Synology DS218 or DS218+ or the DS218Play

Your question:

I am seeing so much about the DS220+ and the DS218Play but nothing about the DS218. I have seen the specs for the DS218 are just about the same as the DS218Play but with 2GB memory and a couple other small things and a few features the DS220+ has. And the DS218 appears to have the same case as the DS220+ Minus the eSATA port on the rear. The DS218 is priced between the DS218play & the DS220+. I believe the DS218play will do what I need it to but for the small difference in price would it be worth going one step up to the DS218 for the extra memory and hot-swap drives, etc?

All 2 drive Synology NAS comparison page (DS216se Or DS218j Or DS218play Or DS218 Or DS218+ Or DS718+)


The answer:

DS218 and DS218play is very much the same NAS. Before spending extra be sure you will really need this extra memory, hot-swap trays or one-touch backup button what DS218 offers. These both NAS systems are very limited performance-wise. One simultaneous 4K stream or few HD streams.

In a home use probably you will be fine with DS218play instead of DS218. If there will be 5+ people using it – consider DS218 or DS220+, there is more RAM to share and faster drive replacement feature.

DS220+ will be useful if you consider using it as a Plex server, or virtualization (windows media center or Linux). You can add extra 5 drives as a separate volume and increase the RAM size. If not, there is no need for this extra performance. Unless you will have many people simultaneously and continuously accessing and using this device.

Read: Compare all 2 bay range to find more differences.

The price difference between DS218play , DS218 and DS220+


What each of them have different?

DS220+j – Good for multimedia, but limited to one or two things running simultaneously

DS218play – Good for multimedia

DS218 –        Good for multimedia and easy backup functions

DS220+ –      Good for multimedia and easy backup functions and is upgradable, expandable

What are the differences between all these 2 bays?

DS220+J – Backups and file storage. Streaming 4K locally ONLY. Limited to just few apps running at the time.

DS218play – Good for backups. Geared for HD and some 4K multimedia. Many apps available but limited performance.

DS218 –        Same as DS218play +increased memory, and copy button. Good for backups, HD and some 4K multimedia, and Hot-swap drive replacement and backup functions

DS220+ –      Good for all multimedia (HD, 4K) and easy backup functions (copy button) and is upgradable (RAM) expandable up to 7 drives (as a separate volume), Hot-swap drives, will run all apps.

Extended comparison: here


DS218 and DS218play transcodes 10-bit H.265 (HEVC) 60 frames per second, but DS220+ does at 30 frames per second?

Yes, DS218 and DS218play have Realtek processor which is made for new generation H265 transcoding. But 60 frames per second videos are not very popular at all. So you think about transcoding- there is no much point having something that transcoded only new generation videos. DS220+ will transcode new generation video files as well as old ones. And it will do it at the most popular frame rate which is 30FPS.


DS218play , DS218 and DS220+ Specs Compared

DS220J DS218 DS220+ DS218play
CPU Model Realtek RTD1296 Realtek RTD1296 Intel Celeron J4025 Realtek RTD1296
CPU Architecture 64-bit 64-bit 64-bit 64-bit
CPU Frequency Quad Core 1.4 GHz Quad Core 1.4 GHz 2-core 2.0 (base) / 2.9 (burst) GHz Quad Core 1.4 GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine Yes Yes AES-NI Yes
Hardware Transcoding Engine 10-bit H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 60 10-bit H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 60 H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30 10-bit H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 60
System Memory 512 MB DDR4 non-ECC 2 GB DDR4 2 GB DDR4 non-ECC 1 GB DDR4

What does Copy Button do?

You can actually configure what will copy button on the front panel do. You can set it to automatically copy all data from an external hard drive to your NAS or copy a certain folder from your NAS to attached hard drive. This can speed up the time when you are in a rush. There is no need to use laptop an manually drag and drop folder you wanna copy to/from external drive.

Which ones are expandable?

The only NAS from these three which can be upgraded is DS220+ You can add expansion unit for 5 extra hard drives (as a separate volume) and add bigger size RAM sticks.

RAM upgrade options

DS220+ compatible RAM upgrade


Crucial Compatible RAM Upgrade 





CPU can only address 8GB per channel (slot). So max 16GB (2x8GB).


What can I connect to DS 2 bays?


What can I connect to a NAS?

Wireless Speaker Sonos

The great thing about Sonos is that you don't need to pay for music subscription service. With the cheapest NAS at home like DS115j or any other, you can have your backups done for all of your devices and still use your network drive as a Sonos music library. Sonos will connect to your NAS via your network and let access your provided music library. If you have little more of IT knowledge, you can even set up your Alexa or Sonos with Alexa built in to play music on your voice commands ("Alexa! Ask DS Audio to Play Music!").

Casting devices

Nowadays it is so cheap to upgrade your old TV and make it smart. All you need is Google Chrome or EZcast alternative plugged into your HDMI port at the back of your TV. Now you have great functionality added to your TV to send a video file directly from your NAS to a TV. No need for wires and chargers and other mess. You can use your phone as a remote to go to your movies or family videos and cast that content on your TV during family or friend gatherings.


Apple TV

Amazon Fire TV

You may not have a smartphone, or you just simply prefer to control your content with a remote in that case Amazon Fire TV will be a great addon to get to your TV. It also plugs into your HDMI port and will play content from your NAS to a TV. No wires no mess.

nVidia Shield TV

It gets even better! If you want some more entertainment and all previously mentioned functions - nVidia TV is a great thing to get. You can use it for playing games and watching movies from your NAS. The greatest thing is - shield TV does video transcoding. So even if you have a cheap NAS with a weak CPU, in a combination of shield TV you can now automatically on the fly change video file size and format for a destination device. It is a great way to reduce network load and let older devices to play video content which normally was not supported on the device.


Expansion unit:

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    Also Read:

    DS216se or DS218j or DS218play or DS218 or DS218+ or DS718+

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