Synology XS, Plus, and Value NAS boxes bring big storage to every device

Enthusiast PCs seem to be going away from towers packed full of mechanical hard drives and towards compact enclosures with limited room for 3.5" drives, or large cases with lots of space dedicated to water cooling hardware. Synology's latest DiskStation devices provide a safe place for pack rats to easily store and share all the drives and data that don't fit in modern PC cases.

Synology's DiskStation Value series DS418 four-bay machines are based on a Realtek RTD1296 1.4 GHz four-core processor with hardware encryption support. The processor is partnered with 2 GB of DDR4 memory and communicates with the world through a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports. The DiskStation DS418 has hardware H.265 transcoding capability for serving up media files to devices throughout the network. The DS418 also supports Synology Hybrid RAID, making it easy to use drivers of dissimilar sizes in a RAID array.

Buyers that need a little more beef can opt for Synology's DiskStation Plus-series boxes. The entry-level DS218+ has a pair of internal bays, an Intel Celeron J3355 two-core processor, 2 GB of DDR3L memory, and a single LAN port. Stepping up to the DS718+ nets a faster Celeron J3455 four-core processor, a second Gigabit Ethernet jack, and expansion capability.

The larger DiskStation DS918+ is similar to the DS718+ but has 4 GB of pre-installed memory and four drive bays plus two M.2 slots. The DS718+ and DS918+ can both be upgraded with one of Synology's DX517 five-bay expansion units. Buyers can add an extra 4 GB to the 2 GB of pre-installed memory in all three Plus-series models.

The six-bay DS3018xs is the fastest of the new models, and it's built around an Intel Pentium D1508 dual-core processor, 8 GB of DDR4 ECC memory, and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Buyers can upgrade to up to 32 GB of system memory thanks to the pair of SODIMM slots. The DS3018xs can control up to 30 drives with expansion units and also contains a PCIe x8 expansion port that can hold a riser card with a pair of M.2 slots or a 10 GbE Ethernet board. The extra CPU grunt in the DS3018xs lets it transcode two H.265 4K videos simultaneously, though there's apparently no support for Synology Hybrid Raid.

All of Synology's new DiskStations run the company's DiskStation Manager 6.1 software. Internal drives can use the Btrfs or ext4 file systems, while external devices can use any of seven file systems common on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The DSM 6.1 package includes a private email server, a content management system, private cloud office applications, and surveillance camera monitoring and recording features.

The Value-series DS418 and the Plus-series DS218+ come with two-year warranties. The Plus-series DS718+ and DS918+ are backed by the manufacturer for three years. The DiskStation DS3018xs has a five-year warranty and an optional next-day replacement service. Synology didn't provide pricing or availability information.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Good grief. Even Realtek has a quad chippery already. Didn’t know that. All I know is that they make audio codecs that deliver the finest sound quality that puts even a $200 Xonar to shame.*

    * – Based on the Realtek website.

    • MOSFET
    • 2 years ago

    So, Synology users, are you using btrfs or ext4?

      • brucek2
      • 2 years ago

      btrfs for efficient auto checkpoints. One of the chief threats I need to mitigate against are my own errors. Now I can very easily get back to or view any file as it was 15 minutes ago, an hour ago, yesterday, etc with disk space consumed only for those files that actually changed.

      Potentially works against ransomware too assuming its not an attack against the core operation of the filesystem itself.

      • Rapster
      • 2 years ago

      btrfs, but frankly it doesn’t matter to me since I use the unit as an “availability” solution, and not for backup. All file changes to important files are incrementally backed up to an external drive and then backed up to cloud storage daily. I own physical media for most items stored and can recover from that if needed.

    • Shobai
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]The larger DiskStation DS918+ is similar to the DS718+ but has 4 GB of pre-installed memory ... Buyers can add an extra 4 GB to the 2 GB of pre-installed memory in all three Plus-series models.[/quote<] Could you clarify, please?

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 2 years ago

      [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?CompareItemList=%2D1%7C22%2D108%2D679%5E22%2D108%2D679%2C22%2D108%2D680%5E22%2D108%2D680%2C22%2D108%2D682%5E22%2D108%2D682[/url<] DS218+ and DS718+ come with 2 GiB. DS918+ comes with 4 GiB. Each can accept an additional 4 GiB SODIMM.

        • Shobai
        • 2 years ago

        Ta! So, safe to drop ‘2 GB of’ from the sentence? And possibly change the following ‘all’ to ‘any of the’?

