Synology has been refreshing its catalog of NAS enclosures for the 2023 season and today we're looking at what replaces the existing DiskStation DS920+. The new Synology DiskStation DS923+ is an AMD-powered enclosure with M.2 SSD storage support, the same excellent DSM operating system, and improved specs. It has the specification sheet to warrant a place on our list for best Synology NAS, but just how good is it for daily use?
I found the specifications of the DS923+ to be a little strange. Without buying the optional (and proprietary) 10GbE adapter, you're stuck with two 1GbE connections. That's not an issue for most people who will buy the NAS, but it will put off those who have the network infrastructure to take advantage of 2.5GbE found by default on other competing NAS. The processor is absolutely fine, making this one powerful prebuilt NAS.
Synology is slowly refreshing its existing catalog of NAS solutions and the DS923+ is next in line to receive the AMD processor treatment. It's a great four-bay NAS with plenty of specifications to appreciate, including two M.2 SSD slots, an optional 10GbE adapter, and the ability to install up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM.
This NAS is designed for heavy use at home or in the office. The DiskStation Manager is super-simple to use and will have you up and running in no time at all. Synology differs itself from the competition through its cloud services and first-party app support.
- Brand: Synology
- CPU: AMD Ryzen R1600
- Memory: 4 GB (max. 32 GB)
- Drive Bays: 4
- Expansion: Two M.2 slots, One eSATA
- Ports: Two 1GbE, Two USB 3.2 Gen 1, One eSATA
- Caching: Yes
- OS: DiskStation Manager (DSM)
- Price: $599.99
- Dimensions: 166 x 199 x 223 mm
- Weight: 2.24 kg
- Excellent performance for SSD and storage
- M.2 slots can (finally!) be used for storing data
- DiskStation Manager OS is as brilliant as ever
- No integrated GPU
- No 2.5GbE networking
Price and availability
Synology priced the DiskStation DS923+ at $599.99. It's a tough pill to swallow, especially given its predecessor didn't cost this much, and it's possible to find other NAS enclosures at a more reasonable price. The DS923+ is available right now from partnered retailers, though we'd recommend taking a look at NAS from TerraMaster and ASUSTOR for better value offerings.
Design and features
The Synology DiskStation DS923+ is almost identical to the DS9230+ and that's because it's a direct successor. Synology didn't want to change too much with its latest four-bay NAS offering and the external shell could be mistaken for the older model if it weren't for the DS923+ model number printed up front. That said, Synology makes some good-looking enclosures and the DiskStation DS923+ is no exception. It's a sleek NAS that will fit right at home in almost any setting.
The front panel has the aforementioned model number, as well as some status LED indicators for checking disk and network activity, one of two available USB-A ports, and the power button. Four 3.5-inch drive bays are located here too, allowing one to install up to 80TB of capacity without the need for an expansion unit. The two sides of the NAS are bare, aside from branding and ventilation, as is the top. The two M.2 slots can be found underneath the NAS, behind two removable trays.
On the rear of the DS923+ is where one will locate the DC input from the external PSU, two 1GbE ports, the second USB-A port, and the aforementioned eSATA port. There's no HDMI output for running Plex or outputting video signals to a display, which is a shame. There is a 10GbE adapter on the rear of the NAS that supports Synology's own proprietary cards. If you're not comfortable paying more for the luxury of increased network speeds, you'll be limited to the two 1GbE ports.
Software and performance
Okay, I'm finally getting to the elephant in the room — that AMD Ryzen R1600 processor. The chip itself is a fantastic SoC offering with two cores and four threads, 5MB of cache, and the capability of boosting up to 3.1GHz. It puts some of the Atom and Celeron processors from Intel we've enjoyed using inside NAS to shame for raw performance. It's not bad for a 25W TDP processor, but where it does fall a little short is the lack of an integrated GPU.
AMD does allow for such a component to be added into the mix (AMD Ryzen R1606G), which would have worked well for a NAS enclosure, but Synology opts not to have dedicated graphics processing here. One may assume that it's not great for transcoding content, which is what many owners of the predecessor used the NAS for, but it's not actually that bad. For testing, we ran Plex, Synology’s Surveillance Center, as well as a few other packages, and only really encountered some stuttering when attempting to transcode a big media file.
Using Seagate's 4TB IronWolf NAS drives, we were able to achieve decent results with some storage-related benchmarks. The Synology DiskStation DS923+ managed 288MB/s and 285MB/s for read and write, respectively. That's not too bad at all and easily more than enough to saturate the two 1GbE connections on the rear of the enclosure. Adding an optional expansion unit into the mix with the eSATA port and you'll have one capable hub for storing a lot of data.
There are plenty of competitors to the Synology DiskStation DS923+ from TerraMaster, ASUSTOR, QNAP, among other brands. We'd recommend checking out the TerraMaster F4-423, for instance. It's a great little NAS with the same drive bay configuration and other specifications, though TerraMaster does come rocking two 2.5GbE ports, a considerable upgrade to the DS923+'s two 1GbE connections. It's also a full $100 more affordable than the Synology NAS.
QNAP tends to be slightly more expensive than Synology and the QNAP TS-464 is a very capable NAS with 2.5GbE networking, an optional upgrade to 10GbE, M.2 slots, and a powerful low-power Intel CPU. QNAP's OS is a little more refined than what TerraMaster offers, better matching the Synology experience.
Should you buy it?
The Synology DiskStation DS923+ is very much part of the company's 2023 push into using AMD processors. The DS920+ this NAS replaces was incredibly popular, especially for use as a media server running Plex. The Synology DiskStation DS923+ can technically run Plex and transcode even 4K content, just like the Synology DiskStation DS1522+, but you may find it a little lacking without the integrated GPU, but for most people the difference will be negligible. It's still an outstandingly powerful NAS for the home and/or small office.
The four drive bays (with the support for an expansion unit) ensures you'll likely not run out of storage space. It's possible (using 20TB NAS drives) to have a total capacity of 180TB with the DS923+, which is a lot of data. This isn't a budget-friendly enclosure, nor is it specifically designed for media consumption, but Synology created a great mid-tier flagship NAS with all the bells and whistles you'd expect to see, aside from 2.5GbE networking.