Network-attached storage (NAS) is something you can spend countless thousands on, and that's before you even consider hard drives for storing all your data. An enclosure (plenty are on sale for Black Friday) is usually the best way to go for most people since putting together a PC and running custom NAS software Is not only more advanced but can be a headache if issues prop up.
Synology makes some of the best NAS enclosures on the market, and the DS220j is the company's 2020 budget-friendly NAS. It's not the most affordable NAS enclosure from Synology, but it's by far the better value option for learning all about what you can do with a NAS. Right now, for Black Friday, it's on sale for just $136.
What makes the Synology DiskStation DS220j so good is not only the price but what's included inside the white case. There are two drive bays, which allows you to install two hard drives and enjoy TBs worth of storage space. This is much better than simply having a single drive installed inside the cheaper DS120j, which won't offer any kind of data redundancy.
The two bays are joined by Realtek RTD1296 1.4Ghz quad-core ARM processor, 512MB of DDR3 RAM, two USB 3.0 ports, and one Gigabit LAN port. I focus on the usability in my Synology DiskStation DS220j review, praising the enclosure for how beginner-friendly it is to not only install hard drives but also to get up and running with Synology's DSM OS.
It'll run plenty of apps available from Synology and third-party developers, though you will have to avoid doing anything too intense on the NAS. Don't even try to store and stream 4K content that requires any form of transcoding. Whether you want a small place to store backups, files (and save money by canceling cloud storage subscriptions), or even configure home surveillance with IP cameras, it's all possible with the DS220j.
It's already an affordable enclosure, but Black Friday makes it an even more enticing prospect. Just remember that you'll need some NAS-grade hard drives, but these too can be frequently found on sale for Black Friday.
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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.