The Synology DS723+ NAS Expandable 2-Bay Revealed
Synology has finally given us a little more information to chew on with regard to their new ‘x23+’ series, with the recent reveal of the new Synology DS723+ NAS Drive. This new expandable 2-Bay Diskstation is the intended follow-up to the Synology DS720+ NAS (released in June/July 2020 – so a 2.5yr refresh time is pretty standard) and although we do not have full hands-on with the device, the information we have gives us a pretty good indication of what this device is going to be capable of. Although we have unofficially known about this device for a few months (here in our video on early 2023 leaks and predictions) it is thanks to a reddit post by user ‘ntrprnr‘ that confirmation of some of the hardware in this system has been confirmed via a Synology site source (the Synology Knowledge Center). It confirmed that this new 2-Bay will be following in much of the design of the DS720+ (as expected), but is also switching its internal architecture more towards that of the summer 2022 released DS1522+. Let’s discuss what we know about the DS723+ NAS and what we are likely to expect from this expandable 2-bay diskstation.
The Synology DS723+ NAS Hardware Specifications
There is no avoiding that the CPU choice inside the Synology DS723+ NAS is going to split opinion the tiniest bit. Until now, this 2/7-bay expandable product family has been exclusively Intel-based and integrated graphics equipped (Celeron, with a brief dance with Pentiums in 2016) which all benefited from particularly good multimedia & graphical handling when it comes to server-side transcoding/conversions, especially with more complicated and dense media formats such as HEVC/H.265. This is why the DS720+ (and DS718+ and DS716+ predecessors) were so popular for use as a Plex Media Server, Synology Video Station, Surveillance Station and even Virtual Machine deployment. The new Synology DS723+ NAS on the other hand is the latest system that has jumped ship from Intel over to AMD, with the DS723+ being built on AMD architecture, with a Ryzen Embedded Dual Core R1600 processsor. Now, it is worth highlighting that the R1600 IS a very good CPU. It is the same processor that is in the DS1522+, which we demonstrated could saturate 10GbE in a RAID 5 (more on this later) and also the DS1522+ NAS performs well in Plex at 1080p and native (non transcoded/convereted) 4K too, so the switch by Synology from an Intel to this AMD is not without merit. Before we dig deeper though, let’s discuss the specifications that we know about the DS1522+ NAS, alongside educated guesses we can make that are based on the CPU, product family and Synology’s past with the diskstation series:
Note: Images are for demonstration purposes and are NOT official product images. Additionally, all estimations/predictions are in bold and will be addressed/confirmed closer to the official release:
|CPU Model||AMD Ryzen R1600|
|CPU Frequency||2-core/4-Thread 2.6Ghz which can be burst/turbo to 3.1GHz|
|Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)||Yes|
|System Memory||2-4GB (Previous generations had 2GB, but still TBC here)|
|Memory Module Pre-installed||TBC|
|Total Memory Slots||TBC|
|Maximum Memory Capacity||32GB Supported by CPU. Still need confirmation of slots available on the DS723+|
|Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit||7 (DX517 x 1)|
|M.2 Drive Slots||2 (NVMe) – Almost certain|
|Compatible Drive Type||
|Hot Swappable Drive||Yes|
Again, there are NOT official product images
|RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port||2x (Not confirmation of Speed/Bandwidth, but 1GbE looking increasingly certain)|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port||2x (Based on previous releases)|
|eSATA Port||1 for expansion)|
|PCIe Expansion||1 x Gen3 x2 network upgrade slot, for the E10G22-T1-mini. A small Cooper Upgrade module that Synology released in Summer 2022 and is almost certain to be featured on the Synology DS723+ NAS (even on a 2 Bay system that might struggle to saturate 1,000MB/s without an expansion)|
|Size (Height x Width x Depth)||166 mm x 106 mm x 223 mm (size of the DS720+)|
|Weight||1.5 kg (weight of the DS720+)|
|System Fan||92 mm x 92 mm x 1pcs (Based on the design of the DS720+)|
|Fan Speed Mode||
|Brightness Adjustable Front LED Indicators||Yes|
|Scheduled Power On / Off||Yes|
|Wake on LAN / WAN||Yes|
|Power Supply Unit / Adapter||65W (Based on the DS720+)|
