The DS214play 2-bay NAS is turning out to be a popular product for Synology. Sensing a lot of market interest in a version with more number of bays, Synology is launching the DS415play today. It is a 4-bay NAS based on the Intel CE5335 Evansport SoC. With this product, Synology joins Asustor (AS-304T) and Thecus (N4560) as vendors supplying 4-bay NAS units based on the Intel CE5335.

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Synology's approach to Evansport is unique, and we have covered it in detail in our DS214play review. The transcoding capabilities are quite useful and work great for a lot of devices. There are still a few rough edges, but, given Synology's commitment to firmware features, we are sure things will continue to get better. In addition to the Chromecast support that was a great feature while using the DS214play, Synology's PR for the 415play also talks about support for Android TV (not surprising, given that they were already working great with Chromecast).

On the hardware side, users not quite satisfied with 2 drives in the DS214play had the option of adding a DX513 to the mix (no option for volumes spanning the two units, though) to get 7 bays in total using the available eSATA port. The DS415play does away with the eSATA port, so there is no possibility of adding in an enclosure to increase the number of drive bays. That said, four bays is probably enough for a large majority of the consumers (considering that 5 TB and higher capacity drives are already in the market).

At $540, it is a bit costlier compared to the Asustor AS-304T. However, the transcoding features and app ecosystem probably warrant the increase in price. QNAP's TS-451 is already quite close to launch, and I think that will be the main competition for Synology's DS415play.

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  • ZPrime - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    I was considering upgrading my old DS412+ to one of these for the transcoding boost, but without a second gig port and eSATA, it's out of the running already. I wonder if they will come out with a "415+" that adds back enterprise-ish / SMB features...
  • Lundmark - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    I've got the ds214play and it's a great NAS – reliable, silent and full of features – but its transcoding ability isn't one of them. It only works with Synologys own apps and not within Plex, which at least for me makes it pretty useless. This will apparently not change either due to the way Evansport works.

    Next time I get a NAS, I will probably throw more money to get a decent CPU that is powerful enough to do the transcoding. Specialized hardware doesn't seem to be the way to go.
  • jb510 - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    I have a DS213 for home office use, I really like it and the DSM software. I really want to upgrade to a 4 bay unit with more CPU. That's because I want to run 3 HDDs (RAID 5) + 1 SSD (Cache). I've never understood why but have been told in the past on Synology 4 disk NASs one needs to run 2 HDDs and 2 SSDs with the SSDs mirror the HDDs. That seems perhaps crazy, but at least unfortunate. Otherwise this looks perfect.

    FWIW, the CPU upgrade desire isn't actually for transcoding, it's because BTSync and other apps I run on the DS will often max out the CPU for hours at a time.
  • PitneFor - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    ya'lls be dumb for trying to do everything with a nas. you need a real machine running twenty fo seven. ideally a hypervisor so your not limited to one OS at a time
  • jay401 - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    "given Synology's commitment to firmware features"

    I dunno, reading the Synology forums, I don't get the impression that they care very much to fix the issues customers have with their products in a timely fashion, including the DS214Play. Nor is there any word on adding DTS audio support back in that was apparently left off the 214play for licensing reasons.

    In fact, reading user experiences with their devices is what saved me spending hundreds of dollars by holding off buying a DS altogether until I see some promising updates from Synology.

    They are pricey and while the OS is more featureful than the competition, each of their devices still seem to lack a bit in various key areas such that there is no one completely satisfactory solution. Either you get the right I/O connectivity but a weak CPU, or you get the Intel CPU but poor connectivity and no DTS support, and so on.

    If they could release a model with a high quality CPU that can handle encryption and transcoding duties and also pair it with assorted connectivity options and not drop something else off the feature plate, that would be nice. Although, they'd probably then charge an extra hundred dollars for that, pushing it well beyond an appealing price bracket.

    As someone who typically buys top quality products in a given industry, home NAS is the one area I have been unable to do so because I don't see anything that's actually the correct combination of features, price, and hardware, despite the fact that my needs are right in line with the average person's needs. So apparently manufacturers in the home NAS market have a ways to go yet.
  • jay401 - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    I should note regarding the DTS issue, that the thing that irks people so much about it is that the DS214play is the one model where it would be most relevant to ensure you have those sort of features available, given its focus on transcoding media. It's such a head-smackingly obvious thing, yet it epitomizes perfectly the frustration I find when browsing their various DS models and trying to find one that checks all the right boxes. There simply isn't one. It seems there's always some unreasonable compromise required with every model.
  • Tewt - Thursday, July 17, 2014 - link

    Couldn't agree more, jay. The reasons you outline are why I have yet to buy a NAS. They may be the most robust home user option, imo, compared to other companies but as you say there is always one or two items missing from the checklist that keep me from hitting the buy button. And yes, I'm also afraid that if it had all the features in a 4-bay offering such as decent CPU(at least a Core i3), good transcoding, 2Gb of RAM and dual ethernet, I would probably have to pay $200 to $300 more.
  • reshea1950 - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    I do agree with you. For a NAS one would like to get as much functionality as possible. Realizing that price does come into play for all things. But, I too have held off buy a NAS due to seeing that one feature or more is always missing.

    Just have to see what the remainder of the year brings. I guess if one waits 'forever', one would never buy waiting for the 'perfect' thing. For me, if I cannot use a USB connection to at least copy files to a USB drive for backup purposes, that stops me from buying a 415play.
    -->I see there are USB ports; but due to my ignorance of what is possible, the lack of the 'USBCopy' feature has me stopped -- for now. THE DSM OS is what is keeping me interested in Synology.
  • w7hm - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I am very surprised that I can't copy my files to my 415play. The lack of this feature is amazing
  • 2mny - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Given the comments here it might make more sense to buy a 'dumb' NAS and use the savings to put together a dedicated media streaming box running PLEX or XBMC fed from the NAS. It might be more expensive and slightly more complicated setup but it would also be much more flexible.

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