Synology's DS1512+ is perfect for businesses requiring a speedy NAS solution with tons of room for expansion. In the short term, it provides a cost-effective way to enable up to 15TB of storage, while you can purchase expansion units for up to 45TB with 3TB hard drives. The DS1512+ backs its healthy drive capacity with impressive read and write performance, which is claimed to peak at 200.31MB/s and 194.83MB/s thanks to its new Intel Atom D2700 processor and features such as Link Aggregation.
Although it's true Link Aggregation can boost read and write performance to those rates under certain circumstances, this extra headroom is often unavailable. In fact, the DS1512+ and other Atom-driven NAS devices are only likely to exceed Gigabit Ethernet's 1.0Gb/s limitation when maybe two or three clients are transferring large 1GB+ files. Atom chips simply lack the horsepower to sustain such high speeds when working with multiple small files, as demonstrated by our game and program tests.
That said, we were impressed with the dual-core Intel Atom D2700's performance in our copy tests, as it delivered noticeable gains over the DS1511+'s dual-core Atom D525. Hardware-wise, the DS1512+ also brings USB 3.0 connectivity -- a feature missing on its predecessor. Between the speed and efficiency gains of its D2700 and its USB 3.0 ports, the DS1512+'s ~$100 premium over the DS1511+ is relatively justifiable, though we would've been pleased to see the RAM upgraded from 1GB to 2GB.
The new DiskStation Manager 4.0 software can be applied to any Synology NAS device released over the past few years, so we can't really consider it a generational improvement between the DS1512+ and DS1511+ -- even if the former comes with it preloaded by default. However, the difference between DSM 3.2 and DSM 4.0 is massive -- in both design and functionality. We commend Synology for creating such impressive management software, which remains unmatched among rivals in our opinion.
Similar sentiments can be expressed for Synology's dedication to build quality, aesthetics, performance and features. With an MSRP of $900, Synology's DS1512+ isn't the cheapest NAS solution around, but it's arguably the best option available for professionals or growing small and medium businesses who need fast and reliable networked storage that is greatly expandable beyond the base five bays. Home users may want to consider one of the company's cheaper two to four-bay devices, instead.
Pros: Good read and write performance, great design and build quality, USB 3.0 ports, best-in-class software suite, supports optional expansion units.
Cons: Price, no front panel connectivity.