|3-year hardware warranty, extendable to 5 years with EW201 or Extended Warranty Plus|
So, in terms of its hardware capabilities, the DS723+ NAS is highly comparable to the DS1522+ NAS than that of the DS720+, but we should take a moment and ponder why Synology has made this rather big portfolio change recently towards AMD over Intel? The Synology DS723+ NAS is by no means the first example of this and in fact you can trace the shift in the brand’s CPU choices all the way back to 2020 when they replaced the Intel C3238 in their SMB solutions with the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1500B. Then the DS1522+ followed suit from man Intel J4125 in the DS1520+ into the R1600 in the latest release. Finally, in spring/summer of 2022, we learned that the highly enterprise SAS tier of their portfolio would switch from Intel to AMD and their EPYC processors in the SA6400 and SA6200 Rackstations. So, the Synology DS723+ NAS arriving with the AMD R1600 is not exactly coming out of nowhere. Still, there are going to be some users who will debate the utility of this CPU at the Home/Prosumer tier vs quad-core Intel integrated graphics CPUs. Perhaps Synology has seen the winds changing in the last few years, as Intel is regularly hit by hardware shortages that continue to undermine their market dominance AND recent news that Intel are killing off the Celeron and Pentium branding, gives AMD growing appeal (especially with a better comparative price point on many of their processors vs likewise architecture/powered at Intel).
Still, we are still talking about a 2-core (4 threads to be fair, so four virtual CPUs for VMs and also the support of ECC memory) processor that will use more power to perform heavier graphical tasks. I am still a little confused as to why Synology have yet to adopt the AMD embedded graphics processors (AMD Vega Graphics) from both the R1000 and V1000 CPU families yet. Perhaps there is a question of TDP and power, or that they are holding back on these for the DS423+ and DS223+? Here are the specifications of the AMD R1600 CPU in the DS723+ NAS:
Moving away from the CPU, we CAN talk about one thing that is likely to arrive onboard the Synology DS723+ NAS – potential 10GbE support. Now, before we get too excited, it’s really important to highlight that this would be delivered via an OPTIONAL single 10G Copper (10GBASE-T) module. The DS723+ will almost certainly arrive with 1GbE network ports, which will definitely disappoint some users who were hoping that 2022/2023 would be when Synology finally adopts 2.5GbE – especially when 2.5GbE is available on the Synology Router, arriving on many ISP routers, value routers, switches and more. It is not totally out of the question that Synology will surprise us and integrate 2.5GbE into this system, but realistically, they have been pretty clear about how little interest they have in it and I think they would see optional 10G on the DS723+ as a far more palatable choice – even on a comparatively bandwidth light 2x SATA bay system like this. 2.5G is now more than a fad in 2022. As greater than gigabit internet connectivity is becoming increasingly common (even ‘affordable’), so the thought that a NAS has the potential to be capped at 1GbE (109MB/s) when a particularly well-connected internet cloud service could exceed that is pretty disheartening. Still, the option of 10GbE would be very welcome, though in this case. some might wonder why they didn’t just roll this in and increase the DS723+ NAS price a fraction.
The possible 10GbE upgrade for the DS723+ would be an incredibly easy process – via the E10G22-T1-mini module and is significantly slicker than traditional PCIe Card upgrades. Arriving on a PCIe Gen 3×2 board, this single port accessory would slot into the back (power down necessary, as this is a PCIe upgrade) and would immediately add the 1,000MB/s+ bandwidth connection to your DS723+. As this NAS is a 2-Bay system, there is the question of whether there would be enough media throughput the saturate the full 10GBASE-T connection. Using a fully SATA SSD populated device will likely three-quarter-to saturate the 10G connection, as would using the 5-bay DX517 expansion in a combined RAID with the main 2-Bays (the DX517 connects over eSATA which is capped at 6Gb/s – so a combined RAID with the primary storage is the only way you are going to hit 1,000MB/s), but what about if you are only using the main 2x DS723+ bays with 3.5″ hard drives?
