Synology vs QNAP NAS: Which Should You Buy?

As your data storage needs grow, a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device offers a centralized place to store files while enabling convenient access across all devices on your local network. But with many competing consumer NAS products on the market, deciding between popular brands like Synology and QNAP poses a common challenge.

This comprehensive NAS showdown examines how Synology and QNAP NAS solutions differ on price, hardware, software, security, apps and overall usage. My goal is to arm you with enough insider information so you can determine which option best fits your home or business. After detailing key advantages of each, I‘ll share my bottom line recommendations on when to choose Synology or QNAP.

A Brief Background

First, some quick history on both companies:

Synology

Founded in 2000, Synology is based in Taipei, Taiwan and one of the most well-known NAS providers. They are focused purely on developing DiskStation Manager (DSM), the intuitive OS powering Synology NAS devices. Now on version 7.0, DSM offers a desktop-like interface, thousands of apps, and an emphasis on easy data management.

QNAP

Also Taiwanese, QNAP started in 2004 with a different agenda – not just software, but driving high-performance hardware. The QTS operating system powers IT infrastructure applications like virtualization, AI development, surveillance and data analytics. Combined with premium internal components, QNAP targets power users wanting advanced functionality.

So in summary:

  • Synology = simpler software, broader consumer/SMB appeal
  • QNAP = faster hardware, focus on enterprise capabilities

With backgrounds providing context, let‘s explore some key areas of difference.

Hardware Performance

QNAP NAS devices uniformly include higher-end hardware specifications compared to Synology alternatives costing the same or even $100-200 more.

As an example, check out the hardware separation in two similar home/SOHO 4-bay NAS units:

SpecSynology DS920+ NASQNAP TS-453D-4G NAS
Processor4-core 2.0 Ghz Intel4-core 2.0 Ghz AMD Ryzen
Memory4GB DDR4 (up to 16GB)8GB DDR4 (up to 32GB)
Drive Bays4 x 3.5” SATA HDD/SSD4 x 3.5”/2.5” SATA HDD/SSD
Maximum Capacity144TB272TB
M.2 SlotsNo2 x NVMe M.2 2280 SSD cache
Networking2 x 1GbE LAN2 x 2.5GbE + 2 x 1GbE LAN
Price$525$625

You can observe QNAP exceeding Synology specs in nearly all areas despite costing around 20% more in this case. Their quad-core AMD Ryzen processor comparison is telling – most QNAP systems run on higher-grade AMD or Intel chipsets. Networking and storage expandability also outpace Synology here.

Advantages extend across QNAP‘s lineup from home NAS targeted at power users all the way up to rackmounted enterprise-class models. The premium pricing reflects investments in quality components that show in capability and performance benchmarks.

Real World Impact

The hardware separation means tangible speed advantages on intensive tasks like running virtual machines, hosting game servers, transcoding 4K video, operating surveillance camera systems or parellelizing data analytics operations. For typical shared storage, backup and basic hosting uses, Synology hardware performs admirably despite modest components.

Software Experience

Where QNAP wins on raw hardware metrics, Synology shines when it comes to software elegance and simplicity right out of the box.

Booting up any Synology NAS, their desktop-style DSM operating system provides quick start wizards to guide even NAS newbies through setup. Compared to QNAP‘s admin console and technical language, DSM‘s intuitive multi-window interface lowers the barrier to efficiently managing networked storage. It continues simplifying after deployment with built-in performance advisors monitoring utilization and recommending optimizations.

Rich app support also separates the consumer-friendly DSM software experience:

  • Synology hosts 6000+ third-party apps in their Package Center covering popular use cases like Plex, WordPress, programming tools, business suites, VPN access and secure cloud expansion.

  • QNAP lacks breadth here, focusing more on baked-in QTS functionality enabling enterprise IT applications (virtualization, AI development etc). Their ecosystem caters more to developers versus casual users.

Ultimately if you want maximum usability out-of-box, Synology wins over techies managing QNAP systems hands down. Less experienced NAS owners will appreciate DSM guiding the process versus QTS‘s steeper learning curve.

Real World Impact

Synology DSM allows leaning into NAS benefits quickly whether centralizing family photos or coordinating business teams. QNAP QTS caters better to technical experts building advanced infrastructure. Most home and starter business owners will find faster time-to-value with Synology.

Security

Protecting sensitive personal data or proprietary company information stored on network attached devices remains crucial.

Both Synology and QNAP bake comprehensive security capabilities into their NAS operating systems on multiple fronts:

Common security features

  • AES 256-bit full disk encryption
  • Built-in firewall to filter traffic
  • Option for WORM archival to make data tamper-proof
  • Antivirus and anti-malware scanning integration
  • Role-based access controls granular by user
  • Support for AES/SHA encryption, SSL certificates, IP filtering

Unique QNAP advantages

  • Drive-level encryption meeting strict industry compliance demands
  • Integrated data integrity auditing
  • Higher security certifications – Common Criteria EAL2+, FIPS 140-2 etc.

Synology still delivers the easiest security experience for less technical owners. But QNAP edges ahead for regulated industries requiring certified, auditable protection. Most SMBs and home users won‘t need to go beyond Synology‘s safeguards.

Real World Impact

Both platforms allow adequately hardening NAS devices according to best practices. QNAP enables more advanced capabilities like conforming to healthcare/finance data regulations. Match security necessity to the right level so it doesn‘t hinder productivity.

Pricing Comparison

With superior hardware and more advanced native functionality (but steeper learning curve), QNAP NAS devices command around a 20-30% price premium over Synology models with similar specifications. You are paying more upfront for verifiably better performance potential.

For example, the mid-range 4-bay NAS units highlighted earlier retail at roughly $625 for the QNAP model versus $525 for Synology. But the 20% bump in cost brings a Ryzen processor, 100% more RAM, twice the potential storage capacity, 10 gigabit networking and NVMe caching.

Whether that premium gets justified depends on if you require and can utilize the power. For typical SMB file sharing, backup, surveillance recording and media streaming uses, Synology likely provides the best return. Creative agencies, tech startups and performance-intensive environments may happily accept paying more for QNAP‘s extra capabilities.

Of course, specific pricing and discounts can shift the math. But quality comes at a cost – count on spending around 15-30% extra when opting for comparable QNAP NAS devices over Synology.

Bottom Line Recommendations

Synology DSM delivers a simpler, more refined and newbie-friendly software experience. QNAP QTS rivals business grade SAN/NAS platforms on capability and benchmarks. Two paths emerge:

When to Choose Synology

  • Home media streaming, file backup & basic small business shared storage
  • Want a clean, unintimidating desktop-like UI with minimal learning curve
  • Appreciate wide app ecosystem from Plex & file utilities to business suites

When to Choose QNAP

  • Creative workloads like 4K video editing, 3D design and programming
  • Seeking virtual machine hosting, containerization and data analytics capabilities
  • Demand certified compliance with security regulations like HIPAA

Of course, ideal access, team productivity and asset security get enabled either way. But thoughtfully weighing priorities against performance, complexity and pricing differences points you down the right path.

Both Synology and QNAP produce excellent NAS systems that should provide years of networked storage reliability when matched to appropriate use cases. Identifying strengths in your environment helps inform if simplicity or power matters most. Hopefully the full analysis above helps guide your decision between these impressive brands.

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