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Synology DS723+ NAS – Should You Buy?

16 janvier 2023 à 15:40

Synology DS723+ NAS Drive – Does It Deserve Your Data?

The Synology DS723+ NAS is one of the most capable 2-Bay systems that the brand has ever released, featuring a number of series-firsts in terms, yet still maintaining largely the same price point as the other two bays in the plus series to date. However, there is no avoiding that this is not going to be a system that suits everyone and although I waxed lyrical and was largely positive about its features in my Synology DS723+ NAS Review, there are definitely going to be some elements of the DS723+ NAS that will convince you to opt for a different solution. So, today I want to discuss the five things about the Synology DS723+ that make it a must-have NAS in 2023 and five things that will possibly convince you that your money and data should go elsewhere. Let’s begin.

Note – You can find my full ‘Before You Buy’ video on the Synology DS723+ NAS here. It covers mostly the same points, but also touches on a few more.

Reasons You SHOULD Buy the Synology DS723+ NAS

So, first things first! Here are five reasons why the Synology DS723+ NAS might well be exactly the private desktop server that you have been waiting for.

The 10GbE Upgrade on the DS723+

It may seem especially unusual for Synology to provide the option of 10GbE on a 2-Bay NAS (as the brand has been oddly reluctant to provide greater than gigabit connectivity on their smaller devices till now) but this was a feature in one form or another that users who have been looking at the expandable 2-Bay and 4-Bay diskstation series (DS716+, DS718+ and DS720+) have been requesting for YEARS! The Synology DS723+ NAS arrives with an upgrade slot on the rear of the chassis (PCIe Gen 3 x2) that allows the installation of a 10GbE (10GBASE-T) network upgrade module that allows the system to upgrade towards a 1,000MB/s network connection! With the DS723+ NAS running on a very competent and fast-file-service internal architecture AND supporting 2 drives in a RAID environment to increase internal performance, the option to scale up the external connectivity to 10x that of traditional gigabit is fantastic. Although there is a question of whether it is possible to fully saturate a 10GbE/1,000MB/s connection with a 2x SATA drive NAS, you also need to factor in the option to expand the system by 5 more bays with the DX517, or by running a storage pool on one or more of the M.2 NVMe SSD bays. Either of these options will allow that 10 Gigabit connection to be fully saturated with ease.

The network upgrade choice on the DS723+ is delivered via an optional purchase of the Synology E10G22-T1-mini (find the Synology E10G22-T1-MINI here on Amazon), and it is a 1x Port 10G card, with its own onboard controller and heatsink attached. The module is also by far the easiest 10GbE/Network upgrade I have ever installed in a NAS, as it can be installed by popping it in the available slot on the back – as opposed to needing the chassis be partially dismantled in order to access a PCIe slot). The PCIe Gen 3×2 bandwidth that is afforded to it is more than enough for the 10G connection. Currently, the E10G22-T1-mini is the only upgrade option that is supported by the network upgrade slot on the DS723+ NAS (as well as the DS923+, RS422+ and DS1522+), but I would not be surprised if Synology roll out an SFP+/Fibre option in due course, though the jury is still out if they were to also add a 2.5G/5GBe option.

ECC Memory Type and Maximum Scalability of the DS723+

Another one of the expectations of the expandable 2-Bay diskstation hardware that the DS723+ goes ahead and smashes is in the area of Memory. Previous generations of this series have arrived with 2GB of Memory which can be upgraded to 6GB of memory (in some cases, with the initial 2GB of memory being soldered to the main controller board). The DS723+ NAS makes a couple of significant changes by providing the same amount of memory at 2GB (which is a little disappointing), BUT it can support upto 32GB of memory across two SODIMM slots! that is more than FIVE TIMES the maximum of any other system in the series’ history and that is going to allow ALOT of apps to stretch their muscles a bit with that much RAM to share out!

This memory in the DS723+ improves further on its predecessors by virtue of being ECC memory (Error Correcting Code), something that you would never ordinarily find on a 2 Bay system. ECC memory arrives with an extra memory chip per module on board that (in caveman terms) allows the system to have a blueprint of the data that is passing through the memory on the way to being written/sent to the disks and then, at the end of the memory processes, it is compared against the blueprint and if errors/inconsistencies are observed, the memory repairs the data. ECC has always been proven invaluable at the business level as it ensures data that has been stored on the NAS for warm or cold storage has no silent inconsistencies that down the line could result in invalid/corrupt data (e.g bitrot). Synology has been championing the use of ECC memory in their systems and slowly but surely, all of their product ranges in PLUS and above (i.e XS, SA, etc) are arriving with this enterprise-class memory by default.

The DS723+ NAS featuring ECC memory DOES mean that official Synology memory upgrades are going to be more expensive, but the RRP of the DS723+ NAS (with the original 2GB of ECC Memory) already arrives at a very, very similar price point to its predecessor’s RRP when they were released, so any extra cost down the line is optional.

Low Noise, Small Power Use and Compact Design

This is a point that will appeal to a very specific % of NAS buyers, but the D723+ NAS arrives in the same 2-Bay Diskstation chassis as the DS720+ and DS718+ before it (with tweaks here or there), which was very low impact in it’s design. What I mean by that is that it is quite a compact casing that is very easy to deploy, very well-ventilated on almost all sides (even the official logos on either side are ventilation panels) and is surprisingly low noise when in operation. The DS723+ has a single rear active fan and is a low-noise fan too. The huge amount of ventilation that passes over the internal heatsinks (no internal CPU fans or a PSU fan, as that is external) is assisted by the copious ventilation and the result is a NAS that has had alot of time in R&D to balance between internal system temps in 24×7 operation AND having low ambient noise/space impact to the end user. HERE is my noise testing of the Synology DS920+ NAS (using a similar chassis, but in 2 bays) using different kinds of HDD and SSD media to show the noise levels that were hit.

All that said, do keep in mind that the Hard Drives that you choose to use will make an impact on noise. Any NAS HDDs (WD Red or Seagate Ironwolf) of 8TB or lower capacity will be lovely and quiet (only really making noticeable noise in periods of high access frequency), but larger capacity HDDs or enterprise class/industrial built Hard Disks will make more ambient noise (vibration hum, clicks of the internal arm/actuator and spinning disk platters) and these will be easily noisier than the DS723+ noise when in operation.

FULL DSM 7.1 and DSM 7.2 Support

At Launch, the DS723+ NAS arrives with the latest version of Synology software, DSM 7.1. However, this does not stop evolving as soon as you get your Synology NAS. DSM has been in continues to be the dominant force in the world of NAS software, providing a massive arrangement of services, applications (first and third-party supported) and a huge number of client applications for desktop, mobile, Windows, macOS and Linux (as well as a bunch of other more home-based tools). These allow management and access to the data on the DS723+ in very tailored ways, as well as the web browser-based access that has the appearance, intuitive design and responsiveness of a local operating system. The DSM interface can be accessed by hundreds of users at the same time (with each user having tailored access, rights and privileges). DSM is available with ALL Synology NAS and the depth and abilities of DSM on any NAS are dependent on the hardware architecture of the NAS itself. In the case of the Synology DS723+, it supports EVERYTHING that is offered by Synology’s platform. DSM is currently in version 7.1, but soon we will see the DSM 7.2 software update, which will be adding WORM (write Once Read Many) support, Volume scale encryption and numerous improvements to individual applications. If you want to learn about it, you can read the DSM 7 Full Review HERE.

As mentioned, the DS723+ supports pretty much the entirety of the DSM 7.1 applications and services (DSM 7 and DSM 6.2 are still in circulation and still receive regular service and security updates, though the DS723+ will arrive with DSM 7.1 by default and cannot be rolled back). If you are an existing user of SaaS and PaaS (Software as a service and Platform as a service) from the likes of Google Workspace and Office 365, knowing that you can synchronize these systems or choose to export away from them onto the Synology services is going to be very appealing. Then there is the increasing development of their 1st party cloud platform, Synology C2, which is slowly integrating into all the applications that are available on your bare metal NAS (allowing you to add a cloud layer of backup, synchronization and access to your data storage setup). This is a subscription platform, which can only be used with your Synology NAS system (as well as connected with some 3rd party SaaS services, but for those that are moving away from Google/Microsoft/AWS for security reasons, but still want a Cloud+Metal storage network in place, C2 covers pretty much everything. Indeed, although below I have highlighted a number of the key/best applications that are included in your DS723+ Service with DSM, most of them can be immediately integrated with Synology C2  (with even more being added in 2023 with DSM 7.2). Key business and consumer applications that are included with your NAS are:

Synology Office – Create documents, spreadsheets, and slides in a multi-user environment. Real-time synchronization and saving make collaboration a breeze.

Synology Chat – Aimed at businesses, Synology Chat is an IM service that transforms the way users collaborate and communicate.

Synology Drive – Host your own private cloud behind the safety of your NAS with 100% data ownership and no subscription fees. Drive has become one of the premier applications of DSM and allows uses to create intelligent shared team folders that support versioning, file streaming+pinning, encryption, Windows AD support (soon) and native file system support with Windows and macOS.

Synology Photos – Manage your photos and videos with deep-learning algorithms that automatically group photos with similar faces, subjects, and places. Designed after the merger of Synology Photo Station and Moments, it also includes tailored folder, sharing and categorization features to help photographers manage their photos and share them with clients for feedback or business development.

Synology Calendar – Stay on track, share calendars, and schedule meetings, while ensuring sensitive information remains safely stored on company premises.

Synology Active Backup for Business (ABB) – Consolidate backup tasks for virtualized environments, physical servers, and personal computers, and rapidly restore files, entire machines, or VMs – license-free. This software also arrives as a specialised Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace platform to sync with those platforms and allow a bare metal tier to your cloud office services

Synology Hyper Backup – Backup your NAS safely and efficiently to multiple destinations with deduplication, integrity checks, compression, and versioning.

Synology Surveillance Station – Safeguard your business, home, and other valuable assets with reliable video surveillance tools. With improved AI services being accessible thanks to Synology BC500 and TC500 Cameras arriving in 2023. Additionally, you can connect this platform with Synology’s cloud platform to use ‘C2 Surveillance’ and bolster the odds of recordings being maintained in the event of accidental/malicious damage to your surveillance system.

Synology Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) – An intuitive hypervisor that supports Windows, Linux, and Virtual DSM virtual machines. Its powerful disaster recovery tools help users achieve maximum service uptime.

Synology High Availability – Synology High Availability (SHA) combines two Synology NAS servers into one active-passive high-availability cluster, alleviating service disruptions while mirroring data.

Synology Central Management System (CMS) – Synology CMS allows you to manage multiple Synology NAS servers quickly and conveniently from a single location.

Synology Video Station – Manage all your movies, TV shows, and home videos. Stream them to multiple devices or share them with friends and family.

Synology Audio Station – Manage your music collection, create personal playlists, stream them to your own devices, or share with family or friends.

Synology File Station – Manage your Synology NAS files remotely through web browsers or mobile devices. This tool allows complete file management and contains all the features and services of your own native file management platform (archiving, extracting, Copy, Cut, Paste, Sharing, native file format opening, integration with the rest of the Synology applications, property/metadata access, etc)

You cannot really fault the software and services that are included with the Synology DS723+ NAS, as you are going to get the very best experience available on the platform, thanks to the hardware and architecture of this NAS. DSM 7 is an ever-evolving platform, so if you are reading this now at the time of publishing or years later, there is always going to be something in DSM for everyone. That said, Synology in recent years has been increasing its priorities towards first-party software and services. This does make sense, as they want to promote their systems and software as a complete ecosystem for your home or business data storage needs (going on in the last few years to release even more Synology alternatives to popular software AND releasing non-NAS hardware accessories such as Routers, Network Adapters, HDDs, SSDs and now IP Cameras). This can occasionally lead to the compatibility lists of hardware or software that you wish to use in conjunction with the DS723+ NAS being a little smaller/restricted than you might like. A specific 3rd party software/service or physical accessory (HDD, Memory module, Network Upgrade) might not appear on the Synology compatibility pages, but that does not mean it will not function with the DS723+ NAS. It is more a case of Synology choosing not to test/evaluate a particular setup (in their defence, there are ALOT) and therefore until stated otherwise is therefore listed as incompatible and is therefore being used without their full, guaranteed support long term. In short, you can DEFINITELY feel that DSM 7/7.1 is a fantastic NAS platform, but it comes with a certain degree of rigidity by Synology on the DS723+ NAS. A little more relaxed than entries in the Enterprise XS or SA systems, but it is definitely still there.

