Comparing the Synology DS1520+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Which Should You Buy?
Let’s be honest. Network Attached Storage (NAS) is much the same as any other kind of consumer-available technology, in that every few years a brand will release the latest hardware in its portfolio and buyers will IMMEDIATELY start comparing it versus its predecessor. New vs Old, Launch Price vs Discount Deals, Cutting Edge vs Well Established – regardless of your own motivation, then are a whole bunch of reasons why someone will be comparing the Synology DS1522+ for 2022 versus the 2020 released DS1520+ NAS. Today I want to take a closer look at these two NAS systems from the big brand in NAS drives and compare their strengths, their weaknesses and ultimately help you decide which one deserves your data right now. Let’s begin.
Note – Depending on when you are reading this, the availability of the DS1522+ or DS1520+ will be different. So, regardless of which one of these two NAS systems best sounds like it suits your needs, it is paramount that you remember that your data should be backed up at all times. So do not just leave your data in an insecure or unsafe state in favour of waiting for either of these NAS to arrive. Unless your data is in at least 2 separate copies (NAS, close, USB, etc), it is NOT backed up! If you need help, you can use the free NAS advice section HERE.
Comparing the hardware of the Synology DS1522+ and DS1520+ NAS
The 5-Bay Diskstation releases from Synology have always been one of the most interesting tiers of the brand’s desktop solutions. The reason for this is that all too often this scale of system serves as a bridging point between Prosumer & SOHO systems and the small/medium business hardware in their portfolio. This is demonstrated first in the scale of the available RAID 5/6 storage, but then more so in the scalability and upgradability of the 5-Bay system, allowing two expansions, greater network connectivity and better internal hardware than the more domestic targetted solutions – often with the internal hardware differing considerably between each periodic 2-3yr refresh by the brand. Let’s first look at the internal hardware of these two NAS’ to see how much they differ. The DS1520+ NAS first arrived on the scene with some great hardware advantages over the (then 2 months sooner released) DS920+, arriving with a 4 Core Intel Celeron Processor that featured integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 2666Mhz memory and NVMe SSD upgrade slots. In the two years since its release though, Synology clearly decided to make some big changes in the DS1522+ to make it considerably more scalable and general business/file-ops focused. The newer DS1522+ features a dual-core AMD Ryzen embedded R1600 that, although arriving with half the cores of the Celeron in the DS1520+, has a higher CPU frequency and total achievable frequency in turbo/burst when needed. That said, users will be surprised to learn that this CPU also does not feature embedded graphics, so therefore the DS1522+ will be less CPU efficient at handling multimedia or VM deployment than the DS1520+.
Though both systems feature 8GB of DDR4 memory, the 1522+ has much higher pedigree and wins here thanks to its use of much more impressive ECC (error code correction) memory to identify and repair any bit level write errors and can also be scaled to a considerably higher 32GB of memory (with the DS1520+ maxing out at 8GB).
|CPU Model||Intel Celeron J4125||AMD Ryzen R1600|
|CPU Quantity||1||Embedded Ryzen|
|CPU Frequency||4-core 2.0 – 2.7 GHz||2-core 2.6 – 3.1 GHz|
|Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)||Yes||Yes|
|CPU Cache||4 MB cache||1 MB L2 cache, 4 MB L3 cache|
|System Memory||8GB DDR4 non-ECC SODIMM||8GB DDR4 ECC SODIMM|
|Memory Module Pre-installed||8GB (4GB On-board + 4 GB via a 2666Mhz Module)||8 GB (8GB x 1)|
|Total Memory Slots||1||2|
|Maximum Memory Capacity||8GB||32 GB (16 GB x 2)|
|System Fan||92 mm x 92 mm x 2 pcs||92 mm x 92 mm x 2 pcs|
|Power Supply Unit / Adapter||120W External||120W External|
Next up, let us discuss storage on the DS1522+ and DS1520+M, as these two systems are near enough identical on that one. Both arrive with 5x SATA storage bays, though you can deploy either NAS with as little as a single rive if you want. From there you can go ahead and install enough drives to accommodate a RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or Synology’s own flexible RAID configuration, SHR. Both systems can be initialized to operate with either a BTRFS or EXT4 file system, as well as supporting the wide range of services and features of the Synology Storage Manager. Finally, as mentioned, both systems feature M.2 NVMe SSD bays and both only allow these to be used for caching with DSM and its services/storage. Even in terms of expandability, these systems are largely identical. with both supporting the connection of two DX517 expansion chassis and reaching a total potential 15 bays of storage. As both systems support the latest version of Synology DSM, that maximum volume, simultaneous volumes, active storage shares and hybrid storage support are largely identical. The only area where things might differ significantly between the DS1520+ and DS1522+ is regarding Hard Drive compatibility. Synology changed its position a bit on compatibility in a few of the 2022 series hardware releases (beginning with the RS3622xs+, DS3622xs+ and DS2422+ at the start of the year) with them stating that they fully support the use of their own HDDs and SSDs in these systems, but not in third party drives from the likes of WD and Seagate. These drives will still be usable in their systems, but the user will be greeted by a warning message regarding compatibility. Now, this is not a factor of the DS1520+ compatibility, however, we are still (at the time of writing) awaiting confirmation of the HDD compatibility list of the DS1522+ NAS, so although it is NOT CONFIRMED RIGHT NOW it is possible that your choice of supported HDDs might impact which NAS is better for your storage.
