Synology is finally starting to integrate AMD processors into its NAS line. A change that comes when the company has been in decline in recent years in terms of innovations. But is the Ryzen V1500B based DS1621+ a good compromise? Synology did not only have version 7.0 of its DSM interface in its bag. The manufacturer has also prepared a series of NAS that breaks with its habits. If the DS1621xs + had been an encouraging first sign, with its Xeon D processor and its 10 Gb/s network, the DS1621+ has hit the nail on the head.
Admittedly, it is satisfied with 4x 1 Gb/s and integrates the now usual M.2 slots for SSDs acting as a cache. Nevertheless it offers a PCIe 3.0 x8 slot (wired in x4) and an AMD processor. This is not a classic model but a Ryzen V1500B intended for the embedded market. While it arrives in store at around 915 euros, we were able to get our hands on a copy.
Synology DS1621+ A high-end NAS, almost ideal
At this rate, we are more in the upper range of desktop NAS. But until now, this did not prevent the manufacturer from using processors derived from Atom, more rarely from Pentium models. The arrival of a “real” CPU is therefore rather a good thing. Especially since the price remains moderate.
This did not happen without some sacrifices, without getting to the point of the DS1520+ that we recently analyzed. Indeed, this DS1621+ is entitled to two fans of 92 mm and an integrated power supply (of 250 watts) in a metal frame of 282 x 243 x 166 mm. Its memory is limited to 1x 4 GB, which will be sufficient for basic uses. We can nevertheless climb up to 2x 16 GB.
A compromise that is undoubtedly acceptable, as is the absence of a 2.5 / 5/10 Gb/s network since you can add a PCIe card. Unfortunately, only Synology models are recognized. To use others, you will have to tweak and use third-party drivers. Hopefully that will change.
For the tests today, we nevertheless placed an E10G18-T1 with an RJ45 port. A model sold more expensive than the average since it is found iat around 170 euros against 95 euros for a simple ASUS XG-C100C card which however uses exactly the same Aquantia chip (AQC107).
Access to the memory can be done from the bottom of the device, a screw hatch being provided for this purpose. Access for M.2 SSD is from the inside, after all bays have been removed, on the left of the NAS. If the connection is complete, we regret being still limited to USB 3.2 at 5 Gb/s while it would have been quite possible to have at least one 10 Gb/s port, four being natively managed by the processor.
The machine weighs 4.7 kg on our scale. In the bundle we find a power cord, two RJ45 cables, screws and manuals. The warranty is guaranteed for three years, extendable to five years.
Video transcoding and consumption
The Ryzen V1500B is devoid of graphics, and therefore acceleration for video compression. The Video Station application is nevertheless present, offering transcoding functionalities. But it is impossible to use them in real time, not to mention the CPU impact, sometimes significant as with a 4K file:
You still have the option of transcoding offline. It is thus carried out on the CPU, in advance. The reduced definition file is therefore stored on the NAS and can be read at any time without delays. A method that can quickly be greedy in storage space and which requires getting organized.
Note that the NAS consumes 46 watts at the idle outlet with a 10 Gb/s network card installed, three HDD and three SSD integrated into its six bays. In full transcoding, this value jumps to 61 watts. Synology announces 25 watts in hibernation. The fan is pretty quiet, even when the CPU is under heavy load and spinning faster. Of course, you can switch from quiet mode (default) to higher speeds if you wish.
A NAS that ready for virtualization
But the real strength of this NAS and its CPU compared to other models is elsewhere: equipped with four high-performance cores and being able to integrate up to 32 GB of memory, it can be fully used to virtualize systems, which it is a machine under Linux or Windows. It will then be necessary to increase the memory.
Because the 4 GB by default only allow to allocate 1760 MB to virtual machines, the rest must remain available for DSM. Here, Synology has made the choice, as for the network, to remain on a basic use by default, this quantity being sufficient for a few basic Linux VM, while allowing to go further by supplementing the NAS. As a reminder, it can climb to 2x 16 GB of DDR4.
Note also that Synology offers a complete suite of tools for virtualization, whether it is to manage it within the NAS, to save remote environments or even to have the two coexist with migration in the event of failure for example.
Finally, here is our usual performance report under OpenSSL in RSA 4096 bits (via SSH):
Signatures / second:
1 CPU: 110
4 CPU: 457
Checks / second:
1 CPU: 7,110
4 CPU: 29,564
That’s roughly double the DS1520+ and its Celeron J4125. On the data transfer side, although we noted maximum values of 900 MB/s in writing on our three SSD in RAID 0 without encryption, with encryption we were limited to between 300 and 600 MB/s depending on the case. We will come back to this point in more detail shortly.
Conclusion of Synology DS1621+ with Ryzen V1500B
We can only appreciate to see Synology finally offering more diversity within its NAS. Opening up to AMD is a good thing, even if it is a shame that for the moment this is only done through an old reference which does not take full advantage of the latest developments in the Zen architecture. It is nevertheless a good start.
This DS1621+ is undoubtedly one of the best-performing turnkey NAS around 900 euros, especially with six bays, PCIe expansion, integrated power supply, etc. While the manufacturer could have bet on native 2.5G / 10G, but that would undoubtedly have inflated the base price. The same goes for the 4 GB of DDR4.
You can thus opt for this NAS at an attractive price and upgrade it subsequently, as needed. Virtualization enthusiasts will put memory there, those wanting throughput will add SSD cache and a 10 Gb/s network card. Our only real regret is also the fact that we can only use models validated by Synology, which unnecessarily inflates the user’s bill. We would also have liked a USB 3.2 port at 10 Gb/s.
Anyway, this DS1621+ is a model that should interest more than one. If there should be any sign that the manufacturer seems determined to come back in force, its marketing is certainly one. All that is needed is to be able to switch it to DSM 7.0 to take full advantage of it. Soon, hopefully.