Even in its basic configuration, the Synology DiskStation DS723+ network storage is designed for performance. And it does so in a compact form with very little to dislike if you can afford one.
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The network storage Synology DiskStation DS723+ is a NAS empty housing with two bays, which is tailored to the use in small companies and freelancers. In addition to high performance specs, durability is also important here. The test examines how well the NAS system keeps both promises.
Specs & Features
With the Ryzen R1600 (dual-core, 2.6 GHz clock speed, 3.6 GHz boost), the NAS manufacturer is using an AMD processor for the first time in this series and is turning away from Intel CPUs. In the basic configuration, the CPU is joined by two GB of RAM (DDR4 ECC SODIMM) – a RAM configuration that reaches its limits as soon as the possibilities of the NAS system are exhausted.
However, the RAM can be easily expanded. The Synology model is designed for a maximum of up to 32GB in total via two slots.
The two 1GbE LAN ports are located on the rear of the housing. In addition, there is an eSATA port here – that is a rarity by now. In this case, it is intended for a NAS expansion enclosure. The only USB 3.2 Gen1 port is found on the front of the case.
The two M.2 slots on the underside of the housing show that the DiskStation DS723+ wants to meet high demands. NVMe SSDs in 2280 size can be inserted here, which can be used for fast caching as well as for additional storage capacity.
In addition, there is a PCIe slot on the rear of the housing behind a screwed cover, which can be used to bring the NAS system up to multi-gigabit level via an expansion card. The Synology E10G22-T1-Mini card intended for this purpose costs $110 at the time of testing and delivers up to 10GbE – but at the same time also the intermediate levels of 2.5- and 5GbE.
The two drive bays of the Synology DiskStation DS723+ are lockable. Two plastic keys are included with the device. The hard drive holders are made of the same material. Here, 3.5-inch HDDs can be attached without tools by means of clips on the side. For 2.5-inch drives (HDDs or SSDs), matching screws are included in the scope of delivery to give the smaller disks the necessary hold.
Synology now focuses on its own drives. If you want to compare disks with the compatibility list of the DS723+ on the website, you have to switch from “Synology” to “third-party manufacturer” in a drop-down field above the list. Currently, the maximum capacity is 36TB (18TB per drive).
As you would expect from the NAS manufacturer, the Synology DiskStation DS723+ is easy to get up and running. After connecting to your network, you either search for it via browser and http://find.synology.com or via the help tool Synology Assistant, which you can download free of charge from the manufacturer’s support site to the client PC.
In both cases, you end up at the web assistant for installing the firmware Diskmanager (DSM). With version 7.2, the Synology DiskStation DS723+ uses the latest version at the time of testing.
During the first setup steps, you can select some settings individually. You can choose between Btrfs and Ext4 as the file system and also have several options for the Raid mode. We stick with the SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) recommended by the manufacturer, which is similar to a Raid 1.
The fact that the NAS empty case Synology DiskStation DS723+ is aimed at the experienced NAS user is shown, for example, by the fact that you set up directories like “Home” or “Public” yourself.
With entry-level devices, they are usually created automatically. However, since the DSM user interface is very clear, this is not a particular hurdle even for a less experienced NAS user. This is all the more true because you can be introduced to the most important settings of DSM in a “quick tour”.
Already in the benchmark runs with the tool Nastester, the Synology DiskStation DS723+ shows a high performance on the 1GbE LAN connection. On average, the sequential data rates oscillate between 117- and 118 MB/s both in writing and reading – a very good result.
If we use the multi-gigabit card, the 10GbE port reports as “LAN 3”. Here, the RAM proves to be a brake. As soon as it is full, the data rates drop – especially with large files. The NAS system cannot fully utilise the LAN bandwidth here.
Overall, the network storage achieves the best performance with the 100MB file of the benchmark tool. Here it delivers 553MB/s in writing and 642MB/s in reading. For comparison: With the 8GB file, the data rate drops to 175MB/s in writing and a good 166MB in reading.
The practical runs in gigabit mode on a LAN port are absolutely convincing: the DS723+ writes and reads the UHD film at just over 109MB/s. It also achieves a high performance of almost 40MB/s in our 2GB backup with 4195 files – the previous best value is 43MB/s here.
Moreover, the NAS system is resilient. Because it also achieves a top value with almost 79MB/s when writing backup and UHD movie at the same time.
As in the benchmark test, the NAS system cannot exhaust the bandwidth on the 10GbE LAN connection: it writes the UHD movie with almost 160MB/s and reads it with over 161MB/s. The NAS system achieves a good 66MB/s in backup writing.
When writing backups, it achieves a good 66MB/s. If it performs both tasks simultaneously, it achieves a good 123MB/s. All in all, you can’t get around a hardware upgrade for multi-gigabit – definitely in the case of the RAM, but also with the NVMe SSDs.
The Synology DiskStation DS723+ network storage works very quietly in the test. Silent mode” is set in the DSM ex works. This setting means that only the magnetic disks are somewhat audible. The power consumption of the Synology DiskStation DS723+ shows that high performance drives up the energy demand.
Under load, the device consumes a good 31W; in idle mode, the energy requirement drops to 21W. The consumption can be reduced via the sleep mode for the drives. If this is activated, the consumption drops to 10.2W – a consumption value in the upper third of the test field. In 10GbE mode, you also have to reckon with about 4 to 5W more.
Should you buy the Synology DiskStation DS723+?
The NAS system fulfils the promise of high performance in 1GbE operation, not least thanks to the powerful AMD CPU. At the same time, the strength of the 2Bay device lies in its future-proofing. This is ensured by several expansion options. They start with RAM, go through NVMe SSDs and extend to multi-gigabit LAN.
The latter upgrade idea in particular is innovative, as it enables a smooth transition from 1GbE to 10GbE. This concept is commendable, even if it presupposes that you are prepared to make a relatively high investment for a dual-bay NAS.