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Synology DiskStation DS223j 2-Bay NAS Review!

In this review, we are going to take a close look at the Synology DiskStation DS223j – its latest 2-bay NAS system, and find out how well it performs!

 

Synology J Series NAS Systems

The Synology J Series are its entry-level NAS systems – offering an affordable way to get networked storage for backup, or personal storage. They also have a more consumer look, with a white chassis.

The Synology J series comes in below the Value series, and lacks hot-swappable drives, and front USB ports. However, it has most of its key features, including support for the Btrfs file system.

Synology currently has two J series models – the 2-bay DS223j, and the single-bay DS120j.

 

Synology DiskStation DS223j Price

As its entry-level 2-bay NAS system, the Synology DiskStation DS223J comes at an affordable price point.

It has a suggested retail price of US$189.99 (diskless), but you can get some pretty good deals online, with or without bundled drives:

 

Synology DiskStation DS223j Specifications

Here are the key specifications of the Synology DiskStation DS223j 2-bay NAS system:

Specifications Synology DiskStation DS223j
CPU Realtek RTD1619B
4 x ARM Cortex-A55 cores @ 1.7 GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine
Memory 1 GB DDR4 (non-ECC)
Drive Bays 2
Drive Compatibility 3.5-inch SATA
2.5-inch SATA (with optional adaptor)
Hot Swappable No
Internal File System Btrfs / EXT4
NAS Features Power Recovery
Scheduled Power On/Off
Wake on LAN / WAN
Front Ports None
Rear Ports 1 x RJ-45 1GbE LAN port
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
Internal Fan Yes, 92 mm
Noise Level 18.2 dB(A)
Thermal Output 55.62 BTU/hour (active access)
13.64 BTU/hour (HDD hibernation)
Power Consumption 16.31 W (active access)
4 W (HDD hibernation)
Power Supply 60 W power adaptor
Power Input 100 V to 240 V DC power input
50/60 Hz, single phase
Operating Temperature 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)
Storage Temperature -20°C to 60°C (-5°F to 140°F)
Size 165 mm high
100 mm wide
225.5 mm deep
Weight 0.88 grams
Warranty 2 Year Hardware Warranty

 

Synology DiskStation DS223j Box Contents

The Synology DiskStation DS223j comes in a large cardboard box, with a label to let you know exactly what’s inside the box. On opening the box, you will find the following items:

  • Synology DiskStation DS223j NAS system
  • 3.5-inch drive bay bracket
  • Pack of 10 drive screws
  • Pack of 3 chassis screws
  • Pack of 3 bracket screws
  • 60 watt power adaptor
  • AC power cord
  • RJ-45 LAN cable
  • Quick installation guide

Recommended : 4TB Synology Plus (HAT3300-4T) Hard Disk Drive Review!

Next Page > Synology DS223 Performance

 

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Synology DiskStation DS223j Performance

We tested three NAS systems, with these settings:

WD MyCloud EX4100

  • 4 x 6TB WD Red drives
  • RAID 1 with EXT4 file system

Synology DS223j

Synology DS214+

  • 2 x 4TB WD Red drives
  • RAID 1 with EXT4 file system

We then compared their read and write performance to a 1TB SDD, using a Gigabit LAN connection, and these two file sets:

  • Large File : Movie with a 9.3 GB file size
  • Small Files : 2193 photos with a 9.48 GB file size

Large File Read Speed

When it comes to transferring very large files like a movie, the Synology DS223j did very well, offering an average read speed of just over 100 MB/s!

Even the much older DS214+ model did very well, almost delivering 100 MB/s of throughput, and beating out 4-bay MyCloud EX4100 by 23%!

Recommended : 4TB Synology Plus (HAT3300-4T) Hard Disk Drive Review!

Large File Write Speed

However, when it comes to writing files to the NAS, the number of bays, and the drive speeds are what counts.

The 4-bay MyCloud EX4100 is far ahead, because it’s able to write to two drives at the same time (in RAID 1).

The faster 4TB Synology Plus drives used in the DS223j allowed it to pull ahead of the DS214+ by 16%.

Small Files Read Speed

This is quite a surprising result. For some reason, the Synology DS214+ did very well in this test, beating even the 4-bay MyCloud EX4100 by almost 30%!

And the Synology DS223j, which is much faster in every way, delivered a much lower speed of just under 48 MB/s.

Small Files Write Speed

That’s completely flipped when it came to write speed – copying small files to the NAS systems.

Again, the 4-bay MyCloud EX4100 has the advantage here, because it can write to two drives at the same time.

But the Synology DS223j did very well here, coming within 23% of the MyCloud EX4100. This is likely due to its faster 4TB Synology Plus drives.

Next Page > Synology DS223j Verdict + Award

 

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Synology DiskStation DS223j Verdict + Award

The Synology DiskStation DS223j is a cheap but solid 2-bay NAS system. Its plastic chassis feels cheap, but it packs all of the key features most home users would need.

You get an affordable RAID 1 backup solution, with fast Gigabit LAN connectivity, and two USB 3.0 (rebranded as USB 3.2 Gen 1) ports at the back for when you need to copy files to or from a USB flash drive or portable HDD.

It also gives you access to the excellent Synology DiskStation Manager operating system, as well as hundreds of add-on packages which you can use to add capabilities to your NAS.

Synology updates its DiskStation Manager regularly, which is great, because it fixes bugs that may cause considerable grief. For example, when I started testing the DS223j, I encountered a problem accessing it on macOS with a VPN enabled.

No matter what I did, the Mac computer simply could not “see” or “locate” the DiskStation on the network. The only way was to disable the VPN. Fortunately, the problem “magically” went away a few updates later. *

Mac users will also be happy to know that it supports Time Machine backup. While it requires some simple setting up, it works perfectly… which is not something I can say about the MyCloud EX4100!

Prosumers might want to spend a bit extra to upgrade to the non-J version – the DiskStation DS223 from the Value series. Not only does it come with a front USB port (for more convenient use), it allows you to hot swap drives.

If any drive fails on the DS223j, you will need to power it down and open it up to swap out the drive. On the non-J version, you can simply slide out the old drive and replace it with a new one without even powering down the DS223 NAS. But of course – this is a nice feature that most home users probably won’t need.

Performance-wise – the DS223j runs on the same Realtek RTD1619B process as the non-J model. Its four Arm Cortex-A55 cores is more than fast enough for transferring files. Its CPU usage is usually less than 50%. Even when I ran data scrubbing, its CPU usage was around 15% on average.

And if you are wondering about whether you can live with just 1 GB of RAM on the DS223j, yes, you can. The RAM usage is usually less than 20% on our DS223j.

Generally, if you want something cheap and good from Synology, you can’t go wrong with the DiskStation DS223j. For these reasons, we think it deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

* It would have lost the award if Synology did not manage to fix the accessibility problem for macOS.

 

Synology DiskStation DS223j : Where To Buy?

As its entry-level 2-bay NAS system, the Synology DiskStation DS223J comes at an affordable price point.

It has a suggested retail price of US$189.99 (diskless), but you can get some pretty good deals online, with or without bundled drives:

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

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