Today, a large number of people’s homes turn into little offices; but sometimes, it doesn’t matter if they really do have home offices present. Numerous devices, increased and simultaneous use, as well as complex setups, call for more than just the regular ISP boxes; this is because thousands of photos, documents, videos, as well as smart devices have made almost all external hard drives inefficient.
For data retrieval and storage right at your home, you would definitely want to spend on a solid and effective NAS solution; so when it comes to such devices, we have to say that Synology’s DS918+ is definitely right at the top. But before we actually check out why this is a great device to invest in, let us first see what’s included in the box of the Synology DS918+ 4 Bay NAS.
Synology DS918+ 4 Bay NAS Review – Whats in the Box?
When we got the Synology DS918+, we noticed that its packaging sports the usual look of the Synology NAS boxes. There are a couple of details listed on the box such as the IO ports, model number, as well as a short product specification list. Don’t worry about the DS918+ in the package since it is securely padded with thick foam inserts.
Aside from the device itself, there are accessories included with the DS918+ such as the welcome note from Synology, AC power adapter and cord, two Ethernet cables, and two Drive-Bay lock keys.
Synology DS918+ Review – Synology Just Keeps Creating Killer Products!
The Synology DS918+ 4 Bay NAS makes use of the same plastic enclosure that their other models use; the only difference is the absence of the polished bay cover made out of plastic since it makes use of different trays that feature locks. You will also see the logo of Synology on both sides of the product which also serves as ventilation grills to prevent the DS918+ from heating. The available M.2 slots are also accessible via the NAS’ bottom portion while almost all of the I/O ports can be located around the back portion.
Inside, you will see other reasons why the Synology DS918+ 4 Bay NAS is worth its price, and just like with every other NAS from Synology, the DS918+’s drive trays can be easily removed once unlocked; additionally, these are also fully hot-swappable. When you remove all of the drive trays, access to the two SODIMM memory slots will be easy which is a big convenience for everyone using the DS918+; you will not have to take the box apart just to add or change the RAM. Synology made sure that you can have easy and quick access to every type of memory or RAM, and this has become one of the winning points of the DS918+ 4 Bay NAS. When it comes to the device’s HDD, its fans are all set behind the trays, allowing them to effectively rid of any heat that the HDD’s produce.
Since the Synology DS918 + is a 4 bay NAS, you can expect that it supports different kinds of storage in varying types: the NAS can support the 2.5in and 3.5in SATA HDD, or the 2.5in SATA SSD’s. What’s great about the device is that you can have up to a total of forty-eight Terabytes – twelve Terabytes for each drive. Don’t worry if you think that this is not enough for your needs since you can just add more via the eSATA port. You can simply attach a 5-Bay DX517 expansion unit from Synology to get a total of a hundred and eight Terabytes – twelve Terabytes per drive.
Whatever combination you plan to utilize, just remember that there is a maximum limit of 108 TB for a single volume; this is actually the total max capacity of a DX517 and the DS918+ combined.
The DS918+ features a couple of highly notable specifications that we have taken note of. For the CPU of the Synology DS918+, it makes use of the Intel Celeron J-3455 Quad Core processor, with the 2M cache, 1.5 that bursts up to a total of 2.3 GHz; it also features a hardware encryption engine, a resolution of 4K, and a maximum total of 30 frame rate per second. Its system memory is a 4GB DDR3L with two total memory slots; you can also expand the memory up to 8GB. For the DS918 +’s storage, there are a total of four drive bays but can be expanded up to 8GB.
The DS918+ storage, it features a total of four drive bays; yet with the expansion unit, you will be able to have a maximum of nine drive bays in total. Additionally, there are also two M.2 drive slots available for the DS918+. There are a couple of compatible drive types for the Synology DS918+ and these include the M.2 NVMe 2280-SSD, the 2.5” SATA HDD, the 2.5” SATA SSD, and the 3.5” SATA HDD. Also, Synology also provided a three-year warranty for the DS918+.
- CPU Model: Intel Celeron J3455
- CPU Architecture: 64-bit
- CPU Frequency: Quad Core 1.5 burst up to 2.3 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
- System Memory 4 GB DDR3L
- Memory Module Pre-installed 4GB (1 x 4GB)
- Total Memory Slots 2
- Memory Expandable up to 8 GB (4 GB x 2)
- Drive Bays 4
- Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit 9
- M.2 NVMe Drive Slots 2
- Compatible Drive Type: 3.5″ SATA HDD, 2.5″ SATA HDD, 2.5″ SATA SSD, M.2 NVMe 2280 SSD
- Maximum Internal Raw Capacity: 48 TB (12 TB drive x 4) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)
- Maximum Raw Capacity with Expansion Units: 108 TB (48 TB + 12 TB drive x 5) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)
- Maximum Single Volume Size: 108 TB
- RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port: 2 (with Link Aggregation / Failover support
New Quad-Core Processor
The DS918 + is powered by a new quad-core processor which gives excellent acceleration and performance for data encryption, as well as real-time transcoding source contents that reach 4k Ultra-HD.
