Good for basic file storage
Reviewed in the United States on 4 September 2020
This NAS is useful for someone who ONLY wants basic file storage (think archiving media, basic Windows file history backup, keeping a local copy of your existing cloud storage, etc.).
If you want to do ANY media serving whatsoever, you will not be happy. I had no intention of using Plex for transcoding video streams, but after getting all my data copied over, I'm shocked to see that Plex can barely even serve photos. This is pretty lame to be honest.
The problem seems to be the 512MB of memory that's onboard, since the CPU usage is low. The fact that Synology didn't spend an extra few dollars to increase the memory capacity to 1GB is ridiculous.
Overall, you get what you pay for. Considering this is the cheapest reasonable off-the-shelf NAS on the market, you're getting a decent deal.
HOWEVER, even if you don't intend to use Plex or any other media server today, it is highly likely that once you go through the trouble of installing a NAS, you'll use these features later. Spend an extra $100 now so that you don't have significant buyer's remorse later.
In my situation, I think sometime in the future I'll replace this with a better machine, and then relegate this one to be a secondary offsite backup only.
Performance on gigabit ethernet: no, I am generally not getting gigabit speed on transfers. I'm typically in the 700 to 800 Mbps range, with occasional bursts up to nearly the full 1Gbps. There's no networking issue, since two desktops on the same gigabit switch have no trouble saturating 1Gbps.
I'd wager that this is again a RAM problem on the Synology. CPU usage on the DS220j is usually pretty low, but application RAM usage is always about 70% (even after uninstalling nearly all the included services, like PhotoStation). Due to the high application RAM usage, there's probably not enough in-memory caching happening. The only package I am currently using is CloudStation, to sync my Google Drive files to the NAS.
I've also seen multiple instances where under high RAM usage, I am unable to access the web interface. E.g. there is so little memory on this NAS, that having just one basic file transfer task will cause the NAS to be unable to serve it's web interface. Really terrible performance, especially considering that DDR4 RAM is under $4 a gigabyte. For an extra $2, they could have had 1GB of RAM, which presumably solves all these performance problems.
Another note: the fan on this NAS is loud and never shuts off. Yes, there are four fan modes --including "Low-power Mode", which is supposed to shut off the fan when the "system is cool"). Apparently, Low-power fan mode does not work.
Regarding the fan pitch and sound level: it's a cheap 80mm fan. You will easily hear it from ten feet away, making an irritating low-pitched static sound. And again, because the Low-power fan mode does not work properly, even when the HDDs are hibernating, you get to hear this cacophony.
When your 750 watt/8-core desktop is quieter under load than an unloaded 5 watt NAS... you know that no attention was paid to the acoustics of the NAS. In my case, the router and switch are located in my home office, so I have no easy way of relocating the NAS (short of running ethernet cables through the wall; I already tried Powerline adapters but the performance was halved).
I dissembled the NAS, and added some Silverstone acoustic computer foam to the large/flat plastic and metal components, being careful not to block airflow. This is an improvement over how it shipped, but there is no way to completely avoid the terrible fan that Synology chose to use. Maybe I'll try to find a replacement 80mm fan, but this is a lot of effort for fixing a cheap NAS that has terrible performance.
if you want a plug-and-play experience that's easy to setup, and can handle the most basic tasks only, then this NAS may be for you.
For me, what started off as a positive experience, quickly turned negative as the compromises stacked up. I'm at the point where I've ordered parts to build a DIY NAS, and I will be keeping this one as a secondary off-site backup only.
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