DLNA, the CPU use will leap upto 30-40% and the Memory utilization will hit 30-40%. It is certainly more powerful than the 1-Bay DS218j, with half the CPU and Memory of the DS219j, the struggles you could potentially face in the 2-Bay will be twice as bad though!

Why Should You Buy the QNAP TS-228A NAS?

As you would expect from QNAP’s reputation, the hardware in the TS-228A is just much more innovative and modern than that found in the DS218j. That quad-core ARM CPU is not only almost twice as powerful as the clock speed of the DS218j, but in twice as many cores AND it is 64bit. This means it is far, FAR more proficient to do typical tasks. Opening the doors to more complex computations. So, although you do not have the software of the Synology, the QNAP QTS software and applications (which are already pretty good too) run much, MUCH smoother – as well as letting you use more cameras in surveillance, more backups, more streams of media at once, snapshot backups, more users, more volumes and just a better overall experience of NAS and data management.

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The only thing that counts against it, is that the QNAP will typically use a little more CPU/Memory to do the average task that other devices – but this is massively negated by the fact you get so, so much more hardware in the QNAP TS-228A NAS than the DS218j. Finally, if you aren’t interested in RAID, you can always consider the TS-128A at a lower price, exactly the same CPU and Memory, but jsut the 1 HDD Media bay.

What Robbie Would Choose to Buy? DS219j or TS-228A NAS?

For me, this is a no-brainer. The Synology DS218j IS a good NAS and does give you access to the generally smoother and more user-friendly Synology DSM user interface – it just has weaker and less efficient hardware and it will all too often lag, slow down and feel too close to crashing, to actually give you a decent idea of the software. Whereas the QNAP NAS just gives you much, MUCH more hardware for your money and this enables the TS-228A to give you much faster and more diverse ways to use your data. For me the TS-228A is a SIGNIFICANTLY better NAS Drive to buy in 2019 and I recommend it over the DS218j for everyone, even those very new to NAS.

In short, if you prefer:

  • Have alot of Apple Products
  • Use Amazon Alexa Reguarly
  • Are a Mac User
  • Are an iOS user
  • Are a Console Gamer
  • Have an Android Mobile
  • Use Google Home
  • Are a Windows PC/Laptop User
  • Use a Chromebook
  • Are a PC Gamer
You Should Buy the

Synology DS218j NAS

You Should Buy the

QNAP TS-228A NAS

Model Synology DS218j NAS

QNAP TS-228A NAS

Price £120+ ex.VAT £130+ ex.VAT
Where to Buy

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