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Synology DiskStation DS214play review

Kat Orphanides
8 Jan 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
285
inc VAT

This terrific NAS enclosure uses hardware transcoding to help stream all media with ease

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Specifications

2 disk bays, N/A storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The Synology DS214Play looks like a regular two-bay Synology NAS enclosure, but it uses a special Intel Atom processor with built-in video transcoding hardware to stream video to computers or devices that may not otherwise be able to play them. This feature is handy if you want to watch a video on your DS214Play but the media player on the computer you’re using doesn’t support it.

Synology DiskStation DS214play

Indeed, the DS214Play lets you transcode any file containing an H.264 (AVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2 or VC-1 video stream into a form that can be handled by media software and appliances which have only limited wrapper support, such as Windows Media Player. You can find out more about the DS214Play’s transcoding capabilities at www.synology.com .

As with the Synology DS213+, installing disks in the DS214Play is a simple process. The DS214Play’s drive trays are tool-less; you just clip 3.5in hard disks into the drive trays, no screws are necessary. However, you must still screw 2.5in disks onto the drive trays.

Synology DiskStation DS214play

Similarly, the DS214Play’s software setup is just as easy as with the DS213+. At the time of writing the DS214Play uses the DiskStation Manager (DSM) 4.3 operating system. DSM 4.3 gives you an easy-to-use point and click environment in which to manage your NAS and its features. If you can use Windows or Mac OS X you’ll soon become comfortable with DSM 4.3. By default, the DS214Play will set up installed hard disks so that they use Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), which is Synology’s own system of managing data redundancy. SHR provides full redundancy for your data, so if one of your disks fails you’ll be able to recover data from the other disk.

To test the data transfer performance of the DS214Play we ran our standard throughput tests, in which we write and read sets of large and small files to and from the NAS we’re testing. We tested the DS214Play with its disks configured as an SHR volume.

Synology DiskStation DS214play

Large files always transfer more quickly than small ones, but the DS214play did well in both our transfer tests when compared to similarly priced and specified NAS devices. In our large file test the DS214Play produced a write speed of 104.4MB/s and a read speed of 48.7MB/s. In our small file test, the DS214Play produced a write speed of 16MB/s and a read speed of 18.4MB/s.

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