Synology DiskStation DS1522+

Best Synology NAS in 2024: For the home, office, and Plex

Synology is responsible for some of the most popular network-attached storage (NAS) enclosures but which one should you buy? I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Synology NAS and reasons why each one would make a good fit at home or in the office. Whether you need somewhere to stash files or run Plex Media Server, these are the best Synology NAS.

What is the best Synology NAS?

There’s no single best NAS for everyone since no two enclosures are built the same and they’re designed for various use cases. This also goes for Synology’s catalog of NAS models. If I was to pick one, however, my best overall recommendation would go to the Synology DiskStation DS224+.

It has everything you need in a mid-range NAS enclosure, including an Intel Celeron processor, two drive bays, upgradeable RAM, and two 1Gb LAN ports. No matter which NAS you choose from Synology, you’ll be able to enjoy the company’s excellent operating system, DSM.

If you’re just starting with your very first NAS enclosure, I’d recommend the Synology DiskStation DS223j as Synology’s more affordable server. This enclosure won’t win any awards for performance, but it’s perfect for storing files.

No matter which enclosure you pick, I’d recommend buying them from Amazon, if possible. You’ll often find the lowest prices among all retailers at Amazon and its Prime membership (currently $45 for three months if you use this link!) opens up the ability to enjoy Prime-only sales and next-day delivery.

Front of the Synology DiskStation DS224+
Front of the Synology DiskStation DS224+. (Source: NM)

Synology DiskStation DS224+

Best Synology NAS

Synology DiskStation DS224+
Synology DiskStation DS224+. (Source: Synology)

This is a no-brainer. The DS224+ is not only my favorite Synology NAS, but also my all-time favorite enclosure period. It has everything you need for a solid mid-tier, great-value server.

CPUIntel Celeron J4125
(4-core, 2.7 GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics
RAM2 GB DDR4
(max 6 GB)
Bays2 (SSD/HDD)
Cooling1x 92 mm
Ports2x GbE
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2×1
Power draw~14.69 W
Dimensions165 x 108 x 232.2 mm
Weight1.30 kg
  • Intel Celeron J4125 CPU
  • 2GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 2x drive bays (36TB max)
  • 2x 1Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Limited RAID support

The Synology DiskStation DS224+ has it all for a great price. The Intel Celeron J4125 processor is brilliant for running more intensive tasks and applications. Should you have multiple members of the household wanting to use the NAS simultaneously, the DS224+ won’t provide any issues.

Rocking just two drive bays, this NAS enclosure is designed for those who don’t want to store too much data off the bat. You can still install two drives with up to 40TB of total capacity, allowing for plenty of space for movies, photos, music, documents, and more.

The Synology DiskStation Manager is an excellent operating system and is what you’ll find on all branded enclosures. It truly shines on the DS224+. The two 1Gb LAN ports can be linked together for additional network bandwidth too. If you want the best value NAS from Synology, look no further than the DS224+.

Synology DiskStation DS223j
Synology DiskStation DS223j. (Source: NM)

Synology DiskStation DS223j

Best NAS for beginners

Synology DiskStation DS223j
Synology DiskStation DS223j. (Source: Synology)

One may overlook the DS223j as being too limiting with an ARM processor and RAM that cannot be upgraded. I’d give it serious consideration if you’re looking for your very first NAS, one for a student, or to store some files.

CPURealtek RTD1619B
(4-core, 1.7 GHz)
GPU
RAM1 GB DDR4
(max 1 GB)
Bays2 (SSD/HDD)
Cooling1x 92 mm
Ports1x 1 GbE
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2×1
Power draw~16.31 W
Dimensions165 x 100 x 225.5 mm
Weight0.88 kg
  • 2 drive bays (40TB max)
  • 1Gb LAN
  • Cheapest two-bay Synology NAS
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Sluggish ARM CPU
  • Limited RAID support

On paper, the Synology DiskStation DS223j doesn’t have much going for it as a NAS enclosure, so why would I recommend anyone buy it? It’s one of the most affordable Synology servers, making it an ideal choice for parents looking to treat their student or for anyone else wanting to try out NAS.

