Best 2-Bay NAS - Synology 2020


Best for Plex, Surveillance, Performance, Connectivity, Energy saving, Warranty, Transcoding

LARGE GROUP IMAGE NEEDED


Simplified Synology 2-Bay range use comparison chart will help to decide which model is right for you.

DS218 - Often overlooked, as it isn't really shouted about, this is the standard 2-Bay NAS from Synology. It will provide support and functionality for all of the standard day to day tasks you need from a NAS server in the home or office. It may not exactly specialize in any one task, but for a first time NAS, it is hard to argue with. Arriving with support of Plex Media Server (without transcoding), BTRFS as a file platform and access to the collaboration suite of tools from Synology, it is a great choice for those new to NAS that still want god features on day 1.

DS220J - The newest generation of the cost-effective 2-Bay Synology NAS for 2020. With modest specifications and a noticeably lower price-tag, it is often the firm favourite for those needing a low powered DLNA media server for the home, 3-5 cameras or a simple backup library. Released at the start of the year, this device is for those that are looking for access to the Synology DSM NAS platform, at a much more affordable price point - remember though that this will impact the top-end performance.

DS218PLAY - The Synology PLAY series is one of the ranges inside the Synology Portfolio that has always had a keen following for multimedia users. The latest release in the Synology PLAY multimedia series and possibly the best value yet, featuring 4k Transcoding and Playback. It also supports many other standard NAS tasks and applications, however as the unit features an ARM CPU, it will action them to a lesser degree than the PLUS series of NAS. With a Synology Play model, you can stream your videos on your mobile even if you are not at home or in a local network. Video can be transcoded up to 1080p Full HD video format if necessary. It will save your mobile data usage and stream video quicker if the stream is transcoded. Overall it is the perfect middle ground NAS in terms of price and power.

DS218+ - For those looking for access to the heavily marketed advantages of the Synology NAS platform, the DS218+ serves as a great balance between price and functionality. It will provide all of the same functionality as the above budget units, but to a higher degree- with faster access times and enabling multiple users to work at once. People often choose this model as a home media center, Backup network location, office station, surveillance and more. However the DS218+ and it's intel based CPU give you a whole bunch more functionality and along with 1080p and 4K transcoding, it also allows access to the next tier of Synology applications, along with much more fluid and fast use of BTRFS, Synology Hybrid RAID and more.

DS718+ - If you are looking to purchase the very best two-bay NAS device that Synology has produced, then look no further than the DS718+, as it largely offers EVERYTHING that Synology provide in their entire DSM application range. The premium, flagship NAS 2-Bay, by far the most powerful and expandable NAS two Hard Drive on offer, supporting the DX517 to make it upto 7 HDD/SSD in size, it's got alot of potential. If you want to do EVERYTHING that Synology can provide, this is the network-attached storage device to choose. Supporting everything from Virtual Machine Support, Apple Time Machine, 4K Playback and transcoding, Plex Media Server NAS transcoding, BTRFS support and more. This is the top of the line NAS server. It's the best you can get from Synologyat this capacity and although the most expensive, there is no real rival in terms of power from this brand.

Best 2-Bay Synology NAS Performance

The performance of a NAS can be judged by more than just 'how powerful the CPU is'. It comes down to how well it performs at the task you have in mind. A CPU can be 2-3Ghz and in multiple cores, but if it is inefficiently designed or not supportive of certain applications demands, then it will either gets too hot and not perform, or just incompatible. Performance is often judged by the TYPE of CPU. Most NAS CPU are ARM or x86 Based. For those looking for excellent file-based performance at the lowest power use, then an ARM processor such as one found in the DS220J, DS218J, DS218PLAY, and DS218 is ideal, though that last one also covered 4K media playback too. If you have larger and more graphical tasks in mind that could push the CPU more, then an x86 Intel CPU such as ones found in the DS218+ and DS718+ will perform significantly better.

