The Bottom Line
Introduction & Pricing, Availability, and Specifications
Were admittedly late to the party on this review. The DS420j was released early in the year next to the DS220j that we published in April. Like the DS220j, the 420j is an entry-level platform and successor to the DS418j.
The DS420j has had all the necessary upgrades to qualify it as a new model, the largest being the move from the dual-core Realtek RTD1293 to the RTD1296 in the DS420j. The RTD1296 is a quad-core design, operating at the same 1.4GHz clock speed of the 1293. 1GB of DRAM is available but not upgradable in the DS420j double that of the DS220j from earlier in the year.
Four SATA ports allow for the installation of 2.5" or 3.5" drives. The maximum internal capacity is 64TB using 16TB drives though we do think they will support 18TB in the future. Connectivity is pushed over a single 1Gbe LAN port, while USB 3.0 expansion is available with two ports.
Pricing and Availability
The Synology DS420j is widely available at online retailers with an MSRP of $299.99 with a two-year warranty.
Synology DS420j NAS
The DS420j offers brown box packaging with a sticker holding model information and features listed along the bottom.
Included with the DS420j, we have power and ethernet cables along with drive screws.
The front panel of the NAS is solid, a power button centered below the model number. Each HDD has its own LED to the right while the left side offers status and power LEDs.
The rear I/O includes two cooling fans, a proprietary power connection to the left with LAN and USB 3.0 to the right.
Internally, there are no SO-DIMM slots or m.2 slots for expansion. Instead, a mostly barren motherboard with a large heat sink cooling the RTD1296.
The rear of the DS420j drops like a cargo plane to reveal two drive trays, all plastic and not the tool-free version we are used too.
Management GUI and Test System
Like many past appliances, the Synology Assistant helps aid set up for the DS420j.
Once into the WebGUI, we begin setup by download the latest DSM.
After finishing up initialization, you will land at the DSM dashboard. From here, you have access to the package center, control panel and file station, and more advanced features using the menu top left.
You don't have access to all of the normal applications available with x86 platforms on the DS420j, but Synology does offer the essentials as seen above.
The control panel gives you access to file-sharing controls, including folder, users, and groups. Connectivity enables cloud access to the DS420j using QuickConnect, while advanced features like DHCP Server can be configured as well. The system menu offers different themes for the desktop along with task scheduler and hardware control like fan and power savings.
Last, we have storage manager with IHM support for Seagate drives. From here, you can configure both storage pools and volumes, but no iSCSI support for this model.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula X570 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Carbide 275R (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Corsair MP600 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - Storage Performance & Final Thoughts
We were able to test both RAID 0 and 1 with the DS420j using two IronWolf 4TB drives. Starting with Single Client testing, I was quite happy to see this NAS perform so well with Playback, Record, and File Copy operations all reaching near 118 MB/s.
With sequential testing, we found both RAID 0 and 1 to hit 118 MB/s pretty easily, though RAID 1 write did come in lower at 115 MB/s.
Using our standard workload script, we see the DS420j put in some pretty solid numbers. 2K IOPS in OLTP while file Server and Web Server both hit near 3200 IOPS.
When it comes to entry-level, I don't think any vendor does it like Synology, and the DS420j speaks to this with solid build quality with a mix of plastics and metal for the exterior, ample LEDs to keep you informed, and a pretty solid choice in the Realtek SoC.
I can certainly say I was pretty skeptical of the Realtek 1296 platform coming into this review. Still, after testing it, it's almost like a game console, where you have purpose-built silicon that meshes with purpose-built software.
Performance speaks for itself. The DS420j saturates the 1Gbe connection with ease in both Single Client tests and mapped drive sequential benchmarks. Adding in heavier workloads like OLTP etc. made the 420j work, but it did quite well hit 3200 IOPS in Web and File Server and 2K IOPS in Database.
Perhaps the biggest win for the DS420j is pricing. At $299, this entry-level four-bay is quite possibly the lowest cost highest performing solution available with the likes of the AS1004T and TS431K out there as the nearest competition. That said, you can still get a DS418 for $70 more, which may be an even better value!
The DS420j checks all of the boxes when it comes to entry-level consumer NAS platforms, and the best part it it won't break the bank!
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