The Realtek RTD1619B isn’t a brilliant processor, but it’s more than enough to handle file storage and some other lighter apps — you could even run Plex Media Server and stream music. The 1GB RAM isn’t enough for more intensive usage, but it won’t cause any issues for the aforementioned tasks.

There are two drive bays with a maximum capacity of 40TB without RAID, but you won’t be able to connect external enclosures from Synology to expand the capacity. So long as you don’t have more than 40TB of data to store or run some super-intensive apps with countless connections, the DS223j is a good little server.

Synology DiskStation DS923+
Synology DiskStation DS923+. (Source: NM)

Synology DiskStation DS923+

Best NAS for Plex

Synology DiskStation DS923+
Synology DiskStation DS923+. (Source: Synology)

We’re pushing things up a notch with the Synology DiskStation DS920+. This enclosure has a great processor, four drive bays, and some other notable features that make it ideal for Plex.

CPUAMD Ryzen R1600
(2-core, 3.1 GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics
RAM4 GB DDR
(max 32 GB)
Bays4 (SSD/HDD)
Expansion2x M.2 SSD
Synology DX517
Cooling2x 92 mm
Ports2x 1GbE
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2×1
1x eSATA
Power draw~35.51 W
Dimensions166 x 199 x 223 mm
Weight2.24 kg
  • AMD Ryzen R1600 CPU
  • 4GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 4x drive bays (80TB max)
  • 2x 1Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • Pricey
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Limited RAID support

If running Plex Media Server is all you care for, you’ll want to consider the Synology DiskStation DS923+. I rate this as the best NAS from Synology overall due to the AMD Ryzen R1600 processor. It’s faster than the one found inside the DS224+ and there are an additional two drive bays here.

These highlights alone make it ideal for media streaming. Totaling four drive bays, you can store up to 80TB of data on this unit. It’s got plenty of other cool features too, including an eSATA port as well as M.2 SSD slots for installing flash drives as caching to improve performance. Then there’s the ability to add a five-bay expansion unit.

This enclosure is future-proof and would make for a solid investment for those looking for a server to last them for years before needing to find a replacement. All this results in the best Synology NAS enclosure for running Plex Media Server. Streaming (and transcoding) 4K movies? No problem. It truly is an awesome machine.

Synology DiskStation DS3622xs+

Best capacity NAS

Synology DiskStation DS3622+
Synology DiskStation DS3622+. (Source: Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS3622xs+ gets far more right than it does wrong. 12 drive bays can be expanded, so too can the 16GB of DDR4 RAM. The dual 10Gb LAN ports are also impressive.

CPUIntel Xeon D-1531
(6-core, 2.7 GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics
RAM16 GB DDR
(max 48 GB)
Bays12 (SSD/HDD)
Expansion1x PCIe 3.0 x8
Synology DX1222
Cooling2x 120 mm
Ports2x 10GbE
2x 1GbE
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2×1
2x Expansion ports
Power draw~94.42 W
Dimensions270 x 300 x 340 mm
Weight9.8 kg
  • Intel Xeon D-1531 CPU
  • 16GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 12x drive bays (216TB max)
  • 2x 10Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • Expensive
  • High power draw

Synology went all out with the Synology DiskStation DS3622xs+. It has a very potent Intel Xeon D-1531 processor with six cores and a clock speed of 2.2GHz (with a turbo up to 2.7GHz). It may be an older CPU and not have an integrated GPU with Intel QuickSync, but you could still get by with Plex transcoding.

The 16GB of DDR4 RAM is an incredible amount of RAM, but you could more than double it up to a maximum of 48GB, which is more than enough for most NAS use. There aren’t any M.2 PCIe slots for installing SSD cache, but Synology did include two expansion slots and a PCI slot for expansion cards.

If you’re working with large files and need to store lots of data, the 12 drive bays will let you have a maximum capacity of up to 240TB and that’s without including any expansion units that can be connected to this NAS — bringing the total number of drive bays to a whopping 36 (that’s 720TB).

