Last year we took an in-depth ‘deep dive’ into the Synology ecosystem via the rather good DiskStation DS1520+ and walked away very impressed with the state of the NAS appliance industry. Today we will be putting another Synology under the microscope to further see precisely what Synology’s “IT Enthusiast and S/MB” Grade NAS models have to offer. To be precise we will be looking at the recently released, $800 DiskStation DS1621+.

Make no mistake the DS1621+ is not “just a DS1520+ with an extra bay attached”, nor is it “just a refreshed DS1618+”. Instead, many things have changed under the hood. The most notable is not the improved chassis. No, the most obvious to enthusiasts, and the most exciting, is this is not an Intel CPU based model (the previous DS1618+ used the Intel Atom c3538, and 20+ models use the Intel Celeron j4125). Rather than Intel, Synology has opted for AMD’s (Zen 1 based) 4core/8thread Ryzen V1500B. This change is more than just going from ‘Ford’ to a ‘Chevy’ and represents a massive leap forward in processing horsepower. Think better than 47 percent improvement over its predecessor (or about 25-40 percent improvement over the J4125… depending on benchmark used). This improvement, should (in theory) translate to even better RAID 5/6/SHR1/SHR2/etc. performance… as it is the creation of the parity stripe(s) that slow things down. Mix in support for ECC RAM, and plenty of it, the V1000-series may indeed represent a great leap forward for the entire NAS appliance industry.

Of course, this change is not all roses and not without controversy. Needless to say, we will be investigating the pros and cons of what the changes actually mean to real-world usage and see what else may be different – in both good and bad meaning of the word. To this end we will be testing it in its “out of the box” configuration and with upgraded RAM (32GB Micron MTA18ASF2G72HZ-2G6E1), and upgraded NIC (E10G21-F2 add in card). We will then go over the various upgrade options and the pros and cons of such upgrades. This way, by the end of this review you should have a very good handle on what the new DS1621+ brings to the table and if it is the optimal NAS appliance for your needs.