For the non-SOHO or SME environment, a NAS would probably the last thing one would think about for immediate file sharing. Still, when you’re sharing your home with plenty of other users or you have multiple devices that access files simultaneously, even a router-connected storage drive won’t cut it. Especially if you’re a bit more on the connected side. Luckily, NAS have been dropping in prices and increasing in capabilities. This couples with the also dwindling cost of mechanical hard drives to really drive the need for shared and centralized storage for the home to a new front. Seagate was nice enough to send us their Seagate IronWolf drives together with a Synology DS218+. The video review up to focuses on the user experience and overall background of this review while this review aims to drill down further on some finer details of the DS218+. We’ll be using a pair of Seagate IronWolf 4TB drives in this review as well which we’ll look at in detail in another article.
What is a NAS?
NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. As the suggest, it’s basically a storage device that’s connected to your network, allowing remote or local access as long as you have access to the network where the NAS is connected. Think of it as an external hard drive connected to your router which can be accessed by any device that’s connected to your router, making it your “personal cloud.” Aside from the seamless connectivity that it offers, an advantage that the NAS gives compared to traditional storage, is the former has its own operating system which has some NAS specific applications for user convenience.
Intel Celeron J3355
Dual Core 2.0 burst up to 2.5 GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)
Hardware Transcoding Engine
H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30
2 GB DDR3L
Memory Module Pre-installed
2 GB (2 GB x 1)
Total Memory Slots
Memory Expandable up to
6 GB (2 GB + 4 GB)
Synology reserves the right to replace memory modules with the same or higher frequency based on supplier’s product life cycle status. Rest assured that the compatibility and stability have been strictly verified with the same benchmark to ensure identical performance.
Please select Synology memory modules for optimum compatibility and reliability. Synology will not provide complete product warranty or technical support if non-Synology memory modules are used for memory expansion.
The warranty period starts from the purchase date as stated on your purchase receipt. (Learn more)
Power consumption is measured when fully loaded with Western Digital 1TB WD10EFRX hard drive(s).
Noise Level Testing Environment: Fully loaded with Seagate 2TB ST2000VN000 hard drive(s) in idle; Two G.R.A.S. Type 40AE microphones, each set up at 1 meter away from the Synology NAS front and rear; Background noise: 16.49-17.51 dB(A); Temperature: 24.25-25.75˚C; Humidity: 58.2-61.8%
Maximum Internal Volume Number
Maximum iSCSI Target Number
Maximum iSCSI LUN
iSCSI LUN Clone/Snapshot, Windows ODX
Supported RAID Type
Synology Hybrid RAID
Basic to RAID 1
Volume Expansion with Larger HDDs
Synology Hybrid RAID
Volume Expansion by Adding a HDD
Synology Hybrid RAID
Maximum Concurrent CIFS/AFP/FTP Connections
Maximum Concurrent CIFS/AFP/FTP Connections (with RAM expansion)
Synology packages the DS218+ in a brown cardboard box. Label stickers are adhered to the outside to distinguish which NAS we’re getting. Quick and easy way to get around similar packaging for similar products.
Included in the package is a quick install guide, a LAN cable and the power adaptor.
The Synology DS218+ is a 2-bay NAS which features a pop-out front and slide our trays for the drives. The NAS itself is done in black with indicator lights on the front. A power and reset button can be found on the front as well as a USB3.0 port.
Over at the side we have the logotype Synology serving as the intake vents for the drives.
Over at the back we see the rear exhaust as well as the USB3.0 and Ethernet jack for this device. The DS218+ has a single Gigabit ethernet jack to connect to your network. The DC adaptor port is also at the back just below the eSATA port which is quite surprising as the last time we eSATA was around the Z77 era a good 8 or so years ago.
Here’s the front panel removed from the DS218+. The front panel is just a piece of molded plastic that clips via rummer feet to the gaps for the drive trays.
Here are our drives: a pair of Seagate IronWolf NAS-dedicated drives. These drives are tuned for NAS usage and give a good balance of price-to-capacity ratio as well. The drives snap inside the trays and the trays slide inside the Synology DS218+.