 
IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-218 Synology  IBSY-218P Synology  IBSY-718P Synology 
DS220j DS218play DS218  DS218+  DS718+
 £137.00  £182.00  £206.00  £260.00  £341.00
Realtek RTD1296 Realtek RTD1296 Realtek RTD1296 64-bit Quad Core 1.4 GHz  Intel Celeron J3355  64-bit  Dual Core 2.0 burst up to 2.5 GHz  Intel Celeron J3455 64-bit  Quad Core 1.5 burst up to 2.3 GHz
512 MB DDR3 1 GB DDR4 2 GB DDR4    
  Hardware Transcoding Engine 10-bit H.265 (HEVC)  Hardware Transcoding Engine 10-bit H.265 (HEVC)  Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)  Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)
 Hardware Encryption Engine  Hardware Encryption Engine  Hardware Encryption Engine Hardware Transcoding Engine Hardware Transcoding Engine
5 4 3 2 1

Best 2-Bay Synology NAS for External Connectivity

Connectivity between you and your NAS solution is paramount as a consideration when thinking how it is going to fit into your hardware environment. Though all Synology NAS support 1Gbe RJ45 LAN connections (standard in the 2-Bay range), it is worth noting that after that, you find lots of key differences inside each range as you spend a little more. Maybe it is the inclusion of multiple ports or variations of a connection type, but you will see that the internal hardware and external speed possible are well complimented.

Connectivity is fairly universal when it comes to all Synology NAS DSM software applications (with the higher performance CPU NAS enabling more tasks and individual connected activities. However, in terms of physical connections, the Synology 2-Bay NAS series does scale very well. As you can see below, which each fraction that you pay for the next model, the more USB ports, faster port, network ports (RJ45) and eSATA expansion ports you get.

 
 IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218  DS218+  DS718+
 £130.00  £182.00  £206.00  £260.00 £341.00
1xLAN 1xLAN 1xLAN 1xLAN 2xLAN
    1x USB 2.0     
 2x USB 3.0  2x USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0  3x USB 3.0 3x USB 3.0 
      eSATA Port  eSATA Port 
      USBCopy USBCopy
5 4 3 2 1


Best 2-Bay Synology NAS for Expansions and Upgrades

On the subject of connections, we can talk about WHY there is still an eSATA port on a number of these NAS devices. Though the physical chassis and build of each Synology 2-Bay NAS server seem nearly identical on te face of it, it is on the subject of long term expandability options where you see an improvement at each level up. The cost-effective DS220j DS218and DS218play cannot be expanded in terms of memory/RAM or Hard Drives. Whereas at the other end of the scale, you have the likes of the DS218+ and DS718+ that can have an extra 4GB of DDR3L memory if needed and the addition of 5 extra HDD/SSD-Bays with the DX517 Synology NAS Expansion attached.

2 Bays of storage may seem like loads, but if you are thinking long, long term, then the ability to expand your storage by adding more hard drives with ease might well be a good consideration early on.

 

IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218  DS218+  DS718+
 £130.00    £206.00  £260.00  £341.00
use bigger drives use bigger drives  use bigger drives    
 no ram upgrade   no ram upgrade  no ram upgrade  6 GB (2 GB + 4 GB)
DX517 X 1
(Independant storage)
 6 GB (2 GB + 4 GB)

DX517 X 1
5 3 4 2 1

Best 2-Bay Synology NAS for Power Consumption & Noise

The Synology 2-Bay NAS server series is generally considered by many for their NAS buy of choice thanks to the low power use and low noise produced by such a modest and petite-sized device in the home or office. However, as you can see below in the comparison, factors such as the chassis material (plastic in some cases, 50/50 metal and Plastic or 100% metal) and the quality of the internal cooling will play their part on both noise and heat/electricity dissipation.  The lower-priced devices feature those ARM CPU that use less power, plastic cheaper build cases and smaller fans - the result is low noise and noticeably less power use. Whereas at the top of the table we can see a massive difference with the Intel 4 Core CPU in the all-metal DS718+ 2-bay. In terms of Power output Vs Noise/Power Input, the DS218 is the middle ground NAS.

IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218  DS218+  DS718+
18.2 dB(A)  19.9 dB(A)  19.3 dB(A)  19.3 dB(A)  18.4 dB(A) 
17.48 W (Access) 
7.03 W (HDD Hibernation) 
16.79 W (Access) 
5.16 W (HDD Hibernation) 
 14.99 W (Access) 
5.78 W (HDD Hibernation) 
  17.23 W (Access) 
5.4 W (HDD Hibernation) 
  20.1 W (Access) 
9.1 W (HDD Hibernation) 
         65W Power Supply
4 2 5 3 6

 

Best 2-Bay Synology NAS Features & Functionality

All of the Synology -Bay series of devices arrive with Synology DSM software, that includes lots of applications and functionality for your data to take advantage of. Alongside this, there are lots of client apps for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android that allow easy sync and backup options between you and your data. However, the extent to which you can use this functionality will change depending on the power of the NAS you choose, with CPU and Memory being two of the BIGGEST factors. In short, the more/better of each you have, the more you can do! Synology will often remove some DSM apps that will not perform to their high standard from lower-end devices, so that means that often the more budget end of the 2-Bay Synology range features fewer apps!

