We would like to thank Synology for supplying the review sample.
As we see it, most NAS servers will soon have the capabilities to fully replace your media players and HTPCs if you aren't much into gaming (unless they start to equip NAS servers with VGAs to give them 3D gaming capability). Synology, a key players in the NAS server market, recently released a NAS, the DS214play, with a focus on multimedia content. It includes a built-in floating-point unit, which, according to its maker, not only improves the main CPU's overall capability, but also shows particular promise in speeding up thumbnail processing, which makes viewing photos much faster. The DS214play is even powered by a hardware-accelerated transcoding engine to make transcoding 1080p Full HD video on the fly possible; a thrilling feature for users that want all classical NAS functions and the ability to stream high quality video to their DLNA devices.
The DS214play can take up to two HDDs, is equipped with Intel’s fresh Evansport CE5335 CPU, and has 1GB RAM, which is enough to easily cover all the needs of a demanding home user. It also runs Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM), one of the best and most mature operating systems for NAS servers today. Its only downsides look to be the relatively high price in comparison to the tough competition and the lack of an HDMI port, but we will have a clearer picture of its abilities and whether the high price is justified once we finish this review.