There is also a memory expansion slot inside. The drive can support an additional 4GB DDR3L SODIMM giving it a total of 6GB memory. We installed a HyperX Impact 4GB DDR3-1866 SODIMM to the Synology DS218+ and we can confirm it is working just fine.
The installation process is pretty straightforward and actually leaves only a few areas for manual intervention. You’ll need to install Synology’s Assistant to help you quickly find your NAS unless you made some network changes and you know what the IP is. Once connected you’ll be prompted to install DSM on your new drives. This screen is for new installations, of course, but you’ll see the same if you’re moving drives from other Synology NAS.
Once you proceed with the installation, the NAS will ask for login credentials as well as if you want to install some built-in apps. You can opt to skip the app recommendation setup.
Storage and RAID Setup
Synology DSM (DiskStation Manager) is the NAS OS that Synology runs. We’re currently at version 6.2 but most users who may be familiar with older DSM versions will feel right at home as Synology has retained pretty much the same feel from earlier versions.
The Storage Manager gives an overview of Drive Health as well volume status. You’ll see bad sector count as well as drive temps in the HDD/SSD tab and you’ll which volume which drive is connected to. For our 2-bay drive, it should be a no-brainer but for larger NAS systems, it’s a blessing.
The Synology DS218+ interfaces well with the Seagate IronWolf but on more advanced model, the Seagate IronWolf has IronWolf Health Monitoring which provides a more comprehensive disk status monitoring as well as a more robust error reporting system.
System Health and Activity Monitoring
Synology has a built-in widget for activity monitoring but one could bring up the resource monitor to drill down to other details.
Synology has one of the most abundant apps for its DSM than other NAS I’ve seen before. While some of these apps may prove useless for advanced users or systems, some of the apps like audio station and video station do have their benefits especially for device not capable of playing 4K natively. Going further, built-in web services allows for some creative possibilities for developers and designers alike.
One of the key benefits here is backup software which back-ups internal NAS content. Some apps may not be present in other NAS models.
ATTO Disk Benchmark benchmarks a drive’s read and write speeds with increasing file sizes and graphs them. Good benchmark in measuring the maximum theoretical performance of a drive or storage system.
Crystal Disk Mark is storage benchmarking software was developed by “hiyohiyo” of Japan, and is available for free. Crystal Disk Mark measures sequential, and random read/write speeds of storage devices.
Real World Copy Test
TeraCopy is a utility that replaces the standard Windows file transfer application. TeraCopy is capable of copying batches of files as well as a couple other things. We use it here because it gives us a good image of how fast and how long it takes for file transfers to happen. We copy to and from an SSD in our test bench.
A NAS may have the best hardware capabilities but its only as good as its OS and the drives you use it with. In our usecase, the Synology DS218+ was more than enough for simple file sharing and backup purposes. It does get more technical than just clicking buttons but ultimately, the Synology DS218+ solves our file sharing needs in a very cost-efficient way. Now for drive selection, the Seagate IronWolf NAS drive goes toe-to-toe pretty much with the WD Reds but unfortunately, our failure rate for those drives have put us in a situation where I’ll have to choose away from WD versus our Seagate installations. This is all based on experience though and you’re free to select whichever drive brand you want as the Synology DS218+ will gladly use it.
All in all, the Synology DS218+ does what everything you need a NAS to do at a great level. The OS is great but simple to use and allows for even new users to easily navigate and access apps. Synology DSM also allows for some further functionality to be added to the NAS like a web server, and such.
The drive has excellent build quality and the body isn’t flimsy and has great material quality. It can house 2 drives which you can replace with larger ones up to 16TB or add-in USB3.0 external drives for additional storage.
A quick note versus our other NAS, then Synology DS218j, the DS218+ has a higher 4K file read/write performance so if you’re working with smaller files, this is something to keep in mind. Overall, the Synology DS218+ shows us why it is one of then most popular 2-bay NAS in its price range and its excellent quality, usability and feature set will fit many users needs making it an excellent all-around go-to NAS for all users.
Synology backs the DS218+ with 2 years warranty. We give it our B2G Value Award and B2G Silver Award!