PCIe Gen 3 M.2 SSD Support and the Future of Synology Storage

Another development from Synology very recently that the DS723+ NAS benefits from is the support of M.2 NVMe SSDs as Storage Pools – something that has been demanded by new/old Synology NAS users alike for YEARS! Synology was one of the first (if not, THE first) to introduce M.2 NVMe SSD bays on to desktop 2/4-Bay NAS systems way back in 2017/18, but restricted their use for caching only (read/write). It has only been now with the release of the Synology DS923+ and DS723+ that the brand has become a little more flexible and allowed users the choice to use these much, MUCH faster (and so much, MUCH more expensive) types of storage media to be used as storage pools and volumes. With M.2 NVMe SSDs arriving with thousands of MBs of throughput (compared with the rather limiting 250-270MB/s maximum of modern high-end HDDs), this feature also effectively turns the DS723+ 2-Bay into a 4-Bay NAS system.

It is also worthing keeping in mind that you technically do not need to actually make a choice between these M.2 NVMe SSD Bays as storage pools. This is because the system has two 2280 M.2 NVMe bays and you can opt to use one SSD for a storage pool (for your higher performance needs in databases, VMs, etc) and the other can still be assigned as a read cache drive in it’s own group, which can be assigned to the HDD or SSD storage pools if you choose. Currently, Synology DSM 7.1 does not support ‘write only cache pools’, but I can definitely see this as a feature in future DSM updates, as it is an often requested feature.

Once you have made a storage pool using 1 or 2 M.2 NVMes, this area of storage can be used just the same as the HDD equivalent in DSM. It can be used as the target storage for individual applications, as the primary storage area for VM or Container deployment, as the location of multiple iSCSI LUNS and Shared Folders and just pretty much anything. For those users looking to take advantage of the external 10GbE network upgrade option for Photo/Video editing, the use of M.2 NVMe SSD storage pools for this is going to be substantially better than the performance that the two SATA HDD/SSD bays could have ever reached.

 

Nevertheless, it is still great to finally have the support of M.2 NVMe SSDs as storage pools in a Synology NAS, especially when you roll in that optional support of 10GbE. It’s worth highlighting though that, as this feature has only JUST been added to DSM on the DS723+/DS923+ NAS, it arrives with a few limitations at this time (ones we assume/hope will change in future DSM 7.2 and above updates). For a start, you cannot initialize the DS723+ and install DSM on the M.2 NVMes as a boot drive. If you try to boot the DS723+ first time without any HDDs installed, but with the 2x M.2 NVMe Bays populated, the system will not recognize them as suitable for initializing DSM on the NAS. See below:

Reasons You SHOULD NOT Buy the Synology DS723+ NAS

Of course, though, the Synology DS723+ NAS is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It is fair to say that there are some elements in this follow-up to the 2.5yr old DS720+ that have rubbed a few users up the wrong way. Let’s discuss the five reasons why the DS723+ NAS (and indeed a Synology system in some cases) might not be the ideal private server solution for you.

The CPU in the DS723+ is a little divisive

The CPU inside the DS723+ is the AMD Embedded Ryzen R1600 processor, an x86 64bit Dual core, four-thread processor with an impressive base level clock speed of 2.6Ghz that can be scaled up to 3.1Ghz when needed. Now, the DS7xx+ series has always arrived with a Quad Core Intel Celeron (or Pentium) processor in the past and when it was revealed that the DS723+ was arriving with a dual-core embedded ryzen, many users were a little unhappy. This was largely down to two factors. The first was that the R1600 is a dual-core, not the four-core that everyone expected. Now the R1600’s four-thread architecture does allow the CPU to spread out quite alot across tasks and services (as well as virtual CPUs in VM deployment), as well as having a higher power in both base and burst mode available, which means it isn’t a bad CPU! But the bigger area of contention from some buyers is that the R1600 lacks integrated graphics. This means that for some tasks and services that are more graphical in nature, the result will be a higher typical CPU Uages % than a processor that has a more specialized graphics management component onboard.

How the Synology DS720+ Intel Celeron J4125 and DS723+ AMD Emb.Ryzen R1600 Compare:

The traditional data handling of the R1600 is very good, as seen in our DS1522+ testing earlier in 2022. As far as DSM (the Synology software) is concerned it will be able to run EVERYTHING! Additionally, the general file handling and throughput internally are going to be great too, so all good news. Then you have the advantage of the newer gen CPU in the DS723+ over the DS720+ supporting PCIe3 lanes, affording greater bandwidth to the rest of the hardware (i.e those M.2 slots being higher bandwidth and enabling that network upgrade slot), all the while with the CPU having the potential to hit 3.1Ghz of power when needed. It is genuinely a good CPU and there are lots of reasons why Synology have opted for this CPU, but it is by no means perfect and some specific user setups and their concerns do have merit.

For a start, the AMD R1600 has a higher typical usage (unsurprising for the spec and generally identified as TDP, as a maximum) compared with the avg Intel Celeron being used in other NAS systems released in 2022 (such as the Intel N5105 or J6412) and in a system that will be in operation 24×7, this is going to a question mark for those affected by erratically rising energy prices right now, The difference might only be pence on the day, but those pence add up! Then there is the dual cores. Although having the four threads IS handy and will be useful, Cores will always beat threads when it comes to capabilities.

The DS723+ arrives with 1GbE By Default

Those ethernet ports. The default model of the DS723+ NAS arrives with two one gigabit ethernet ports (the same as the DS720+DS718+ and DS716+ before it), despite almost other commercial NAS brands producing solutions at this consumer-tier/scale arriving with at least 2.5GbE. Now, the adoption of greater than gigabit connectivity in client hardware (laptops, PCs, routers, switches, docking stations, etc) is by no means as ubiquitous as 1GbE (which has been around for decades at this point), BUT it is growing. ISPs are providing fiber internet connections globally that exceed gigabit speeds, along with 2.5GbE and WiFi 6 routers. We are seeing more prosumer switches, routers and PCs with default 2.5Gb network ports (at the same/similar cost as 1GbE), $20 USB-to-2.5G adapters and even the affordability of 10GbE on some client devices has allowed users to gradually scale up their hardware environment. The fact the DS723+ arrives at the tail end of 2023 and does not feature greater than 1GbE ports by default is quite damning. Even if you have no plans for 2.5G right now in your setup and think it something of a fad (favouring 10GbE), in terms of future-proofing and the general standard or networking hardware right now, gigabit ethernet is a surprising weakness here.

Only One USB Port and It’s Functionality and Support on the DS723+ is Underwhelming

This is going to sound fantastically churlish, however when looking at a smaller scale NAS system, the importance of external connectivity (backups, migration of data, etc) grows in importance. The DS723+ arrives with just one USB Port and it is USB 3.2 Gen 1, so 5Gb/s (500-500MB/s max bandwidth). Much like the 2.5G vs 1Gb complaints I made earlier, most other NAS brands at this hardware tier have rolled in USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10G / 1,000+ MB) ports, as well as USB-C in some cases, with minimum 2-3 ports (often 4). With the ease with which a user can add a USB tier to their 3-2-1 backup strategy (allowing them to be a little more financially creative with a network/remote/cloud backup tier as well), the slightly old skool single USB port here is a little underwhelming. With significantly more affordable RAID-enabled USB solutions in the market and/or M.2 NVMe external USB drives arriving affordable to comfortably provide faster external storage for backups, this seems like a bit of a misstep by Synology to ignore. in such a small scale system.

Also, DSM 7 and DSM 7.1 (with DSM 7.2 coming soon enough) have reduced the range of use of the USB ports of Synology NAS systems (removing many network adapters, DTV tuners, wireless dongles, office accessories such as printers, scanners and optical drives), and limiting them largely to storage, UPS’ and assigning them to VMs. I am sure Synology has done the market research and observed reduced utilization of USB on their systems to dictate this decision, but it seems to be another move by the brand to prioritize network/remote access only with their systems.

M.2 NVMe SSD Storage Pools ONLY Support Synology SSDs and are Currently Limited to Gen 3×1

Now, I have listed this as a ‘con’ and/or ‘reason to not buy the DS723+ NAS’, but really this could well be a positive for many business NAS buyers or those that want a much easier system to manage, upgrade – especially those who do not have much technical knowledge and/or an in-house IT admin. Over the last 4-5 years we have seen Synology become increasingly focused on it’s own first-party hardware and services. This is not uncommon (it would be weird if they didn’t invest heavily in developing their platform!), but many have highlighted that this has been to the detriment of it’s support of popular/common 3rd party hardware and software. Synology is increasingly becoming a ‘one-ecosystem’ platform (again, not necessarily a bad thing) that wants to provide a COMPLETE solution for a users network and data storage needs. DSM still supports a large number of 3rd party business services and platforms (SaaS and PaaS once, such as Office 365, Google Workspace, Hyper-V + VMware to name just a few) AND home/homelab ones like Plex, Docker, Emby etc. This first party priority also applied to their M.2 NVMe SSD Storage Pool support, as (see gif below) at the time of writing, you can only use Synology’s own first-party M.2 NVMes for storage pools. If you choose to install alternative drives in this bay from the likes of WD, Kingston or Seagate, the result is that the system will state that it cannot proceed, highlighting that the drive is not tested by Synology for this purpose. You can still use the SSDs for M.2 NVMe SSD caching, but right now the storage pool feature appears to only be for Synology SNV3400 and SNV3410 Drives.

Another thing that was observed (first in the DS923+) was that although these are physically PCIe Gen 3×4 Bays (checked using Putty over SSH), they have been throttled to PCIe Gen 3×1. Now, there are several reasons for this move (appearing online from 1st/3rd party sources, as well as in communication with the brand previously) with the most recurring reason being to do with increased heat from these bays needing to be avoided. Now, though this may have merit and Synology will have little reason to do this otherwise, other NAS brands offering m.2 NVMe SSD Storage pools on their systems have not included this downgrade in PCIe speed for similar reasoning (though many use processors that lack the PCI Lane coverage afforded to the DS723+ and the Ryzen, meaning fixed 3×2 or 3×1 speeds for reasons of architecture, not heat). Its a slightly odd move and one that is also further baffling when it was confirmed that the support of M.2 NVMe SSD pools on previous Synology Diskstation releases with support of these 2280 slots (DS920+DS1621+xs+, DS1821+ etc just to name a few) is not coming any time soon.  It is still better to have support of M.2 NVMe SSD pools rather than not, but this has been a slightly odd way of approaching the feature and hopefully one that will see revision and improvement in further software/hardware updates in 2023/2024.

Server Side HEVC/H.265 Support and Conversions on the DS723+ are Weak

Finally, there is a lack of integrated graphics. Most users will not notice this as an issue in day-to-day use, but multimedia users and especially a large % of Plex users will notice, if they are a little more reliant on the server-side processing than on the client. For example, if your media collection contains alot of dense/complex audio media (RAW, MP4a, etc) OR alot of higher-end HEVC/H.265 Media BUT you do not have client hardware that supports these types (or allows local client conversions/transcoding), then the NAS will have to use raw horsepower to get the job done – much less efficient than embedded graphics doing the job. Again, you might not be impacted by this (your client hardware might have enough power and privileges, or you own a local HEVC-licensed device), but it IS a concern if you are running a Plex Media Server on the DS723+ and need the NAS to convert files on the fly. Earlier in 2022, I compared the DS920+ (with a Celeron) vs the DS1522+ (with this same AMD R1600) in a detailed YouTube video testing 4K Media in Plex. Here are the results:


Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Conclusion & Verdict

(FULL Review from 11/01/22 Can Be Found HERE) – There is no denying that the Synology DS723+ NAS is the most powerful, capable and upgradable 2-Bay that Synology has EVER released. Although the AMD Ryzen dual core Ryzen CPU is going to be a sticking point for those who wish a quad-core and/or integrated graphics CPU had been used (eg video conversions server side in Plex and the like) – the capabilities of the DS723+ NAS in it’s traditional performance, handling and throughput are better than they have ever been on ANY other Synology 2-Bay before. The 10GbE optional upgrade on this system is a very welcome but surprisingly option on this device (given Synology’s past reluctance to prove this on a system that may well struggle to saturate it with just two bays). Then there is the support of M.2 NVMe SSD storage pools, making the DS723+ NAS just the 2nd every Synology NAS to support this function (alongside SSD cache support of course) – though odd decisions on Gen 3×4>3×1 handling are still a touch puzzling. Support of DSM 7.1 (DSM 7.2 beta soon, at time of writing) runs beautifully on the  DS723+ NAS and is still clearly what the primary selling point of this system is, with Synology offering the system as a solution and entry point into their ecosystem, rather than a hardware/nuts-and-bolts purchase. The full range of 1st party tools (Active backup, VMM, Photos, Drive, Collaboration Suite, Hyper Backup, Surveillance Station and more) still continue to impress and to have full and (mostly) licence-free access to these from such a compact server system is genuinely fantastic. Likewise, the support of 3rd party client applications and SaaS/PaaS services (Google WorkSpace, Office 365, VMware, Hyper-V, etc) still maintains a high standard of integration with the Synology tools, though with a clear growing movement by the brand to prioritize it’s own services.