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 2 years ago

    [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108681<]$370[/url<] DS418 [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108679<]$300[/url<] DS218+ [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108680<]$450[/url<] DS718+ [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108682<]$600[/url<] DS918+ [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108683<]$1300[/url<] DS3018xs Release date: Wednesday, 9/20 [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100158125%2050011245%204814%20600016040%20600016042%20600438406%208000%20600016043%20600016046%20600418376%20600418381&IsNodeId=1&Description=synology&bop=And&Order=RELEASE&PageSize=96[/url<]

    • RdVi
    • 2 years ago

    Just bought a DS 916+ 2 months ago 🙁

    Oh well, the 918+ isn’t a huge upgrade aside from the dual M2 slots for rear/write cache. It will be years before M2 drives are cheap enough to justify that anyway.

    • Blytz
    • 2 years ago

    These things suit me down to the ground, when you don’t have a need for transcoding and 10gig ethernet isn’t necessary (if it is, you’re spending more on hardware anyway)

    Where else can you run an 6-8 disk enclosure, hardware raid 6, pre polish o/s that’s easy to use and has phone/tablet apps for access/control, with that level of power consumption in that size of space.

    I have 50+ Tb on my desk, it’s quick, quiet, easy and perfect for backing up and the device cost me a grand (Aus)

    To the author (Wayne) it’s likely that SHR is available on every device as it’s baked into the o/s

    I’d really like to know what it is people find these device lacking in grunt that they need to buy more core desktop solution’s with double digit ram figures for ?

    I know they’re not for everyone, but tick a lot of boxes of many (which is a good business model)

      • Rapster
      • 2 years ago

      My thoughts exactly.

      FYI be careful with SHR. If you setup for single disk redundancy (effectively RAID 5) then you can’t change to double disk redundancy (RAID 6) without losing your data. With the basic RAID modes this is allowed. This one bit me.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 2 years ago

    And still no standard 10GbE. Either I have to pay for the privilege of buying the additional card or I get H.265.

      • Rapster
      • 2 years ago

      My DS1815+ easily saturates a 1gb Ethernet connection so I get your concern, but can I ask what application warrants 10gb? Do you have a device (or series of devices) in a nonprofessional environment that can consume data at that rate and warrants the extra expense?

      Although I have not tried it, the 1815 comes with 4 ports that can be allocated for different services or ganged, effectively increasing bandwidth. Maybe the other boxes have this feature too?

      // Edited for typo in model number

    • Beahmont
    • 2 years ago

    And yet, every time I go to look at the price on one of these I do the math and can build a dual core 4 thread or quad core 4 thread Intel chip FreeNAS box with a dGPU for encoding, 8GB+ of DDR4, and a case for less money.

    And the only reason I have not done so yet is because I then remember that in exchange I have to deal with installation and setup and I remember why I’m even looking at these under powered pieces of crap in the first place.

      • colinstu12
      • 2 years ago

      What you’re really paying (extra) for is the Synology DSM software and the ecosystem of apps to go along with it.

      It’s powerful, easy, polished, and “just works”. Both in hardware and software.
      Sure FreeNAS is very powerful too, and not super hard or anything, but it does require more tinkering.

      I love building my own computers, and I’ve been tempted by building a FreeNAS box several times, but have been using my Synology NAS for years now and extremely happy with it.

      I’ve only filled up my NAS halfway in that time… and I think it will be another 3-5 years at the least before I fill it. What I do next, I don’t know. I’d really want to move to a 10GbE network if and when I need more storage… but that would require new NICs for the computers that need them, new switch, etc too. And to saturate that I’d want faster storage too, but SSDs wouldn’t be cheap enough now, not sure where we will be in 5 years.

        • morphine
        • 2 years ago

        What this man said. You’re paying for DSM and overall polish.

        For the sake of argument, if DSM was sold separately, I’d be all over it even at $200.

          • Beahmont
          • 2 years ago

          The difference in performance, apps, and customization between Synology DSM and FreeNAS are just not worth $200 USD. With the absolute garbage hardware they pack in these things the value proposition becomes even worse.

            • morphine
            • 2 years ago

            We’ll have to disagree here. While I respect FreeNAS and it what it does, it doesn’t quite compare to DSM in usability (and some features, too, including but not limited to SHR which actually relies on mdraid+LVM).

            There’s also the fact that DSM is more “focused” on specific things it does well, while FreeNAS tries to be more encompassing. And that’s fine, horses for courses. I’d probably use FreeNAS in a more complicated scenario with multiple different pieces of software, for example.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          Given the cost of some enterprise NAS boxes, I’d be tempted to value DSM at $2500 or more. Getting it for a $200 premium feels like both a steal and complete overkill (in a good way).

