Synology's new DS1618+ is a powerful 6-bay NAS for the home
For those times when two bays aren't enough, Synology has a new 6-bay NAS out for the home.
The DS1618+ may look familiar, even though it's a new Network Attached Storage (NAS) model. It shares a similar design to the already available DS3018xs and both are 6-bay configurations. What sets the two apart and makes this new NAS rather exciting for those who need more storage is the DS1618+ isnot only more affordable but also comes rocking a better processor.
It certainly looks good on paper so I took the new NAS for a spin to see how it fares in the real world.
Starts at around $799Bottom line: The DS1618+ is a serious NAS that allows you to install up to six hard drives for ridiculous amounts of storage space. It's also backed by Synology's excellent DSM software and comes with numerous plug-ins for external service support.
Pros:DSM is excellent.Silent operation.Great software support.Quick eject bays.
Cons:Drive bays could break easily.Can get very expensive with HDDs.
What makes the DS1618+ so good
If you've read my Synology DS218+ review, you'll know I'm a big fan of the Synology hardware and software package available. It's a great mix of user-friendliness and functionality, allowing you to go as basic or advanced as you like. That's what makes the affordable series well worth the investment. When it comes to more pricey options, like the new DS1618+, you'll need to use it to justify the cost. It's a serious NAS, sporting a total of six bays for drives.
That capacity allows you to install six 12TB drives for a total of 72TB — more than enough today, but in the years ahead it'll easier than you think to fill up a NAS. You can connect your Plex account and set up a media server, have surveillance cameras upload a week's worth of recordings, set up file storage for the whole family, and backups of all your Windows 10 PCs. Taking full advantage of a NAS can see its free internal storage disappear quickly.
Thinking about six hard drives in a hot-swap configuration may lead you to believe the DS1618+ would be a bulky unit, but Synology always manages to keep their NAS products compact. Moving up from a DS218 series will not see you take up much more room, aside from the wider chassis to accommodate a further four drives. It's also nearly silent, considering there are two fans on the rear to keep everything cool.
Four LAN ports are available on the rear, and there are two USB 2.0 ports, with one USB 3.0 on the front. The PSU is inside the unit too, negating the need for an external power brick. For LEDs, there are 13 on the front of the DS1618+, one for power, another for status, a third for alerts, and the remaining four dedicated to LAN activity. A further six are located on each bay for hard drive activity.
And speaking of bays, in order to remove each one to gain access to the drive, you need to use the included tool to unlock them. It's a quick process that takes but a second to unlock and pull out a drive bay. Once you have everything configured as you like, the DiskStation Manager (DSM) software is excellent, making it easy to manage the NAS, install plug-ins and keep everything running smoothly.
What you may dislike about the DS1618+
There's not a whole lot to dislike about the DS1618+. The only negatives I could come up with through use is the drive bays being a little fragile. They won't break if you make sure to use the tool correctly each time, but it may be possible to break them if you're not careful enough. That said, once the drives are locked in place, there's no moving them without considerable amounts of force.
As with most NAS solutions that are ready to go, the DS1618+ is a pricey option, especially when you add in a number of drives. This can put off potential buyers, but for what you get with this NAS, it's a price worth paying. You should also bear in mind that this isn't set for 4K transcoding. It has a capable Intel quad-core processor, but nothing that meets the requirements for said intense tasks.
Should you buy the Synology DS1618+?
This question depends on your NAS needs. Do you require more than two bays? Most homeowners don't, which is where the exceptionally good DS218 series comes into play. Those who have an office at home, or work in one for a company will no doubt require more storage space, and this is when numerous drive bays make sense.
There's enough power for all the basic NAS tasks, as well as a little headroom for media streaming and more. Overall, the hardware and software package makes a Synology NAS a compelling purchase and the DS1618+ is a solid piece of kit, worth every penny.
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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.