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Matthew K.

Matthew K.

Joined on 11/20/02

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Most Favorable Review

Not the cheapest or most flexible home server option in the world, but a great upgrade for an existing Synology user

Synology 5-bay NAS DiskStation DS1520+ (Diskless)
Synology 5-bay NAS DiskStation DS1520+ (Diskless)

Pros: I ran a Synology DS415+ for 6.5 years until it experienced a motherboard issue I didn't feel like repairing. As its HDDs were aging and the internal RAM and CPU were pretty old by modern standards, I'd already been thinking about upgrading to a newer model or potentially building my own NAS and doing everything from scratch. With my existing Synology dead, though, and not wanting to go through the pain of building a home server from the ground up and managing everything myself (plus trying to recover all the data on the perfectly fine HDDs in the process), I went with the 5-bay DS1520+. The great thing about going from old to new Synology is that it really does "just work". I loaded up all four HDDs from my original 4-bay Synology into the correspondingly numbered bays in the 1520+ and it fired up immediately. Once I used DS finder to connect to the new unit, it asked me if I wanted it to inherit the data and configuration of the old unit. I said yes, it took about 510 minutes to reboot, and it was up and running. Within another 30 minutes I'd upgraded to the latest version of DSM 7 and was completely back up and running where I'd been a week before. I then embarked on my quest to upgrade the volume itself and the drives it was running on. Originally I'd planned to move to all SSDs "in-place", but then I found Synology won't let you mix SSDs and HDDs in a single existing SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) volume. It also won't let you convert from EXT4 to Btrfs for the advanced features the newer filesystem provides. So instead I put the extra bay to work by installing a single 8TB SSD and making a new single-drive SHR volume on it. I then used the "move shared folder" function to transparently transfer the data from my various shared folders to the new volume, as the total data (minus my backups which I didn't need to preserve) was less than the size of the single drive. Once that was done, I was able to destroy the old volume, remove the drives from the system, and install the 4 other SSDs and add them to the new volume, converting it to an SHR-2 volume in the process. Now a week later I have a 21.9TB, Btrfs, 2-drive-failuretolerant Synology volume. It's fast and responsive, my Time Machine network backups take less time, and with the more powerful built-in Intel Celeron CPU I can run my Plex server (with hardware transcoding) directly off my NAS instead of my PC (using the NAS only for bulk storage of media). I moved my cloud backup of personal NAS files to Backblaze B2 using the new Hyper Backup app from Synology and that was smooth and easy. My home VPN works exactly as it used to, and all in all this project was mostly headache-free and a great upgrade. Hopefully this unit lasts as long or longer than my previous one did.

Cons: The biggest issue I ran into was extremely slow rebuild times during the SHR conversion process. Underneath the hood Synology is using Linux's md software suite to build their software RAID volumes, and even adjusting the minimum and maximum speeds for the rebuild process were still resulting in quite slow "reshape" speeds (especially compared to the theoretical performance of even my QLC SATA SSDs' slowest speeds). Fortunately I found a tip online that suggested issuing a command that forces the md reshape process to the maximum defined speed. That significantly sped up the last two steps of the process. The other con is not really a Synology problem but an AWS problem. I had been using Synology's older Glacier Backup app to back up personal NAS files to AWS S3 Glacier directly. But with AWS slowly deprecating direct Glacier access the writing was on the wall for that strategy, so I figured it was time to move to a different service. Setting up my Backblaze B2 backup with Hyper Backup on the new Synology was super easy, but getting rid of my old AWS Glacier vaults was not. Turns out to delete a Glacier vault you have to empty it of every archive, and there's no "bulk delete" for that through the consoleyou have to use the CLI or API to individually delete every archive; my Glacier Backup vault had 62,500+ archives in it. Fortunately I know just enough scripting to do this, but if anyone else has been using Glacier Backup in the Synology world previously, it's good to know this is something you'll have to learn to do if you ever want to extricate yourself from Glacier without just completely deleting your entire AWS account.

Overall Review: Overall I think this unit is a great home NAS for a tech enthusiast who wants mass storage and basic home server capabilities in a compact package that's pretty easy to manage (certainly easier than administering your own home Linux server from the ground up). It won't do everything, and it's not going to be as powerful as something you could build yourself with desktop caliber parts. But it's compact, power efficient, fast to setup, and there's a robust community around Synology's ecosystem that makes it hard to beat if you don't want to tinker endlessly. I was satisfied with my previous Synology unit and so far I like this one too.

The perfect 3080 for SFF builds

MSI Ventus GeForce RTX 3080 12GB GDDR6X PCI Express 4.0 Video Card RTX 3080 VENTUS 3X PLUS 12G OC LHR
MSI Ventus GeForce RTX 3080 12GB GDDR6X PCI Express 4.0 Video Card RTX 3080 VENTUS 3X PLUS 12G OC LHR

Pros: - Easy to remove fan shroud, only six screws and two fan cables - Completely flat heat sink top means no tabs to bend or break off - 320W power limit means only 2 PCIe power leads and reasonable temperatures, safer to use with less-beefy PSUs

Cons: - If you only care about high frame rates, regardless of power draw and noise, there are other 3080s for that

Overall Review: This card is fabulous. I have an NCase M1 v6.1 and previously was running a venerable 5 year old 1080 in it (retained from a previous build) alongside a Ryzen 5600X, and was always intending to eventually modernize the GPU side of the equation. Then 2020 happened and GPU prices went through the roof, so I held off. Finally with prices returning to normal (and rumors of the next-gen being even more power-hungry than this one), I decided now was the time. Having done research, I was always intending to get a 3080 that I could deshroud and use with Noctua fans, as my other major goal besides increased 3D performance was reduced noise. Modern DX12 or Vulkan titles would cause my 1080s two fans to settle at their maximum RPM of 3100 and without my headphones on would be very annoying to listen to. This Ventus 3080 is the perfect pick for deshrouding as the included shroud and fans are extremely easy to remove without having to alter the card in any way. In 3 to 5 years when I replace it, Ill be able to reattach the stock shroud and fans in five minutes and be on my merry way. And removing the shroud reveals a perfectly flat heat sink top with no protrusions, ideal for getting replacement fans right up next to the card. By lowering the maximum boost clock to 1800MHz in MSI Afterburner (where in reality it often settles at 18151830MHz) Im able to sustain long gaming sessions at 825mV, reducing power draw to around 280W maximum (and far more in games that dont fully load the GPU). Long sessions of Unreal Engine 4-based factory building game Satisfactory at 1440p sit comfortably at 120+ FPS and GPU die temps in the 65°C range. I also played DOOM Eternal at 4K120Hz with ray tracing enabled for an hour and never saw temps go above the mid-70s, and had no unexpected system reboots, even with my Corsair SFX 600W platinum power supply. And the Noctua NF-A12x25 fans exhausting hot air from the bottom of my case never rise above 1600RPM, a speed that emits a gentle whoosh instead of an annoying hair dryer sound. All in all Im exceptionally pleased with this card. Ive doubled my performance in modern games at the cost of more heat into the room; Ive matched my previous performance in old games with less power draw and heat output; Ive lowered GPU temperatures considerably; Ive gained access to new graphics features like DLSS and real-time ray tracing. And at every performance tier Ive reduced my fan noise to very low levelson older games theyre completely inaudible. I plan on keeping this setup for quite a long time.