Still, there is a lingering feeling that the DS723+ NAS in it’s default state is crying for a defacto day one upgrade. The 2GB of base memory seems rather penny-pinching, despite the support of ECC. The 10GbE upgrade option is welcome, but largely inevitable when the default connection are 1GBe – IN 2023! I return to my point at the intro, where there DS723+ arrives (at least in terms of hardware) as practically half of the DS923+ (half the bays, half the memory, half the USBs, etc), but with a pricepoint that is certainly not half. Therefore in many ways, the DS723+ NAS serves as a compelling argument to just skip it entirely and go for the DS923+ for about £200 more and enjoy those extras and partially populate. The support and compatibility of 3rd party hardware on the DS723+ NAS is a fraction more streamlined than some might like (eg 22TB and 20TB HDDs still remain absent on the compatibility list, yet Synology branded 18TB drives are clearly available and we absent upto that point despite WD and Seagate NAS alternatives in the market), but overall the DS723+ is still a great NAS and easily cements itself as the best 2 bay offering by the brand in their 20+ year history.

SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻DSM 7/7.1 (and DSM7.2 Around the corner) still continues to be an absolute tour-de-force of NAS Software
👍🏻Most Affordable 10GbE upgradable Synology NAS in the market!
👍🏻ECC Memory Support and scalability to 32GB is completely unparallel at this price point
👍🏻The design of the DS723+ NAS still continues to be market-leading
👍🏻The New CPU architecture allows great PCIe3 bandwidth to be afforded to the rest of the hardware, inside and out
👍🏻Low Noise, Low Physical Impact and Intelligent Automatic Power Use Adjustment Settings
👍🏻Increased Support for macOS in Synology Drive and Active Backup Suite (DSM 7.2)
👍🏻Synology C2 Cloud Services, 1st Party Backup/Sync Tools and Collaboration Suite App = Complete 1st Party Eco-system that can rival Office365 and Google Workspace
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools!!! FINALLY!
👍🏻Tremendously User-Friendly!!!
CONS
👎🏻The AMD Emb.Ryzen instead of a Intel Celeron (with Integrated Graphics) will be a dealbreaker for alot of users
👎🏻The default 1GbE ports that the system arrives with are tremendously dated
👎🏻The USB port on the system (only x1?!) is older gen USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) and their support/usability have been quite pared back in recent DSM releases
👎🏻The continued moves by Synology to prioritize 1st party hardware and software services may put some users off
👎🏻Plex Support on the Synology DS723+ is still great for native playback, client-side handling and client devices with relevant multimedia licenses in place, but if server-side media conversions are needed - this system will struggle in comparison with the DS720+ before it


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Synology DS723+ NAS Review

11 janvier 2023 à 01:01

The Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Tremendous 2-Bay?

Synology has always maintained a remarkably envious position in the NAS industry over the last decade or so. Although they didn’t ‘invent’ the idea of a private server in the home/office, they were the first to give the concept a fantastically consumer and accessible presentation. Over that time we have seen their popular Diskstation series go from strength to strength, with this new DS723+ NAS 2-Bay being the latest to join their growing lineup. All this said, the landscape has changed somewhat and with a vastly more informed and hardware-aware audience is not quite as optionless as it once was. Despite Synology’s top-tier platform ‘DSM’ still setting the standard for NAS software, the brand has come under growing criticism for their hardware choices. The DS723+ is the latest offering from the brand that hopes to challenge this reputation of software over hardware, providing a number of key improvements to the modest 2-Bay tier, such as ECC memory and optional network upgradability. Arranging as effectively HALF of the DS923+ NAS in most ways (but crucially, not half the price due to DSM being the main selling point), will the DS723+ NAS simply serve to upto the 4-Bay, or does it present itself as the perfect high powered and high-speed compact solution for those larger HDD capacities arriving in 2022 (20TB, 22TB and 26TB by the end of the year)? Let’s find out in my review of the Synology DS723+ NAS.

Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Quick Conclusion

There is no denying that the Synology DS723+ NAS is the most powerful, capable and upgradable 2-Bay that Synology has EVER released. Although the AMD Ryzen dual core Ryzen CPU is going to be a sticking point for those who wish a quad-core and/or integrated graphics CPU had been used (eg video conversions server side in Plex and the like) – the capabilities of the DS723+ NAS in it’s traditional performance, handling and throughput are better than they have ever been on ANY other Synology 2-Bay before. The 10GbE optional upgrade on this system is a very welcome but surprisingly option on this device (given Synology’s past reluctance to prove this on a system that may well struggle to saturate it with just two bays). Then there is the support of M.2 NVMe SSD storage pools, making the DS723+ NAS just the 2nd every Synology NAS to support this function (alongside SSD cache support of course) – though odd decisions on Gen 3×4>3×1 handling are still a touch puzzling. Support of DSM 7.1 (DSM 7.2 beta soon, at time of writing) runs beautifully on the  DS723+ NAS and is still clearly what the primary selling point of this system is, with Synology offering the system as a solution and entry point into their ecosystem, rather than a hardware/nuts-and-bolts purchase. The full range of 1st party tools (Active backup, VMM, Photos, Drive, Collaboration Suite, Hyper Backup, Surveillance Station and more) still continue to impress and to have full and (mostly) licence-free access to these from such a compact server system is genuinely fantastic. Likewise, the support of 3rd party client applications and SaaS/PaaS services (Google WorkSpace, Office 365, VMware, Hyper-V, etc) still maintains a high standard of integration with the Synology tools, though with a clear growing movement by the brand to prioritize it’s own services.

Still, there is a lingering feeling that the DS723+ NAS in it’s default state is crying for a defacto day one upgrade. The 2GB of base memory seems rather penny-pinching, despite the support of ECC. The 10GbE upgrade option is welcome, but largely inevitable when the default connection are 1GBe – IN 2023! I return to my point at the intro, where there DS723+ arrives (at least in terms of hardware) as practically half of the DS923+ (half the bays, half the memory, half the USBs, etc), but with a pricepoint that is certainly not half. Therefore in many ways, the DS723+ NAS serves as a compelling argument to just skip it entirely and go for the DS923+ for about £200 more and enjoy those extras and partially populate. The support and compatibility of 3rd party hardware on the DS723+ NAS is a fraction more streamlined than some might like (eg 22TB and 20TB HDDs still remain absent on the compatibility list, yet Synology branded 18TB drives are clearly available and we absent upto that point despite WD and Seagate NAS alternatives in the market), but overall the DS723+ is still a great NAS and easily cements itself as the best 2 bay offering by the brand in their 20+ year history.

SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻DSM 7/7.1 (and DSM7.2 Around the corner) still continues to be an absolute tour-de-force of NAS Software
👍🏻Most Affordable 10GbE upgradable Synology NAS in the market!
👍🏻ECC Memory Support and scalability to 32GB is completely unparallel at this price point
👍🏻The design of the DS723+ NAS still continues to be market-leading
👍🏻The New CPU architecture allows great PCIe3 bandwidth to be afforded to the rest of the hardware, inside and out
👍🏻Low Noise, Low Physical Impact and Intelligent Automatic Power Use Adjustment Settings
👍🏻Increased Support for macOS in Synology Drive and Active Backup Suite (DSM 7.2)
👍🏻Synology C2 Cloud Services, 1st Party Backup/Sync Tools and Collaboration Suite App = Complete 1st Party Eco-system that can rival Office365 and Google Workspace
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools!!! FINALLY!
👍🏻Tremendously User-Friendly!!!
CONS
👎🏻The AMD Emb.Ryzen instead of a Intel Celeron (with Integrated Graphics) will be a dealbreaker for alot of users
👎🏻The default 1GbE ports that the system arrives with are tremendously dated
👎🏻The USB port on the system (only x1?!) is older gen USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) and their support/usability have been quite pared back in recent DSM releases
👎🏻The continued moves by Synology to prioritize 1st party hardware and software services may put some users off
👎🏻Plex Support on the Synology DS723+ is still great for native playback, client-side handling and client devices with relevant multimedia licenses in place, but if server-side media conversions are needed - this system will struggle in comparison with the DS720+ before it


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Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Presentation & Packaging

I won’t spend too long talking about the external packaging of the Synology DS723+ NAS, as it is remarkably similar to that of other Diskstation devices at this scale. The presentation of the retail box does have more attention to detail than you might expect though (given this is a 99% online purchased device and therefore any kind of glossy/detailed livery is almost a vanity addition!), as alongside the expected Synology logo and sticker for the model ID, the box is printed with tonnes of devices specific details. Synology has always been very, VERY aware of the power of branding with their solutions, as its little details like these (as well as embossed handles and favouring solution/every-man related terminology over cold specifications on the packaging) go a long way to set them apart from the sea of brown-box-rinse-repeat found in most online IT solutions you buy online and not at retail.

Despite the fact the DS723+ NAS is shipped unpopulated from Synology, we still need to grade/review them on the protection this unit is afforded in transit. As solid as a lot of IT kit looks, you cannot ignore the effects of shock or motion damage on them in long-distance travel from their point of manufacture (Taiwan in this case), so I will always give a brand extra points if they have gone the extra mile to spend a little more on protecting their system. In the case of the Synology DS723+ NAS, it’s mostly ok. I wish they used more hard foam/surrounding as you find in their 6-Bays and higher solutions (DS1621+, DS1821+, etc), as the DS723+ NAS arrives in a mostly cardboard structure that I think will be fine for the most part, but wouldn’t stand up to physical pressure tremendously well. Everything is separated very well and the structure/framework is there, it is just mostly cardboard! But I am being a bit petty here… let’s move on!

The DS723+ arrives with the accessories you would expect. The NAS unit itself, an external 65W PSU, Screws for 2.5″ media (3.5″ media installation is toolless), RJ45 Cat 5e ethernet cable, keys for the storage bays, first-time setup document and information on your warranty. All fairly standard stuff, though I am always surprised by the fact that Synology never include heatsinks for the M.2 NVMe SSD bays, given the high priority of the brand towards caching on these storage bays – something that can get those M.2 SSDs pretty hot. This is especially true in the case of this system being one of only two in the Synology hardware lineup to support M.2 NVMe SSD bays for caching AND storage Pools! This might well be the reason for the brand’s throttling of these bays in a few ways, but more on that later.

The external PSU is Synology branded, always a nice touch, and although there is a contingent of users that prefer an internal PSU (less fuss, tidier) I will always prefer an external power supplier, as it is hugely easier to replace, reduces the size of the NAS chassis itself and keeps those internal temps a little lower too. Luckily this NAS is such a low-impact model in terms of power use that a modest external power brick is completely possible.

The retail kit for the Synology DS723+ NAS is all fairly standard stuff in contents, but still a very branded package and completely what we would have expected from this very brand-aware company! Let’s discuss the design of the DS723+.

Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Chassis Design & Features

The chassis design of the DS723+ NAS is largely the same as the DS720+ and DS718+ that came before it. This is a particularly well-designed device, both in terms of aesthetic design AND it’s efficient system operation 24×7, with tonnes of ventilation throughout and very structured component distribution. Also, the chassis is a largely plastic external casing in matt black, that contains a much smaller structure on aluminium internally. The result is a NAS that is pretty low noise when in operation (unless you use HDDs larger than around 10TB and/or enterprise-grade 7200RPM disks), something that alot of users who plan on taking advantage of the potential increased external bandwidth that DS723+ for photo/video editing will hugely appreciate. That said, one consistent vibe you get in the design of the DS723+ is that direct/physical interaction with the device is kept to a minimum, preferring almost entirely network/internet-based interactivity. Not a huge surprise for a ‘NAS’ of course, but there are a handful of physical attributes that are intentionally absent here. The front of the chassis lacks any kind of LCD display, instead favouring LED indicators. The bulk of the front panel is occupied by the main storage bays and these have alining of ventilation all around them to act as passive airflow.

Passive airflow is definitely a big focus on the design of this chassis, with almost every side of the case featuring ventilation of one sort of around, with the Synology logo being vented. As this system will be in operation 24×7, it is heavily reliant on the rear fans to push air effectively through the system and over the assortment of internal heatsinks as effectively as possible and this chassis does that very well indeed. The Diskstation series at the 2/4 Bay level has always done a great job of melding modern design with necessary system temperature management and the DS723+ is no exception.

