Is a raspberry pi and a cheap nas the same basically as a more expensive one?

I want a synology to use for my 2 ip cameras. I narrowed it to the ds224+. Since it’s new, they’re like $450 with the extra ram, tax, hdd. A used 220j is only $200ish with a hdd. Would running a pi that points at the nas essentially turning the 220j into the 224+

What features do you believe that the "+" unit has that the j does not? The software features are the same for all the Synology units. The "+" units have things like Windows domain integration that the lower tier units do not.
The type of CPU differs. If you want docker, then you want an Intel CPU. The lower tier units often have ARM based CPUs.

The main thing I want is surveillance station. I really don’t need backups as the recordings aren’t “important” data. But I would like to back up photos and STORAGE for a raspberry pi Plex server

The 220j would have surveillance station available. It will support fewer cameras than a "+" will.
Here is the data sheet for the 220j --
It shows that it will support up to 12 cameras.

You would create an NFS mount for storage on a PI. I do that with my Synology NAS.

I don’t quite follow how you intend to use the RPi in this scenario.

If you can elaborate in more detail, it could help others understand your question better.

This is the most relevant question to ask when comparing two NAS models, IMHO.

I want to run surveillance station with 2 cameras. Plex MUSIC server, back up our apple devices. I’m wondering if 24/7 video recording will crash or slow down when I do 24h recording? The 1bay synology is cheap so I’m considering buying one just as a nvr

I don’t really use synology devices, but from the specs posted above, the cheaper model seems like it should be perfectly capable of doing those few things at once.

When you say backup apple devices, do you mean Macs and MacBooks? Or iOS devices too?

Thanks for taking the time to help me, I’m really confused.

2x iPads, 2x iPhones, and 1 Samsung phone. My main concern/question is it safer to just buy 2 seperate devices? Because I don’t care about the data on the camera. Only reason I want it is to see events not triggered by motion, 24/7 so the one bay with 1tb is PLENTY. heck, a 512 is PLENTY. For the iOS backups and music I’d want redundancy. So I’m thinking the 220j. Or would you reccomend the new 224+ and just do both on one?

1TB may be too small. You should use one of the online camera storage calculators to determine size. You should consider your storage space based on worst case. Like you are on vacation for a week or more. 30 days of buffer would be typical.
A NAS is still a single point of failure, with or without RAID. Anything you want protected should follow the 3-2-1 rule. Three copies on at least two physical devices plus one copy offsite to protect against fire, flood, theft, etc. Don't believe that RAID1 will protect your data.

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That is the most impartant part it sounds like. So if it is cheap to buy two nothing wrong with that to provide that extra layer.

Remember raid is about keeping your data up and online and not about being a backup.

You may not need a nas for this function as well. You could take a raspberry pi and hook up a drive and run Motioneye on it. That is a free NVR software. If all you need is to record the video feed this can work very well to. I used it on a Pi4 for a good while.

Regardless of which NAS device you choose, you could install a small hard drive, or a very large hard drive. That depends on your storage needs.

As @kanewolf mentioned above, you can use a calculator to estimate your storage needs in terms of surveillance video recording. Here’s an example of one: Surveillance Storage Calculator | Seagate US

I don’t understand what you mean by this. Two separate devices to do what, exactly? Do you mean buy two NAS devices to split up the jobs you want them to do?

I mean the very cheap synology 1bay just to do recording, then a nicer 2 bay to do all the picture back ups etc

It sounds to me like you want to do a few basic things.

  1. Add two cameras to the synology surveillance app and record 24/7
  2. Stream music with Plex
  3. Transfer photos or other files from iOS and Android devices

None of that sounds like it should be difficult for the lower-end device you were considering.

NAS devices benefit from better CPUs and/or RAM if you want to also use them to, for example, record a large number of cameras at once, run containers or virtual machines, transcode video with Plex, stuff like that.

Synology has an NVR selector.

I'd lean towards keeping the NAS and NVR separate. On the NAS, if you are streaming you need to figure out where any format conversion occurs in your chain of events. If you are expecting the NAS to change formats on the fly you need a fairly beefy Intel processor.

OP mentioned streaming a Plex music library, which should be less taxing than movies and shows, particularly when the NAS is expected to transcode video formats.

I currently have two DS720+ units. I use one to backup the other to support the 3-2-1 rule. Additionally I upload pre-encrypted files to Amazon Glacier for the off-site backup.
Synology supports recording of IP cameras via the Surveillance station plug-in. But Synology is greedy with camera support. They allow two cameras without the purchase of expansion licenses.
QNAP includes four camera support without extra cost.
I am considering purchasing a purpose-built NVR for my cameras and moving that traffic OFF my NAS units.

I never used it in "production" but I tested my camera that supports RTSP with Surveillance Station a long time ago and it worked fine. My NAS is old, DS115 (2015). I stream my iTunes library from the NAS to our Sonos wirelessly, with no trouble. The NAS also backs up 3 Macs via Time Machine and serves as our persistant VPN connection. I've never experienced a hickup.

Maybe if I was taxing it with the additional load it would struggle. 220j should be fine for what you're trying to accomplish. I would suggest that the Achilles heal might be that HDD if it's slow or not in good condition. I used to have a WD Green drive in mine and performance wasn't as good as when I switched to WD Red.

Question, if I do the newer quad core 1 bay, can the hdd be “sequestered” example

I install 2tb hdd. But I only want 1tb of the hdd for video recording and use the other 1tb for backup photos or do hdd not work like that?
Since I only want 2tb and at that size hdd and ssd are about the same in price, would u go ssd?

Easy. Any version of Synology DSM can do this.

Yes, you can specify how much total space Surveillance station is allowed to use.