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TECH WEEK: QNAP NAS RAM UPGRADE

Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2020

Dave!Welcome to Technology Week at Blogography, where I will be reviewing tech purchases I've made over the last month or so.

   
I have mixed feelings about eh QNAP TS-451+ NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit I bought.

On one hand, it seems capable, reliable, and does a swell job of storing my media and other files. On the other hand, the HDMI video it generates is shit, the software is overly complex, and the thing feels underpowered for the price. The biggest drawback being that it only comes with 2GB of memory. The unit can barely function on 2GB without resorting to swap even if you're just running the bare minimum of apps. If you add any additional apps... like my Plex media server... it's Welcome to Swapsville: Population You.

The skimpy memory is a mystery. 8GB is the maximum that QNAP will support (although there are people who have installed 16GB with no problems) and that's cheap. Well, it's cheap unless you're buying your memory from QNAP. The TS-451+ is $362 if you order it with 2GB... it's $599 if you order with 8GB. That's $237 for an additional 6GB of RAM. Which is fucking insane. Purchased from Crucial, a memory brand I trust, I was able to get two 4GB DDR3L SODIMM modules for $55. QNAP, who undoubtedly can buy memory wholesale in bulk for a lot less, wants nearly FOUR AND A HALF TIMES THE MONEY I PAID.

If you buy the memory upgrade direct from QNAP it's $220, so even that route saves you $17 order buying it pre-installed.

I do not in any way understand this bullshit.

Needless to say, I told QNAP to blow it out their ass and I ordered the SODIMM modules direct from Crucial.

The upgrade took about 15 minutes (it would have taken less, but I was exceedingly careful every step of the way because screwing up meant voiding my QNAP warranty). Despite the upgrade not being a cake-walk, it was pretty easy and everything turned out just fine.

And just because I know I'll be getting Google searches from TS-451 owners wanting to upgrade their RAM, here's the tear down. PLEASE NOTE: THIS APPARENTLY VOIDS YOUR WARRANTY! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!...

  1. Power off your T-451, unplug the cables, and remove the drives (or empty drive clips), setting them in a safe place in the order you removed them.
  2. Unscrew the four case screws on the back of the unit. Slide the side case cover forward to unlock, then pull off.
  3. Remove the screws for the drive cage and carefully lift off the board.
  4. Remove the installed 2GB memory card and replace with your 4GB memory card.
  5. Carefully slide the second 4GB memory card under the annoying lower cage assembly (what a stupid-ass design), making sure that the notch lines up with the slot (it's up-side-down from the other memory slot)... then gently press in as far as it can go and press down to lock it into place.
  6. Carefully install the drive cage back into its slot and put the screws back in.
  7. Place the side drive cover back on the unit, slide back to lock into place, then replace the four back-side screws.
  8. Return the drives (and empty drive clips, if any) back into the unit, plug in the ethernet and power cables, then turn the unit power back on.
  9. Verify that the memory is showing up in the NAS Control Panel via the local webpage or the QNAP mobile app.
  10. Wait for the Disk Tool to automatically run through your drives and verify that everything is working okay (you'll hear the drives stop banging away when it's done)... then enjoy your new memory!

Here's the QNAP opened up with the cage removed. Don't mind Jake, he's "helping"...

My cat Jake sniffing around at a QNAP TS-451+ NAS that's been opened up.

Note how the second memory slot is underneath the lower cage assembly. I absolutely didn't want to start jerking out parts to have clear access, so I just carefully squeezed the SODIMM module underneath and managed to gently press it into place. NOTE ALSO how QNAP runs a red Sharpie marker over the screws so they can more easily tell if you've opened it up. Wankers...

A closeup of the TS-451+ motherboard memory slot that's obstructed by a lower metal cage assembly..

This whole process is pretty stupid.

It's stupid because the memory module placement is more difficult to access than it should be.

It's stupid that QNAP doesn't just make 8GB the standard memory in the unit rather than forcing you to upgrade because you'll find out really quickly that 2GB is not enough if you actually want to DO anything with your NAS.

And it's beyond stupid that even if QNAP doesn't want to have 8GB be the standard memory configuration that they charge such an absurdly stupid price for their "official" bullshit SODIMM upgrade modules.

So... it's buckets of stupid all the way around, but now I've got 8GB installed so I guess I don't care...

Interesting to note that running only the bare QNAP necessities plus Plex Server uses 2GB of memory. Which means that 2GB I initially had in my TS-451+ was barely enough memory to just hold the apps!

Absurd that they even sell a model that only comes with 2GB because it's clearly not enough.

If you want to order up your own upgrade direct from Crucial for the QNAP TS-451+, here's the direct link to the page on their website.

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