Btrfs File System
The DS918 + presents the Btrfs file system which exhibits some of the most progressive storage technology to meet all the management needs and requirements of modern-day businesses. It also features an integrated data integrity check that detects the file and data system corruption using data and meta-data checksums while simultaneously developing the overall stability.
AST (Advanced Snapshot Technology)
The AST that features a customizable backup schedule grants up to 1,024 copies of shared backup folders in just a minimum of five-minute intervals; this is without occupying a large amount of system resource and storage capacity.
The Btrfs file system can automatically detect any corrupted file using the mirrored metadata, as well as recover any broken data via the supported RAID volumes including the RAID 1, 5, 6, and 10.
Flexible Shared Folders / User-Quota System
This specifically provides a comprehensive quota control over all the shared folders and user accounts.
In addition to the easy access SODIMM and the NVMe SSD slots, the Synology DS918+ makes a huge but excellent shift from the Intel Pentium N-3710 to the Intel Celeron J-3455. Aside from the difference of raw power the Celeron – one that has become a favored piece among high-end NAS devices – exhibits new and very notable capabilities such as support for real-time dual-channel 4K hardware transcoding , as well as streaming videos; plus, it also features a dedicated hardware encryption engine.
One of the most notable aspects of the NAS is its CPU processing power and its data transfer throughput are also a good properties. The NAS devices are usually set up to utilize the RAID technology; this is to provide adequate performance, reliability, as well as data integrity. The DS918 + also supports the RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10 yet by default, it comes with the SHR or Hybrid RAID from Synology. The automated and custom-built RAID management system allows it to move the drives in and out of the box without requiring much knowledge of how to utilize the RAID technology.
When we connected the Synology DS918+ to our local network we were impressed with the speed of file transfers with it sitting at around 109MBps. This makes managing files over your network quick and easy and is more than enough for any video playback that you want to do from the NAS to your home entertainment setup.
How to Use
In times past, setting up a NAS was generally something that only an IT geek could do and there was little to no chance of a home user setting one up. Thankfully Synology has made the process as simple as pie. Simply remove the drive bay rails and use the included screws to screw up to 4 hard drives to the rail, once done simply slide the drive back into the drive bay. You will hear a clicking sound once you have pushed the drive all the way in to the drive bay.
The setup process will prompt you to install the latest DiskStation Manager which will clear any existing data from your hard drive and format and setup the drive ready for use. Once DSM has been downloaded and installed you are asked to create an administrator account which is what you use to authenticate yourself when using the DiskStation Manager and managing the NAS.
Once the administrator account has been setup you are required to specify how you would like the DSM update to function. You have the option to have the NAS install the latest versions of DSM automatically, install important updates automatically or to download the DSM updates but do not automatically install them.
For the next stage of the setup process you are shown a list of Synology’s recommended packages and are given to opportunity to install them. These packages include Audio Station, Download Station, Photo Station, Cloud Station, Media Server and Video Station. Selecting the Install button will download and install these packages. There is the option to skip these packages should you wish.
DiskStation Manager (DSM) Software
The DiskStation Manager or the DSM is a perceptive web-based operating system for all Synology NAS devices. It is crafted to help manage your digital assets at home or in the office. The technical performance of the DS918+ 4 bay NAS primarily relies on a couple of factors beyond Synology, such as the network, drive speed, etc. But despite this, Synology’s software is its software alone, and this is also where their NAS products step up their game.
The Synology DS918+ makes use of the same DiskStation Manager software which is just like the other DiskStation NAS. We consider this an advantageous and great aspect since it is the gold standard for NAS software. It is not only because of its versatility when it comes to the initial storage arrangement, but it is also due to the fact that it can handle a lot of critical tasks that you would normally have to boot a PC to be able to do.
Just like a regular operating system, the DiskStation Manager allows you to install a number of apps which turn the NAS into a more improved data storage that does not just sit in the corner of a room. A lot of the apps can more or less relate to the Synology DS918 +’s nature as a storage device attached to a network with various applications such as Media Server, DNS Server, and Download Manager. One specific app called the High Availability Manager allows you to pair two NAS into a cluster.