In terms of what the NAS can do, both in terms of hardware and software, you will always find the more expensive the NAS 2-Bay from Synology, the more the DSM 6.2 software can do. With the budget end of the spectrum arriving with the DSM software, but in a much more limited way on the DS220J. However, as soon as you spend more in £30-40 increments, you immediately have more options open to you. Once again this comes down to that CPU and then after that, the individual cores and clock speed in GHz of the processor in question. Ultimately you get what you pay for and you need to factor things in like future-proofing and long term application expandability when buying your first Synology 2-Bay NAS.

 

IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218 DS218+ DS718+
      USBCopy USBCopy
Backup server Media transcoding Media transcoding    Citrix Ready 
Simple media stream  H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1  H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1   VMware vSphere 6 with VAAI
Simple surveillance NAS        
 SSD Read/Write Cache
   Home Multimedia   Home Multimedia  Home Multimedia  Home Multimedia
     Backup    4K videos to be converted and played on the fly
         Dual 1GbE LAN ports
        Windows Server
      H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30 same as 218+
5 3 4 2 1



Best 2-Bay Synology NAS for Speed and Access

Although it would be easy to just say that the sped of a NAS is purely dictated by the CPU and Memory again, there is a little more to it than that. Yes, they play a big part, but it is the efficiency of the CPU and how well the DSM software utilizes that ability that makes all the difference. As you can see from the devices listed below, in some cases the maximum number of tasks and the read and write between them (despite having a good £50 price difference in some places and very differing CPU) is almost identical. That comes down to the software and its collaboration with that CPU. However, it comes as no surprise that the fastest NAS in terms of read and write is the DS718+ NAS. 

Although largely supported by all Synology 2-Bay NAS, sharing folders and files with people on your NAS improves in quantity with each NAS level you go up. So if you are using the NAS for a business, or many family members, spend a little bit more and start your Synology 2-Bay NAS buying considerations at the DS218 and DS218+ and go from there upwards. This will provide you with a much broader and stable access platform for you and your users.

IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218 DS218+ DS718+
30 Download Tasks  50 Download Tasks  80 Download Tasks 80 Download Tasks  80 Download Tasks 
         
113.11 read 112.35 write 112.83 read 112.1 write 112 read 112 write  113.11 read  112.62 write  226.22 read 188.27 write 
 encrypted 105.67 read 58.93 write   encrypted 112.69 read 112.93 write encrypted 112 read 111 write encrypted 113.11 read  112.04 write   encrypted 226.13 read 184.7 write
 5  3

 

Best 2-Bay Synology NAS for PLEX Media Server

Plex Media Server, or simply PLEX, is one of the most popular ways that users choose to access their own digital media. It arrives with the slick and user-friend graphical user interface (GUI) that you would find on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as the metadata inclusion of background information on your media and the imagery, but all using your OWN media.

Hosting a Plex Media Server on a NAS is a very popular choice and something heavily supported by Synology (even including a comprehensive and official Plex App for free in their App center). Almost all Synology 2-Bay NAS from the DS218 and the DS218+ upwards can host a Plex media server. However when you need to access large media files, or want to playback awkward codecs (such as .MOV and .MKV) to smaller, portable devices such as iPhones and Tablets that you need a NAS that can transcode media in Plex. Only Intel-based Synology NAS can support Plex Media Server transcoding. So remember that when buying your first Plex Media Server NAS. Practically all 2-Bay NAS from Synology can be used as a NAS Plex Media Server and if you intend to stream HD media to other HD Media enabled Network Attached Storage Devices like Smart TVs and PC’s throughout the home, then you can afford to be choosy (with any additional spending mainly just increasing thumbnail, image and manipulate speeds. However, if you want to access 1080p HD media on your NAS Plex PMS, but want to stream it to your NAS devices with lower screen resolutions, less space to store media on the fly or NAS items that cannot play the original file format (eg .MKV or .m4b), then you have to think about Plex Media Server Transcoding on your NAS, much different to that of native transcoding that does not involve plex, you will need to look at Intel-based NAS only!

IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218 DS218+ DS718+
  NO Plex  NO Plex   Plex Server Plex Server
      SD (480p/576p) SD (480p/576p)
      HD (720P) HD (720P)
      HD (1080P) * HD (1080P) *
        nas for plex nas for plex 
5 3 4 2 1

Unlike Plex Transcoding, Native Synology transcoding (so NAS->CLIENT) requires less work for the CPU. However though you can see that a number of you weaker and 64bit ARM-based NAS such as the DS218play and DS218 can natively transcode up to 4K media playback files, you can support much higher density files, resolution and more at once on the more expensive/powerful units. So if you think the media will be more accessed and transcoded by multiple users at the same time (i.e. in the living room and a bedroom at once, on mobile devices) then you should start your NAS buying search at the DS218+ and work up from there towards the DS718+. 

IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218 DS218+ DS718+
--- 4K Group 3
Hardware Transcoding Engine 
4K Group 3
Hardware Transcoding Engine 
4K Group 1 
Hardware Transcoding Engine 
4K Group 1 
Hardware Transcoding Engine 


  • 1 channel, 30 FPS @ 4K (4096 x 2160), H.265 (HEVC), 10-bit or 
    1 channel, 30 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC)/MPEG-4 Part 2 (XVID, DIVX5)/MPEG-2/VC-1
  • 1 channel, 30 FPS @ 4K (4096 x 2160), H.265 (HEVC), 10-bit or 
    1 channel, 30 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC)/MPEG-4 Part 2 (XVID, DIVX5)/MPEG-2/VC-1


  • 2 channel, 30 FPS @ 4K (4096 x 2160), H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC) or 
    2 channel, 30 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC)/MPEG-2/VC-1
 
 
  • 2 channel, 30 FPS @ 4K (4096 x 2160), H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC) or 
    2 channel, 30 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC)/MPEG-2/VC-1
  4K  4K    4K  4K
  

   4K 2160p (4096 x 2160 or 3840 x 2160) with codecs H.265 (HEVC) and H.264 (AVC), and in 1080p with codecs H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1 can be transcoded up to 1080p by Synology NAS in 4K Group 1. 4K 2160p (4096 x 2160 or 3840 x 2160) with codecs H.265 (HEVC) and H.264 (AVC), and in 1080p with codecs H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1 can be transcoded up to 1080p by Synology NAS in 4K Group 1. 
5 3 4 2 1

Best 2-Bay Synology NAS for Surveillance

All Synology NAS servers arrive with the Surveillance NAS software 'Surveillance station' and this lets you connect multiple IP cameras to your NAS and monitors/record from them live. As well as enabling features (camera dependent) like motion tracking, Night Vision, facial recognition, time management movement and heat detection. However, choosing which NAS to buy for your NAS based CCTV Surveillance should be based on three factors. 1, The maximum number of cameras supported by the device at once (starting at 6 reasonably for the DS220j and all the way up to x40 on the DS718+). 2, The maximum resolution of the cameras recording supported (as low as 720p and all the way up to 4K high density). 3, The frames per second (FPS) of all the cameras when in operation, the better the NAS, the higher you will get for all these factors. See in the comparison table.
 
IBSY-218J Synology IBSY-218PLAY Synology IBSY-216 Synology IBSY-218P Synology IBSY-718P Synology
DS220j DS218play DS218 DS218+ DS718+
Maximum IP cam 14 Maximum IP cam 15 Maximum IP cam 16 Maximum IP cam 25 Maximum IP cam 40
2 Free License 2 Free License 2 Free License 2 Free License 2 Free License
420 FPS @ 720p (1280x720) 
120 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 
90 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536) 
60 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944) 
20 FPS @ 4K (3840x2160)
450 FPS @ 720p (1280x720) 
180 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 
110 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536) 
80 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944) 
40 FPS @ 4K (3840x2160)
600 FPS @ 720p (1280x720) 
300 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 
200 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536) 
150 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944) 
110 FPS @ 4K (3840x2160)
750 FPS @ 720p (1280x720) 
375 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 
250 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536) 
200 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944) 
120 FPS @ 4K (3840x2160) 
1200 FPS @ 720p (1280x720) 
800 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 
350 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536) 
280 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944) 
170 FPS @ 4K (3840x2160) 
5 4 3 2 1

Conclusion

1.IBSY-718P SynologyDS718+

2.IBSY-218P SynologyDS218+

3.IBSY-218PLAY SynologyDS218play

4.IBSY-216 SynologyDS218

5.IBSY-218J SynologyDS220j

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