After setting up the Synology DiskStation DS918+, the next step would be to upgrade the memory modules/RAM from the existing 4GB to something more. This is especially important if you are going to run more stuff such as Dockers, or even virtual machines in your Synology DiskStation using the Virtual Machine Manager. For those who are familiar with Synology products, you will know that the DiskStations can be quite picky about what type of memory modules/RAM are installed into them. For DiskStations with expandable memory options, the DiskStation will always come preinstalled with a piece of the memory module on one of the slots leaving an empty slot for another piece. For compatibility reasons, we will always find the exact memory modules (same chipset and batch if possible too) to reduce the chances of rejection by the system. Hence, it would be easier if the memory modules are to be replaced in a pair together rather than just an add-on to the existing memory module. However, this means additional cost involved and you will have extra memory modules white elephants laying around.. 😀
According to the specification of the Synology DiskStation DS918+, the unit comes pre-installed with 4GB of memory module/RAM and is expandable to 8GB via the expansion slots. This is because if you check up the specification of the Intel Celeron J3455 CPU used in the Synology DiskStation DS918+, you will notice that the limit of this CPU is only up to 8GB. Frankly, this sounds like a weird limitation to be imposed on the current hardware devices of today’s world. After some googling and digging with hardware forums, it seems that this hardware limitation of this CPU is really dependent on the implementation of that mainboard manufacturers. Users of hardware forums have successfully tested with memory beyond 8GB (as high as 16GB) without any stability issues. This is good news to users of Synology DiskStation DS918+ as 8GB may not be sufficient if you are going to run multiple Virtual Machines or even Docker Applications.
For the Synology DiskStation DS918+, the memory expansion slots are both on the inside but accessible after removing the HDD enclosures from the device. Slot 1 is the one placed horizontally and installed with the original 4GB memory from Synology whereas Slot 2 is empty. As per all SODIMM slots, there is a need to release the notch catches by the side before the memory module can be removed. Hence, do take note that you may need to use a pen or a small screwdriver to help u release Slot 1 should your hands (like mine) are too big to reach in. For Slot 2, it’s easier as it’s next to the HDDs opening.
So what memory modules are suitable for the Synology DiskStation DS918+? The memory module provided by Synology is a SODIMM DDR3L at the speed of 1866MT/s. Do take note on the speed of 1866MT/s as well as the DDR3L which stands for Low Voltage (1.35V instead of the usual 1.5V) and these are the more critical parameters for capabilities. Based on previous upgrades I’ve done for my other Synology DiskStations, I know it will not go wrong to go with Crucial Mac-compatible memory modules. For those who monitor price fluctuation of memory modules in Singapore, you will know that for the past year, the prices for DDR3 memory modules have been on quite a high point given that DDR3 has already been around for so long. For me, I usually get my memory modules from Amazon USA, tapping on the still-not-yet-very-strong US dollars as well as free shipping for any checkouts of more than USD$125 from Amazon USA (Free shipping from Amazon USA has been terminated at the point of writing this post).
For this round of upgrade, I was contemplating between adding on another 4GB or go with a pair of 8GB. After some thoughts, I decided to go for a single 8GB first just to test the option of mixing the memory modules (risky right? :D). Searching around Amazon USA, I found the memory modules I’m looking for, the “Crucial 8GB Single DDR3/DDR3L 1866MT/s (PC3-14900) SODIMM 204-PIn Memory for Mac (CT8G3S186DM)”. However, at the point when I was looking for this item, Amazon USA only has third-party sellers for this item and could not ship for free to Singapore. Luckily, Amazon Prime Singapore somehow carried the same item and with the discount codes, the cost was surprisingly cheaper than Amazon USA and comes with free 2 hours delivery within Singapore 😱.
Thus, within 2 hours of placing the order, the S$100 memory module was safely in my hands. I was so anxious to install it in the Synology DiskStation DS918+ that I have totally forgotten about taking pictures of the unboxed item 😅. Nevertheless, the Crucial 8GB SODIMM came in the plastic casing as shown in the pictures except that only one of the compartments is populated with the memory module. For those who are more observant, you will also notice that there is an orange-colored sticker from the local distributor “Convergent Systems”.
The installation of the memory module was very straight forward as shared earlier in this post less the part that I need a small tool to release the retaining notches for Slot 1 due to my fat fingers 😅. The Synology DiskStation DS918+ boot up nicely with the new 8GB memory module in Slot 1. Besides the slightly longer boot up time, which I presumed is due to more memory, all services and applications are running fine and there are no warnings or errors shown in the logs. I moved on to test the pair of the original 4GB with the new 8GB memory modules as shown in the picture below.
Once again, the Synology DiskStation DS918+ boot up nicely with the pair of the mix memory modules installed as shown by the System Information in Control Panel of the DiskStation Manager.
With 12GB of memory, I’m only utilizing 16% of the total memory with 3-4 Docker applications running concurrently and the Synology DiskStation DS918+ is still running stably without any errors or warning after 8 days. Seems that the new 8GB memory module I’ve bought can work nicely with that from Synology!
To sum up this post, to upgrade your Synology DiskStation DS918+, another option available besides using original Synology memory modules is to go for is the “Crucial 8GB Single DDR3/DDR3L 1866MT/s (PC3-14900) SODIMM 204-PIn Memory for Mac (CT8G3S186DM)”. There are options for single module (1x8GB) or dual module kits (2x8GB) if you want to go for 16GB setup. With this upgrade, I’m pretty sure that the Synology DiskStation DS918+ will be able to consolidate quite a bit of hardware in your home office setup. I’m going to start monitoring the prices of the memory module and hopefully get my second piece of 8GB soon. Have fun! 🙂