Synology’s latest 5-bay DiskStation DS1522+ NAS server for homes and small businesses is a silent yet significant upgrade in the lineup.
This brief review will focus on this novelty and what that means. In the grand scheme of things, the DS1522+ is another familiar and excellent NAS server, but you should look at it as $880 hardware instead of a $699.99 one as its retail price (disk-less) suggests.
Confused? Let’s find out what I mean.
Dong’s note: I first published this post on Jun 29, 2022, as a new piece and updated it to an in-depth review on July 20 after thorough hands-on testing.
Table of Contents
DiskStation DS1522+: 6th time is the charm
Generally, Synology releases its 5-bay DS15xx Plus server every two years, starting with the DS1511+ that came out in 2011.
The company skipped the 2019 model year. After that, we had the DS1520+. And now the latest DS1522+ is the 6th generation in the product line.
Other than the 2020 model, I’ve tested all DS15xx servers, starting with the DS1511+, and in my experience, this lineup is the most well-balanced.
With five native drive bays, the DS15xx gives users the option to run multiple RAID setups, including RAID 6, and good flexibility in network storage. And the ability to expand to 10 drive bays more is a good option, just in case.
I’ve owned and I’m still using/managing many DS15xx+ servers, including DS1511+, DS1513, DS1515+, and DS1517+ in various capacities. I skipped the DS1520+ upon finding out it was similar to the DS1019+, which I have also been using.
The table below will show you the slow hardware evolution of this lineup.
|Dimensions||16.6 x 23 x 22.3 cm||16.6 x 23 x 22.3 cm||16.6 x 28.2 x 24.3 cm||15.7x 24.8 x 23.3 cm||15.7x 24.8 x 23.3 cm||15.7x 24.8 x 23.3 cm|
|USB Port||2x USB 3.0||2x USB 3.0||4x USB 3.0||4x USB 3.0||2x USB 3.0,|
4x USB 2.0
|4x USB 2.0|
|CPU||2.6 GHz AMD Ryzen R1600 Dual-Core|
|2.0GHz Intel Celeron J4125|
2.4 GHz Intel Atom C2538 Quad-Core
|2.4 GHz Intel Atom C2538 Quad-Core||2.13 GHz|
Intel Atom Dual Core
(Expandable to 32GB)
(Expandable to 20GB)
(Expandable to 16GB)
(Expandable to 6GB)
|2GB (Expandable to 4GB)||1GB|
(Expandable to 3GB)
|Built-in NVMe M.2 slot|
|PCIe slot |
1x 8-lane PCIe slot
(1x 10Gbps BASE-T)
|None||Synology E10G21-F2 (2x SFP+ port)|
Synology E10G18-T1 (1x 10Gbps BASE-T)
Synology E10M20-T1 (1x 10Gbps BASE-T, 2x NVMe M.2 slot)
In terms of physical design, the DS1522+ is basically the DS1520+ plus the new Network Upgrade Slot. Compared to the DS1517+, the new server does away with the PCIe slot.
DiskStation DS1522+: Lots of improvements
From the table above, you’ll note that DS1522+ differs from previous servers.
Specifically, it’s the first that comes with NVMe M.2 slots to host two solid-state drives for caching and the option to upgrade to 10Gbps Ethernet.
The NVMe SSDs can’t work as regular storage volumes.
Previous servers only have one of those options or none at all.
The new and easy 10Gbps upgrade module
Most importantly, the 10Gbps-capable upgrade now comes in the form of a Network Upgrade Slot to house the new E10G22-T1-Mini module that Synology launched simultaneously with a new server.
For now, this module only features a single 10Gbps BASE-T port and fits only the DS1522+. However, future servers will likely also have this slot, and chances are we’ll find SFP+ modules or those with more than two ports going forward.
For now, though, the new server has no SFP+ or dual 10Gbps Ethernet option, which can be a deal-breaker for those needing one.
It’s worth noting that the new 10Gbps module is proprietary and will only work on supported Synology servers. However, going strict on hardware support has been the Synology way. The clearest sign is DSM 7 where third-party USB dongles are no longer supported. While this approach increases the cost, it improves stability.
The E10G22-T1-Mini has the current street price of $180 — which will fluctuate based on demand — comparable to a PCIe card for the DS1517+. Considering Multi-Gig networking is a must for a server, you should look at the DS1522+ as an $880 server with the option of not going 10Gbps for less.
If you add the E10G22-T1-Mini module or any 10Gbps upgrade card to your server, make sure you don’t use it for the initial setup process. Pick one of the server’s built-in Gigabit ports instead.
