Synology has a wide variety of options if you're in the market for a NAS enclosure for backing up data or streaming files across devices on your home network. Synology has managed to differentiate its products thanks to its stellar web-based operating system, DiskStation Manager. The DiskStation DS220+ is the most powerful option available in this category right now, and the DS220j offers excellent value. So let's take a look at what's the difference between the two enclosures, and what product is ideal for your use case.
The DiskStation 220+ is the best two-bay NAS enclosure right now
With the DiskStation DS220+, Synology is rolling out a host of exciting upgrades. The NAS is powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron J4025 chipset that goes up to 2.0GHz, making it one of the most powerful options in this category. You also get 2GB of RAM that can be upgraded to 6GB, and two USB 3.0 ports that let you connect a USB drive or external drive and transfer the contents easily to the NAS.
With 4K transcode and powerful internals, the DS220+ has everything you need.
There are two Gigabit Ethernet ports this time around, and you get Link Aggregation, allowing you to bridge the ports for more bandwidth. There's also failover support, and should one port go down, the NAS will switch over to the second Ethernet port. The DS220+ also features the Btrfs file system, which has built-in fault tolerance and better reliability. Think of Btrfs as an advanced version of EXT4, the default file system on Linux-based systems for decades.
What you're getting with the DS220+ is a future-proof enclosure that should serve you well for many years. With two drive bays that can each hold a 16TB drive, you're getting 32GB of storage in total. The hardware on offer is more than adequate for day-to-day tasks, and Synology's DiskStation Manager comes with software features that let you automatically back up data across devices on your home network, set up user profiles so each family member can access the NAS and back up data, and so much more.
When it comes to media streaming, the DS220+ is the ideal choice for Plex. If you have a sizable media collection, you can effectively set up your own local version of Netflix with Plex, and stream content to all devices on your home network over DLNA. The DS220+ is particularly great at 4K transcodes, and that means it can easily convert file formats on the fly, so if you have a media file that won't play natively on your TV, the NAS will convert that file to a playable format automatically.
Where does the DS220j fit into all of this? The budget-focused NAS also has two drive bays and accommodates 32TB of storage, but it has a single Gigabit Ethernet port, misses out on the Btrfs file system, and the Realtek RTD1296 chipset isn't as powerful. You also get 512MB of RAM versus 2GB on the DS220+, and the DS220j doesn't handle 4K transcodes as well. Here's a detailed look at the differences between the two models:
|Synology DiskStation 220+||Synology DiskStation DS220j|
|Internal drive bays||Two (maximum 16TB each bay)
32TB of total storage
|Two (maximum 16TB each bay)
2.5-inch HDD (via optional mount)
2.5-inch SSD (via optional mount)
32TB of total storage
|Network interface||2 x Gigabit Ethernet
|1 x Gigabit Ethernet|
|USB ports||2 x USB 3.0||2 x USB 3.0|
|CPU||Dual-core 2.0GHz Intel Celeron J4025
|Quad-core 1.4GHz Realtek RTD1296
Upgradeable to 6GB
|File system||Btrfs, EXT4||EXT4|
|Cooling||1 x 92mm fan
|1 x 92mm fan
|Dimensions||165 x 108 x 232.2mm||165 x 100 x 225.5mm|
Get the DiskStation DS220j if you want to save some cash
If you are looking for a media server for streaming locally-stored media content across your home network and don't need as powerful an option, the DS220j is a decent alternative. The DS220+ retails for around $300, and the DS220j nearly half as much.
If you want a future-proof NAS, get the DS220+. If you're in the market for value, pick up the DS220j.
The DS220j may not be as robust, but you're getting much better value here. So if you're not looking for a powerful option and want a NAS that handles the basics, the DS220j is the better option. The NAS is particularly well-suited to first-time buyers, so if you want to get a sense of what the software has to offer and the feature-set, the DS220j is a great choice.
However, if you're looking for a future-proofed option, the DS220+ is the obvious pick. The internal hardware is robust, and you just get that much more headroom when it comes to features like 4K transcoding. If you're okay with the added cost, the DS220+ is a stellar two-bay NAS enclosure in 2020.
Remember, you'll also have to buy hard drives to slot into either NAS, and that adds to the overall cost. I use Seagate's IronWolf drives in my NAS and recommend them highly. These drives are designed to be used 24/7 and feature vibration resistance, making them ideal for a NAS enclosure. At the end of the day, you're getting a great NAS regardless of whatever model you end up choosing.
The latest and greatest
A powerful two-bay media server
With robust hardware and on-the-fly 4K transcoding, the DS220+ has everything you're looking for from a two-bay NAS enclosure. There are more software features here than you'll end up using, and with up to 32TB of storage, you should be able to accommodate your entire media collection on the NAS.
The ideal NAS for first-time buyers
If you're looking for a budget-focused option, the DS220j is the ideal pick. The NAS offers incredible value, and you get a sense of all the software features that DiskStation Manager has to offer. It may not be as powerful as the DS220+, but for most day-to-day tasks, it is still a great choice.
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