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Synology is probably the best NAS system and almost always a good investment. The web-based graphical DSM software is the best available and continuously updated. The DS418 line has dual LAN ports to provide Link Aggregation. This allows you to transfer data at up to 226MB/s over 2 Ethernet lines (with each line maxing out at around 110MB/s which is basically as fast as Gigabit Ethernet can go).
However, if you are considering the DS418, spend the extra $50 and get at least the DS418play. Synology’s marketing info can be confusing regarding exactly what the difference is between the models (i.e. what do you really get for the “j”, “play”, “+” suffix). In the product side-by-side comparisons, they all show similar capabilities. For example, all the DS418 models show that they will play the same media. However, the DS418 won’t hardware transcode media files (you have to get at least the DS418play for that). Even if you don’t care about DLNA transcoding, the DS418 uses a Realtek ARM CPU which won’t run Plex, Dockers, or probably most future server tech. The DS418play and up are based on Intel CPUs which will hardware transcode, run Plex, VMware and Dockers and is way more future-proof. The Intel CPUs also provide a bit more horsepower for encryption and other server activity. If you are going to spend the money, get at least the DS418play. If you are really into streaming, the DS918+ can stream 2 4k videos simultaneously while the DS418play can only stream one at a time. If multiple users need to stream 4K videos simultaneously or you want to use the eSATA port to connect the 5-Bay expansion DX517 NAS, then you have to spend the big bucks on the DS918+. Otherwise, the DS418play is your best bang for the buck.
Within the first 24 hours of setting it up I ran into three serious issues, any one of which would make it a deal breaker. When I googled it I can see all three issues as intermittent problems that community has been experiencing since about 2008. Not a confidence inspiring discovery.
Here are some of the issues: 1. Web interface has a "stay logged in" button that does nothing, and if you are using Safari, you will be logged out like every 30 seconds regardless of what you set the timeout setting to. 2. Parity checking takes WAY too long and can't be cancelled. Yes I know these operations take a while, but I've used a lot of NAS products and others don't take this long (not even close). 3. 2 of 2 USB drives that I hooked up to it became corrupt and unrecoverable within 24 hours. All data lost. The drives, physically, were fine - but I had to install them directly using SATA to even reformat them. Not great for a data management device. Having both USB drives have this issue almost immediately is too much of a coincidence. 4. Occasionally on startup I get a blue blinking light which requires me to pull the power (the button stops working in this state) in order to restart it. 5. Internal formats are fixed - like you can't just install a HFS drive internally an tell the device to leave it alone and just serve up the files. 6. Share fall off the network and detach regularly, making it almost useless as a scheduled backup device (like for TimeMachine). 7. The "Log Center" lacks basic features like sorting by columns or filtering. It will show you how many errors and warnings you have, but clicking on the count doesn't actually take you to them and there seems to be no way to filter on it, so good luck. 8. When you start a large operation like a file copy it will create a menu item showing you the "Background Tasks" so you can see how your copy is doing, but eventually these just go away so you will have no way of knowing if your copy has completed or not (this one, particularly, has many different threads in their support forums about it, dating back like 10 years. So it aint changing). 9. Once I logged in and the "File Station" just wasn't there any more. Didn't show up in searches, links to it from the help to it were broken, although the package still showed as installed. Logged out and back in, and it reappears.
Basically its a flaky, amateurish attempt at a NAS and almost certainly someone with any Linux skills would be better off building their own. All of the solutions I see talked about in the community forums involve heavy unix knowledge so you're gonna have to learn it one way or another.
Honestly I can't believe this this is so well regarded and and is so "mature". Like the ridiculously bloated web management software is super buggy and is on version 6.
But really, bottom line is it hosed 4 gigs of my data which had lived happily on USB drives for years, and suddenly both drives are screwed in under 24 hours. Clearly it screwed them.
This is my second Synology. I intended to order the DS418 Play, but ordered the non-play by mistake. I deducted one star because the pricepoint between the two is minor and the play is much more flexible. This is primarily due to the intel processor the play uses, so it can run more apps and transcode on the fly etc. The only benefit of the non-play DS418 is that it uses a slightly more power efficient processor so if power savings is your thing, you might prefer it.