A Synology server will not recognize any add-on supported hardware until after its operating system has been installed.
The Ryzen migration
The second most important thing to note is that, like the case of DS1821+ or DS1621+, the DS1522+ now uses an embedded AMD Ryzen CPU, the R1600 dual-core running at 2.6 GHz, with the max boost clock of up to 3.1 GHz.
In my experience, AMD Ryzen is much more powerful for daily computing than Intel Atom or Celeron CPUs, which were widely used in previous models. The new AMD CPUs elevate these home and SMB servers’ capability, making them more comparable to Synology’s enterprise models running Intel Xeon chips.
In return, AMD CPUs generally don’t have built-in GPU resulting in the fact they are not as good as Intel chips in handling video streaming — there’s no hardware support for 4K transcoding.
However, due to the ubiquity of flexible playback software — such as VLC, which is available on all platforms –, the lack of media transcoding on the server side is no longer a huge issue.
Since the DS1621+, I’ve turned off hardware transcoding on the server side and let the frontend playback software take care of everything. With that, I’ve been able to stream 4K videos hosted on my server using the Synology Video Station on any device, even when traveling.
Since 2021, almost all new home and small business NAS servers from Synology have used AMD chips. This trend is likely to continue.
DSM 7.1 out of the box
The DS1522+ is the first in the family to run DSM 7.1 out of the box — previous servers originally came with DSM 6.
While this means you won’t be able to run some legacy apps with it, the latest OS has much better performance and a more streamlined user interface.
Most noticeably, with DSM 7.1, the DS1522+ is also the first server that features Surveillance Station 9.0 — you can use up to 40 IP cameras with it. The new app, per Synology, features simultaneous dual recording to C2 Surveillance cloud storage.
Synology DiskStation 1522+: Detail photos
Synology DiskStation DS1522+ vs DS1520+: Hardware specifications
|CPU||AMD RyzenTM R1600 dual-core (4-thread) 2.6 GHz, max. boost clock up to 3.1 GHz||Intel Celeron J4125 4-core 2.0 GHz, burst up to 2.7 GHz|
|System Memory||8GB DDR4 ECC SODIMM||8 GB DDR4 non-ECC (4 GB onboard & 4 GB SO-DIMM slot)|
|Max Memory||32GB via two memory slots |
(16 GB x 2)
|20GB via one memory slot |
(16 GB + 4GB)
|Dimensions||166 x 230 x 223 mm||166 x 230 x 223 mm|
|Weight||2.7 kg||2.62 kg|
|Expansion Support||Yes (two units)||Yes (two units)|
|Drive Interface||SATA 6Gbps/3Gbps; |
|SATA 6Gbps/3Gbps; |
|Built-in M.2 Slots||Two||Two|
|RAID Types||SHR, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10||SHR, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10|
|Ports / Interfaces||4x RJ-45 1GbE LAN, |
2x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
|4x RJ-45 1GbE LAN, |
3x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
|PCIe Expansion||Network Upgrade Slot||None|
|E10G22-T1-Mini 10Gbps-BASE-T module||None|
|Operating System||DSM 7.1 (and later)||DSM 6.2 (and later)|
|File System (Internal / External)||Internal: Btrfs, ext4|
External: Btrfs, ext4, ext3, FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, exFAT (via app)
|Internal: Btrfs, ext4|
External: Btrfs, ext4, ext3, FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, exFAT (via app)
|Number of IP Camera Support|
(for Surveillance Station)
|Warranty||3 years||3 years|
Some old remains, a familiar server at heart
But not everything about the DS1522+ is new.
The server still features now-legacy eSATA ports to host expansion units instead of the latest and much faster Mini-SAS HD, like the case of the higher-end DS2422+.
eSATA has a ceiling speed of just 5Gpbs, which will be the bottleneck for each expansion unit’s five drives. But in return, you can use the more affordable DX517 instead of the 12-bay DX1222 to expand the storage.
In my experience, if the included 5 bays are not enough, it is better to get a server with more native bays, such as the DS1621+ or DS1821+, or upgrade to larger hard drives. Using expansion units, or USB ports, to add more storage is clunky and might create more points of failure.
Other than that, you can expect the new DiskStation DS1522+ NAS server to have all the goodness of any Synology server, including a robust operating system and tons of valuable add-on packages, as I detailed in this primer post.
And there is some familiar badness, too:
For example, when setting it up with a few large hard drives, you’ll note that the server takes a long time to finish “optimizing” the RAID.
Specifically, the process, which can’t be canceled, took about a day for my three 8TB hard drives in an SHR setup, during which the server worked at slower performance. The similar “data scrubbing,” a recommended periodical maintenance, also takes an incredibly long time to finish.
