It took me a while to decide on which NAS (Network Accessed Storage) solution to go for. In the end I opted for the QNAP TS-251. Why? Well, that will be covered in a review very soon. The reason for this post is that I bought the one with 1GB of RAM. This is fine for most things unless you want to use Plex and the like. So, a RAM upgrade was needed.
It is safe to say that I love my QNAP TS-251. I love having my own personal cloud storage. It’s great having all my digital music library in one place (this is still a work in progress) that can be accessed from wherever I am. I love having access to my digital film library.
The one sticking point was when a friend of mine, who has an enormous library of movies and box set series, shared his Plex account with me. Unfortunately, I could not access it.
After some sniffing around it became apparent that the lack of RAM was holding me and my NAS back from this huge vault of entertainment.
£16 and one day later I was the owner of a single stick of 4GB RAM.
Now came the nerve-wracking bit. I had to take my 1 month-old NAS apart, fit the new RAM (after removing the original, natch!) and then, perhaps more worryingly, reassemble it all.
First thing first. It isn’t that difficult. I am being honest here. Just take it slow, steady and considered, and all will be well.
Why didn’t you just buy one with more RAM?
Good question. The simple answer is price. The TS-251 I bought from Amazon was £190. Now, if I wanted a 2GB model, the 251+ would have been £250. Granted, the 251+ has 7.1 surround pass-through and some other extra bits but nothing I needed. By-the-way, the 8GB TS-251+ is £350, just in case you were wondering.
Long story short, my £190 NAS + a £16 stick of RAM and all is good as far as I am concerned.
Why are you doing a How To?
As you will be able to tell from some (most) of the photos, I didn’t plan to post them or do a guide. The fact of the matter is that one of my friends has the same NAS and knew I was thinking about doing the upgrade and wanted to know how difficult it was.
I said that I could show him the steps I took as I snapped each stage just so I could remember where everything went. After building a PC a couple of years ago, I know it’s always better to log how things looked when it was working before making upgrades.
So, hopefully this will help David and some others of you out there.
TS-251 NAS RAM upgrade
Breakdown and fitting
- Turn off the NAS. Disconnect the power adaptor, network cable(s), and any other connectors/cables from the NAS.
- Remove any installed hard drives from the NAS.
- Before installing the memory module, make sure you’ve been grounded. Antistatic wrist strap is a perfect idea – its crocodile clip should be grounded.
- Remove the screws on the rear (top and bottom) of the NAS.
- Gently remove the case cover of the NAS by sliding it apart. The underside of the NAS has arrows to show the positions of the NAS case when locked/unlocked.
- Remove the four screws (two on each side) closest to the hard drive cage.
- Now you need to remove the screw that’s securing the brace to the drive cage. This is at the rear (fan end) of the unit. This step is missing from some guides.
- Gently remove the hard drive cage from the NAS by lifting it out of its slot.
- Remove the existing RAM by gently pulling apart the spring catches either side of the stick of RAM. The chip will flip upwards for easy removal.
- Once that is out you can put in your new stick. This was a bit scary for me but it will go in. Again, with some gentle force, click the RAM in to place so that it is held by those clips. Always ensure that a memory module is installed in the Primary slot (red). If not, then the system will fail to start. When installing two memory modules, ensure that they are the same size, speed and, ideally, brand of RAM for both memory slots. The second RAM slot is marked in yellow. The maximum supported memory is 8GB combined (2x4GB).
The rebuild and system check
- Reattach the hard drive cage to the NAS ensuring that it is carefully, but firmly, plugged into the slot.
- Secure the hard drive cage by fastening the four inner screws plus the one on the bracing arm.
- Then reattach the case cover of the NAS by gently sliding it back together noting the locked position on the arrows on the case underside.
- Fasten the two screws onto the rear of the NAS.
- Reinsert your hard drives to the NAS.
- Connect the power and cables back to the NAS.
- To check that the RAM upgrade is recognised by the NAS, power up the TS-251 and login the web interface as an administrator.
- Go to your QTS desktop as Admin and click the Dashboard icon in the top right of the screen. Then, select Hardware Information.
- This will bring up the information where you can confirm that your TS-251 is recognising all lovely 4GBs of its new memory.
Upgrading the TS-451
Apparently the steps are pretty much the same for the 4-bay variant, there’s just a few more screws from what I can tell.
This is the interwebs, so I am expecting some feedback of some description. If I have missed something out, please do let me know.