Synology DiskStation DS224+ review: The best 2-bay starter NAS you can buy right now

    The DiskStation DS220+ launched again in 2020, and within the three years it was on sale, it dominated the charts. It is not onerous to see why: the DiskStation DS220+ provided nice {hardware}, twin Gigabit Ethernet ports, excellent software program options, and an excellent worth. So it stands to cause that Synology is not making too many adjustments with the DiskStation DS224+, the long-awaited successor to the DS220+.After all, the DS220+ formulation labored very well for the model, so it’s retaining the identical basis with the DS224+. Therefore, the DiskStation DS224+ has the identical twin Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, related inside {hardware}, similar nice software program, and it even makes use of the identical design.The upside is that by utilizing Intel’s Celeron J4125 in lieu of the AMD Ryzen R1600 that is featured within the likes of the DiskStation DS723+ and DiskStation DS923+, Synology is catering to consumers that want an iGPU to be used in Plex, a key promoting level. While I’m just a little irritated that there is no 2.5 Gigabit connectivity or M.2 slots right here, the DiskStation DS224+ has sufficient in the way in which of differentiation to make it the default alternative if you would like an important 2-bay starter NAS in 2023.Synology DiskStation DS224+: Pricing and availability(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology unveiled the DiskStation DS224+ alongside the budget-focused DS223 and DS223j again in August 2023, and the NAS is now obtainable globally. It retails for $299 on Amazon within the U.S., £299 within the U.Okay. (though availability is restricted in the mean time), and €299 in most European markets. Over in India, the DiskStation DS224+ is offered for ₹35,990 ($432).Like all different servers made by Synology, the DiskStation DS224+ comes with a regular three-year guarantee. You get an Ethernet cable within the field together with the facility brick, and a set of varied screws to mount 2.5-inch onerous drives or SSDs. Here’s a rundown of the {hardware} on supply:Swipe to scroll horizontallyCategorySynology DiskStation DS224+Internal drive baysTwo (18TB every bay), 3.5-inch HDD, 2.5-inch HDD/SSDNetwork interface2 x Gigabit Ethernet, Link AggregationUSB ports2 x USB 3.1 Gen1eSATA ports❌PCIe❌CPUQuad-core 64-bit 2.0GHz Intel Celeron J4125Plex transcodingYesRAM2GB DDR4 non-ECC, upgradeable to 6GBM.2 slots❌File systemEXT4, BtrfsCooling1 x 92mm fan, 22dBAExtensibility❌Dimensions165 x 108 x 232.2mmWeight2.86lb, 1.30kgSynology DiskStation DS224+: Design and options(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology is not identified for altering the design of its NAS servers, and the DiskStation DS224+ is equivalent to its predecessor on this space. It makes use of a plastic shroud that covers the drive bays, and also you get the same old set of LEDs on the entrance: there’s an general system standing indicator, LEDs for the 2 disk drives, and the 2 LAN ports. There’s a USB 3 port on the entrance, and a duplicate button that permits you to routinely copy the contents of any flash drive or exterior SSD that is linked to the USB port — a nifty addition.The energy button sits on the backside proper, and also you get the DS224+ label on the left. This is a well-known design to say the least, and to Synology’s credit score, it’s equal elements trendy and practical. The sides are vented to permit passive airflow into the DS224+, and also you get a 92mm fan on the again that takes care of lively cooling. A NAS is designed to mix into the background, and the DS224+ manages to just do that due to the unobtrusive black paint scheme.Image 1 of 3(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology makes use of an all-metal chassis on the likes of the DS723+, however you get a mix of plastic and aluminum within the case of the DS224+, however that is not a difficulty. The feature-set is on par with the most effective NAS servers for Plex, and whereas the design is getting a bit lengthy within the tooth, there are not any inherent points right here.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Installation is about as simple because it will get; simply take away the plastic shroud, pull out the drive bays, and slot in 3.5-inch onerous drives. The DS224+ has tool-less set up for 3.5-inch drives, however when you’re going with a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD, you will want to make use of the supplied screws. Regardless of what you employ, you may get began in a matter of minutes.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The principal function that is lacking with the DS224+ is M.2 drives; Synology lastly allowed using M.2 drives for storage beginning with the DS723+ earlier this 12 months, and that makes an enormous distinction. The undeniable fact that the DS224+ does not have any M.2 slots in any respect is a little bit of a letdown, and it goes towards the Plus sequence branding lavished right here. I feel Synology ought to have included not less than one M.2 slot as it will have made the NAS that rather more alluring.Synology DiskStation DS224+: Ports(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Coming to the ports, you get the identical assortment of choices because the DS220+. There are twin Gigabit Ethernet ports on the again, two USB 3.2 ports — one on the again and the opposite on the entrance — and that is about it. You do not get multi-Gigabit networking right here, and that is one other letdown. While the more expensive DS723+ misses out on 2.5GbE ports as nicely, you get the choice so as to add a 2.5GbE or 10GbE networking card through a PCIe Gen 3 x2 slot — that is not doable right here.