Synology’s continued attack to dominate the market continues with the DS720 +. This little brother of the DS420 + is here for those who want the advanced features of this massive NAS but with a slimmer form factor. Everything that is carried by the DS720 + is similar to the DS420 +, including a high performance processor, data cache feature, memory expansion support and support for the famous DSM operating system. Can the DS720 + win the hearts of NAS users and fans in Indonesia? Check out our review below.
Typical monolithic design
Taking the design from the DS420 +, the DS720 + comes with Synology’s signature monolithic design. In fact, you could say that the physical DS720 + is the DS420 + which is halved, with half the dimensions of its big brother, complete with the main black plastic casing material with a matte texture. All of Synology’s distinctive designs are on the DS720. From the front, with the button placement on the lower right side accompanied by a USB 3.0 type A port, the DS720 + display will look common to Synology users.
Like all Synology designs, the DS720 + comes equipped with a logo on the left and right that also functions as an air vent. But on this NAS, the ventilation holes on the left and right are only as a complement and tend to act as an element of identity only. This is because the main air intake function is on the front side, between the HDD tray covers which the DS720 + fan is actively sucked in. With only two HDDs in the NAS, we weren’t too worried about the heat generated as the active fan on the back was already efficiently dissipating that heat out of the NAS enclosure.
From the back side, the DS720 + is equipped with two 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports which support link aggregation which effectively doubles the technical speed up to 2 Gigabit. The large 9cm fan dominates the rear of this NAS, and like its big brother, it is equipped with a temperature sensor to actively accelerate or slow down heat dissipation according to the user’s desired sound level. We recommend leaving the settings in the operating system automatically for long HDD durability. An e-SATA port is available for data storage device connections that support this connector and a USB 3.0 port completes the DS720 + connectivity.
As part of the Synology enterprise series lineup, the DS720 + supports a hot swap feature that allows direct HDD retrieval without having to shut down the NAS. To support this feature, the DS720 + uses a tray with a lockable cover. We highly appreciate the tool-less tray design the DS720 + offers. NAS users do not need to bother with screwdrivers and screws to install the Hard Disk Drive because the installation is aided by a manual lock mechanism. Of course, for SSDs, screwdrivers and screws are needed because there is no SSD to HDD adapter on this NAS.
Opening all the front trays on the DS720 + brings up the memory expansion slot on this NAS which is located on the right side, aligned with the memory buttons. Even though the position is a bit difficult to reach, but embedding additional memory is not a repeated action so we understand the position of this memory slot. Coming with 2GB of internal memory, we felt it was enough for home use. However, if the DS720 + is used as a media and web server as well as a CCTV system with multiple cameras, higher memory is required in this condition.
At the bottom of the DS720 + is Synology’s secret weapon to win over NAS users, and that weapon is the SSD data caching feature. With two NVME M.2 slots, DS720 + users can use this slot as data storage or cache to speed up access to the main HDD used.
Multi-functional x86 processor support
Unlike its big brother, the DS720 + is equipped with a 4-core Intel Celeron J4125 processor with a speed of 2.0 GHz with a turbo speed of 2.7 GHz and 2GB of RAM. With the addition of two physical cores compared to the DS420 +, placing the DS720 + as a NAS with the potential for more powerful parallel data processing capabilities.
All the features on the DS720 + run flawlessly. Real time media transcoding via the Plex protocol went seamless, all our benchmark tests were well done. Running an anti virus application which takes up 70% of the time on the DS420 + only takes up about 50% on the DS720 +.
We think the 2GB RAM usage is still sufficient for the DS720 + when used as a media server, but we feel that the amount of built-in internal memory can be increased to 4GB to ensure all the advanced features of the DS720, namely being a web server, media server, and CCTV control system will be more effective without have to upgrade the memory. The reason is, with the increasing number of virtual machines or CCTV cameras, it takes a lot of memory too. If you think of a truck, the DS720 + is like a truck with a large engine but with a medium cargo capacity.
DS720 + as a CCTV control system supports up to 40 cameras with a total of 1200 FPS at 720p resolution, this means that the resulting video is 30 FPS per camera. The thing to note is the need for a license for CCTV cameras where Synology only provides two licenses by default, and users have to buy separate licenses to add cameras.
The NVME M.2 slot on the DS720 + can be used as an internal data storage slot or data caching. This means that with the NVME M.2 gen 3 module, the theoretical access speed of data via the NVME protocol can reach 32 Gigabits or 4000 Megabytes per second. Unfortunately there are two things that prevent that speed from happening on the DS720 +. First, the LAN port speed is only 1 Gigabit, secondly, the price of NVME M.2 SSD is compared to HDD. As a result, we recommend buying an NVME M.2 SSD with a small capacity as a data caching medium that can speed up NAS data access by up to 20%.
The DS720 + is a NAS for enterprise users with high data processing needs. Even though it only supports two HDD bays, its core 4 processor performance is very useful as a web or media server for many users. Of course, we wanted Synology to include more than 2GB of internal memory, given the premium price of the DS720 +.
But by default, the high performance is satisfactory. The SSD caching feature is really useful, and is Synology’s flagship feature in the enterprise NAS scene. We strongly recommend using the data caching feature when purchasing the DS720 +.
The advantages of Synology DS720 +:
+ High processor performance
+ M.2 slot for data cache
+ Good air ventilation
+ Memory expansion
+ Synology software has many functions and is easy to use
Disadvantages of Synology DS720 +
– Limited built-in memory
– Premium price