Synology DiskStation DS1515+ Review – Introduction

Synology DS1515+ 5-bay powerhouse NAS to meet your most-demanding needs.
Synology DS1515+ 5-bay powerhouse NAS to meet your most-demanding needs.

Review At A Glance
Product Synology DiskStation DS1515+ [product link]
Summary An ultra-performance NAS designed with reliability and versatility in mind to meet the demanding needs of SMB, photo enthusiast or someone (e.g. me) who values immortalised (digital) medias of his family.
Pros+ Quad-core Atom 2.4GHz processor
+ Hardware AES-NI accelerated data encryption
+ Easily scalable to 15 disks with 2 Synology DX513 units
+ Upgradable to 6GB RAM
Cons – Cannot really seem to find one. Price? Actually I do find the price reasonable for such performance. But again, who doesn't mind cheaper products?
- Doesn't run virtual machines directly on NAS like QNAP's Virtualisation Station.
SRP S$1153.00 (at time of post)

 

The Synology DiskStation DS1515+ was released back in November 2014 to meet the demanding needs of small and medium-sized businesses. It is a powerhouse 5-bay NAS that is designed to be reliable, powerful and versatile.

In today’s digital age, memories are often captured in digital forms. Hence, it is worthwhile to invest in a reliable storage solution. My choice is the Synology DiskStation DS1515+ to safe keep my family’s pictures and videos. At the same time, the DS1515+ is versatile enough to meet my multimedia needs – streaming videos and music to my Chromecast and iTunes and yet sufficiently powerful enough to address my tinkering needs by running application platforms on Docker.

 

The hardware specifications of the Synology DiskStation DS1515+ is splendid. Coupled with the DX513 expansion units, you can (practically) expand up to 90TB of storage (6TB x 15). If you need a boost in transfer throughput, simply install a couple of SSD as cache drive(s).

Synology DiskStation DS1515+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom C2538 (Quad Core 2.4GHz)
Memory 2GB DDR3
Expandable to 6GB (2GB + 4GB)
EncryptionAES-NI Hardware Encryption Engine
Storage 5 x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II/III; Hot Swappable
Maximum of 15 drives with DX513 Expansion Unit
SSD Support SDD as Read/Write Cache
TRIM support
RAID Levels Single Disk
JBOD
RAID 0/1/5/5 + Hot Spare/6/10/Synology Hybrid RAID
Capacity up to 30TB (5 x 6TB)
iSCSI Target & Initiator
Networking 4 x 10/100/1000 Mbps
Supports Link Aggregation/Failover
Connectors 4 x USB 3.0
2 x eSATA
Fan 2 x 80mm
Dimensions 157 (H) x 248 (W) x 233 (D) mm
Weight 4.17kg
Power Consumption Sleep – 21.63W
Operation – 38.39W
Noise Level 22.3 dB(A)

 

Unpacking the Synology DS1515+ Package

The Synology DS1515+ came in a brown box this time round.
The Synology DS1515+ came in a brown box this time round.

Unlike the Synology DS412+, the DS1515+ came in a brown coloured box. I got nothing against the colour of the box as long as it is cost effective for consumers. Do note that the DS1515+ package is bulky and weighs approximately 4.5kg.

DS1515+ well protected by foam. The brown box hold the accessories like power cord, screws, etc.
DS1515+ well protected by foam. The brown box hold the accessories like power cord, screws, etc.

The DS1515+ is practically suspended in the middle of the outer box by the white polyurethane foam. I guess the package will hold up well against the most butterfingered person. In case you are wondering, the brown box (that runs between the foam) contains the accessories.

 

Running through the Contents

DS1515+, installation guide, power cord, ethernet cables, screws, key for drive tray.
DS1515+, installation guide, power cord, ethernet cables, screws, key for drive tray.

Within the Synology DS1515+ package, you will find the following:

  • Synology DiskStation DS1515+
  • Power cord
  • 2 x Ethernet cables
  • A pack of screws (for 2.5″ hard disk installation)
  • 2 x drive tray keys
  • Quick installation guide

 

Looking at the Synology DS1515+

The front panel features the 5 drive trays, power button, LED status for DS1515+ status, alerts, LAN 1 to 4.
The front panel features the 5 drive trays, power button, LED status for DS1515+ status, alerts, LAN 1 to 4.