Although 2x SATA drive 10G performance on the DS723+ and it’s CPU+Memory combo cannot be confirmed right now, I CAN answer the question of how the R1600 CPU and pro-class hard drives will perform over 10GbE in a four drive combo. Previously here on the NASCompares, I was fortunate enough to run ATTO tests on the DS1522+ (same R1600 CPU, but 8GB Memory and more bays) with RAID 0 and RAID 5, over four WD Red Pro 22TB Hard Drives. Now, it is worth remembering that these are NOT your common, everyday SATA hard drives and are designed to be rugged, high-performance disks (7200RPM, 512MB Cache, 10x 2.2TB platters, etc) AND the DS1522+ was populated with four drives (twice the maximum bays of the DS723+). That said, the results in both a RAID 0 and RAID 5 setup and in particular file size tests, full saturation of read transfers of 1.15GB/s was achieved, with write performance peaking at around 800-900MB/s. Now, these ARE artificial tests (so, not really representative of everyday use), but are nevertheless very compelling results for the CPU inside the DS723+ being able (with sufficient media) to sufficiently saturate the E10G22-T1-mini upgrade. More domestic/smaller scale HDDs such as the WD Red Plus or Seagate Ironwolf drives in a 2-Bay configuration of the DS723+ would likely cap at around 400-50MB/s at most.
Note – You can READ the full article that details all the tests and results of the Synology DS1522+ NAS and WD Red Pro 22TBs over 10GbE HERE. Alternatively, you can watch my YouTube video on these tests (with 5GbE testing too) here on the NASCompares YouTube Channel.
|Synology DS1522+ with 4x 22TB WD Red Pro RAID 5/10GbE Test – 64MB||Synology DS1522+ with 4x 22TB WD Red Pro RAID 0/10GbE Test – 256MB|
Another expected hardware element of the DS723+ NAS is that it will almost certainly arrive with two m.2 NVMe SSD bays on the base that allow you to install considerably faster SSD drives to boost the performance of particular internal file processes (with variable external bandwidth benefits). These bays cannot be used as traditional storage pools (not a tremendous shock, as Synology have maintained this position since introducing the feature way back in 2017/18 on their systems) are instead available for use in Read and Write caching. The former benefits the user by copying frequently accessed small files to the faster media to decrease access time, improve latency and make accessing the Synology NAS regularly a great deal more fluid and responsive. The latter write caching improves upload/input to the NAS by shifting initial write activity onto the faster storage media and then internally shifting the media to core storage afterwards. Synology has been one of the biggest backers in conventional turnkey NAS solutions of SSD caching since its launch, regularly updating their algorithm and efficiency on this with each update to DSM. It’s still a crying shame that these m.2 NVMe SSD bays are not usable for traditional storage pools (though it IS possible via unofficial mods over on github, it is not recommended by the brand and can potentially undermine your support down the line by them).
The Synology DS723+ NAS hardware is an interesting mix of the expected and unexpected (both internally and externally) and I think it is safe to say that this will divide opinion at the home and prosumer tiers considerably. At the small/medium business (SMB) tier of course it will be a different story, as the hardware architecture here is very competent and if the DS723+ will likely outperform the DS720+ in most other respects in/outside of DSM, so it will be very popular! Let’s discuss the potential software capabilities of the DS723+ NAS in DSM 7.1 onwards.
