Synology NAS Unofficial Memory Upgrade Guide

Everything you need to know about Upgrading Synology NAS Memory

Generally speaking, Synology NAS has a long-standing reputation for being underpowered when compared to brands like QNAP and Asustor, at least out of the box, choosing to focus on their award-winning DSM software. This is changing a bit in 2019 with the newer Synology drives featuring improved hardware choices, but still, for many, it seems a little underwhelming. One potential benefit that’s highlighted to improve performance considerably multiple users is to upgrade the RAM (Random Access Memory) in the Synology NAS drive. Today’s post will cover my thoughts on the usefulness of upgrading the factory installed RAM, how to determine if a RAM upgrade is needed at all and exactly how to do this. Let’s start with the latter, do you need to upgrade RAM?

Do you Need to Upgrade the Memory on your Synology NAS?

If you have bought or are considering buying a new Synology NAS and it has an accessible RAM slot (such as at the base of the device in the DS1819+ or tucked into the side of the HDD bays as found in the DS918+) slot then it is incredibly easy to buy a DDR3 or DDR4 memory module and upgrade the RAM during the initialization of the NAS. Crucial RAM is remarkably cheap these days and if you’re buying a Synology NAS model that can be upgraded, the user will almost certainly grow to benefit from the RAM.

Synology DS918+ NAS

If you’ve been using the NAS for a while, you can check your memory usage using the Resource Monitor found next to all your other applications. Like most modern operating systems, Synology Disk Station Manager (DSM 6.2 with DSM 7.0 soon in beta) will maximize memory performance so the amount of “free memory” may seem unusually small. Fear not, this is because of the way Synology have geared their OS to be as smooth as possible and DSM will keep old information in memory, for as long as possible, for faster access if it’s needed again in the near future. It can then see when you need further memory for more current concerns and then free up the memory if needed.

Synology Resource Monitor in action

In order to genuinely work out if your NAS drive needs more memory, you will need to utilise your Synology device for a while and look at the Memory Monitor during a time of heavy access and usage. Make sure all the apps are running, being accessed/monitored and run all the software, media streams and backups that you normally would on a daily basis. Look at the utilization percentage, not free memory – as this will give you a much, MUCH better understanding of the memory that is required. The reason for this is that the resource monitor will exclude memory buffers and caching that DSM knows it can free up later. If the percentage is near 100%, then you will definitely, definitely need to upgrade in order to future proof as you will clearly you’ll benefit from more memory in your Synology NAS.

Synology NAS Memory Utilization Vs Available

Another cool tip (thank you OSQuest) is that you should also change the “Type” filter at the top right of the resource monitor to Swap at look at its genuine utilization. If it’s not showing 0, then you are running out of physical memory at frequent times and Synology DSM is swapping to disk which hurts performance for all applications and users. Adding more memory will avoid this and improve performance across the board!

How to Upgrade Synology NAS RAM

Let’s get down to business. First off, it is hugely important that you know that replacing the factory RAM will likely void the manufacturer’s warranty. So if you have purchased a new Synology NAS with the intent to upgrade the default memory, be sure to run it for a week or so without upgrading first to field test the NAS and make sure there are no pre-existing hardware problems. You can upgrade with OFFICIAL Synology memory, which will not invalidate your warranty, however, it is worth mentioning that Synology official memory is more expensive than the Crucial or Kingston memory counterparts. Pretty much all the Synology Desktop NAS drives are upgraded the same, so you can watch my RAM Upgrade of the Synology DS1019+ NAS below:

Upgrading the memory is often very simple indeed and simply a case of powering down the device, installing the new memory modules in the NAS (as long as you have access to them), then booting up the device. It may take a little longer than before to boot, as the new memory will be initialized, but you will not need to do any software configuration and the newly installed memory should appear in the resource monitor for immediate use.

IMPORTANT!!! PLEASE READ!!!!

Although the Synology NAS memory upgrade process is very easy, it is also very easy to get wrong! It is worth remembering the following points

  • Some Synology units have the RAM soldered onto the main internal board, so upgrading these will be impossible (without careful and tricky soldering which will no doubt void the warranty. Examples of Synology NAS that cannot have memory upgrades are DS119j, DS218J, DS118 and DS115j NAS to name but a few.
  • If you are upgrading memory, it is always recommended to ‘pair’ the memory. So you should always have 2 equally sized (capacity) sticks of RAM in the slots. It is not necessarily the end of the world too, for example, mix a 2GB and 4GB Memory module (Synology themselves offer this as an official upgrade), but it is generally frowned upon.
  • It is always worth checking your CPU or internal architecture in advance on the Synology NAS, as it may well limit the maximum amount of memory you can install. Sometimes you can exceed this (i.e. the DS1019+ with it’s Intel J3455 CPU has an official limit of 8GB and an unofficial limit of 16GB), but if in doubt, use my free advice section on the right of this page and ask me first.