And like all other Synology servers, the DS1522+ includes only two IP camera licenses, although it can handle up to 40 cameras for its Surveillance Station — each additional license costs some $60 apiece. And you can’t transfer these two to any other server.
But for the most part, the new server has a lot to offer. So much that I’m not going to touch everything it can do in this review. That’d take too long.
Like a computer, the new DS1522+ shares the same feature and apps as others that run Synology DSM 7. The box below includes a short list of the server’s apps and features.
Synology’s common apps and features
These apps and features are generally available across Synology servers that run DSM 7. These are just some examples. There are more than 100 official apps and many more from third parties.
Synology Active Backup for Business (ABB): Consolidate backup tasks for virtualized environments, physical servers, and personal computers, and rapidly restore files, entire machines, or VMs – completely license-free.
Synology Chat: Aimed at businesses, Synology Chat is an IM service that transforms how users collaborate and communicate.
Synology Drive: Host your own private cloud behind the safety of your NAS with 100% data ownership and no subscription fees.
Synology Download Station: Search and download content from the web via a few clicks, no computer is required.
Synology Calendar: Stay on track, share calendars, and schedule meetings while ensuring sensitive information remains safely stored on company premises.
Synology Moments: Manage your photos and videos with deep-learning algorithms that automatically group photos with similar faces, subjects, and places.
Synology Office: Create documents, spreadsheets, and slides in a multi-user environment. Real-time synchronization and saving make collaboration.
Synology Hyper Backup: Backup your NAS safely and efficiently to multiple destinations with deduplication, integrity checks, compression, and versioning.
Synology Surveillance Station: A DIY tool for safeguarding home or business via video surveillance tools.
Synology Virtual Machine Manager (VMM): An intuitive hypervisor that supports Windows, Linux, and Virtual DSM virtual machines. Its powerful disaster recovery tools help users achieve maximum service uptime.
Synology High Availability: Synology High Availability (SHA) combines two Synology NAS servers into one active-passive high-availability cluster, alleviating service disruptions while mirroring data.
Synology Central Management System (CMS): Synology CMS allows you to manage multiple Synology NAS servers quickly and conveniently from a single location.
Synology Video Station: Manage all your movies, TV shows, and home videos. Stream them on multiple devices or share them with friends and family.
Synology Photo Station: Built to help photographers manage their photos and share them with clients for feedback or business development.
Synology Audio Station: Manage your music collection, create personal playlists, stream them to your own devices, or share with family or friends.
Synology File Station: Manage your Synology NAS files remotely through web browsers or mobile devices.
You can migrate to the DS1522+ from any existing server by moving the internal drives over. One thing to remember: The new server doesn’t support DSM 6, nor does it feature the old ext3 file system. Before the upgrade, make sure you first change the existing server’s file system to the Btrfs file system.
DiskStation DS1522+: Excellent performance
For this review, I’ve used the DS1522+ for a week — I will continue to use mine for years to come — and the sever performed as expected.
It was reliable, quiet, and fast. In terms of throughput, it was on par with other high-end servers I’ve reviewed, including the DS1821+ and DS1621+, as you will note in the chart below.
I used a large file (some 100GB) for the tests and copied it between the server and a computer equipped with a 10Gbps network card and the fastest PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD. I used no NVMe caching for the tests.
I tested the server with two SATA SSD in RAID 0 and SHR (similar to RAID 1 in this case) and three hard drives in SHR (equivalent to RAID 5), using a Gigabit or a 10Gbps connection. In the best-case scenario, the server sustained at almost 800MB/s, almost as fast as the speed of a 10Gbps connection after overhead.
Synology DiskStation DS1522+'s Rating
Fast and reliable performance, easy 10Gbps network upgrade
DSM 7 native with lots of useful home and business applications
Straightforward and consistent setup, upgrade, and management
Built-in M.2 NVMe slots
Lots of network storage options
Legacy eSATA for storage expansion; NVMe SSDs only work for caching
Only two camera licenses included
Expensive to upgrade (RAM, 10Gbps module, etc.) due to proprietary approach, no SFP+ option
In more ways than one, the DiskStation DS1522+ is a minor incremental upgrade in Synology’s DS15xx lineup.
But looking at the product family, starting with the oldest unit, the DS1511+, this new server proves to be a sizable upgrade. It’s a new server with impressive novelties while maintaining the familiarities we’ve come to expect from the storage vendor.
But if you’re using a server that can run DSM 7 and don’t yet need 10Gbps Ethernet, or if you’re happy with Link Aggregation, for now, this new router is not a must-have.