The LEDs on the front of the system use the usual three-colour system to denote drive activity and system status (network activity is absent, but the usual LEDs on the RJ45/Ethernet ports themselves are still present). These can have their brightness adjusted (or deactivated entirely) and although lack alot of the more information abilities of an LCD panel (IP addresses, system temp, alert description), they still serve ok as an initial indicator of system activity.

The main two storage bays of the DS723+ NAS are SATA interfaces and can be fully or partially populated with 2.5″ or 3.5″ media. The HDD/SSD compatibility of the DS723+ is still thinner than that of the DS720+, but Synology softened its stance a pinch on this subject after DSM 7.1 and the negative feedback on stricter HDD compatibility (i.e Synology media only). Although the full compatibility list is not as broad as that of the DS720+, we expect more drives to be added after launch (much as we saw with the DS1522+ and RS422+), though drives above 18TB are still absent (at the time of writing) despite 20TB and 22TB hard drives being tested on the DS723+ and working immediately. These two bays also allow you to use a large range of RAID configurations (redundant array of independent disks – a system of combining multiple drives to benefit storage scale, performance and/or data redundancy/safety-net). The usual configurations are here, RAID 0 and RAID 1 but the system also supports Synology’s Hybrid RAID (SHR) which allows you to mix different HDD/SSD capacities. It’s pretty unlikely that you will mix drive media on day 1, but if you partially populate or want to upgrade your drives gradually a few years down the line, SHR is SIGNIFICANTLY easier to expand and absorb newer/larger drives into an existing RAID. That said, the performance of SHR is a pinch lower than RAID 5 and RAID 1 conventionally, so for those hoping to take advantage of the 10GbE connectivity might do well to think about their Day 1 RAID and it’s impact down the line.

The trays themselves are plastic click-n-load tracks that feature a locking mechanism. It’s worth highlighting that this lock is by no means ‘industrial’ and removing a drive is going to be easy for particularly nefarious individuals, but this lock is more to prevent accidental removal than it is as a meaningful security barrier. The trays have screw holes for 2.5″ media to be installed with screws, but 3.5″ media is installed in seconds with the use of side clips that hold the drive in place via it’s own fixtures. The plastic tray is pretty sturdy and heat/cracking is not going to be any concern here. Also, the plastic trays will lower the ambient noise level when in operation more than metal trays would do, but (sorry to be repetitious) if you use bigger than 10TB HDDs, it is simply not possible to reduce the clicks, hums and whurs of these more industrial drives.

The front of the DS723+ NAS also features a USB port that can be used for connecting an external drive for backups in either direction (i. backup the drive contents to the NAS, or present files and folders to the NAS to the drive). Now, the DS723+ does not feature a front-mounted copy button (bit annoying) but DSM does include a USB copy tool that allows drives to automatically trigger a pre-set USB-to-NAS or NAS-to-USB operation when a drive is connected, which is pretty detailed in its setup (pre-set directories, age of files, exclusions, schedules, versioning, etc). The USB port is a USB 3.2 Gen 1, so 5Gb/s (500-500MB/s max bandwidth). Much like the 2.5G vs 1Gb complaints I made earlier, most other NAS brands at this hardware tier have rolled in USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10G / 1,000+ MB)  ports, as well as USB-C in some cases. With the ease with which a user can add a USB tier to their 3-2-1 backup strategy (allowing them to be a little more financially creative with a network/remote/cloud backup tier as well), the slightly old skool USB port here are a little underwhelming. With significantly more affordable RAID-enabled USB solutions in the market and/or M.2 NVMe external USB drives arriving affordable to comfortably provide faster external storage for backups, this seems like a bit of a misstep by Synology to ignore. Also, DSM 7 and DSM 7.1 (with DSM 7.2 coming soon enough) have reduced the range of use of the USB port of Synology NAS systems (removing many network adapters, DTV tuners, wireless dongles, office accessories such as printers, scanners and optical drives), and limiting them largely to storage, UPS’ and assigning them to VMs. I am sure Synology has done the market research and observed reduced utilization of USB on their systems to dictate this decision, but it seems to be another move by the brand to prioritize network/remote access only with their systems.

The base of the system is where you will find those two M.2 NVMe SSD slots (again, tonnes of passive ventilation) that support SSD caching in conjunction with the larger HDD array, or use as an independent storage pool. At the time of writing, you cannot initialize the DS723+ and DSM to run directly from these faster drives, though you CAN choose to install individual applications on the NVMe SSD Storage pool after initialization. You can even go a little off-piste and use one bay for Read caching and the other for a storage pool if you choose – quite nice for a 2-Bay SATA NAS to technically have 4 usable storage bays total. Space is a little tight, but there is certainly room for a couple of M.2 $8-10 heatsinks (I successfully tested the Eluteng Dual Design M.2 Heatsinks found HERE on Amazon) and definitely recommend heatsinks for drives in these bays, regardless of their use for caching and/or pools.

Performance on these bays will comfortably saturate an external 10GbE connection (see gif below using two M.2 NVMes below tested with AJA externally over 10GbE). This is going to be useful for those that were concerned that 2x SATA HDDs or SSDs would struggle to saturate the 1,000MB/s bandwidth offered by the 10G upgrade. However, the full bandwidth afforded by the use of these bays in a storage pool is a little less clear than many would like.

First and foremost, although these are physically PCIe Gen 3×4 Bays (checked using Putty over SSH), they have been throttled to PCIe Gen 3×1. Now, there are several reasons for this move (appearing online from 1st/3rd party sources, as well as in communication with the brand previously) with the most recurring reason being to do with increased heat from these bays needing to be avoided. Now, though this may have merit and Synology will have little reason to do this otherwise, other NAS brands offering m.2 NVMe SSD Storage pools on their systems have not included this downgrade in PCIe speed for similar reasoning (though many use processors that lack the PCI Lane coverage afforded to the DS723+ and the Ryzen, meaning fixed 3×2 or 3×1 speeds for reasons of architecture, not heat). Its a slightly odd move and one that is also further baffling when it was confirmed that the support of M.2 NVMe SSD pools on previous Synology Diskstation releases with support of these 2280 slots (DS920+, DS1621+xs+, DS1821+ etc just to name a few) is not coming any time soon.  It is still better to have support of M.2 NVMe SSD pools rather than not, but this has been a slightly odd way of approaching the feature and hopefully one that will see revision and improvement in further software/hardware updates in 2023/2024.

I have always been a big fan of the Synology Diskstation chassis for it’s minimalistic, yet attractive and efficient design. The absence of a USB copy button still irks me a little and the largely plastic design is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but you cannot fault the amount of R&D that has gone into the construction here. Let’s discuss the ports and connectivity of the DS723+ NAS.

Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Ports and Connections

The ports and connections that the DS723+ NAS arrives with are something of a mixed bag and compared with the 2020 released DS720+ only real include on different (but it IS a BIG difference). The system has a single active 92mm cooling fan that will automatically adjust its RPM as the system’s ambient temperature requires. You can adjust it manually if you are especially noise-sensitive, but I would really recommend it (a low system temp = better system efficiency). The fan is not immediately removable (built into the back panel of the system), so cleaning and maintenance are a little fiddly and involve removal of the bulk of the chassis, but thanks to the large amount of ventilation afforded to the system, this is not really an issue long-term.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way early doors! Those ethernet ports. The default model of the DS723+ NAS arrives with two-gigabit ethernet ports (the same as the DS720+, DS718+ and DS716+ before it), despite almost other commercial NAS brand producing solutions at this consumer-tier/scale arriving with at least 2.5GbE. Now, the adoption of greater than gigabit connectivity in client hardware (laptops, PCs, routers, switches, docking stations, etc) is by no means as ubiquitous as 1GbE (which has been around for decades at this point), BUT it is growing. ISPs are providing fiber internet connections globally that exceed gigabit speeds, along with 2.5GbE and WiFi 6 routers. We are seeing more prosumer switches, routers and PCs with default 2.5Gb network ports (at the same/similar cost as 1GbE), $20 USB-to-2.5G adapters and even the affordability of 10GbE on some client devices has allowed users to gradually scale up their hardware environment. The fact the DS723+ arrives at the tail end of 2023 and does not feature greater than 1GbE ports by default is quite damning. Even if you have no plans for 2.5G right now in your setup and think it something of a fad (favouring 10GbE), in terms of future-proofing and the general standard or networking hardware right now, gigabit ethernet is a surprising weakness here.

HOWEVER, we do need to acknowledge the bit change that the DS723+ brings over it’s 2.5yr older predecessor – the ability to upgrade your network connectivity to 10GbE. The DS723+ is now the 4th Synology NAS to arrive (after the DS923+, DS1522+ and RS422+) with support of the Synology E10G22-T1-mini, a proprietary network upgrade module that is one of the easiest and quickest upgrades that I have ever seen to 10G to install! This module fits neatly (by design of course) into the PCIe Gen 3 x2 network upgrade slot, though powering down the device is necessary during installation. At first, I was a little sceptical about Synology providing a 10GbE upgrade to the DS723+ via a custom-made and largely proprietary designed upgrade module (thereby limiting you to ONLY the Synology PCIe upgrade, but not any other traditional PCIe Card 10G upgrades), but over time I have come round a little on this one.

I like how easy this is to install (zero case deconstruction) and it is a very well-designed component (not just a rebadged card with a logo). The 10G upgrade is only available in copper (RJ45/10GBASE-T) currently, but I would not be surprised if Synology roll out an SFP/SFP+ version down the line. As much as I would like to see this port and it’s utility get expanded (2.5G/5G, Dual port?), realistically this is still a PCIe 3×2 slot (so maximum 2,000MB/s to play with and that’s without network/hardware friction) and the physical space here is pretty small.

PERFORMANCE TESTING IN PROGRESS! IMAGES VERY SOON

The next question many will have about the DS723+ and this optional 10GbE upgrade is, can you even saturate a 10G (1,00MB/s+) connection with 2 bays of SATA storage? It’s a good point, as generally, domestic-class NAS HDDs will give you about 180-220MB/s max, with enterprise-class (or Pro) drives giving you 250-275MB/s. RAID configuration will add to this by increasing performance per drive bay. On Synology’s own pages, they rate the device to hit 471MB/s Sequential Read and 225MB/s Write – arguably quite slow numbers in the grand scheme of things. Of course, using SATA SSDs and/or M.2 NVMes in flash based storage pools will tell a very different story (with the latter EASILY maxing a 1,000MB/s connection, as seen in the previous gif above). That said, this port bing proprietary and unique to this product family/generation mean that there are a number of other Synology NAS PCIe upgrades that are unsupported. Although the NAS chassis size is an obvious and unavoidable factor (as is the saturation on offer), but hopefully that SFP+ support and perhaps compact dual port options might come on day…

Another thing I wanted to touch on was USB and… well… the lack of a rear port! I was rather surprised by this as, although the support of USB peripherals has dropped in DSM 7/7.1 (discussed earlier), the lack of a 2nd USB port on the DS723+ NAS is an odd move. Moving aside from additional storage add ons for backups and simply storage carry-over, smart UPS’ that still use USB connectivity and/or assigning a USB device to a VM in Synology Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is going to now become a bit of a swap fest! Lastly, there is the expansion port that allows you to attach the official 5-Bay DX517 expansion device. This £350-400 5x SATA Bay JBOD enclosure is connected via a screw-in eSATA connection and allows you to either expand an existing RAID to increase the drive quantity and capacity overall (though not recommended to spread RAIDs over NAS+Expansion). Alternatively, you can use the expansion as a means to create an additional separate RAID configuration (which can also be gradually populated) that is treated exactly the same as the internal storage of the DS723+. The fact this expansion is JBOD only means that the RAID is managed by the main DS723+ device (which given the expansion cost, is a little annoying), but having this expandability is very useful. You cannot use third-party eSATA JBOD enclosures (unsurprisingly) and you can not get smaller/larger expansion chassis that are compatible with the DS723+, but the support of an expansion does mean that your storage options years down the line have this official option.

Overall the ports and connectivity of the DS723+ are technically no differences in the base model than the 2.5yrs older DS720+, it is only the option to add improved network connectivity towards 10GbE (and paying £129-139 extra for that) that makes this any way improved upon as a refresh of the older device. This upgrade is certainly welcomed, but there is still the hanging question of why they could not just roll this into the DS723+ as a default port on day 1 and just increase the price £100 – as I think there is a good % of NAS users who would have preferred this (especially with 10GbE largely supporting auto-negotiation with 5G, 2.5G and 1G, therefore allowing backwards compatibility). The expandability remains exactly the same too, which is useful but with only supporting the single expansion type and the lack of rear USB port, things are a little ‘blah’. Let’s take a closer look at the internal hardware and discuss the other big changes that the DS723+ brings over its predecessor.

Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Internal Hardware

This is likely to be one of the biggest areas of contention for many users who have been waiting for the release of the DS723+, as the hardware choices that Synology has made for this system are quite a change of architecture that many expected. The internal framework of the DS723+ is an aluminium storage cage for the main SATA bays, with its own multi-port backboard. The same goes for the M.2 NVMe SSD bays, with both of these boards connecting to the controller board that has CPU and Memory storage. As mentioned earlier, the DS723+ does not take advantage of any active cooling systems (beyond the rear fans) and is heavily reliant on heatsinks internally to dissipate the heat from key components like the CPU and disperse that heat into the air. The CPU inside the DS723+ is the AMD Embedded Ryzen R1600 processor, an x86 64bit Dual core, four-thread processor with an impressive base level clock speed of 2.6Ghz that can be scaled up to 3.1Ghz when needed. Now, the DS7xx+ series has always arrived with a Quad Core Intel Celeron (or Pentium) processor in the past and when it was revealed that the DS723+ was arriving with a dual-core embedded ryzen, many users were a little unhappy. This was largely down to two factors. The first was that the R1600 is a dual-core, not the four-core that everyone expected. Now the R1600’s four-thread architecture does allow the CPU to spread out quite alot across tasks and services (as well as virtual CPUs in VM deployment), as well as having a higher power in both base and burst mode available, which means it isn’t a bad CPU! But the bigger area of contention from some buyers is that the R1600 lacks integrated graphics. This means that for some tasks and services that are more graphical in nature, the result will be a higher typical CPU Uages % than a processor that has a more specialized graphics management component onboard.

How the Synology DS720+ Intel Celeron J4125 and DS723+ AMD Emb.Ryzen R1600 Compare:

The traditional data handling of the R1600 is very good, as seen in our DS1522+ testing earlier in 2022. As far as DSM (the Synology software) is concerned it will be able to run EVERYTHING! Additionally, the general file handling and throughput internally are going to be great too, so all good news. Then you have the advantage of the newer gen CPU in the DS723+ over the DS720+ supporting PCIe3 lanes, affording greater bandwidth to the rest of the hardware (i.e those M.2 slots being higher bandwidth and enabling that network upgrade slot), all the while with the CPU having the potential to hit 3.1Ghz of power when needed. It is genuinely a good CPU and there are lots of reasons why Synology have opted for this CPU, but it is by no means perfect and some specific user setups and their concerns do have merit.

For a start, the AMD R1600 has a higher typical usage (unsurprising for the spec and generally identified as TDP, as a maximum) compared with the avg Intel Celeron being used in other NAS systems released in 2022 (such as the Intel N5105 or J6412) and in a system that will be in operation 24×7, this is going to a question mark for those affected by erratically rising energy prices right now, The difference might only be pence on the day, but those pence add up! Then there is the dual cores. Although having the four threads IS handy and will be useful, Cores will always beat threads when it comes to capabilities. Finally, there is that lack of integrated graphics. Most users will not notice this as an issue in day-to-day use, but multimedia users and especially a large % of Plex users will notice, if they are a little more reliant on the server-side processing than on the client. For example, if your media collection contains alot of dense/complex audio media (RAW, MP4a, etc) OR alot of higher-end HEVC/H.265 Media BUT you do not have client hardware that supports these types (or allows local client conversions/transcoding), then the NAS will have to use raw horsepower to get the job done – much less efficient than embedded graphics doing the job. Again, you might not be impacted by this (your client hardware might have enough power and privileges, or you own a local HEVC-licensed device), but it IS a concern if you are running a Plex Media Server on the DS723+ and need the NAS to convert files on the fly. Earlier in 2022, I compared the DS720+ (with a Celeron) vs the DS1522+ (with this same AMD R1600) in a detailed YouTube video testing 4K Media in Plex. Here are the results:

Next, we can move on to the other big internal change that the DS723+ NAS has arrived with over the DS720+ before it, the Memory. The DS723+ arrives with 2GB of DDR4 Memory like it’s predecessor, which is half the memory of the 4-Bay DS923+, but after that it is all change! This memory is ECC (Error Correcting Code) memory that is more often found in enterprise NAS setups, due to its higher pricetag, but also its huge benefits towards avoiding bitrot and silent data inconsistency that are not going to be spotted till years down the line when accessing old data. As data passes through the memory, the memory has an additional onboard module that is designed to be constantly making a blueprint/snapshot/parity bit of the data at the start. This is then used to check the data on the exit path and if there are any inconsistencies, the data is remapped/repaired to its original form.

ECC Memory has appeared on lots of Synology NAS’ over the years (with pretty much ALL devices higher than ‘mid-high business having it as standard now), so it is great to see it here on this 2-bay diskstation model. In other good news, whereas the DS720+ had 2GB of memory that was soldered to the main controller board and could be upgraded to 6GB with 1 free slot, the Synology DS723+ has two slots available (one prepopulated with the initial module) and can be upgraded to a massive 32GB. This again is thanks to that R1600 CPU being used. Although Synology still maintains quite a tight compatibility/whitelist on supported memory modules (stating that you can/should ONLY use their own first-party modules), I cannot fault the choice of memory and its upgradability here!

In summary, in terms of the internal hardware, I am mostly happy. The lack of an integrated graphics processor (especially when the same AMD Embedded Ryzen R1000 CPU family has a graphics-equipped model, which was passed over here for the R1600) is a real pain for alot of users, but by no means does it mean this NAS is a write-off! That CPU has alot of capabilities, has opened up the hardware on the system to greater bandwidths, is capable of great internal+external performance and outside of conversion-based activities in multimedia, and still plays 4K and 1080p media very well. There are a few other details regarding AMD Emb.Ryzen vs Intel Celeron that you can learn more bout by reading this article HERE, but let’s move on to the Software side of the Synology DS723+ NAS and DSM 7.

Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Software and Services

At Launch, the DS723+ NAS arrives with the latest version of Synology software, DSM 7.1. However, this does not stop evolving as soon as you get your Synology NAS. DSM has been in continues to be the dominant force in the world of NAS software, providing a massive arrangement of services, applications (first and third-party supported) and a huge number of client applications for desktop, mobile, Windows, macOS and Linux (as well as a bunch of other more home-based tools). These allow management and access to the data on the DS723+ in very tailored ways, as well as the web browser-based access that has the appearance, intuitive design and responsiveness of a local operating system. The DSM interface can be accessed by hundreds of users at the same time (with each user having tailored access, rights and privileges). DSM is available with ALL Synology NAS and the depth and abilities of DSM on any NAS are dependent on the hardware architecture of the NAS itself. In the case of the Synology DS723+, it supports EVERYTHING that is offered by Synology’s platform. DSM is currently in version 7.1, but it looks like we will be seeing beta/full release of DSM 7.2 at the start of 2023, which will be adding WORM (write Once Read Many) support, Volume scale encryption and numerous improvements to individual applications. If you want to learn about the DSM 7 and the software and services that are included with the DS723+ NAS, watch my FULL review below (alternatively, you can read the DSM 7 Full Review HERE):

As mentioned, the DS723+ supports pretty much the entirety of the DSM 7.1 applications and services (DSM 7 and DSM 6.2 are still in circulation and still receive regular service and security updates, though the DS723+ will arrive with DSM 7.1 by default and cannot be rolled back). If you are an existing user of SaaS and PaaS (Software as a service and Platform as a service) from the likes of Google Workspace and Office 365, knowing that you can synchronize these systems or choose to export away from them onto the Synology services is going to be very appealing. Then there is the increasing development of their 1st party cloud platform, Synology C2, which is slowly integrating into all the applications that are available on your bare metal NAS (allowing you to add a cloud layer of backup, synchronization and access to your data storage setup). This is a subscription platform, which can only be used with your Synology NAS system (as well as connected with some 3rd party SaaS services, but for those that are moving away from Google/Microsoft/AWS for security reasons, but still want a Cloud+Metal storage network in place, C2 covers pretty much everything. Indeed, although below I have highlighted a number of the key/best applications that are included in your DS723+ Service with DSM, most of them can be immediately integrated with Synology C2  (with even more being added in 2023 with DSM 7.2). Key business and consumer applications that are included with your NAS are:

Synology Office – Create documents, spreadsheets, and slides in a multi-user environment. Real-time synchronization and saving make collaboration a breeze.

Synology Chat – Aimed at businesses, Synology Chat is an IM service that transforms the way users collaborate and communicate.

Synology Drive – Host your own private cloud behind the safety of your NAS with 100% data ownership and no subscription fees. Drive has become one of the premier applications of DSM and allows uses to create intelligent shared team folders that support versioning, file streaming+pinning, encryption, Windows AD support (soon) and native file system support with Windows and macOS.

Synology Photos – Manage your photos and videos with deep-learning algorithms that automatically group photos with similar faces, subjects, and places. Designed after the merger of Synology Photo Station and Moments, it also includes tailored folder, sharing and categorization features to help photographers manage their photos and share them with clients for feedback or business development.

Synology Calendar – Stay on track, share calendars, and schedule meetings, while ensuring sensitive information remains safely stored on company premises.

Synology Active Backup for Business (ABB) – Consolidate backup tasks for virtualized environments, physical servers, and personal computers, and rapidly restore files, entire machines, or VMs – license-free. This software also arrives as a specialised Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace platform to sync with those platforms and allow a bare metal tier to your cloud office services

Synology Hyper Backup – Backup your NAS safely and efficiently to multiple destinations with deduplication, integrity checks, compression, and versioning.

Synology Surveillance Station – Safeguard your business, home, and other valuable assets with reliable video surveillance tools. With improved AI services being accessible thanks to Synology BC500 and TC500 Cameras arriving in 2023. Additionally, you can connect this platform with Synology’s cloud platform to use ‘C2 Surveillance’ and bolster the odds of recordings being maintained in the event of accidental/malicious damage to your surveillance system.

Synology Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) – An intuitive hypervisor that supports Windows, Linux, and Virtual DSM virtual machines. Its powerful disaster recovery tools help users achieve maximum service uptime.

Synology High Availability – Synology High Availability (SHA) combines two Synology NAS servers into one active-passive high-availability cluster, alleviating service disruptions while mirroring data.

Synology Central Management System (CMS) – Synology CMS allows you to manage multiple Synology NAS servers quickly and conveniently from a single location.

Synology Video Station – Manage all your movies, TV shows, and home videos. Stream them to multiple devices or share them with friends and family.

Synology Audio Station – Manage your music collection, create personal playlists, stream them to your own devices, or share with family or friends.

Synology File Station – Manage your Synology NAS files remotely through web browsers or mobile devices. This tool allows complete file management and contains all the features and services of your own native file management platform (archiving, extracting, Copy, Cut, Paste, Sharing, native file format opening, integration with the rest of the Synology applications, property/metadata access, etc)

You cannot really fault the software and services that are included with the Synology DS723+ NAS, as you are going to get the very best experience available on the platform, thanks to the hardware and architecture of this NAS. DSM 7 is an ever-evolving platform, so if you are reading this now at the time of publishing or years later, there is always going to be something in DSM for everyone. That said, Synology in recent years has been increasing its priorities towards first-party software and services. This does make sense, as they want to promote their systems and software as a complete ecosystem for your home or business data storage needs (going on in the last few years to release even more Synology alternatives to popular software AND releasing non-NAS hardware accessories such as Routers, Network Adapters, HDDs, SSDs and now IP Cameras). This can occasionally lead to the compatibility lists of hardware or software that you wish to use in conjunction with the DS723+ NAS being a little smaller/restricted than you might like. A specific 3rd party software/service or physical accessory (HDD, Memory module, Network Upgrade) might not appear on the Synology compatibility pages, but that does not mean it will not function with the DS723+ NAS. It is more a case of Synology choosing not to test/evaluate a particular setup (in their defence, there are ALOT) and therefore until stated otherwise is therefore listed as incompatible and is therefore being used without their full, guaranteed support long term. In short, you can DEFINITELY feel that DSM 7/7.1 is a fantastic NAS platform, but it comes with a certain degree of rigidity by Synology on the DS723+ NAS. A little more relaxed than entries in the Enterprise XS or SA systems, but it is definitely still there.

NOTE – Video Review is ‘In Progress’ and will include the 10GbE and DSM 7.1 Testing, which will also be added to this review shortly afterwards. Apologies for the delay.

