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Synology DiskStation DS220+ vs. DS220j: Which should you buy?

DiskStation DS220+
DiskStation DS220+ (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Synology DiskStation DS220+

Synology DiskStation DS220+

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The DiskStation DS220+ is a standout choice if you're in the market for a NAS enclosure for use as a media server. The NAS has powerful hardware, 2GB of RAM and can handle 4K transcoding, ensuring seamless media playback across all devices on your home network. You get a lot of other software features as well, and overall the DS220+ is the two-bay NAS to beat right now.

Synology DiskStation DS220+

Mainstream winner

Ideal for media streaming
Powerful hardware
Stellar software features
Works great for 4K transcoding
Two Gigabit Ethernet ports
Holds up to 32TB of storage
No M.2 slots for SSD caching
Missing an eSATA port

Synology DiskStation DS220j

Synology DiskStation DS220j

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The DiskStation DS220j offers incredible value, and you get a decent set of features that make it a great choice if you're looking to pick up a NAS for the first time. While it may not be as great at transcoding 4K files, it is just as good when it comes to streaming locally-stored media on your home network. If you want a budget option for Plex or for backing up data, the DS220j has a lot to offer.

Synology DiskStation DS220j

Amazing value

Best value
Robust software features
Gigabit Ethernet connectivity
Runs quiet
Holds up to 32TB of storage
Limited memory
Not great at transcoding files

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 differentiated its products thanks to its stellar web-based operating system, DiskStation Manager. As a result, the DiskStation DS220+ is the most powerful option available in this category, and the DS220j offers excellent value. So let's take a look at 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 quickly 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, with 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 the best NAS for home; this 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. 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 DiskStation 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 baysTwo (maximum 16TB each bay)
3.5-inch HDD
2.5-inch HDD
2.5-inch SSD
32TB of total storage
Two (maximum 16TB each bay)
3.5-inch HDD
2.5-inch HDD (via optional mount)
2.5-inch SSD (via optional mount)
32TB of total storage
Network interface2 x Gigabit Ethernet
Link Aggregation
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
USB ports2 x USB 3.02 x USB 3.0
CPUDual-core 2.0GHz Intel Celeron J4025
Quad-core 1.4GHz Realtek RTD1296
4K transcodeYesNo
Upgradeable to 6GB
512MB DDR4
SSD cachingNoNo
File systemBtrfs, EXT4EXT4
Cooling1 x 92mm fan
1 x 92mm fan
Dimensions165 x 108 x 232.2mm165 x 100 x 225.5mm

Get the DiskStation DS220j if you want to save some cash

DiskStation DS220j review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

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 is nearly half as much at $170 — although, right now, it's seeing a slight hike to $190.

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 a 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 take a look at 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 for features like 4K transcoding. If you're okay with the added cost, the DS220+ is a stellar two-bay NAS enclosure. At the end of the day, you're getting a great NAS regardless of whatever model you end up choosing.

Remember, you'll also have to buy hard drives to slot into either NAS, which adds to the overall cost. I use Seagate's IronWolf drives in my NAS enclosures and recommend them highly. These drives are designed to be used 24/7 and feature vibration resistance, making them ideal for a NAS enclosure.

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.