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The Best Value Performance-Minded Two-Bay NAS
The DiskStation DS716+ was popular when it first launched and it was easy to see why: it was the cheapest Synology NAS to support BTRFS and its powerful quad-core Braswell processor meant it could take on all comers. We could see the DS216+ becoming even more popular, especially among home users.
The Intel Celeron N3050 is a low-powered beast, and not just that but it's extremely well supported by an extensive feature-set. The dual-core Braswell SoC is really the key here as it allowed Synology to introduce the DS216+ at a much lower price than the DS716+ without sacrificing much performance.
Whereas the DS216+ starts life at $300, the DS716+ costs an unbelievable 50% more at $450. That's a tremendous price for the DS216+, especially when you consider the fact that QNAP's TS-251 costs just $10 less despite featuring half as much memory and an older dual-core Bay Trail D Celeron processor.
Meanwhile, the TS-251+ costs $40 more and still only features a Bay Trail D processor, though this time it is a quad-core model with 2GB of RAM. Therefore, the DS216+ is truly a unique package at an unbeatable price.
Adding further value is Synology's top-notch DiskStation manager software, which only continues to improve. There are several refinements in sixth version, most notably the support for BTRFS.
As it stands, the DS216+ is the most affordable Synology NAS to feature this modern file system. Although we expect support to trickle down to even cheaper models in the future, this is a huge selling point for this particular model in the meantime.
The only area where Synology seems to be lacking, especially when compared to products such as the QNAP TS-251+, is in the hardware spec – namely the lack of an HDMI output. This puzzling, but it's something Synology has failed to offer even in their multimedia focused devices such as the DS216play.
Synology doesn't feel there's a demand for an HDMI output on its NAS devices and while this might be the case, it's surely something I miss. Moreover, it's a feature that competitors QNAP and Asustor offer on most of their models now, not to mention that the Celeron N3050 SoC handles most of what Synology would otherwise need to implement, so I don't see why it wouldn't bother to throw in an HDMI port.
The limited memory capacity of the DS216+ is also a concern and another odd choice by Synology given how affordable DDR3L is these days. I mean an 8GB stick from a top maker such as Crucial costs well under $40 so we find it hard to understand why the company wouldn't opt for at least 4GB out of the box. To be fair, depending on which applications you run, being locked into 1GB of RAM might not be an issue.
Despite the memory concerns and lack of HDMI output, we feel the Synology DS216+ is the best value performance-minded two-bay NAS you can buy right now. Support for BTRFS along with the DSM software makes the DS216+ a serious contender and an ideal candidate for home offices.
Pros: Affordable at $300 for featuring a Braswell SoC and BTRFS support. Synology's software is superb.
Cons: Ships with 1GB of RAM that you can't upgrade and it lacks HDMI-out like Synology's other NAS boxes.