        • Beahmont
        • 2 years ago

        And yet, it’s absolutely crappy hardware. What they want for their software with the hardware they give, is just not worth it.

          • UberGerbil
          • 2 years ago

          And yet, the hardware is fine for what it does. It may not be enough for people that do tons of transcoding and erroneously label their media servers as NAS boxes, but for people who just want Network Attached Storage (you know, like the acronym means), more powerful hardware would mostly just be wasted sitting near idle all the time.

          The relative cost advantage is questionable also. I get it if you get enjoyment out of building boxes and/or the learning experience of setting up FreeNAS etc, but if that’s not your thing and you value your time, a turnkey Synology box is likely cheaper.

            • Beahmont
            • 2 years ago

            A horse and plow is fine for what it does as well in comparison to a modern tilling machine, but that doesn’t mean that a horse and plow are not crappy tools in comparison. The Edsel was just fine for getting from place to place. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t also crap.

            Like wise just because this hardware is physically capable of doing the job, doesn’t mean it’s any good at doing that job. Nor does it mean that the hardware isn’t still crap.

            Also, if you’re going to be pedantic, please at least be correct in your pedantry. NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a generic term inclusive of all storage attached to a network. If you have a media server that also stores things on the network, it is still NAS, just like a basic box that just stores things. There is no “Just NAS” in your example, because the media server in question is also NAS.

            • thedosbox
            • 2 years ago

            [quote<]Like wise just because this hardware is physically capable of doing the job, doesn't mean it's any good at doing that job. Nor does it mean that the hardware isn't still crap. [/quote<] The job it's being asked to do doesn't require more power. And as others have noted, there is value in being able to buy a box and have it "just work". Not having to spend a few hours to build a system and configure FreeNAS for a friend or family member is worth the price differential for me. And good luck trying to find a smaller box (i.e easy to stuff in a bookshelf) than the two or four-bay (sufficient for many people) units.

            • Beahmont
            • 2 years ago

            If I can bog the whole thing down with 3 simultaneous users and only one of them is watching a video from storage, then yeah the job that’s being asked of it does require more power. If your not going to put that kind of burden on the system ever, why do you have a NAS box in the first place? If you are, it’s got to work under those conditions.

            The NAS boxes in question do get bogged down and soft-fail under those conditions. The boxes that don’t cost stupid amounts of money. Convenience is nice, but it has limits.

            • thedosbox
            • 2 years ago

            There’s a lot of straw men to unpack here.

            1) Synology sell different hardware to address different use cases – hence the existence of the “value” models mentioned in this article. Have a use case that requires more power? Then you shouldn’t be looking at these.

            2) The argument that people dont need a NAS unless they’re fully loading it is ridiculous. My 2012-era unit is perfectly adequate for what I ask it to do. Similarly, a friend of mine uses his as a large storage pool for his photography business. In his case, convenience is very much worth the price premium. He treats it as an appliance, and would roll his eyes if shown a command prompt.

            • Growler
            • 2 years ago

            A different analogy could be that, sure, a riding lawn mower might be faster and more comfortable, but it’s overkill if you have a small patch of grass.

            The other consideration for a dedicated NAS over a custom PC using FreeNAS or the like is TCO. Sure, the hardware might be initially cheaper, but even with undervolted CPUs and the like, the dedicated NAS is likely going to consume less power over its lifetime.

            I get where you’re coming from. My home server is built from pieces and parts I had left over from previous upgrades, but I’ve looked hard at the various NASes every time I see a sale on one.

            • Beahmont
            • 2 years ago

            TCO goes both ways though.

            The built box can scale with more resources and replaceable parts allowing a longer usable ownership time. It is also just going to be much more hardware capable at the same price point. So if 3 years from now you find yourself in a situation where the requirements have changed on what you do with the NAS box, you can much more easily and cheaply add/change hardware. If you suddenly find yourself needing more power with the Synology box, you’re SOL and have to spend crazy amounts of time, effort, and money to buy the new box that meets the new requirements, setup the new box, and move all the old data.

            And frankly, in the US if your budget is breaking over the cost of power difference between a Synology NAS and a FreeNAS box, I’m not really sure how you can justify either.

          • colinstu12
          • 2 years ago

          How is their hardware crappy? Sure the cheap stuff sucks, but once you’re in their small business lines w/Intel chips it’s fine.

            • Beahmont
            • 2 years ago

            I very well could be wrong, but last I checked you’re talking $450 to $1000 dollars for the Intel based stuff with actual bays. You can pick up some of their diskless models for $300 with and Intel Apollo Lake chip. And maybe that’s a deficit these new boxes are designed to address, but I don’t think the price point changes much. (Or at least that’s what I get when I go to Newegg and pick Synology and any of the Intel chips.)