|Size (Height x Width x Depth)||166 mm x 230 mm x 223 mm||166 mm x 230 mm x 223 mm|
|Drive Bays & Storage||5x SATA||5x SATA|
|Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit||15 (DX517 x 2)||15 (DX517 x 2)|
|M.2 Drive Slots||2 (NVMe) for Read/Write Caching||2 (NVMe) for Read/Write Caching|
|Hot Swappable Drive||Yes||Yes|
|RAID Support||JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, SHR||JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, SHR|
Now in terms of the external connectivity and how it can be upgraded, this is another big area of difference between the DS1520+ and DS1522+ NAS. Both systems arrive with 4 1GbE RJ45 LAN ports, which can be combined via link aggregation/Port Trunking to allow up to 4Gb/s bandwidth between the system and a supported smart switch. However, the big difference in bandwidth potential between these two NAS centres around the DS1522+ features the option to upgrade it’s network connectivity to 10GbE by installing an E20G22-T1-mini 10G network upgrade in the available proprietary slot. Now, this is not a connection that is available in the default DS1522+ and is an optional upgrade, but still it is good to know that the option of adding 1,000MB/s bandwidth is available down the road. The DS1520+ does not include an option to increase the network connectivity in this way (though unofficial and not officially supported USB-to2.5GbE and 5GbE connectivity via 3rd party adapters are possible (but I wouldn’t trust their long term stability really) and for many, this will be a deal-breaker between these systems in the same way the CPU differences between these two NAS’ does. Both systems see the same sized chassis and the 10GbE upgradable slot on the DS1522+ using a smaller M.2 sized connector rather than the PCIe 3×8 slot of other Synology NAS, so it does not impact the size of the chassis.
|RJ-45 1GbE LAN||4 (with Link Aggregation / Failover support)||4 (with Link Aggregation / Failover support)|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s)||2||2|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s)||No||No|
|PCIe Expansion||No||Yes (currently supports E10G22-T1-mini Adapter)|
|Supported File System||
|Size||166 mm x 230 mm x 223 mm||166 mm x 282 mm x 243 mm|
|Weight||2.62 kg||5.1 kg|
Overall, I think the differences between the DS1520+ and DS1522+ are some of the most notable that the brand has ever delivered between two NAS just two years apart in the same series! The option of 10GbE later in the system’s lifespan, along with a huge 32GB of ECC memory on the DS1522+ I think narrowly put that NAS ahead, but it is by no means an unquestionable victory, as not only are those advantages of the DS1522+ more centred around additional purchases, but also the DS1520+ features that quad-core graphics embedded CPU – which means that a number of common Synology NAS desktop uses for entertainment such as Plex Media Server and Video Station are going to run much more efficiently on the older system. Then you have to also factor in that the DS1520+ is going to be available at a more affordable price thanks to its longer time at retail (with the DS1522+ almost certainly remaining close to its RRP for the bulk of 2022. I still think the DS1522+ is the better business and mission-critical performance choice overall, but the DS1520+ is going to be better suited to home and prosumer users overall.
