At a Look
NAS boxes are nigh on perfect gadgets for keeping and streaming your multimedia collections- including music, video, and photograph throughout your home. Generally, that streaming hasn’t consisted of UHD/4K/2160p video, which requires a reasonable bit of CPU power. Until Synology’s DS216+ and it’s new DSM 6.0 os.
Synology’s DS216+ is one of the faster customer NAS boxes for $300 (drives not included)- The business sent it to us to test the transcoding. It’s equipped with an Intel Celeron N3050, 1GB of memory, and with 2 drive bays, so you can add up to 16TB of storage. In our copy tests, composes and reads of a single 20GB file continued at about 109MBps, and with a more exhausting 20GB mix of smaller sized files and folders, at about 63MBps. That’s fast for consumer-grade NAS, and it makes the DS216+ a great repository for backups– more on that subject later on.
The DS216+ has 2 USB 2.0 ports on the back and a single USB 3.0 port on the front for copying files to the box. There’s a dedicated copy button on the front panel: Pressing it will move all the files from a USB drive to the box. There’s likewise a single gigabit ethernet port, and somewhat unusually for a small office/home box of recent vintage– an eSATA port. A full-on USB 3.x (5Mbps/10Mbps) port would be much better suited for the desired market.
To check transcoding and streaming I loaded the DS216+ with numerous test files, consisting of about a dozen 2160p (UHD 3840 × 2160 and 4K 4096 × 2160) videos. Files were streamed to Windows Media Player enhanced with the LAV DirectShow filters using the in-browser Video Station player. Media Player Classic House Movie Theatre was also used as a test control. Which was likewise set to use the most recent variation of the LAV filters.
Everything up to and consisting of 1080p played or streamed fine. 2160p videos (AVC and HEVC) played well also, a minimum of those restricted to about 30 frames per second and around 6 megabits per second (HEVC) or 20Mbps (AVC). AVC is significantly easier to process than the more heavily compressed HEVC. Beyond that, both audio and video stutter started to sneak in; 60fps files weren’t acknowledged. My only other problem is that the downscaling in Video Station could have used more anti-aliasing in locations with lots of fine detail.
As I mentioned up front, you can bypass the streaming and transcoding to play files directly if your gadget supports playing files from network locations. Doing that with MPC-HC, everything played simply well, including 20Mbps/60fps 2160p.
Synology’s audio support is absolutely great. The list of supported types consists of FLAC, MP3, WMA, M4A, Ogg, Ape, both Apple and Windows lossless, as well as all wave files from 44.1 kHz/16-bit to 96kHz/32-bit– including 5.1- and 7.1-channel surround types. That’s everything I have in my collection of test files outside of Opus and an ancient VQF file that’s long out-of-date. You can play any of the supported types using the included Audio Station app or streamed through DLNA.
Supported image formats include JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, and TIFF.
DSM or DiskStation Manager is the os for Synology’s NAS boxes. Just like competing QNAP’s QOS, it’s a full windowing system that works within your web browser. Below is a picture, which does it more justice than any word I could write. It works similar to Windows, Linux (which it in fact is), or OS X with clicking, dragging, lasso-ing, and so on
6.x brings the os into the 64-bit world, which is of limited worth to the majority of home users, however, will allow more onboard memory in the Synology’s high-end boxes. DSM 6.0 likewise supports Btrfs (B-tree file system) with its copy-on-write (COW) innovation that allows for simple cross-device storage pools and information snapshots.
Beyond streaming multimedia, a few of the other things you can do with a Synology NAS box are a record and search the output of a minimum of one Cam, create your very own email server, and– its most recent function– team up with other users on spreadsheets. It is inevitable that word processing and presentations will eventually be included as well. Then there’s the ability to watch and tape TELEVISION (with a USB tuner connected), Wi-Fi connection (with an 802.11 x dongle attached), and more.
There’s likewise a new MailPlus app and server that supports as much as five users for free. It’s quite a bit slicker than the typical MailServer application and has actually devoted apps for Android and iOS devices. Mentioning which, Synology provides mobile apps for seeing images, videos, etc. kept on the box. There’s a lot more, but I’ll have you check out Synology’s website for more details.
Save your stuff
Though this short article is concentrated on multimedia serving, the DS216+ and DSM 6.0 also offer outstanding backup services. In addition to Time Machine support for Macs, this Synology uses its own Cloud Station with customers for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS. Which means the Synology box can be used to back-up all your PCs and mobile devices. My only issue with this was that throughout a rather big 400GB initial backup, the client used excessive bandwidth. There’s no throttle setting, so I had to stop briefly the sync process when I needed to use another network application.
New to the mix are an enhanced variation of the Backup & Restore app called Hyper Backup Vault, and Snapshot Replication, which leverages the brand-new Btrfs file, system’s picture capabilities.You can likewise sync multiple NAS boxes (even other vendor’s, if they support RSync) throughout the world. There are also apps like S3, Glacier, DropBox and other online services that can be used to back-up or sync.
The Synology DS216+ is a fantastic little box and streams multimedia equivalently to any NAS box in its class. If you’re trying to find the main repository for your tunes, pictures, and films that any device in your house can access, you might do far worse.
But if you’re not dead set on the 2160p transcoding, you can get away far cheaper with other NAS boxes– Such as Synology’s less-expensive designs, which there are plenty. When just opening and playing files from a network drive, I have the ability to play 4K/UHD files just great from a far older Synology DS411 Slim.
DSM 6.0 brings Synology’s boxes up to date in terms of backup, replication, pictures and spreading storage across several gadgets. Those are functions more of interest to business users than multimedia mavens, however, they’re welcome nevertheless.
One caution on the whole NAS for multimedia offer: Streaming and accessing files on a NAS box is simple enough for anyone, however, setup needs a reasonable quantity of tech savvy.