Synology DS723+ NAS Review – Conclusion & Verdict

There is no denying that the Synology DS723+ NAS is the most powerful, capable and upgradable 2-Bay that Synology has EVER released. Although the AMD Ryzen dual core Ryzen CPU is going to be a sticking point for those who wish a quad-core and/or integrated graphics CPU had been used (eg video conversions server side in Plex and the like) – the capabilities of the DS723+ NAS in it’s traditional performance, handling and throughput are better than they have ever been on ANY other Synology 2-Bay before. The 10GbE optional upgrade on this system is a very welcome but surprising option on this device (given Synology’s past reluctance to prove this on a system that may well struggle to saturate it with just two bays). Then there is the support of M.2 NVMe SSD storage pools, making the DS723+ NAS just the 2nd every Synology NAS to support this function (alongside SSD cache support of course) – though odd decisions on Gen 3×4>3×1 handling are still a touch puzzling. Support of DSM 7.1 (DSM 7.2 beta soon, at time of writing) runs beautifully on the  DS723+ NAS and is still clearly what is the primary selling point of this system is, with Synology offering the system as a solution and entry poit into their ecosystem, rather than a hardware/nuts-and-bolts purchase. The full range of 1st party tools (Active backup, VMM, Photos, Drive, Collaboration Suite, Hyper Backup, Surveillance Station and more) still continue to impress and to have full and (mostly) licence free access to these from such a compact server system is genuinely fantastic. Likewise, the support of 3rd party client applications and SaaS/PaaS services (Google WorkSpace, Office 365, VMware, Hyper-V, etc) still maintains a high standard of integration with the synology tools, though with a clear growing movement by the brand to prioritize it’s own services.

Still, there is a lingering feeling that the DS723+ NAS in it’s default state is crying for a defacto day one upgrade. The 2GB of base memory seems rather penny-pinching, despite the support of ECC. The 10GbE upgrade option is welcome, but largely inevitable when the default connection are 1GBe – IN 2023! I return to my point at the intro, where there DS723+ arrives (at least in terms of hardware) as practically half of the DS923+ (half the bays, half the memory, half the USBs, etc), but with a pricepoint that is certainly not half. Therefore in many ways, the DS723+ NAS serves as a compelling argument to just skip it entirely and go for the DS923+ for about £200 more and enjoy those extras and partially populate. The support and compatibility of 3rd party hardware on the DS723+ NAS is a fraction more streamlined than some might like (eg 22TB and 20TB HDDs still remain absent on the compatibility list, yet Synology branded 18TB drives are clearly available and we absent upto that point despite WD and Seagate NAS alternatives in the market), but overall the DS723+ is still a great NAS and easily cements itself as the best 2 bay offering by the brand in their 20+ year history.

PRODUCT IMAGE
Synology DS723+ PROS Synology DS723+ CONS
  • DSM 7/7.1 (and DSM7.2 Around the corner) still continues to be an absolute tour-de-force of NAS Software
  • Most Affordable 10GbE upgradable Synology NAS in the market!
  • ECC Memory Support and scalability to 32GB is completely unparallel at this price point
  • The design of the DS723+ NAS still continues to be market-leading
  • The New CPU architecture allows great PCIe3 bandwidth to be afforded to the rest of the hardware, inside and out
  • Low Noise, Low Physical Impact and Intelligent Automatic Power Use Adjustment Settings
  • Increased Support for macOS in Synology Drive and Active Backup Suite (DSM 7.2)
  • Synology C2 Cloud Services, 1st Party Backup/Sync Tools and Collaboration Suite App = Complete 1st Party Eco-system that can rival Office365 and Google Workspace
  • PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools!!! FINALLY!
  • Tremendously User-Friendly!!!
  • The AMD Emb.Ryzen instead of a Intel Celeron (with Integrated Graphics) will be a dealbreaker for alot of users
  • The default 1GbE ports that the system arrives with are tremendously dated
  • The USB port on the system (only x1?!) is older gen USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) and their support/usability have been quite pared back in recent DSM releases
  • The continued moves by Synology to prioritize 1st party hardware and software services may put some users off
  • Plex Support on the Synology DS723+ is still great for native playback, client-side handling and client devices with relevant multimedia licenses in place, but if server-side media conversions are needed – this system will struggle in comparison with the DS720+ before it
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Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Which Should You Choose?

4 janvier 2023 à 16:59

The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS Comparison

Synology Diskstation NAS in the 2022/2023 generation saw a surprising overhaul in the traditional hardware specifications of the brand’s 4-Bay and 5-Bay series, ditching Intel Celeron processors and deciding to make the switch to AMD’s Embedded Ryzen series of CPUs. This change, along with it’s effect on the rest of the hardware architecture available and the performance of Synology DSM services, has resulted in a considerable amount of debate by users on the right NAS for their needs. Despite the near half a year release difference between them, the Synology DS1522+ 5-Bay and DS923+ 4-Bay NAS have drawn particular comparison, as the price difference between them is surprisingly small – especially when you factor in the difference in hardware provided by both devices. The DS1522+ is certainly the more expensive of the two, but once you start crunching the numbers of what you get for the money – Does it end up being better value than the DS923+ NAS? That is the aim of today’s article, to figure out which NAS is best for you and your data from 2023 onwards. Let’s begin.

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The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Internal Hardware

I already touched on this, but these two relatively new NAS systems (at the time of writing) are both built using the AMD Embedded Ryzen family of processors. More precisely, they both arrive with the dual-core, four-thread R1600 x86 64bit CPU, which arrives with a 2.6Ghz clock speed that can burst up to 3.1Ghz when needed. Many users were a little disappointed by a lack of integrated graphics (both because these product families from Synology had always arrived with either an Intel Celeron or Pentium processors, but also because there is an integrated graphics chip in the AMD R1000 family). Although the SMB tier of the 5-Bay generations from Synology (DS1517+, DS1515+, etc) had featured more traditional server-grade file system processors around 5 years ago from Intel, this tier was re-addressed after success in the 6-Bay market by the brand. Although this CPU lacks integrated graphics and is a dual-core, as opposed to a quad-core, it DOES make up for it a much higher base clock speed than previous diskstations in this family, support of ECC memory (error correcting code, checking write actions for inconsistencies and repairing where appropriate) upto 32GB and an increase from PCIe Gen 2 lanes to PCIe Gen 3 Lanes (effectively doubling the internal bandwidth) and this in term allowing a network upgrade option that was sorely absent in the previous generation. Aside from ths, the bulk of the hardware architecture and design remained largely unchanged compared to the last gen, with the advantages being more in how well they ran of how much bandwidth was afforded to them (eg PCIe Gen 3 NVMe SSD Bays, as opposed to PCIe Gen 2). Let’s see how the DS923+ and DS1522+ NAS directly compared in the internal hardware:

How do the Synology DS1522+ and DS923+ NAS Compare in Internal Hardware?
NAS Model Synology DS923+ NAS Synology DS1522+ NAS
Front Design
CPU Model AMD Ryzen R1600 AMD Ryzen R1600
CPU Architecture 64-bit 64-bit
CPU Frequency 2-core 2.6 (base) / 3.1 (turbo) GHz 2-core 2.6 (base) / 3.1 (turbo) GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI) Yes Yes
Vents
Memory
System Memory 4GB DDR4 ECC 8GB DDR4 ECC
Memory Module Pre-installed 4GB x1 Module 8GB x1 Module
Total Memory Slots 2 2
Maximum Memory Capacity 32GB (16GB+16GB) 32GB (16GB+16GB)

Moving slightly away from the subject of storage (which we will cover in the next section), there is really only ONE difference between the DS923+ and DS1522+ NAS in terms of internal hardware – that extra 4GB of memory. It’s a small, but (in context) quite important difference. 4GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory would normally set you back around $25-35. However, Synology is pretty strict in terms of their compatibility and support lists for their systems and insist on use of their own branded memory models (with specific ECC and NON-ECC modules for different Diskstation/Rackstation system. The DS1522+ and DS923+ are no exception to this and, when looking at how much it would cost to buy 4GB of ECC DDR4 SODIMM Synology memory, the price point jumps up to $80-100 a module! See Below:

Click to view slideshow.

Now, there IS the argument that Synology is in charge of the price difference between these devices, the cost of their own memory and therefore technically the ones who are quantifying the difference here. But still, nonetheless – give the $100-120 current price difference between these two NAS devices (and we have ALOT more than memory differences to cover). this 4GB ECC default memory increase in the DS1522+ is already a very compelling reason to pick it over the DS923+. Let’s discuss the storage differences between these two NAS systems (don’t worry, there is alot more to it than an extra drive bay).

The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Storage Options

Both the DS923+ and DS1522+ NAS support SATA hard drives and SSDs in the main storage bays, as well as supporting the traditional RAID configurations (RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, etc) and even Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) for fluid storage pools. They also both have PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD bays that can be used for SSD caching (with one difference on this coming up in a bit) and can also both have their storage pools expanded with the official JBOD expansion enclosure – the DX517. DSM has a wide range of storage services and features that can be used by home and business users to really make the most of their server (you can find out more on all the services and tools of the platform in my massive Synology DSM 7.1 NAS Software Video Review here), but from this point onwards, there is DEFINITELY some core advantages in storage that are exclusive to either system over the other. Here are the storage specifications:

How do the Synology DS1522+ and DS923+ NAS Compare in their Storage Options?
NAS Model Synology DS923+ NAS Synology DS1522+ NAS
M.2 NVMe SSD Bays
Drive Bays 4 5
Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit 9 (DX517 x 1) 15 (DX517 x 2)
M.2 Drive Slots 2 (NVMe) 2 (NVMe)
M.2 NVMe Services
SSD Caching and Storage Pool Use SSD Caching Only

So, the most straight forward advantage clearly goes to the DS1522+ NAS, with its additional SATA storage bay allowing you to either add an additional drive to your total potential storage pool, increase your redundancy from 1 drive to 2 in a RAID 6/SHR-2 configuration or been have the additional drive bay for a hot spare 24×7. Yes, you are paying extra for the privilege and will have to add the cost of a drive in order to use it (though there ARE some savings to be made on large # of drives in a smaller capacity vs fewer drives of larger capacity with the right RAID config) but that extra bay will can be useful both on day 1 and day 1000!

Talking of Day 1000 and the future, there is the question of expandability. As mentioned, they both support the DX517 JBOD expansion from Synology, but the DS923+ can support 1x expansion and the DS1522+ supports 2x. That means that alongside that extra SATA bay on day 1, the DS1522+ can scale upto 15 bays of SATA storage, whereas the DS923+ caps at 9 Bays. Focusing on the latest generation (at the time of writing) 22TB Hard drives from WD Red and Seagate Ironwolf, that means a total potential capacity of 198TB storage on the DS923+ and 330TB on the DS1522+! Again, all of this is going to cost you more to occupy/populate this additional storage potential, but better to have that option than not at all! So, what on earth can the DS923+ NAS throw up in its defence against the high-level storage potential of the DS1522? Well…

Three Words (technically)… NVMe Storage Pools! The Synology DS923+ NAS is the FIRST Synology NAS to allow its M.2 NVMe SSD Storage pools to be used for either caching OR M.2 NVMe SSD Storage pools! This is a big, BIG deal and kinda shocking that it is NOT available on the DS1522+ NAS (given the incredible similarity in their hardware internally). M.2 NVMe SSDs are around 4-5x more expensive than traditional SATA HDDs (and around 2-3x more expensive than SATA HDDs), as well as NVMe SSDs not being quite as durable as mechanical HDDs – so why is this such a big deal in favour of the DS923+? Well because of PERFORMANCE! Whereas SATA HDDs tend to cap at 200-250MB/s top performance on average and SATA SSDs can hit close to 500MB/s (factoring consistent and sustained performance), M.2 NVMes can hit THOUSANDS of MB/s. Having drives of such high performance restricted to JUST caching use has always been something of a pain for Synology users and they have been the tiniest bit jealous of brands such as QNAP, Asustor and even the value brand Terramaster, which all allow M.2 NVME SSD bays for use in caching or storage pools. This feature ONLY being available on the DS923+ NAS does give it a significant draw in the eyes of users who want to run larger databases, edit photo/video on the NAS or want to host higher-performing VMs. However, it is also worth highlighting that the use of M.2 NVMe SSDs as storage pools on the DS923+ does arrive with a catch! The first catch is that the M.2 NVMe SSD bays on the DS923+ NAS have been capped at PCIe Gen 3 x1 (despite their architecture being PCIe 3×4). This drops their potential bandwidth from 4,000MB/s to 1,000MB/s (remember, bandwidth is the size of the pipe, it’s still up to the SSD t pump the ‘water’ fast enough). There are several theories/official-statements that are floating around online regarding the reason for this, with the most repeated one being that Synology are concerned about the heat generated by the SSD at full speed in this rather compact chassis, so have throttled it to avoid this – but regardless of the reason and it’s validity, it still means that SSDs in this slot cannot really exceed 1,000MB/s (despite many PCIe Gen 3 NVMes hitting 3,000MB/s+ quite easily).

