This is the DS923+ from Synology.
The folks over at Synology sent this over to me to take a look at and share with you, so let’s take a look around the chassis and then we’ll get into the details.
The DS923+ Chassis
On the front we’re going to see 4 drive bayes and status lights for each drive as well as a status light for the device itself.
We’ve also got a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port for connecting to external USB storage or other compatible devices.
Right under the USB port we’ve got a power button with just a little branding below that.
The sides are both pretty sparse other than the Synology branding.
The back of the device sports 2x92mm fans for cooling as well as dual 1GbE NICs and an eSata port for attaching the optional DX517 expansion unit for more drives and storage. Also, don’t forget the recessed reset button in case you need it.
Below that we’ve got a power port for the 100 watt power supply.
We’ve also got an expansion slot for an optional 10GbE RJ45 network card.
Lastly we’ve got another USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and a Kensington Lock.
On the bottom we’ve got a couple of NVMe drives for cache or storage depending on how you set it up.
The DS923+ Internals
Next we’ll take a look at the inside of the device after removing the drive bays. There’s not much going on in there other than this is where you’ll upgrade your RAM as needed. The 923+ comes with 4GB of RAM, but supports up to 32GB.
We’ve got an AMD Ryzen R1600 CPU powering the device. While the Ryzen CPU is 64bit with a 2.6 and 3.1GHz base and boost clock respectively, it is only a dual-core CPU, which, in my opinion leaves a bit on the table since this appears to be the only Ryzen embedded processor in this class without Vega Graphics.
By simply upgrading to the 1606G, we coule have had the same 12-25 watt TDP, 2 cores, 4 threads, base and boost clocks, but, again, with the Vega 3 graphics.
Setting up the DS923+
Getting the drives installed and getting the device’s initial setup only took a few minutes from the time I opened the box until I was up and ready to login to the DSM dashboard.
To go through the setup process, I used the DSM Finder app on my phone just to keep things super simple.
With the DSM Finder app, you can manage your Synology devices with an easy-to-use design that lets you do everything from get system information and notifications to managing your Synolog system updates. You can also use the app to navigate the folder and file structure on your Synology and even update the apps on the device.
The setup process installed DSM 7.1.1 and set up the drives in Synology Hybrid RAID with Btrfs for the file system.
I immediately installed a couple of my go-to apps like Docker and Plex.
You could, of course install any number of other apps, or packages as they’re called in the package center, based on whatever your needs might be for the 923+
Obviously I installed Plex to see how it would handle playing media on my local network and I installed Docker so that I could install an iPerf3 container to make sure I was able to get the full speed of the network ports.
We’ll come back to the media playback tests in a moment, but I was easily able to saturate the 1GbE ports with no issues or hiccups along the way.
Media Playback and Transcoding on Plex
The media files I played were a mix of h245 and h256 videos that all played without issue.
I will say that this is all being played on my local network, so there wasn’t any transcoding going on to play the files on my laptop or TVs which left the CPU usage under 20% pretty consistently and closer to 0% once the video has been running for a while.
I mentioned earlier that I installed Docker on the device so that I could run an iPerf3 test on the network cards, but, because we can install Docker, we’ve got a huge number of options for additional applications we can install on the device to make it do basically whatever we could want it to do.
Side note: I’m not sure if you know this or not, but I spent more than a year using my DS1621xs+ (also supplied by Synology), as a VM host where I had OpenMediaVault installed for the tutorials I was making on this channel at the time.
Of course, you don’t have to use Docker to extend the funtionality of the device as there is a good number of native apps you can install via the Synology Package Manager.
One of the packages that I’ve got installed on my 1621xs+ device that I would probably skip over on the 923+ is the Virtual Machine Manager. While the 1621 has a Xeon processor with a bunch of cores, again, the 923 has a Ryzen processor with 2 cores and 4 threads, so your ability to run anything more than a low-powered VM would be pretty limited.
Backup App Use Cases
You could, of course install things like Hyper Backup to back up folders, system settings, and software packages from your Synology NAS to a wide range of destinations, while saving space with compression and deduplication.
Or you might be interested in Active Backup for Business where you can Manage backup tasks for physical and virtual environments from a centralized dashboard to keep data and services always available.
Something that should be considered whether install native apps or installing Docker containers: Be aware of the resource needs of your VMs and containers in order to make sure that you don’t overload the CPU.
So what are my overall thoughts on the DS923+?
If you’re looking a small-ish form factor NAS device to store your files, photos, and media, that can support local playback via Plex or a similar app the DS923+ is a great device.
While it comes with a 100 watt power supply, the power consumption listed on the website is about 35 watts under load and only 11 watts at idle with the drives in hibernation.
One of the things I’ve always liked about Synoloy devices is that they are quiet almost all of the time unless you’ve got the fans set to ramp up, at which point they will let you know they’re there.
Learn more here: https://dbte.ch/ds923
Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/409xpem (affiliate link)
Buy on Amazon w/ 10G: https://amzn.to/42CcthN (affiliate link)