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.