Expected Performance of the Synology DS1522+ vs DS1520+ NAS Compared
The performance of Synology DSM services and supported 3rd party connected appliances is going to be very similar on both the DS1520+ and DS1522+ NAS when it comes to utilizing the respective systems in low volume/frequency client tasks. By that, I mean that the scale of the operations that you need the NAS to action (from simple file sharing and downloading, to more intensive multi-site backups, file streaming, databases and surveillance for example) will largely dictate which NAS will perform better for you. As mentioned, the DS1520+ and its embedded graphics supported CPU will use fewer resources to perform graphically focused tasks such as transcoding, as well as running applications that have a high volume of visual data such as live camera feeds in Surveillance Station 9. Whereas the file handling and general transfer performance of traditional data exchanges are going to use fewer resources on the DS1522+ embedded Ryzen processor, as well as have a much, MUCH higher ceiling for total processes thanks to that larger memory scalability already discussed. Below is a breakdown of the most popular applications and services that are included with either the Synology DS1520+ or DS1522+ NAS:
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.
Synology Moments – Manage your photos and videos with deep-learning algorithms that automatically group photos with similar faces, subjects, and places.
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.
Synology Hyper Backup – backup you 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.
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 Photo Station – Built to help photographers manage their photos and share them with clients for feedback or business development.
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
However, the extent to which you can use all these applications at any single time (both as multiple clients using the same software or multiple applications running in parallel on the same NAS system) is going to be better on the Synology DS1522+ in the grand scheme of things, thanks to that potential 32GB of memory available to scale up down the line. Here is how these two Synology NAS drives compare in volume and features in those 1st party services:
|Max Single Volume||108TB||108TB|
|SAN Manager||128 ISCSI Targets and 256 LUNS||128 ISCSI Targets and 256 LUNS|
|Surveillance Station||40 Cameras Max, 2 Licenses||40 Cameras Max, 2 Licenses|
|Collaboration Suite||ALL Tools||ALL Tools|
|Synology Drive||350 Connections , 5,000,000 Files||350 Connections , 5,000,000 Files|
|Active Backup||FULL Support (Google, 365, VM, local)||FULL Support (Google, 365, VM, local)|
|Synology Photos||All Features||All features|
|Hybrid Share||Full Support of 10x syncs||Full Support of 10x syncs|
|Accounts||2048 Users, 256 Groups, 512 S.Folders||2048 Users, 256 Groups, 512 S.Folders|
|VMM||Yes, 4 Recommended Max||Yes, 8 Recommended Max|
|MailPlus||100 concurrent users, 5 Licences||100 concurrent users, 5 Licences|
|Snapshots||65,536 Max||65,536 Max|
|Web Hosting||Upto 30x||Upto 30x|
|Hyper Backup||Yes, all features and clients||Yes, all features and clients|
|Max Tested R/W Speed||451.28MB/s – 451.18MB/s||736MBs – 796MB/s|
Once again, very similar and indeed, both systems largely provide the building blocks to use each application to the highest extent allowed/recommended by Synology in DSM. Despite these NAS’ having very different CPUs, they still ultimately support the same volume of services (at maximum) in DSM. But the DS1522+ clearly has more recourse scaling possible and that will hopefully mean that you will be able to push several applications in higher frequencies each more on the newer system than the old one. Just don;t overlook how useful that Intel Celeron CPU would be to multimedia tasks.
Synology DS1520+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Conclusion and Verdict
Synology has clearly taken a rather different tactic in the release of their newest 5-Bay system, making changes to the expected hardware configuration and architecture that set it on a very different path than its predecessor. Those with longer memories will know that the Diskstation 5 Drive portfolio used to be very much this kind of design (i.e a file transfer focused CPU, more memory scaling, optional 10GbE, etc) and rather than building off the design of the 4-Bay (as the DS1520+ did against the DS920+), the DS1522+ seems to scale itself against the DS1621+ in it’s shape and abilities. If you were already looking at Synology NAS systems that being heavy emphasis on scaling their architecture notably down the line in efforts to remain future proof, the DS1522+ is going to tick ALOT of boxes for you. Whereas if you were looking at a Synology NAS for home use, a Plex Media server, low client/user use and generally as more of a setup-and-forget solution, then the DS1520+ will likely suit your needs better and will have the added benefit of a more palatable price point in 2022. How far Synology will extend the build logic of the DS1522+ towards other solutions in the diskstation/rackstation portfolio still remains to be seen. Most business users will want to opt for the DS1522+ though. Cheers for reading!
NAS MODEL ID
Synology DS1520+ NAS
Synology DS1522+ NAS
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