Next up, at the time of writing, ONLY Synology SNV3400 and SNV3410 NVMe SSDs can be used with this feature. If you use non-Synology branded SSDs in the DS923+ NAS, the system will only allow you to use them for SSD caching (listing the non-synology drives as un-verified by the brand and unsupported). Much like Synology memory (discussed earlier), Synology branded SSDs are noticeably more expensive than similarly designed SSDs of the same controller+NAND+Capacity. Synology state this is because these drive’s firmware are designed in parallel with Synology systems, as well as also allowing particular features (firmware updates, more responsive and efficient running, etc) to be possible inside DSM. Regardless of how you look at it, it still means that although this feature of NVMe SSD storage pools on the DS923+ NAS is tremendously appealing, it is being delivered with a degree of compromise.

Overall, although the NVMe SSD Storage pool feature of the DS923+ NAS is really appealing, the DS1522+ just provides a greater degree of storage scalability with its extra bay and two the expandability (remember, just $100-120 difference, which also has the 4GB extra memory). It is looking increasingly slim that the DS1522+ NAS will have an update to allow M.2 NVMe SSD storage pools (though never say never! Plus it can also be done unofficially), but overall I would still heavily recommend the DS1522+ over the DS923+ NAS in terms of storage. Next up, let’s discuss external connectivity.

The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Ports and Connections

The DS923+ and DS1522+ NAS are extremely similar in terms of external connectivity. Both systems are still sporting 1GbE network ports (though the DS923+ has 2x and the DS1522+ has 4x – so twice the potential network bandwidth with LAG/Port-Trunking/Multi-Channel), but they also now both arrive with the option to upgrade the external network connectivity to 10GbE, thanks to that increased bandwidth/lanes of the AMD CPU over the Intel Celeron in the 2020 generation. Both systems also have USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) connectivity, which can be used for USB storage, UPS’ and a handful of peripheral devices in DSM 7/7.1/7.2, both systems use an external PSU and of course, there are the eSATA expansion ports on either NAS that we have already covered. Let’s see how they compare:

How do the Synology DS1522+ and DS923+ NAS Compare in their Ports and Connections?
NAS Model Synology DS923+ NAS Synology DS1522+ NAS
Rear Ports
RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port 2 (with Link Aggregation / Failover support) 2 (with Link Aggregation / Failover support)
USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port 2 2
eSATA Port 1 2
PCIe Expansion 1 x Gen3 x2 network upgrade slot 1 x Gen3 x2 network upgrade slot
System Fan 92 mm x 92 mm x 2 pcs 92 mm x 92 mm x 2 pcs
Power Supply Unit / Adapter 100 W 120 W

The network upgrade slot can be populated with the optional E10G22-T1-mini 10GbE adapter (Copper), which costs around $139-149 currently. It is a little expensive for a 1 port upgrade and does mean that a traditional half/full-height PCIe card cannot be installed, but on the plus side, it is a VERY easy installation (slots right in) and the drivers are inside DSM – so no need to download anything extra upon rebooting. At this time, there are no other modules/upgrades supported by this slot, though Synology might look into an SFP+/Fiber alternative or even alternative network ports (its a PCIe 3×2 slot) down the line. Of course, the real question when upgrading these NAS’ is whether a 4-Bay or a 5-Bay can actually saturate (fill) a 1,000MB/s connection – especially when you factor in the RAID configuration?

Short answer, absolutely YES. I have already performed 10GbE testing on the DS1522+ NAS HERE and further 10GbE testing on the Synology DS923+ NAS HERE. In both cases, in full population and with select file sizes, you could hit 1,000MB/s. However, the extra drive bay in the DS1522+ NAS clearly means that you can hit it easier (as well as increase your capacity and/or RAID redundancy level). Then there is the support of M.2 NVMe SSD Caching on the DS923+ NAS. With two M.2 NVMe SSD storage bays, SURELY you can max out a 10GbE connection. Well, yes! However, the fact that these two bays are still capped at PCIe Gen 3×1 does mean that even if you DID have a greater than 10GbE external connection available, you would only really see performance benefits of the drives from a RAID R/W bonus, than from the drive’s own performance levels.

Once again, it will not come as a huge surprise to know that, overall, I think the DS1522+ NAS is the better choice in terms of external connectivity. The additional 2x 1GbE network ports (still kinda bummed that they are 1GbE and not 2.5GbE like most other brands in 2023) and it’s resulting increased Performance vs Capacity vs Redundancy that it brings is just going to be more useful. M.2 NVMe SSD Storage pools and therefore largely guaranteeing 1,000MB/s for a storage pool and volume on them WILL be useful to those planning on working on the NAS for post-production or raw editing over 10GbE will be desirable for many users, but even then the limits to only Syn SSDs right now will undermine any savings you might make rather than just putting in 4-5x Pro/Ent HDDs and editing on those!

The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Software Performance

Threre is very little to say in terms of DSM Software differences between the Synology DS923+ NAS and DS1522+. Aside from the advantages that the extra storage bay and memory of the DS152+ will bring in terms of ‘max active users/processes’ and storage pool/volumes sizes, Diskstation Manager 7.1/7.2 will run practically the same on either system unless you REALLY push it! Even the added M.2 NVMe SSD Storage pool support of the DS923+ will only add 2-3 more choices in the storage manager, but not effect the rest of the system. You cannot install DSM on the M.2 NVMes (at the time of writing) and although you can create a volume and then install Synology apps on that particular volume, that will only change their running marginally (unless yo really have heavy use). Synology DSM 7.1 on with NAS still runs great and if you want to learn more about it, you can watch my HUGE review of DSM 7.1 in 4K in the video below from late 2022:

The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Plex Media Server

For those of you looking at the Synology DS923+ or DS1522+ NAS as a plex media service, they perform near enough IDENTICALLY! Previously, I have compared both them with the 2020 released DS920+ NAS (which featured that Intel Celeron CPU with integrated graphics). You can watch my DS920+ vs DS923+ Comparison HERE or my DS1522+ vs DS920+ 4K Plex Comparison HERE. Either way, the results are largely the same, as these two 2022/2023 generation devices have the same Ryzen R1600 CPU. You can watch the videos below to see how each NAS independently handled 10 different 4K Files in HEVC/H.264 in numerous formats.

4K PLEX PERFORMANCE DS923+ NAS

4K PLEX PERFORMANCE DS1522+ NAS

Overall, as long as you are not planning on using server-side conversions/transcoding (i.e the NAS needs to change complex files, dense/large media files or convert HEVC to H.264 for licencing reasons), either NAS work pretty much identically. The additional 4GB of memory in the DS1522+ NAS did not really provide any kind of advantage, as Plex Media Server runs perfectly well on a NAS with just 4GB. If you plan on running multiple apps that are a little memory hungry at the same time as plex (a bunch of IP cameras in surveillance station, a VM, containers, etc), then the DS1522+ NAS is probably the better choice. Though, if you are planning on scaling towards this later down the line, the DS923+ NAS is still fine and will just need a memory upgrade later on. Let’s conclude.

The Synology DS923+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Conclusion

It will likely come as no shock that, overall, the DS1522+ NAS is just the better Synology NAS choice when compared with the DS923+ NAS. If the price difference is/was more vast, then it might not be such a clean sweep – however the DS923+ only being $100-120 cheaper than the DS1522+ just highlights how much better value the 5-Bay is! With an extra storage bay on day 1, twice the expandability, twice the network connectivity and all this in a similarly sized package means that the DS923+ ends up looking much less desirable. The support of M.2 NVMe SSDs for storage pools on the DS923+ DOES go a little way towards making it more justifiable over the DS1522+ NAS, but given the BIG demand there has been for this feature from their user-base and how it has been presented (oddly capped and drive limited at the moment), it just isn’t a compelling enough case to fight against the scalability, value and future-proofing that is evident in the DS1522+ NAS.

Shoud You Buy the Synology DS1522+ or DS923+ NAS?
NAS Model Synology DS923+ NAS Synology DS1522+ NAS
Front Design

$599

$749

Reasons to Choose
  • M2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools
  • More Affordable
  • Lower Power Consumption
  • Lower Potential Noise when in Operation
  • Extra Bay of Storage and 2x Expansion Add-ons Supported
  • 8GB Memory by Default
  • 4 default 1GbE LAN Ports
  • Better Value for Money in terms of hardware

asasa

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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7]  

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    Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

Synology DS923+ NAS – 10GbE Speed Tests

24 novembre 2022 à 18:00

Performance Tests of the Synology DS923+ NAS and E10G22-T1 10GbE Upgrade

The release of the Synology DS923+ NAS has definitely set a cat among the pigeons when it comes to the home vs business community. When Synology changed the long-standing inclusion of an Intel CPU in this product series to an AND Embedded Ryzen, many users were a little confused about it’s hardware. However, on big, BIG improvement in the new DS923+ over it’s predecessors is that this is the first 4-Bay NAS from the brand that have the option to scale it’s network connectivity from to 10GbE! This optional upgrade, using the Synology E10G22-T1 Network Upgrade module opens up the single point of external connectivity of this rather compact NAS from 1Gb/109MB/s (technically 2GbE with 2x1GbE via LAG) to 10GbE, or 1,000MB/s+. Now, this additional modular upgrade will cost you an additional $139-149 (more in some locations once you factor in local tax and logistics), as well as some user questioning whether four SATA bays that are populated with NAS hard drives can actually saturate (fill) the whole 1 Gigabyte external connection. So, today I have set up the DS923+ NAS, fully populated it with Synology’s own branded storage media, set up a direct 10GBASE-T/Copper connection with a Windows PC and I am going to run some performance tests using popular benchmark software ATTO Disk Benchmark, AJA Speed Test and Black Magic Speed Test. Do remember that these are synthetic tests and therefore, the results found in your own individual setup or using a specific piece of file transmission or editing software will likely differ. Let’s begin.

Interested in how the DS923+ NAS performed with 2x M.2 NVMe SSDs in a RAID Storage Pool Performed? Find my MASSIVE Speed Test article HEREhttps://nascompares.com/2022/12/05/synology-m-2-nvme-storage-pool-10gbe-performance-tests

Note  – M.2 NVMe SSD Bays as Storage Pools Confirmed (images of use and storage options) are detailed here in a newer post – https://nascompares.com/2022/11/16/synology-nas-and-m-2-nvme-ssd-storage-pools-finally

Hardware I used in this test and where to buy it:

Synology DS923+ NAS – HERE on Amazon

Synology HAT5300-16T Hard Drives – HERE on Amazon

Synology E10G22-T1-MINI Network Adapter – HERE on Amazon

Synology SNV3400-400G M.2 NVMes – HERE on Amazon

Sonnet Solo 10G 10GbE to Thunderbolt 3 Adapter – HERE on Amazon

The NAS Setup for my Synology DS923+ NAS Test

The first thing we should establish is how the Synology DS923+ NAS was set up for our 10GbE performance testing. First things first, I installed the E10G22-T1-mini adapter. You need to ensure the system is powered down to install this, as it is a PCIe-connected upgrade and therefore does not support any kind of hot-plug/hot-swapping of any kind without damaging the system. Note – I know in the photo below and gif above I have not put the two screws in, don’t worry, as these images were taken after the tests and all parts were tightly in place during the tests.

Like any Synology hardware upgrade, no additional drivers were needed outside of installing DSM 7.1 already, so the E10G22-T1-mini PCIe upgrade is immediately recognized and useable.

Next, I headed to the Network Management area of DSM and configured the new network adapter to MTU/Jumbo Frames at 9K. In computer networking, jumbo frames are Ethernet frames with more than 1500 bytes of payload, the limit set by the IEEE 802.3 standard. Commonly, jumbo frames can carry up to 9000 bytes of payload. Enabling jumbo frames can improve performance by making data transmissions more efficient. The CPUs on switches and routers can only process one frame at a time. By putting a larger payload into each frame, the CPUs have fewer frames to process. In return, this can reduce the amount of heat the network devices generate. However, do remember that these gains are only realized if each link in the network path — including servers and endpoints — is configured to enable jumbo frames at the same MTU. Otherwise, performance may actually decrease as incompatible devices drop frames or fragment them, the latter of which can task the CPU with higher processing requirements. Enabling jumbo frames may also increase packet loss rates. Later I will change the MTU/Jumbo Frames on the PC side. Lastly, I created a static I for these tests, as that would ensure improved accuracy and performance away from potential network changes that could force DHCP to automatically update the network IP of the devices in this test, leading to tremendous inconsistencies.

