|At a glance|
|Product||Synology DiskStation (DS216j) [Website]|
|Summary||Value priced dual-bay NAS with single Gigabit Ethernet port. Powered by dual-core Marvell CPU.|
|Pros||• Good value for the money|
• Broad feature set with lots of installable apps
• Very low noise
|Cons||• Disks are not hot-swappable|
• Case disassembly required to install drives
Last year, I reviewed the DS216, part of Synology's Value Series targeted at the Home/Workgroup. This review will focus on the DS216j, a lower-priced entry-level model targeted at home users.
Synology's NAS Comparison tool currently shows six two-bay desktop models, two each in its "Plus", "Value" and "J" series. The chart excerpt below focuses on showing processor, RAM, ports and hardware encryption / transcoding features. The DS216, 216j and 216se differ mainly in processor and RAM. Only the DS716+II has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, all others have one.
Comparison of Synology 2 bay NASes
The image below shows the callouts for the DS216j front and rear panel. It was taken from the DS216j Hardware installation guide.
Synology DS216j callouts
You have to remove the case cover in order to mount the disks using screws on the DS216j. It's certainly not difficult, but some home users may not like disassembling the case. Most other Synology products have front panel access for the disks and have plastic mounting trays that don't require tools. But given the DS216j's lower price, the tray-less disk mounting makes sense.
Synology DS216j Drive Installation
The table below shows the LED indicators key.
Table 1: Synology DS216j LED indicators
The image below shows the top side the DS216j's board.
Synology DS216j board
For this review, I decided to compare the DS216j with the Synology DS216 and the ASUSTOR AS1002T. All three products use a Marvell ARMADA-385 dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM. You can see side-by-side feature comparisons for these three products here in the NAS Finder.
When I reviewed the DS216 back in 2015, its Marvell SoC was clocked at 1 GHz; its current spec shows the clock rate at 1.3 GHz. I suspect this was done when the DS216j was introduced to continue to justify the DS216's higher price and provide a performance boost.
The table below shows the key component summary for the selected products.
|Synology DS216j||Synology DS216||ASUSTOR AS1002T|
|CPU||Marvell ARMADA-385 88F6820 @ 1GHz dual-core
||Marvell ARMADA-385 @ 1.3 GHz dual-core
||Marvell ARMADA-385 @ 1GHz dual-core
|RAM||512 MB Hynix H5TC4G63CFR||512 MB Samsung K4B4G1646D (?)||512 MB Samsung K4B4G1646D|
|Flash||8 MB Macronix MX25L6406E||16 MB Macronix MX25L12835 (?)||16 MB Macronix MX25L12835|
|Ethernet||Marvell 88E1511 Gigabit Ethernet||Marvell 88E1512 (?)||Realtek RTL8211E|
|USB 3.0||In CPU||In CPU||In CPU|
Table 2: Key component summary
The DS216j drew 17 W with two Synology-provided 2 TB Seagate NAS (ST2000VN0001) drives spun up and 7 W in power save mode with the drives spun down. RAID 1 rebuild was less than 10 minutes with the bad block check was skipped. Noise was rated as very low.