            I just don’t see the value added proposition for the software that runs all of this justifying the cost when for less money you can build a real computer paying consumer prices that is better in every way conceivable. And you know Synology isn’t paying retail or even the 1000 per tray price.

            • brucek2
            • 2 years ago

            Your time is surely worth something?

            Then there’s also ongoing maintenance and support. It sounds like you still haven’t built that FreeNAS box after all these years (me too.) If you haven’t found time for that, are you sure you’d be on top of installing patches, of learning and installing the packages that’ll make your storage better or your life easier, and taking advantage of that higher powered hardware you’ll get in exchange for your time?

            I finally bit the bullet (meaning, the several hundred extra dollars) and got one of these boxes. Within 48 hours my storage was protected with SHR, and with Brtfs based snapshots, I had easy external access in place, and I set up some other apps for my specific uses. I could have done all that before but the point is I didn’t.

            Sometimes it just makes sense to pay a few bucks for someone to focus on a common need and do it well while you use your time for the projects that are more unique to you.

            • Beahmont
            • 2 years ago

            Eh, it’s more laziness and lack or real need, not time. I just really don’t want to deal with the setup and customization. Add in that the hardware scene is changing at a rapid pace and I keep getting “But 3 months from now, this new thing will be coming out that may be a better performance/$ investment.” syndrome and it’s just complete inaction. But I don’t want to pay $450 for $150-$200 worth of hardware and $250-$300 dollars worth of software and convenience. The investment of my time (baring me royally screwing things up) is worth less than than what’s being offered here. But I really don’t want to do either.

            That’s the real essence of my complaint. Neither option is very appealing.

            • brucek2
            • 2 years ago

            Meanwhile, how much is your data worth?

            I can’t really argue wanting to talk hardware on a hardware enthusiast site for the recreation of it, but getting back to real world responsibility if you are failing to provide the robust storage solutions you and your work group need over a couple hundred dollars and/or not wanting to invest your time, it feels like you are focusing on the wrong things.

            It is especially perplexing that you are so focused on hardware performance. To have anywhere near the server load that will challenge even the middling hardware of these models, you likely need a number of users that puts you well past the point at which you should be comfortable playing any games at all with having a robust storage system that is receiving actual attention and support, vs. hypothetical attention and support that you could provide on your own if you could be bothered to do it.

            For the users these things are aimed at – who have data that is valuable, who have businesses where their time and/or employee time is actively generating income (and where IT time costs money and where those folks have to do lists a mile long including many projects that can not be easily purchased off a shelf), it makes perfect sense to pay a little to have a working product today, that is supported tomorrow, that has an ongoing engineering team looking at patches, adding new features, etc. Meanwhile any excess hardware capacity beyond what performs the necessary storage functions doesn’t really mean anything at all.

        • Ryhadar
        • 2 years ago

        There used to be a good middle ground between super expensive with a good ecosystem and tinker friendly and that was windows home server. But the price for its successor puts it out of range for many.

      • Rapster
      • 2 years ago

      Every time these boxes hit the news commenters who don’t own one talk about how they could do better, cheaper, faster, etc. That’s probably true. Still, I consider my purchase of a DS1815+ one of my best computer-related decisions ever. It just works, is quiet and small and low power, looks good, is secure, flawlessly serves files in my complex and heterogeneous household, and frees my time for more important things like leisure. If you don’t own one, then just go buy one and see why everyone who actually has one loves it.

        • brucek2
        • 2 years ago

        When I looked into it (briefly), it was obvious to me how could I achieve similar albeit less polished/integrated functionality, and any greater hardware power I wanted, but it wasn’t all that obvious how could I achieve the larger number of disk bays while keeping small overall form factor, quiet operation, and low power use. I’m not sure that’s easy to do from regularly available consumer parts?

          • Rapster
          • 2 years ago

          Yeah totally agreed, the size efficiency would be hard to beat as the case is barely larger than the 8 drive bays. And if I ever run out of space I can just add another cabinet for 8 more drives. As others have mentioned the software interface is great too.

          I’ve been building computers since the early 1980’s and it just made more sense to buy a polished solution for this application. Easiest decision ever.

    • MOSFET
    • 2 years ago

    Sweet! That Realtek CPU is finally here.

      • Wirko
      • 2 years ago

      [url=http://dornyika.com/images/posts/ascii/jgs/animals/crab.png<]Yeah.[/url<]

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