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)While the Gigabit ports might be bridged collectively through Link Aggregation, there ought to have been not less than a 2.5GbE port on the again; most different NAS servers on this class now supply 2.5GbE connectivity as customary, and Synology is clearly lagging behind on this space. The model is not actually identified for delivering the most effective {hardware} — as an alternative differentiating its merchandise through software program — however for a $300 NAS to not have not less than one 2.5GbE port is a bit shortsighted. Just just like the state of affairs with the M.2 drives, Gigabit Ethernet appears like a little bit of a limitation.Synology DiskStation DS224+: Performance(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Thankfully, the efficiency is the place the DiskStation DS224+ redeems itself. It is powered by the Intel Celeron J4125, a stalwart on this class. This is in reality the identical chipset that powered the DiskStation DS920+ and DS1520+, and though Synology now makes use of AMD’s Ryzen R1600 in its current-gen DS723+ and DS923+, the Celeron J4125 has a number of distinctive benefits.Key amongst them is the inclusion of an iGPU; the Celeron J4125 has the Intel Graphics 600 platform, and that is useful if it’s good to use Plex’s {hardware} transcodes function. The Ryzen R1600 misses out on this, and when you do not technically want to make use of transcodes in Plex — the streaming service’s direct play is greater than sufficient — when you’ve got older units that do not have a requisite media codec, the function is useful. So when you nonetheless have to transcode content material in Plex, the DS224+ is a more sensible choice than the DS723+ and even the DS923+.On that word, the DS224+ does a terrific job as a Plex media server; that is clearly an enormous use case for the NAS, and I’m glad to share that there are completely no points on this regard. I performed 4K content material with excessive bitrates to varied units and transcoded 1080p streams on the iPad Air, and the DS224+ dealt with each duties with out breaking a sweat. If you are eyeing a NAS as a Plex server, the DiskStation DS224+ is a no brainer.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The NAS comes with 2GB of RAM as customary, and also you get a SO-DIMM that permits you to add one other 4GB. While there are not any slowdowns with 2GB of RAM, I discovered that including extra reminiscence makes an enormous distinction in every day use — significantly a number of years down the road — and that is one thing to think about. I’d have favored to see the flexibility so as to add as much as 8GB of RAM, however a complete of 6GB of reminiscence must be greater than sufficient for many use circumstances.Synology prioritizes using its personal HDDs above the likes of IronWolf and WD Red Plus, however you will be glad to know that almost all Seagate and WD-branded NAS HDDs work with none points throughout the DS224+. While there are not any IronWolf Pro or Red Pro drives within the official checklist, Synology highlights IronWolf drives as much as 16TB and Red Plus drives going as much as 14TB to be used with the DS224+, and that is an excellent factor.In every day use, I acquired slightly below 220MB/s whereas transferring information with Link Aggregation enabled, and that is in step with the likes of the DS723+. The DS224+ is among the greatest 2-bay NAS servers round in the case of efficiency, and that makes it worthy of consideration.Synology DiskStation DS224+: Software(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The largest differentiation for Synology is the software program, and the DiskStation DS224+ runs DiskStation Manager 7.2 out of the field. This is the most recent model of the web-based OS that is designed for Synology’s servers, and it has an intensive suite of options. Synology Photos is m favourite, because it lets me simply again up pictures and movies from all my telephones and different units to the NAS routinely. The service has gotten a lot better lately, and it’s a authentic various to Google Photos.Synology Drive does an excellent job as a straightforward method to share information between machines, and if you wish to use the NAS as a media server, Video Station and Audio Station are terrific. The Office consumer is nice as a productiveness suite, and you’ll even run digital machines reliably.DiskStation Manager 7.2 is the most effective NAS software program round, and it combines a contemporary visible design with helpful options you really wish to use. Another space the place Synology does an important job is with cell utilities, and I routinely use DS video and DS audio on all my Android units and iPads. While the model might not ship the most effective {hardware}, it greater than makes up for it with its software program efforts.Synology DiskStation DS224+: The competitors(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)If you want greater than two drive bays, the DiskStation DS423+ is a straightforward suggestion; it makes use of the identical basis because the DS224+ however comes with 4 drive bays, and also you additionally get two M.2 slots. Otherwise, it’s equivalent to the DS224+: you get the identical Intel Celeron J4125, similar 2GB of RAM, and twin Gigabit Ethernet ports. The DS423+ retails for $499 on Amazon — $200 greater than the DS224+.If you do not need the flexibility to transcode Plex content material and are searching for a NAS that has just a little extra grunt, the DiskStation DS723+ can be my suggestion. It prices $449 proper now, however you get a robust Ryzen R1600, the flexibility to improve to 10GbE connectivity, and M.2 drives.Synology DiskStation DS224+: Should you purchase it?(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)You can buy this if:You want a 2-bay NAS as a Plex media serverYou need good efficiencyYou’re searching for helpful software program optionsYou want a NAS with an excellent worthYou should not purchase this if:You wish to use M.2 drives for storageYou want multi-Gigabit connectivityWith the DiskStation DS224+, Synology is sustaining the established order. The NAS is not too completely different to its predecessor, however by providing the identical nice options because the DS220+, the model is positioning the DS224+ as the plain alternative for these trying to get a starter NAS. The Celeron J4125 nonetheless has sufficient to supply in 2023, and the truth that you get an iGPU makes it an impressive Plex media server.While I’m miffed on the lack of M.2 drives and a pair of.5 Gigabit connectivity, the DiskStation DS224+ scores extremely in the case of every day efficiency and software program options, and on the finish of the day, that issues greater than {hardware} extras. While multi-Gigabit connectivity is gaining floor, a majority of customers eyeing the DiskStation DS224+ shall be utilizing Gigabit Ethernet, so it is not an enormous shortcoming.Ultimately, if you would like a 2-bay NAS for storing pictures, movies, and streaming media to linked units in your home, there is not a more sensible choice than the DiskStation DS224+.

    Synology DiskStation DS224+

    The DiskStation DS224+ is essentially equivalent to the DS220+, however the truth that it is utilizing the Intel Celeron J4125 makes it stand out simply that bit extra. If you want a 2-bay NAS to be used as a Plex server, that is the one to get. 

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