For the most part, if you’re just a regular person looking for a NAS box for home use, you have to choose the DS Series, Plus Series, J Series, Slim Series or PLAY Series. But man, all those model numbers sure are confusing! Below you can find a list of all Synology models and their meaning:
Diskstation, Desktop (e.g. DS718+ DS1019+ DS918+, DS216j, DS418 PLAY). The Plus “+” and PLAY models are also part of the DS series.
Plus (+) Series (DS)
All previous DS models with a “+” tacked on come with Intel Atom CPUs running on x86 architecture. These offer the best performance on a consumer level and all of them come with hardware video transcoding.
PLAY Series (DS)
The Multimedia Specialized Synology NAS – this is the Network attached storage device for photos, videos, movies and music as no. 1 priority. In recent years, we have seen the introduction of Intel CPUs and 64bit architecture ARM CPU in order to support key tasks related to multimedia performance on everything from your Smart TV and iPad to iPhone and Android devices. Also, the latest devices support 4K Playback and transcoding of H.264 and H.265
These are Synology’s bottom-tier budget NAS models, which also come with ARM-based CPUs. They’re the slower of the bunch, so they’re great if you just need a cheap storage solution accessible over your network.
A relatively new range from Synology, SLIM Series are almost identical in terms of software and abilities to the Synology J Series. However, its biggest appeal is that it uses 2.5″ laptop class Hard Drives and SSD. The result is a much smaller, quieter and lower-power NAS for those of you who are looking for the price and simplicity of a Synology J NAS, but in a much more compact and micro form.
RackStation, Rackmount (e.g. RS217, RS815, RS3617xs).
Network Video Recorder (e.g NVR216, NVR1218).
DiskStation Expansion, an expansion NAS for adding more HDD/SSD to supported Desktop Synology NAS (e.g DX517 and DX1215).
RackStation Expansion, another expansion device but designed for Rackmount Synology NAS devices (e.g. RX1215).
Visual Station, a series of more compact Surveillance supporting devices (e.g. VS360HD and VS960HD).
FlashStation, blazingly-fast, all-flash server aiming for I/O-intensive applications (e.g. FS6400).
Scalable. Highly scalable NAS meeting extensive data storage needs (e.g. SA3400).
Highly scalable NAS designed for virtualization, data-intensive applications and service continuity for large scale businesses.
RP designates “redundant power”. It has two power supplies, so if one fails you’re still up and running.