Streaming files will be no issue thanks to the dual 10Gb LAN ports on the rear of the Synology DiskStation DS3622xs+. Link these two together for massive network bandwidth between the server and your LAN.

Synology DiskStation DS124

Best budget NAS

Synology DiskStation DS124
Synology DiskStation DS124. (Source: Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS124 may be part of the company’s value series of NAS servers, but it’s still worth considering if you don’t need to do anything too intense. Storing files and backups? This is the NAS for you.

CPURealtek RTD1619B
(4-core, 1.7 GHz)
GPU
RAM1 GB DDR
(max 1 GB)
Bays1 (SSD/HDD)
Cooling1x 60 mm
Ports1x GbE
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2×1
Power draw~10.69 W
Dimensions166 x 71 x 224 mm
Weight0.7 kg
  • Affordable
  • 1 drive bay (20TB max)
  • 1x 1Gb LAN
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Limited RAID support
  • Sluggish ARM CPU

This is essentially a smaller version of the DS224. If you’re just starting with your very first NAS server or want something to simply store some files and/or backups on, give the Synology DiskStation DS124 a look.

It’s powered by a quad-core Realtek RTD1619B processor, which won’t win any awards for performance. What this CPU does allow for is a lower price, so too does the 1GB of RAM that you cannot upgrade yourself.

It’s not all bad news, however. The DS124 runs the same excellent DSM OS found on all other branded enclosures. It can also run Plex Media Server, though you’ll struggle to transcode even the most basic file if required.

Synology DiskStation DS423+

Best 4-bay NAS

Synology DiskStation DS423+
Synology DiskStation DS423+. (Source: Synology)

If you’re looking at the DS220+ as the perfect NAS but find the two drive bays a little too limiting for storage capacity, the DS420+ may be a better option. It has four drive bays and even SSD caching support.

CPUIntel Celeron J4125
(4-core, 2.7 GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics
RAM2 GB DDR
(max 6 GB)
Bays4 (SSD/HDD)
Expansion2x M.2 SSD
Cooling2x 92 mm
Ports2x 1GbE
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2×1
Power draw~28.3 W
Dimensions166 x 199 x 223 mm
Weight2.18 kg
  • Intel Celeron J4125 CPU
  • 2GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 4 drive bays (80TB max)
  • 2 M.2 slots
  • 2x 1Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports

The Synology DiskStation DS423+ is a brilliant NAS enclosure. For starters, we’ve got the same Intel Celeron J4125 processor that’s found in the DS224+. This CPU is more than happy to run more intensive tasks on the NAS, such as transcoding 4K movies through Plex.

The 2GB of DDR4 RAM can be expanded to 6GB should you require more system memory, but the initial amount should be more than enough to start with. Then there are the four drive bays, which can allow for up to 80TB.

The two M.2 slots are excellent for installing SSDs for acting as a cache. Transferring files and data won’t be an issue either, thanks to the dual 1Gb LAN ports on the rear that can be linked for additional bandwidth. Finally, there’s the same OS found on any Synology NAS.

What is the best Synology NAS drive?

So you’ve picked the Synology NAS enclosure that will meet all your requirements, but what drives will you need to store all your data? It’s not recommended to use just any desktop-class drives since they’re not designed with continuous server use in mind.

Synology NAS usually comes with no hard drives (unless you’re purchasing a bundle) and as such, I’d recommend taking a look at my round-up of best NAS drives to pick out some excellent storage medium for keeping your data safe.

Seagate IronWolf

Seagate IronWolf
Seagate IronWolf. (Source: Seagate)

I’m a big fan of Seagate’s IronWolf series of NAS hard drives. If you’re serious about storage, the Pro range offers a few advanced extras.

Western Digital Red Plus

Western Digital Red Plus
Western Digital Red Plus. (Source: WD)

Western Digital makes some of the best drives on the market and its Red range for NAS enclosures is no exception. You’ll have a wide range of options to choose from.

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