Choosing the Right Memory for a Synology NAS Upgrade

So, you have decided to upgrade the Memory/RAM on your Synology NAS. It is worth mentioning that different NAS drives require different memory types. All too often there are factors that are as follows:

  • DDR3 – Easily the most common, this is a memory module that runs at 1600Mhz
  • DDR3L – A revision of DDR3, this memory runs at 1866Mhz
  • DDR4 – A Newer and high-frequency memory that is available to more modern CPU that runs at between 2133Mhz and 2400Mhz
  • ECC – Error Correcting Code Memory, this is a memory module that makes comparisons of data packets as they pass through the memory at the start and finish to ensure they are identical. If not, this memory will automatically heal the file and keep it moving
  • SO-DIMM – This is a smaller module of memory and traditionally found in smaller NAS that are 4/5-Bays and smaller. Generally available in upto 16GB in DDR3 and 32GB in DDR4. Larger sizes are available, but not supported in most NAS drives due to CPU memory limits. Outside of NAS, this kind of Memory is found in Laptops and portable hardware
  • LONG-DIMM / DIMM – Full-length memory modules that are twice the length of SO-DIMM, typically found in NAS devices of 8-Bay Desktop upwards, or most Rackmount NAS servers. Also available in much, MUCH bigger capacities in both DDR3 and DDR4 in NAS We are even starting to see DDR5 in large enterprise NAS servers too. Outside of NAS, this is easily the most commonly used NAS DIMM size.

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Is Upgrading the Memory on a Synology NAS worth it?

Many users will avoid updating default Memory on a Synology NAS server while it is still under warranty – thinking that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. However, If you are buying a Synology NAS that supports an official or unofficial user memory upgrade, there’s almost no reason not to do the upgrade. There are practically no disadvantages (none at all, if you buy official Synology Memory) and the benefits will be immediate. You can always wait till later on an upgrade when you notice a drop in performance, however, I would keep an eye on deal websites for your compatible DDR3 or DDR4 Synology NAS supported memory and then grab some when a bargain appears. I do wish some lower capacity NAS’ drives, such as the DS119j, DS218j and DS416slim (that arrive with much less memory soldered to the motherboard than their CPU can handle at maximum) were able to have their memory upgraded, as this becomes a tremendous bottleneck. There are cases where two drive bays are enough in terms of total available storage space (especially with 14TB Seagate and 16TB Toshiba NAS drives in-coming), so you will be able to run a lot of applications, for multiple users, but the rather comical 256MB, 512MB and 1GB memory available in these budget models is just not enough to run DSM to its full potential on these NAS and the result will be that most users will walk away with a very poor opinion of the Synology NAS experience.

Picking RAM

Synology lists the RAM compatible with each user upgradeable model on their website. You can use this information to get the RAM specifications for your model Synology and then shop around for your preferred memory brand or a good price. Additionally, I have included lines to the third party crucial supported memory for a Synology NAS. Always be sure to check the compatibility before making your purchase, as Synology may have revised the hardware (see examples like the DS216+ and DS216+II).

NAS Model Memory Type Official Memory Crucial Memory
DS1019+

 

DDR3L-1866 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V D3NS1866L-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS918+ DDR3L-1866SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V D3NS1866L-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS218+ DDR3L-1866 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V D3NS1866L-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS418play DDR3L-1866 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V D3NS1866L-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS2015xs DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS2415+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS1815+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS1515+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS2416+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS2416RP+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS815+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS815RP+ DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3-4G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS1817+ DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3L-4GBx2

RAM1600DDR3L-8GBx2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS1517+ DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3L-4GBx2

RAM1600DDR3L-8GBx2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS1219+ DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3L-4GBx2

RAM1600DDR3L-8GBx2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS818+ DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3L-4GBx2

RAM1600DDR3L-8GBx2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS818RP+ DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM 204pin 1.35V RAM1600DDR3L-4GBx2

RAM1600DDR3L-8GBx2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS3615xs DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-2GBX2

RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS3617xs DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-2GBX2

RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS3614xs DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-2GBX2

RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS3614RPxs DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-2GBX2

RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS3413xs+ DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS10613xs+ DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS3614xs+ DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RC18015xs+ DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS18016xs+ DDR3-1600 ECC DIMM 240pin 1.5V RAMEC1600DDR3-8GBX2

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS2818RP+ DDR4-2133 non-ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V D4N2133-4G

D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS2418+ DDR4-2133 non-ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V D4N2133-4G

D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

RS2418RP+ DDR4-2133 non-ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V D4N2133-4G

D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 4GB Buy Here

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

DS2419+ DDR4-2400 non-ECC SO-DIMM 260pin 1.2V D4NESO-2400-4G

D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

DS1819+ DDR4-2400 non-ECC SO-DIMM 260pin 1.2V D4NESO-2400-4G

D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

DS1618+ DDR4-2400 non-ECC SO-DIMM 260pin 1.2V D4NESO-2400-4G

D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

FS1018 DDR4-2400 ECC SO-DIMM 260pin 1.2V D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

DS3617xs DDR4-2400 ECC SO-DIMM 260pin 1.2V D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

DS3018xs DDR4-2400 ECC SO-DIMM 260pin 1.2V D4EC-2400-16G

Crucial 8GB Buy Here

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

RS4017xs+ DDR4-2133 ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

RS3618xs DDR4-2133 ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

RS3617xs+ DDR4-2133 ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

RS3617RPxs DDR4-2133 ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

RS1619xs+ DDR4-2133 ECC DIMM 288pin 1.2V RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

FS3017 DDR4-2133 ECC Registered DIMM 288pin RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

FS2017 DDR4-2133 ECC Registered DIMM 288pin RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

RS18017xs+ DDR4-2133 ECC Registered DIMM 288pin RAMEC2133DDR4-8G

RAMEC2133DDR4-16G

Crucial 16GB Buy Here

Crucial 32GB Buy Here

DS119J Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available
DS218J Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available
DS418J Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available
DS418 Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available
RS816 Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available
RS819 Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available
DS216J Soldered on MoBo Not Available Not Available

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