The Synology DS723+ NAS Software Specifications
The Synology portfolio has always been about providing software solutions. The hardware is certainly an important detail, but there is no avoiding that the brand has always had a larger focus on the software side of things and in the last year or so we have seen a large number of improvements in both the service platform DSM 7, as well as improvements in their C2 cloud services and dirty party tools. The Synology DS723+ will run DSM 7.1 largely identically to the DS1522+, but arguable different in a few ways to it’s intel powered predecessor DS720+. Below is a breakdown of the services and volume that the Synology DS723+ NAS will support (based on the DS1522+ hardware and DS720+ base):
|Antivirus by McAfee (Trial)||Yes|
|Central Management System||Yes|
|Maximum Number of Concurrent Users||100|
|Maximum Concurrent Download Tasks||80|
|Maximum iSCSI Target Number||128|
|LUN Clone/Snapshot, Windows ODX||Yes|
|Synology MailPlus / MailPlus Server||Yes|
|Free Email Accounts||5 (Licenses required for additional accounts)|
|Maximum Number of Concurrent Users||100|
|Maximum Server Performance||1,224,000 emails per day, approx. 37GB|
|Maximum Snapshots per Shared Folder||1,024|
|Maximum of System Snapshots||65,536|
|Maximum IP cam (Licenses required)||40 (including 2 Free License) (dependant on Memory)|
|Total FPS (H.264)||1200 FPS @ 720p (1280×720)
1050 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)
600 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536)
360 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)
200 FPS @ 4K (3840×2160)
|Total FPS (H.265)||1200 FPS @ 720p (1280×720)
1200 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)
1000 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536)
600 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)
300 FPS @ 4K (3840×2160)
|Recommended Number of Concurrent Sync Clients||350 (the number of connections that can be maintained when the recommended number of hosted files was reached)|
|Recommended Number of Hosted Files||5,000,000 (applies to files indexed or hosted by Synology Drive. For file access through other standard protocols, refer to the File Services section above)|
|Virtual Machine Manager||Yes|
|Recommended Virtual Machine Instances||4|
|Recommended Virtual DSM Number (Licenses required)||4 (including 1 Free License)|
|Notes||The specifications vary depending on system configuration and memory size.|
Of course (as mentioned at the start) there are a decent % of users who have been waiting on the release/reveal of the Synology DS723+ NAS for use as a Plex Media Server solution. The Synology Diskstation series have been recommended as great solutions for various scale Plex servers, with ARM-powered solution in the value tier for smaller scale/DLNA-based options and the plus series supporting transcoding and low-mid 4K media. However, the R1600 CPU choice in the DS723+ does throw a little bit of doubt on this. This architecture does provide a decent level of hardware power (crossing 3Ghz at burst) and when it comes to native applications for media, such as Synology Video Station (the excellent 1st party alternative to Plex with numerous client apps and arrives subscription free). Indeed, once again we can look at the performance of the similarly hardware-equipped DS1522+ with the R1600 CPU and how it performed in Video Station and Plex Media Server below. It is worth noting that 4K performance in this videos was only tested using rather advanced 4K files (at 120Mbps and higher), so although this NAS and architecture struggled with 4K playback in these tests, there are new and updated Plex 4K tests coming soon for the DS1522+ NAS on our YouTube channel that shows that it was able to playback a great deal more 4K at 16Mbps to 60Mbps quite well. Although it was still clearly using more CPU resources than an integrated alternative, even without client-side conversions.
Overall, the software support in DSM on the DS723+ is going to be very good and the depth of the hardware available means that although it will be a pinch less suitable for highly graphical tasks, it DOES have alot more capability in file handling and transmission – which is precisely what Synology want for this device and makes it increasingly appealing to traditional storage users. Equally, the architecture of this CPU inside the DS723+ allows its resources to be spread a great deal further (threads and simultaneous tasks) towards using the full range of services that DSM includes. The cloud/hybrid services too will greatly benefit form this architecture too and once again mean that this Synology NAS will bring a tremendous sense/feeling of ‘local’ storage to this network/remote server. Finally, it is worth highlighting that the DS723+ and it’s R1600 CPU benefit form more PCI lanes at PCIe3 rather than the PCIe2 of it’s predecessor, with allows better bandwidth availability to the hardware resources onboard (such as those m.2 NVMe bays)
The Synology DS723+ NAS – Release Date and Price?
The smart money would be on the Synology DS723+ NAS being released around mid-November 2022 (Maybe even very early December, post black Friday and clearance of the DS720+). This would place it 2.5yrs since the release of it’s predecessor, which is quite reasonable. Pricing is harder to pin down. The Expandable desktop 2-Bay tier of Synology’s portfolio (the DS7xx+ device) has tended to land at the £350-400 / $450-500 / €400-450 mark (don’t forget the tax!) when released. However, the DS723+ arrives with a new CPU, possible ECC memory and a possible option of 10GbE, so this could affect the pricing (and that is even without factoring hardware/component availability in 2022/2023 affected by continued shortages). Personally, I think Synology is going to try and maintain this familiar price point, as the tiering in their portfolio on either side of this device in the Value tier (which will also see DSx23 and DSx23j additions in Q1 2023) and bigger Plus series boxes are quite important to their brand. More information will be coming soon on this and other devices in the Synology 2022/2023 hardware range soon, so subscribe to the blog OR visit this page which gets updated regularly with new information on Synology 2023 Hardware. Have a great week!
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