There are a few different third-party applications that take the DS918 + beyond its roots and these types of apps allow you to do anything with a Linux computer such as web development. Generally, you are limited to the availability of applications, but with the DiskStation Manager of Synology, you will be able to get a load of these. It is also great that the Synology DS918 + can also run virtual machines on almost all operating systems and this is where the improved hardware of the NAS becomes highly advantageous. If you are planning to run such machines, or if you’re thinking of utilizing the Docker container, it may be best for you to go for the 6GB RAM configuration.
The Synology DSM allows you to seamlessly share files since it can readily access data from mobile and computer devices. You can also securely sync files between multiple servers, public clouds, and computers. What’s great about the DSM is that you can also backup your data to safeguard all information that is kept in mobile devices, computers, and the Synology NAS. Though all of its features are great, we think that its best feature is the Disaster Recovery feature since it protects all critical and vital data against accidental hardware failure, sudden deletion, and natural disasters.
The DSM also provides you with the ultimate virtualization solution via their Virtual Machine Manager, boosting your productivity and output with Office and Drive, be able to streamline projects using Chat, while simultaneously setting up private mail solutions and a lot more. Moreover, you can also enjoy videos, music, and photos via an intuitive mobile and web interface.
The DSM also features the QuickConnect backup and service storage that is made specifically for the Synology NAS. It also works by maintaining, configuring, and monitoring every aspect of your NAS and you don’t need the assistance or knowledge of an IT professional to do this. Lastly, the data security provided by the DSM features top-notch security solutions that aid in protecting your NAS from sophisticated and critical threats.
Surveillance Station Software
The Surveillance Station is a free app that can be downloaded via the Package Center of Synology, and every owner of the Synology NAS is given access to it. The Surveillance Station comes with two free camera licenses and every user can purchase more of these through the DSM (DiskStation Manager) as needed. To safeguard your home and business with an intuitive and reliable surveillance system, opt for the Surveillance Station since it provides outstanding video and monitoring management tools that are ensured to safeguard every valued property and asset.
The Live View and Alert
This feature provides you with a smart multi-stream switching technology and intuitive interface that allows you to effectively control and monitor numerous IP cameras that are available. With its live view and alert panel analytics, monitoring and observing suspicious activities becomes easier, powerful, and more convenient with the Surveillance Station.
Recording and Playback
You will be able to set various types of recording modes depending on your requirements and needs; you can also simultaneously compare footages that have been recorded from various cameras. Additionally, you will also get the chance to analyze various events via the Smart Search app to ensure the authenticity of exported files using the Evidence Integrity Authenticator of Synology.
Vast Camera Support
Support for numerous devices with advanced camera features provides you with more flexibility to choose the most suitable and best device to meet all your requirements. Classic support for more than six thousand types of videos and cameras from over a hundred popular brands, allowing you to readily incorporate the Surveillance Station into your existing arrangement.
I/O Module and Door Controller
Integrated with these features, the Surveillance Station functions as a centralized security system; with the paired cameras and the Action Rule, the development of pre-defined events can trigger equivalent pop-up windows or actions that show relevant live feeds.
With modified event-linking rules, adjustable privilege settings, as well as instant mobile or email notifications, Synology provides us with a full-fledged surveillance management tool that is perfect for business and home use.
The CMS or Central Management System gives you flexible deployment, efficient management, proactive control, and continuous recording that is designed specifically for multi-server and multi-site surveillance deployments with up to 300 NAS devices and 5,000 cameras.
The VisualStation of Synology is a partner system of the Surveillance Station and serves as a highly effective compact playback and monitoring station for local teams, and you won’t need a dedicated computer for this; it is also a perfect substitute when you are facing budget constraints or limited space. To use this, simply plug an Ethernet cable then connect to a TV or LCD monitor; log in to the Synology Surveillance Station and you’re done setting up a monitoring station yourself.
This is available for Android and iOS devices; the DS cam is known as the mobile extension of the Surveillance Station, and with this, you can simultaneously watch six channels, zoom in & adjust the camera’s position using the PTZ control, take snapshots anytime, and casually browse through recorded events when necessary.
Overall, the Synology DS918 + 4 Bay NAS provides excellent performance and we liked that it was quiet the whole time. Synology also allows you to select from the Btrfs and ext4 file systems with the latter offering higher performance while the other features improved data security.
Great improvements over the older model are also exhibited such as the addition of the M.2 slot, lock on trays, and the heightened amount of RAM; and the fact that it costs exactly the same is something that we greatly appreciate.
The DS918+ is something that we highly recommend, especially for those who require a reliable and effective NAS.
Where to Buy
You can get yourself a Synology DS918+ 4 Bay NAS for around $800AUD from your favourite PC retailer. For more information check out the Synology website.