Synology NAS Buyers Guide
First, you will need to decide what size NAS to buy. The fewer bays you buy, the cheaper the NAS will be and the fewer drives you’ll have to buy fill it, but you’ll lose a larger percentage of that space to parity for data protection. More bays mean a more expensive NAS and you have to buy more drives to fill them, but they are more efficient in terms of parity.
You will also need to decide what size hard drives to fill the NAS with. At the time of this writing, NAS hard drives have a price per terabyte sweet spot at the 6TB and 12TB sizes.
The combination of NAS and hard drive size and price options always leads to a range of possible configurations and sometimes sweet spots emerge. I put together six possible scenarios, each with their relative merits and shortfalls.
5 Bay NAS Options
Scenario 1: 5 Bay Synology NAS with five 6TB WD RED drives
Links:WD Red Pro 6TB NAS Internal Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf 12TB NAS Internal Hard Drive Synology 5 bay NAS DiskStation DS1019+ (Diskless)
This scenario boasts the lowest initial cost but is the most expensive per terabyte.
- Capacity: 30TB RAW, 24TB usable
- Cost: approximately $1,300
- Price/TB: $57/TB
Scenario 2: 5 Bay Synology NAS with five 12TB Seagate Ironwolf drives
This scenario doubles the storage capacity as scenario 1 but at a somewhat lower price per terabyte.
- Capacity: 60TB RAW, 48TB usable
- Total Cost: approximately $2,100
- Price/TB: $44/TB
6 Bay NAS Options
Links:WD Red Pro 6TB NAS Internal Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf 12TB NAS Internal Hard Drive Synology 6 Bay NAS DiskStation – DS1618+ (Diskless)
Scenario 3: 6 Bay Synology NAS with six 6TB WD RED drives
This scenario lands right in the middle of 1 and 2 in terms of capacity, initial cost, and price per usable terabyte.
- Capacity: 36TB RAW, 30TB usable
- Total Cost: approximately $1,600
- Price/TB: $53/TB
Scenario 4: 6 Bay Synology NAS with six 12TB Seagate Ironwolf drives
This scenario offers a massive amount of storage at the best price per terabyte yet.
- Capacity: 72TB RAW, 60TB usable
- Total Cost: approximately $2,500
- Price/TB: $42/TB
8 Bay NAS Options
Links:WD Red Pro 6TB NAS Internal Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf 12TB NAS Internal Hard Drive Synology 8 Bay NAS Diskstation (Diskless) (DS1819+)
Scenario 5: 8 Bay Synology NAS with eight 6TB WD RED drives
This scenario ends up being pretty close to scenario 2 with five 12TB drives. It’s slightly less expensive than scenario 2 but the price per TB is a little higher. It should be noted that the additional three bays offer much more expansion potential down the road.
- Capacity: 48TB RAW, 42TB usable
- Total Cost: approximately $2,000
- Price/TB: $49/TB
Scenario 8: 8 Bay Synology NAS with eight 12TB Seagate Ironwolf drives
This scenario offers a staggering amount of capacity at the best cost per terabyte of them all if you are willing to shell out big for the initial purchase.
- Capacity: 96TB RAW, 84TB usable
- Total Cost: approximately $3,335
- Price/TB: $39/TB
One of the biggest benefits of network-attached storage is that your data is available on any device or computer that is on the network, whether connected via ethernet or WiFi. Just be aware that you will be able to access your data 3-5x faster if you are connected via ethernet compared to WiFi. If you have a lot of work to do, it is definitely worth plugging your computer into your network via an ethernet cable. If you want the best possible Wifi performance, I would recommend adding a Unifi AC Pro access point to your network instead of using the built-in wifi radio on your modem or router.