Apply Thermal Paste on Synology NAS

Will applying thermal paste on Synology NAS improve cooling and performances?

Hello World and welcome to the umpteenth version of this website. Thanks to the pandemic this year I decided to make myself a free gift: creating a blog, this will help me note down what I discover while I play with IT.

I don’t know you but every time I decide to do something  in my life it is always too late. I should have started a blog years ago and this year… I probably decided is late enough. But let’s not waste more time and let’s go straight to the point.

The Problem

Synology DS1515+
Synology DS1515+

There is nothing better than a World pandemic to improve your skills at home. In my case I bought a second hand Synology DS1515+ because I wanted to play with Docker and SQL Server Always On availability groups. I choose this model because is a Quad Core and although it comes with 2GB or RAM the memory can be expanded to 16GB; (you need to dedicate at least 1 CPU to each Docker or VM if your intent is to create a lab and it goes by itself that having more RAM is good too).

 

But there was a problem I spotted at the first start: as soon as I turned it on and dived into the basic settings I found out that the System temperature status was at 52°.

 

Because the Synology DS1515+ went out in 2014 we are talking about a quite old piece of technology. Overall 52° is not that bad, actually is still in the safe range. But because I’m headstrong I wanted to check if I could lower that temperature. After a quick search on internet I found out that other users asked the same question but no one tried to test if changing the old thermal paste would lower the System temperature. That was too much, I had to do it: I bought a screwdriver kit . And while the Synology is dismantled let’s also add a couple of Crucial CT2KIT102464BF160B (2x, 8GB, DDR3-1600, SODIMM 204).

The Procedure

As soon as I removed the first layer it was evident it needed to be cleaned:

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: Dust

Start dismantling the Synology DS1515+ from the back and remove first the fans. The hard part is to remove this cable on the side: help yourself with a pair of pliers and try not to break it or you are screwed.

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: fans          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: hard cable

After those 2 steps you can remove the motherboard quite easily. The motherboard is the main piece we are going to work on. There is no need to dismantle further than that

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: motherboard          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: dismantled

The RAM are two, one on each side of the motherboard. Replacing them is quite easy.

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: RAM

Be extra careful when you remove the CPU heatsink: it’s attached to the motherboard by 2 plastic nails. Help yourself with a pliers and push it from the opposite side, don’t pull.

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: Remove heatsink

Now you need to remove the thermal paste form the CPU and heatsink.

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: heatsink          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: CPU

I used Benzene which is extremely volatile, flammable, toxic, irritating, cancerogenic, acute hazardous for environment… you name it…

Do you think it helped? just a bit, I had to pour it on a piece of cloth and use a chopstick to scratch the most insidious dirt

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: Benzene          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: chopsticks          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: dirt          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: clean

For the heatsink was even harder but at least the heatsink is not as fragile as a CPU. In this case I used a knife to peel the thermal paste from the aluminium. I did it only because I know I have quite a steady hand but if you don’t feel confident just don’t do it, the risk is to scratch the heatsink. And again, wash everything with Benzene till you see the room spinning

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: heatsink knife 1          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: heatsink knife 2          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: heatsink cloth

Now that the old thermal paste has been completely removed we can finally apply the new ARCTIC MX-4 or whatever other thermal paste at your choice. As you can see from the picture I’m putting a bit more than needed. This because if you scroll back and check the picture of the old thermal paste, the paste was covering not only the CPU but also the circuits all around

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: clean          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: thermal paste

We now have to put back the heatsink upon the CPU. Be careful when you pass the plastic screws through the motherboard and let the heatsing squeeze the thermal paste onto the CPU. What a pleasure.

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: CPU screws          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: heatsink back          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: motheboard back

So here we are, let’s rebuild the Synology and check if the temperature is now lower.

I waited a good 30 minutes and… the temperature was back to 52°. D’OH!

Conclusion

No, changing the thermal paste of your Synology NAS will not lower the System temperature.

Do you know what will lower your System temperature?

I opened the doors of the wardrobe in which I store the Synology and after 30 minutes… ta-da:

the temperature was down to 37°

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: wardrobe          Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: 32°

Thermal Paste on Synology NAS :: Western Digital Caviar Black Also, for my Synology NAS I bought 5 second hand Western Digital Caviar Black (RPM: 7200, Speed: 3Gb/s) which are very performance oriented, which translates into “noisy” and “warm”.

I bet that changing the 5 HDDs with 5 SSDs would have lowered the noise and the temperature of the NAS. But the experiment is over and my first post too.

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