The DS1515+ has a matte black metal enclosure except for the front plastic bezel. Size-wise, it is rather compact with some allowance on the edges for the main board, power supply unit, system fan, etc. Yes, the power supply unit is built-in. I’ve taken a picture of the DS1515+ alongside a 330ml canned drink for size comparison.

Comparing the size of the DS1515+ with a can of 330ml Coke. The DS1515+ is actually quite compact.
Comparing the size of the DS1515+ with a can of 330ml Coke. The DS1515+ is actually quite compact.

On the front bezel of the DS1515+, you will find the:

  • Power button
  • Status LED for Power, System Alerts, LAN 1 to 4
  • 5 x hard drive bays ordered from left to right (i.e. bay 1 is the leftmost while bay 5 is the rightmost)

 

The back panel features the power connector, Kensington lock, 2 x 80mm system fan, 2 x eSATA ports, 4 x USB 3.0 ports, 4 x Gigabit ethernet ports and reset button.
The back panel features the power connector, Kensington lock, 2 x 80mm system fan, 2 x eSATA ports, 4 x USB 3.0 ports, 4 x Gigabit ethernet ports and reset button.

At the back of the DS1515+, you will find the:

  • Power connector
  • 2 x 80mm system fans
  • 4 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 x eSATA ports (on both sides of the sticker below the system fans)
  • Kensington lock port (below the power connector)
  • Reset button (below the Ethernet ports)

 

The hot swap backplane. The bay order is from left to right (disk bay 1 on the leftmost and disk bay 5 is the rightmost bay).
The hot swap backplane. The bay order is from left to right (disk bay 1 on the leftmost and disk bay 5 is the rightmost bay).

Removing the hard drive trays reveals the hot swap backplane. The hot swap backplane has been hollowed out to maximise the airflow, allowing heat to be efficiently drawn away from the hard drives and components. Well, a cool drive is a happy drive.

 

Upgrading the RAM

The power cable running across the DS1515+ chassis from the power supply to the mainboard.
The power cable running across the DS1515+ chassis from the power supply to the mainboard.

Underneath the casing is where the electronics/magic are. With the front of the DS1515+ facing you, the main board is located on the left while the power supply unit is on the right. I took the casing off to install additional RAM module.

DS1515+ without its case. The 2nd RAM slot is exposed for installation.
DS1515+ without its case. The 2nd RAM slot is exposed for installation.

Installing the additional RAM module is straight forward:

  1. Unscrew 4 screws holding the case
  2. Remove the case to expose the RAM slot on the main board
  3. Install the RAM module into the RAM slot
  4. Put the case back on and secure it using the screws that you have removed earlier

Installed the 4GB RAM into the 2nd RAM slot.
Installed the 4GB RAM into the 2nd RAM slot.

After the RAM installation (and NAS setup), you should check the info center to ensure 6144MB (6GB) of installed RAM.

System showing 6GB of installed RAM
System showing 6GB of installed RAM

 

Installing the hard drive(s)

The disk tray has got a "clicky" push tray that pops out/ locks the tray handle in place. It also features a locking feature.
The disk tray has got a “clicky” push tray that pops out/ locks the tray handle in place. It also features a locking feature.

Pushing the front of the drive tray ejects a handle that you can use to pull the drive out of the bay. While in the drive bay, pushing the handle (again) locks the drive in place. You can use the provided key to lock the tray in place.

Rubber grommets to dampen any hard drive vibration for more silent operation.
Rubber grommets to dampen any hard drive vibration for more silent operation.

Rubber grommets are in place to dampen hard disk vibrations. Less vibration = less rattle = silent operation. The majority of the drive tray is moulded out of plastic except the spring for the clicky mechanism.

Surprise! You don't need a screw driver to install or remove hard drives. You simply snap the drive in place with the new design.
Surprise! You don’t need a screw driver to install or remove hard drives. You simply snap the drive in place with the new design.

I am pretty surprised that I do not need a screw driver to install or remove the hard disk from the drive tray. I just need to remove the rails on both side of the drive tray, put the hard disk in place and snap back the rails. What’s left is to slide the drive into the DS1515+ drive bay.

Surprise! You don't need a screw driver to install or remove hard drives. You simply snap the drive in place with the new design.
Surprise! You don’t need a screw driver to install or remove hard drives. You simply snap the drive in place with the new design.

So that’s all for the introduction of the Synology DiskStation DS1515+. I will be migrating the hard disks over from my existing Synology DiskStation DS412+ to the DS1515+ next and would be documenting my progress.

 

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