The storage setup of the DS923+ is also a tiny bit business’y BUT it is still pretty relatable. I have opted for Synology HAT5300 16TB hard drives (which are Synology branded Toshiba MG08 Enterprise drives, with Synology optimized firmware onboard) . I selected these because ynology has been promoting their recent hardware releases in the 2022 and 2023 series using their own HDDs and I wanted to test this 10GbE DS923+ setup in the most authorized and confirmed setup possible. Nevertheless, most 16TB HDDs in the market arrive in PRO or Enterprise class (with WD and Seagate long since stopping standard class HDDs in the Seagate Ironwolf and WD Red series at 14TB, due to the enterprise nature of these larger capacities), so even if you are not running your own DS923+ NAS setup with Synology HDDs, if you are using 16TB or higher capacity NAS hard disks, then you will see similar results to today’s tests.

I set the NAS up in a RAID 5 configuration. I picked RAID 5 over SHR, as SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID), despite its advantages in drive flexibility and upgradability, has always lagged behind traditional RAID 5 performance and therefore, I wanted to give the DS923+ the best chance to fully saturated the 10G external connection.

Next up, I need to have some storage to point at! I could have set up a mapped network drive (using a shared folder), but I decided to create a 1TB/1000GB LUN storage with Thick Provisioning instead. I did this because 1) Mapped network drives tend to provide lower performance benchmarks as they are treated as external storage and add a layer of windows IP handling that can lower performance pinch, and 2) because some benchmark/speed test software needs the targetted storage to be native/local in appearance, which really only adding a NAS over iSCSI can do. So, using the Synology iSCSI manager in DSM, I created both a 1TB LUN and created an iSCSI target for it to be accessible over the 10GbE connection.

For those of you who have arrived at this article wondering about M.2 NVMe SSD Storage Pools on the DS923+ and 10GbE performance, unfortunately, at the time of writing, this is not possible, as I did not have the drives in time for the performance testing alongside the rest of the hardware. However, the DS923+ NAS DOES support the use of the M.2 NVMes as Pools (as shown in the screenshots below) and I will be testing these for their performance AND if/how other drives work very soon.

Click to view slideshow.

Finally, with the Synology DS923+ NAS storage, iSCSI LUN+Target ready and E10G22-T1-mini upgrade completed, I connected the NAS 10GBASE-T port to a Sonnet Solo 10G-to-Thunderbolt 3 Adapter and connected that to my test windows machine. Let’s go through how things were set up on the windows side.

The PC Network Setup for the DS923+ 10GbE Test

So, the PC setup I used can be largely duplicated on a Mac system using it’s own storage and network tools (you can contact me or Eddie here if you need help with that) and in my Windows PC setup, I needed to configure two main things, the network connection and the connected storage. The hardware specifications of the Windows PC were as follows:

  • Processor Intel Core i7-8750H 8th Gen CPU @ 2.20GHz 2.20 GHz
    Installed RAM 32.0 GB (31.9 GB usable)
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • OS Drive, Samsung 970 Plus M.2 Gen 3×4 NVMe SSD

A very middle-of-the-road and domestic setup I am sure you will agree! Next, I need to check the Thunderbolt-to-10GbE connection is solid. Using the latest Thunderbolt drivers and ensuring it was visible in the network connections area, I then went into it and checked it was on a 10Gbps bandwidth/speed (that is the connection, not the NAS speed – the difference between the size of the pipe and the amount of water that is actually going through it). I also made sure to go into the advanced settings and once again change jumbo frames/MTU to 9K, so it matched the Synology connection.

After that, using the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator, I establish a connection with the 1000GB/1TB LUN on the DS923+ and, via storage management, added this to my available storage drives in windows (as shown below). This means that my intended performance benchmark tools will be able to interact with the Synology storage and we can start seeing how much data can be pushed through the 10GbE bench width connection we created from those 4 drives in a RAID 5 in the Synology DS923+ NAS.

Finally, I disable any 1GbE connection present on the Windows Machine and Disconnect all CAT/Ethernet connections to the DS923+, ensuring that the ONLY connection possible between the DS923+ and Windows PC here are over that 10G network connection.

Synology DS923+ NAS 10GbE Test Results – Atto Disk Benchmark Tests

The first range of tests were using ATTO Disk Benchmark. I tested four different file sizes at 64MB, 256MB, 4GB and 16GB. Results were checked in both traditional throughput and the IOPS that were achieved. These are still HDDs, even in the bigger RAID 5, so the IOPS were never going to hugely rival that of modern SSDs, But the throughout was very good. Here are the results:

 

 

 

So, immediately we can see that (keeping in mind that these are synthetic tests of course), in terms of Read Performance the four HAT5300-16T HDDs in a RAID 5 on the DS923+ server DID fully saturate (fill) the 10GbE connection in almost all tests, hitting 1.15GB/s. It was only when we got to the huge 16GB test file where we started to see the performance hit a stumbling block in the denser formats. When it came to Write performance we saw performance numbers of between 800-900MB/s in the 64MB and 256MB Performance Tests, 600-700MB/s performance on the 4B Tests and still managed to maintain 600MB/s+ on the big 16GB testing. All very promising and impressive numbers! Next, we can look at the Black Magic speed testing over 10GbE on the DS923+ NAS.

Synology DS923+ NAS 10GbE Test Results – Black Magic Speed Tests

Black Magic Design’s speed test tool is much, much more focused on video file types and runs continuous testing. As Hard Drives are mechanical, they need a few moments to spin up to full performance and in a RAID 5, this can mean that initial numbers on the first wave of test are not tip-top. Therefore, for the Blackmagic speed tests of the DS923+ NAS over 10GbE I would record the 2ND Write/Read measurement (so around 5 secs into the test starting) for either benchmark. These tests are broken down into 1GB, 3GB and 5GB test files, but unlike the much more open and traditional file structure you would find in ATTO benchmark results, these are hefty video ‘shaped’ tests and results are provided in both the traditional throughout that was achieved and the reflection of how that applies to media. Here is how these three test went.

Black Magic 1GB File Test

Black Magic 3GB File Test

Black Magic 5GB File Test

Again, all very promising results and although full 10GbE saturation was not visibly achieved as it was in the ATTO benchmarks, I did not think it would. If you are considering the DS923+ NAS with 10GbE upgrade for video/video editing, this is a very promising result! Next onto AJA Video Systems speed testing.

Synology DS923+ NAS 10GbE Test Results – AJA Speed Tests Tests

Much like the Black Magic Tests, the AJA Speed Tests are much more focused on chunky sequential multimedia file testing and although all the tests below featured 1080i HD file structure, it was spread over four file scales – 256MB, 1GB, 4GB and 16GB! It is also worth highlighting that these tests show both the Read/Write performance and the access rate on the individual tests in the graphs at the bottom. These help to understand the oversaturation rate of the NAS+DRIVES and if there was an issue with handling/horsepower to get the job done, you would see big drops on the graph to indicate this. Here is how the DS923+ NAS and HAT5300-16Ts in a RAID 5 performed over 10GbE in AJA Speed Test.

AJA 256MB File Test

AJA 1GB File Test

AJA 4GB File Test

AJA 16GB File Test

Once again, very high numbers throughout that saturated at last 70-80% of the DS923+ NAS network connection over 10GbE in these synthetic tests. It is worth highlighting that the smaller 256MB and 1GB file test performed by far the best, but as soon as we exceeded the sequential file size towards the 4GB and 16GB tests (remember, this is being funnelled through a 10Gb or 1GB tunnel), the performance ended up being a pinch lower. Great stuff. So, let’s summarize and conclude on what we think of the DS923+ NAS and how it performed at 10G in our test today.

Synology DS923+ NAS 10GbE Test Results – Conclusion

Did we hit FULL SATURATION of 10G on the DS923+ on all tests? Well, technically not… but we were REALLY close. Close enough to recommend it! These are all VERY promising test results and although we have to take these with the understandable pinch of salt that they are orchestrated/synthetic performance benchmarks that might not be indicative of your own personal setup, I DO think there is more than enough evidence here to justify the 10GbE connection on the DS923+ and kill off any concerns that a 4-Bay NAS like this couldn’t take advantage of the 10GbE upgrade! It is a real shame that Synology saddled the DS923+ on day 1 with 1GbE (not even 2.5GbE as standard like other brands), putting the 10GbE connection behind an additional purchase – but at least as far as traditional throughput is concerned, that Ryzen Embedded R1600 CPU is definitely doing some great stuff here. We will have to revisit these tests when the PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Bays are supporting traditional Storage Pools on the DS923+ (and hopefully the DS723+, DS1522+ and RS422+ too), but for now, I can say that if you are looking at an affordable, compact 10GbE NAS solution for photo editing, video editing or as a fast backup solution for your business needs, the DS923+ and E10G22-T1-MINI certainly deliver!

What I said in my Review of the Synology DS923+ NAS

Review from 16th Nov ’22 – Synology has clearly made something of a gamble in the release of the Synology DS923+ NAS. There is no avoiding that making the switch from the Intel Celeron that has historically been the build choice of this product family and opting for the AMD Emb.Ryzen has ruffled some feathers! On the face of it, the R1600 here has a heck of alot of going for it over the previous generation! Higher clock speed, greater PCIe Gen 3 Support throughout, that 4-32GB of DDR4 memory in such a compact system and just generally giving you a lot more horsepower to play with, as well as better bandwidth potential inside and out! But at what cost? The 1GbE standard connectivity in the base model leaves alot to be desired, the proprietary 10Gb upgrade (though incredibly handy) limits the upgradability a tad and the lack of an integrated graphics processor is likely going to result in many long-term Synology advocates to skip this generation. Synology Diskstation Manager (DSM 7.1 at the time of writing) still continues to impress and although the brand still continues to heavily push their 1st party priorities, they have left a little more wriggle room in DSM 7.1 than DSM 7 before it in terms of media compatibility. In terms of design, I cannot fault Synology on this as the DS923+ chassis still arrives as one of the best-looking and still exceptionally well-structured devices at this physical scale and storage level. As always, a Synology NAS is more about the software than the hardware (and the DS923+ delivers in spades on the software side!) and with DSM 7.2 around the corner improving things. Just always keep in mind that the Synology DS923+ NAS is a system that arrives with the slight emphasis on having to do many things ‘their way’. If you are less technically versed, then you will definitely appreciate this level of user-friendly design and assistance, but more technically minded admins’ main strain a pinch! In short, the DS923+ IS a good NAS drive, but its focus has certainly ebbed more towards the business user this generation than the home.

SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻DSM 7/7.1 (and DSM7.2 Around the corner) still continues to be an absolute tour-de-force of NAS Software
👍🏻This latest generation expandable 4-Bay arriving with a 10G Upgrade Option is fantastic
👍🏻ECC Memory Support and scalability to 32GB is completely unparallel at this price point
👍🏻The design of the DS923+ NAS still continues to be market-leading
👍🏻The New CPU architecture allows great PCIe3 bandwidth to be afforded to the rest of the hardware, inside and out
👍🏻Low Noise, Low Physical Impact and Intelligent Automatic Power Use Adjustment Settings
👍🏻Increased Support for macOS in Synology Drive and Active Backup Suite (DSM 7.2)
👍🏻Synology C2 Cloud Services, 1st Party Backup/Sync Tools and Collaboration Suite App = Complete 1st Party Eco-system that can rival Office365 and Google Workspace
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools!!! FINALLY!
👍🏻Tremendously User-Friendly!!!
CONS
👎🏻The AMD Emb.Ryzen instead of a Intel Celeron (with Integrated Graphics) will be a dealbreaker for alot of users
👎🏻The default 1GbE ports that the system arrives with are tremendously dated
👎🏻The USB ports on the system are older gen USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) and their support/usability have been quite pared back in recent DSM releases
👎🏻The continued moves by Synology to prioritize 1st party hardware and software services may put some users off
👎🏻Plex Support on the Synology DS923+ is still great for native playback, client-side handling and client devices with relevant multimedia licenses in place, but if server-side media conversions are needed - this system will struggle in comparison with the DS920+ before it

Where to Buy a Product
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amzamexmaestrovisamaster 24Hfree delreturn VISIT RETAILER ➤

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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7]  

Support What We Do


support what we do
    Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  
❌