|Review At A Glance|
|Product||Synology DiskStation DS216+ [product link]|
|Summary||High-performance 2-bay NAS for small office and home offices (SOHO). Equipped with AES NI hardware engine and 4K UHD hardware transcoding engine to make both encryption/decryption and video transcoding snappier.|
|Pros||+ Hardware encryption engine for faster encryption and decryption|
+ Hardware Transcoding Engine is capable of transcoding H.264 4K (4096 x 2160) to 1080p (1920 x 1080) on the fly at 30 frames-per-second
+ Hot-swappable disk drives
|Cons||- Drive trays are not secured with lock-and-key|
- Does not support (internal) volume expansion via DX513/ DX213
|SRP||S$499.00 (at time of post)|
The Synology DiskStation DS216+ is an Intel-based high-performance 2-bay NAS, aimed at small office and home offices, designed to protect, store and securely share their data. It comes equipped with AES NI hardware encryption engine and 4K UHD hardware transcoding engine to make both encryption/decryption and video transcoding snappier. Like may Synology NAS devices, the DS216+ comes with tool-less and hot-swappable drive trays.
|Synology DiskStation DS216+ Specifications|
|Processor||Intel Celeron N3050 (Braswell)|
Dual-core 1.6 GHz (burstable to 2.16 GHz)
|Encryption||AES-NI Hardware Encryption Engine|
|Transcoding||Hardware Transcoding Engine: H.264 (AVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1|
Maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160)
Maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30
|Storage||2 x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II/III; Hot Swappable|
|SSD Support||TRIM support|
RAID 0/1/Synology Hybrid RAID
|Capacity||up to 16TB (2 x 8TB)|
|Networking||1 x 10/100/1000 Mbps|
|Connectors||1 x USB 3.0|
2 x USB 2.0
1 x eSATA
|Fan||1 x 92mm|
|Dimensions||165 (H) x 108 (W) x 233.2 (D) mm|
|Power Consumption||Sleep – 7.52W|
Operation – 17.57W
|Noise Level||18.2 dB(A)|
The Synology DiskStation DS216+ came in a compact brown carton box with all the necessities packed neatly within.
Within the package, you will find the following:
- Synology DS216+ 2-bay NAS
- Power cord and power adaptor
- Ethernet patch cord
- A pack of screws for 2.5-inch hard disk installation
- Quick installation guide
The Synology DS216+
The enclosure of the DS216+, unlike the DS215+, is mainly plastic. Hence, its weight is lighter without compromising airflow or performance. The panel covering the drive bays is glossy while the rest of its body is matte.
On the right of the front panel are where the LED indicators, USB 3.0 port, copy button and power button are located. Pressing the copy button allows you to copy data from the attached USB device to the DiskStation using the USBCopy feature.
The front panel is secured to the main body using the four oversized rubber grommets-like studs. Removing the panel reveals the two drive bays with its order clearly marked using dots on top of the drive trays. The drive trays are not key-lockable (like the ones in DS215+).
The 92mm system fan is placed directly behind the hard drives to keep the NAS (and hard drives) cool.
As usual, Synology used tool-less drive tray for the DS216+. Basically, no tools are needed to install a standard 3.5-inch hard drive. Simply remove the rails at the sides, place the disk onto the tray and snap the rails back. For the smaller 2.5-inch drives, you will need to use the included pack of screws.
At the back of the DS216+, you will find the 92mm system fan, reset button, two (2) USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit ethernet port, Kensington lock slot, eSATA port and power port.
Setting up the DS216+
The setup process is straightforward. Once the DS216+ is connected and powered up, launch a web browser and navigate to http://find.synology.com. The discovery and setup process will guide you through the initial setup.
The process guides you through the installation of the Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM). You can either use the stable releases or beta releases (by providing your own DSM installation file). The process takes around 15 minutes and the DS216+ reboots into DSM at the end of the process.
After a quick introductory tour on the DSM, you will be presented with the desktop/ home page. This is where you manage your DS216+.
A look at the new Video Station
The Synology Video Station is a power application for you to store and organise your movies, TV shows and other video contents in one place, and stream them to your computer, smart devices or TV. It also retrieves information about your videos from the Internet and update the video with information like descriptions, movie posters, episode synopsis, etc.
One great feature of the DS216+ is its ability to transcode 4K videos efficiently to a format that your devices can play. Not all devices are equipped to play 4K videos smoothly so the DS216+ is a great help in this area.
I managed to find a few 4K videos from the Internet to test the transcoding capabilities of the DS216+. These 4K videos stutters on my iMac 27-inch mid-2011 model when I tried playing them using VLC.
Imported the 4K videos into Video Station and played back using the web browser on both original and high quality. The video on high quality plays smooth as butter and made fireworks show at Taipei 101 enjoyable. The video stutters once I switched back to original quality as my computer could not decode the video stream fast enough. What really happened in the backend when I switched to high quality playback (instead of original quality) is that the DS216+ is transcoding the 4K video down to one that is more manageable by the computer.
While the video is still playing on high quality, I peeked at the DS216+ resource usage. The DS216+ is transcoding the 4K video to high quality effortlessly on the fly. It had offloaded the task to the hardware transcoding engine so that the DS216+ can continue to perform its other tasks (e.g. data snapshot, cloud backup).
Thinking that my trusty workhorse, the DS1515+, would excel in this area (of 4K video transcoding) too. I played the same file via the DSM 5.2’s Video Station. The playback stutters with the DS1515+’s CPU peaking out at 98%.
The DS216+ is equipped with the right tools (and hardware) to efficiently perform 4K transcoding. The DS216+ Hardware Transcoding Engine is capable of transcoding H.264 4K (4096 x 2160) to 1080p (1920 x 1080) on the fly at 30 frames-per-second.
A look at a new app – Spreadsheet
The SpeadSheet has an uncanny resemblance to the Google SpreadSheet. But nonetheless, it is designed for data collaboration and sharing in both home and business environments with the information securely saved in the NAS.
The SpreadSheet supports co-editing and viewing of live modifications by other users. It supports formulas and functions too.
You can also generate a public share link for your friends to view and/or edit the spreadsheet.
New feature with Btrfs file system – Snapshot
The DS216+ supports both EXT4 and Btrfs (pronounced as Butter FS) for its internal drives. One of the important features enabled by Btrfs is the ability to perform data snapshots every 5 minutes for granular backups and file versioning.
You can turn on scheduled snapshot for important folders and keep up to 256 copies/ versions per folder. This allows you to restore any accidentally deleted/ overwritten files from the snapshots using File Station or even Windows File Explorer.
For mission critical data (e.g. PhD thesis, projects), you may want to consider using the Replication feature to copy data to another Synology DiskStation on-site/ off-site. It supports four (4) replication approaches (active/ active, hub and spoke, extended replication, one-to-many) to facilitate your replication needs.
This might not be an important feature but finally the LEDs on the DS216+ are dimmable. It is a great feature for those who are disturbed/ distracted by the flashing LEDs. The four-level brightness control allows the LED to be switched from off to full brightness (off, 1/3, 2/3, full).
The DS216+ is the highest end of the DS216 series – DS216se, DS216play, DS216, and DS216+. The performance of the CPU, AES NI hardware engine and 4K UHD hardware transcoding engine will definitely make up for the price differences.
If you are looking for a reliable and high-performance 2-bay NAS, you might want to give the DS216+ a shot.