We view a NAS, now, as more or less essential for most people and homes. The need for vast local storage via hard drives is diminishing as we move to budget SSDs, and network and cloud access to files whether for work or entertainment is a luxury hard to pass on. Synology’s new 916+ is probably more powerful than what most home users need, but for power users and SOHO operators it’s a dream.

A meaty quad-core Intel Pentium N3710 @ 2.56GHz burst is coupled with either 2 or 8GB of RAM. That’s plenty enough to handle multiple simultaneous users hitting it, with the 8GB easily accommodating several of the excellent suite of Synology apps running concurrently. For media, it transcodes common formats (H.264/5, HVEC and VC-1 at up to 30fps in 4k), so while pitched at the SOHO market it’s a most desirable NAS for single users wanting top line performance. Maximum data transfer is boosted with Synology’s Link Aggregation mode, which utilises two Ethernet ports and cables (assuming your router has these available). With Link Aggregation mode enabled we recorded just over 200MB/s read and write. Despite this, the 916+ sips just 13w of power when in HDD hibernation mode, and only 30w when under load.

A key appeal of the 916+ is its expandability. The 4x 3.5-inch SATA bays can be ramped up to nine with one of Synology’s DX513 expansion units. When expanded, all drives/volumes are easily and effectively controlled via Synology’s class-leading DiskStation Manager (DSM) software, which is preferable to running separate NAS devices and associated OS. It’s a tidier, less stressful solution for those who expect to need to add drives in the future (or off the bat). DSM’s utility is vast, as are its apps, and regardless of the quality of the hardware here it’s a very strong selling point for Synology products. Besides backup and sharing, SOHO and office owners may be tempted to look closer at the Surveillance Station app, which, for the cost of a webcam, offers a temptingly attractive expansion of function.

At around $650, bare, the Synology 916+ is a very appealing high-performance NAS with a multitude of utility and powerful yet pain-free interface.

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