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Synology DS1522+ vs DS1520+: Which NAS is best?

Go for the Synology DS1522+ or DS1520+?

The Synology DiskStation DS1522+ is part of the company’s 2022 lineup of NAS enclosures. It has an AMD Ryzen processor, replacing the Intel Celeron J4125 found in the outgoing DiskStation DS1520+. The five-bay enclosures from Synology are an interesting stop gap between home and enthusiast NAS. Here’s how the old compares against the new.

Versatile AMD NAS

Synology DiskStation DS1522+

Synology DiskStation DS1522+
Synology DiskStation DS1522+ (Source: Synology)
  • AMD Ryzen R1600 CPU
  • Up to 32GB of ECC DDR4 RAM
  • Newer hardware
  • 5 drive bays
  • 2 M.2 slots
  • Optional 10Gb LAN adapter
  • No integrated GPU

Synology didn’t need to change too much with the newer DiskStation DS1522+. There’s a newer processor from AMD with far better RAM support, and an optional (proprietary) 10Gb LAN adapter.

Old but mighty

Synology DiskStation DS1520+

Synology DiskStation DS1520+
Synology DiskStation DS1520+ (Source: Synology)
  • Intel Celeron J4125 CPU
  • Integrated GPU
  • 5 drive bays
  • 2 M.2 slots
  • 8GB of non-ECC DDR4 RAM
  • Older hardware
  • Limited to four 1Gb LAN ports

The older DiskStation DS1520+ may not be the newest kid on the block, but it’s still worth considering if you’re looking for a slightly more affordable NAS for Plex. The Intel CPU has an integrated GPU.

Looking for the outright best NAS between the two? Go with the Synology DiskStation DS1522+. It has fresher hardware, a newer processor, supports more RAM (and ECC at that), and allows you to install an optional 10Gb LAN adapter. The DiskStation DS1520+ should only be considered if heavily discounted or you need an integrated GPU.

Synology DiskStation DS1522+ is great for storing data

The Synology DiskStation DS1522+ is a brilliant piece of kit. Running the latest version of Synology’s DSM OS, the ADM Ryzen R1600 is still a relative newcomer to the world of NAS. It’s a dual-core CPU with four threads and is capable of boosting higher than the older Intel Celeron J4125.

There’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM preinstalled, the same as the DS1520+, but it supports error-checking (ECC) and can be bumped up to a whopping 32GB. If that wasn’t all, the same M.2 slots are present for installing SSD caching, just in case you needed it.

Another new entry for this NAS is the optional 10Gb networking adapter. This uses a non-standard PCIe connection that prevents you from using an aftermarket 10Gb networking card but does mean you can unlock more bandwidth on the DS1522+.

Synology DiskStation DS1522+Synology DiskStation DS1520+
CPUAMD Ryzen R1600
(2 cores, 2.6GHz)
Intel Celeron J4125
(4 cores, 2.7GHz)
RAM8GB ECC DDR4 (max 32GB)8GB DDR4 (max 16GB)
Drive bays5x (SSD/HDD)
2x M.2 slots
5x (SSD/HDD)
2x M.2 slots
Capacity100TB100TB
Expansion support
Cooling2x 92mm fan2x 92mm fan
Ports1x 10Gb LAN (sold separately)
4x 1Gb LAN
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
2x eSATA
4x 1Gb LAN
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
2x eSATA
PCIe slots
Power draw~52.06W~36.67W
Dimensions166 x 230 x 223 mm166 x 230 x 223 mm
Weight2.7 kg2.26 kg
Price$700$700

The rest of the specifications between the DS1522+ and DS1520+ are largely the same, including the cooling, dimensions, launch price, and capacity. Interestingly, should you need yet more capacity for storing data, the DS1522+ can be hooked up to two Synology DX517 expansion units.

The DiskStation DS1522+ is an all-around brilliant NAS for storing a lot of data.

Synology DiskStation DS1520+ is the better NAS for Plex

It’s difficult to underestimate just how important the processor is inside a NAS for running a media server. Not all media files can be streamed to every device known to man, which is where transcoding comes into play. This requires the NAS CPU to effectively change the media file on the fly to ensure it’s supported by the recipient device.

The process of transcoding is an intensive task for the CPU and is best suited for a graphics card. Most NAS enclosures don’t have the ability to install a dedicated GPU, which is where integrated graphics come into play. Intel Celeron processors all have integrated GPUs. The same cannot be said for all AMD Ryzen CPUs.

The DiskStation DS1522+ has no GPU. The older DiskStation DS1520+ does indeed have Intel graphics, making it the better choice if you need to transcode media files for streaming. That’s not to say it’s not possible on the DS1522+, it just means the AMD Ryzen R1600 would struggle to transcode and perform other tasks simultaneously.

Mostly everything else between the two NAS enclosures is the same, aside from the optional 10Gb LAN adapter, which is truly a niche for the time being.

Synology DiskStation DS1522+
Synology DiskStation DS1522+ (Source: Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS1522+

The newer DiskStation DS1522+ is a brilliant mid-tier enclosure for storing lots of data. The AMD Ryzen processor is brilliant for heavy workloads.

Synology DiskStation DS1520+
Synology DiskStation DS1520+ (Source: Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS1520+

This may be the older NAS of the two, but the Intel processor is still great for running Plex Media Server, thanks to the integrated GPU.

By Richard Edmonds

I've been covering the tech industry for more than a decade and have tinkered with NAS for just as long. Follow my ramblings and more right here on NAS Master!

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