Comparing Synology NAS: Choosing between DS218+, DS218, DS218play, and DS218j

Synology DS218+
Synology DS218+ (Image credit: Windows Central)

Synology has a wide collection of network attached storage (NAS) models, just like its competitors. This allows you to choose the right unit for your requirements, but how easy is it to tell the different models apart? There are some differences between the units available so here's all you need to know.

The NAS company uses a suffix system to represent different price points and features:

  • se - Budget-friendly option.
  • j - Affordable option for home use.
  • play - Usually has a more powerful processor for better transcoding.
  • + - Sports an Intel processor.
  • +II - The same model as the "+" but with a newer processor.

Using the list above, it's easy to see which of the DS218 range you'll be best suited with. (The DS218 is essentially the model year and the number of bays. DS216 would be a two-bay unit from 2016.) A DS218+II would be a DiskStation NAS with a newer generation of Intel processor.

The DS218j, on the other hand, would contain less powerful internals but command a more affordable price. A DS418 would sport four bays, though in this guide we'll be looking at two-bay units only.

Comparing models

Synology DS218+

Synology DS218+ (Image credit: Windows Central)

Here's a comparison table with a few of the latest models from Synology. While specifications do not differ too much (aside from the upgraded Intel processors), pricing does range between around $170 to $300, depending on what you need.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUIntel Celeron J3355Dual-core 2.0GHzRealtek RTD1296Quad-core 1.4GHzMarvell Armada 385 88F6820Dual-core 1.3GHzRealtek RTD1296Quad-core 1.4GHz
RAM2 GB DDR3L (6 GB max)1 GB DDR4512 MB DDR32 GB DDR4
Drive baysTwoTwoTwoTwo
Capacity24 TBTwo x 12 TB24 TBTwo x 12 TB24 TBTwo x 12 TB24 TBTwo x 12 TB
TranscodingH.264 (AVC)H.265 (HEVC)MPEG-2VC-14K 30 FPSH.264 (AVC)H.265 (HEVC)MPEG-2VC-14K 60 FPSN/AH.264 (AVC)H.265 (HEVC)MPEG-2VC-14K 60 FPS
PortsOne Gb LANThree USB 3.0One eSATAOne Gb LANTwo USB 3.0One Gb LANTwo USB 3.0One Gb LANTwo USB 3.0, One USB 2.0
WarrantyTwo yearsTwo yearsTwo yearsTwo years

At this level, the choice available to you is fairly restricted concerning performance and price, but that can be a positive, negating the chance you'll pick a unit that doesn't suit the task at hand. Whether you opt for the DS218+ or DS218play, you're going to be able to transcode media, stream content, and store files.

If you're stumped, we reviewed the DS218+ favorably here at Windows Central and found it to be an excellent NAS.

More Synology resources

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.