Synology has been pretty busy introducing its 2014 models over the last couple of weeks. While the DS214 was, in my opinion, a run-of-the-mill product (not taking away any of the awesome features that the DSM 4.3 OS provides, but just a comment on the hardware), today's announcements are much more interesting.

First up is the DS214play, based on Intel's EvanSport (aka Berryville) platform. Synology had teased the DS714 earlier at CeBit, based on the same platform. However, that unit doesn't seem to be available for sale anywhere. Today, we have shipping confirmation on the DS214play. While the DS214play is not the first EvanSport unit to ship (the Thecus N2560 and the Asustor AS-302T hold that distinction), we are very encouraged by the availability of hardware acceleration for video transcoding. The Thecus N2560, in our evaluation, failed to utilize the internal SoC engines to serve up transcoded media (used the CPU cycles, instead). Synology advertises the unit to be the first DiskStation to launch with dedicated hardware acceleration, specifically for video transcoding. The DS214play has two bays, comes with a 1.6 GHz dual-core CPU (which points to the Intel CE5335) and 1 GB of RAM. It will be interesting to see if the encryption feature is also able to take advantage of the available hardware acceleration in the EvanSport platform.

Synology claims that the unit can provide read / write speeds of more than 100 MBps, but it is the media-centric features which steal the show here. Many codecs and containers are supported and we will have detailed coverage in a hands-on review. The DS214play is shipping today (US availability will be in November) and will have a MSRP of $370.

The other new products being launched today by Synology are the single-bay DS114 and the four-bay DS414. The former complements its single gigabit link with two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port. It will have a MSRP of $200. The DS414 provides dual gigabit links with two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port in front. It also has redundant fans. The DS414 will have a MSRP of $500. Synology refused to divulge the exact SoCs being used in the DS114 and DS414, but their wiki page seems to suggest that these are Freescale PowerPC-based ones. Once these units hit the market, it should be easy to confirm.

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  • WhitneyLand - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    The biggest shortcomings I see are:
    1) No HDMI 2.0. 4k movies may not be close, but with phones already supporting 4k video encoding and the 4k foundation being laid in gaming, there are real uses coming soon.

    2) 2-bay NAS is weak, like Ukraine.
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    HDMI? It doesn't have video output at all, afaics.
    This is a NAS, not an STB or streamer or HTPC.
  • creed3020 - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    The photos are not showing, only thumbnails for the DS214play. The other photo album is missing all photos for the DS414. Any one else confirm?
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Works for me now. An earlier version didn't have the 114/414 gallery at all. I think you tried in midupdate.

    OTOH it'd make sense to have all the pictures uploaded before the gallery was added to the page. CMS bug? Manual update ooops?
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    That must have been a transient issue.. I checked personally on multiple PCs / tablets after posting the article to ensure that the galleries had no issues.

    The CMS used to have a problem when the filename had a '+' embedded in it, but I believe that has since been resolved.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Comparing external features between models is interesting. 2 of the differences I see are surprising in that they represent features apparently removed from higher end models.

    The 214 is the only model with an SD card reader.
    Both the 114 and 214 have eSata connectors but the 414 does not.
  • jensend - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    I think it's pretty lame to be introducing units at these kinds of prices using 2011 processors. For 2014 I'd expect something Silvermont based rather than old Saltwell/Cedarview and PowerVR, esp. if you're going to charge these prices for it.
  • Integr8d - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    It's because these are still primarily storage devices. The multimedia aspect is being realized. But it's slow coming. Mainly, it boils down to the fact that if you need need massive number crunching as well as storage considerations, heavier iron is required. As far Cedarview, I have an 8-bay version of this box and it can easily handle the math to keep the two Gigabit lines saturated. The newer version has has four Gigabit lines and peaks at over 300MBps. So for shifting data around, using a multitude of different protocols, it does well. Really, Synology's software, which separates all of the different NAS vendors, is the gold standard. Sometimes, I feel that they're biting off more than they can chew. But they're definitely pushing the envelope.

    I think Netgear's ReadyNAS has a Core i3 in some of their boxes. But I'd shy away from them, after dropping a nice amount of coin on one of their 6-bays and having them drop software support like a bad habit. They will unapologetically deprecate your hardware.

    I think I read, the other day, that Western Digital has a 4-bay box now with a Xeon. That's pretty crazy for something like a NAS. But maybe they have bigger plans.
  • RoboJ1M - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    FYI the DS214play is listed as compatible with the DX line of expansion units.
    So you can add another 2 or 5 bays via the eSATA port.

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