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Expand the RAM of the Synology DS1515

Expand the RAM of the Synology DS1515

Many NAS from Synology, and especially in certain ranges, they have the possibility to expand their RAM, even if it’s not particularly supported. One of the differences between two models such as the DS1515 and the DS1515+ is that the second one supports up to 6 GB of RAM through an accessible SODIMM slot on one of its sides.

The DS1515 comes with 2 GB of RAM, an interesting amount for a NAS. The best part is that the 2 GB of 1600 DDR3 RAM are mounted on a SODIMM slot. We can mount up to 4 GB of 1600 DDR3 in this slot as long as they are low voltage, therefore 1.35 modules. The only difficulty is that we need to gain space between the NAS’s motherboard and the storage slots so that we can extract the old module and install the new one. Unmounting it will oblige us to almost unmounts the whole NAS, because of the connection “riser’s”, so it’s best to just make some space to be able to unblock the installed DIMM and replace it for a new one.

Removing 5 screws from the back side of the unit will give us access to the front of the NAS’s motherboard. As you can see, it has the shape for a second SODIMM, which is not present in this model but it is in others.

We will remove the screws that gold the motherboard to the chassis.

We will also have to remove some data and power strips.

We will just need to move the motherboard a bit to the side – no need to completely remove it – so we can unlock the existing module.

Then we will place the new one. I picked a crucial 1.35v 1600 DDR3.

We will obviously have to make the RAM expansion while the unit is turned off, and it doesn’t require any additional steps. It will be available for the system as soon as it is “online”. Many of Synology’s units have this same mounting, just like the DS1515+ can be expanded to 8GB with this same method (as does the DS1815+), so for a minimal investment we can have a much more capable NAS. This becomes more important now that the additional modules through the Docker’s light virtualization has become more popular.

The result, our NAS now has 4GB of RAM available, with a 5% being used with a newly installed system. Soon you will be able to read our complete review of this new and powerful NAS from Synology. It will become without a doubt one of its most attractive and desired models.

HP t5740

HP t5740

From October 2012 the description here came from Pascal in France who had a st5742. (t5740 with no flash and no operating system – see HP’s naming system). He had found a relatively cheap st5742 from the US to replace his t5700 which was acting as a low power home server. You’ll find a description of what he did under the mods tab.

Finally [Feb 2015] I’ve got my hands on a t5740, albeit with no flash memory, no bottom cover and with no stand but it was working and has enabled me to fill out this entry to match the others.


Intel Atom N280
2GB (max 4GB)
Max resolution
Intel GL40

2048 x 1536 32-bit colour
1920 x 1200

8 x USB2.0
Coax 4.8mm/1.7mm
19V 3.42A
H x W x D (mm) 267 x 44 x 222 with Stand

The operating system is Windows 7.

From HP’s datasheet:

Intel GL40 graphics with support for two high-resolution monitors up to 2048 x 1536, or up to 32 bit color depth. Output through VGA and DisplayPort connectors. Optional adapters available for DisplayPort to VGA or DVI-D connections.

Power Supply

The power supply is a laptop-style 19V one with a coax connector. The outer diameter of the plug is 4.8mm. I believe the inner diameter to be 1.7mm but it’s not the easiest thing to measure the diameter of the recessed pin in the socket, it might be 1.4mm. When I searched on line for ‘t5740 PSU’ I was surprised to find a number of offerings claiming to be replacements that were fitted with 5.5mm/2.5mm plugs. I can assure you anything with those dimensions does not fit my t5740!


The CPU is an Intel Atom N280 CPU, a single core 32-bit CPU but with Hyperthreading. For those to whom it matters here is some detail from Linux’s /proc/cpuinfo

vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 28
model name : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N280 @ 1.66GHz
stepping : 2
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 xtpr pdcm movbe lahf_lm dtherm

PCI bus

From the lspci command:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #6 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 5 (rev 03)
00:1c.5 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 6 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E 2 port SATA IDE Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.5 IDE interface: Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E 2 port SATA IDE Controller (rev 03)
04:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM57780 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe (rev 01)

Expansion HP t5740 circuit board

Click on the image for a larger version.

Flash: As mine came without any flash fitted I’m not 100% certain what type of flash is included. The board offers two ways of adding the flash – a 44-pin IDE connector or a SATA socket. The SATA socket is one of the combined power and data sockets and is to the SATA II standard.

However I’ve had an email from Christian who tried to use a 3.5″ disk with the t5740 and found it wasn’t recognised and actually didn’t spin up.

“…so I’ve checked the pins from the power connector with a multimeter and found out that there is no power provided on the three 12V pins – not on the Combo-Connector nor on the unequipped connector near the 44pin IDE connector. The 5V and 3.3V pins provide the correct power. It works with 2.5″ HDDs because they usually don’t use 12V, only 5V (some older ones also 3.3V).”

RAM: The motherboard has two sockets for SODIMMs, one on the top of the board and one on the bottom. The one on the bottom is accessible by removing a small metal panel – you don’t have to take the motherboard out of the enclosure. The datasheet mentions ‘1 or 2 GB DDR3/667MHz system memory’. In my model there was a single 1GB Hynix SODIMM fitted, PC3-10600S, part # HMT112S6TFR8C-H9. I don’t know from personal experience what the maximum amount of memory that can be installed but I have seen mention of 8GB. The N280 is a 32-bit processor and so can only directly address 4GB. However it does support PAE and so could physically use more memory if the operating system supports it.

USB: Like a lot of the HP thin clients of this era the t5740 includes two ‘secure’ USB sockets within the housing. There are also two on the front panel and four sockets on the rear panel.

PCIe x4: There is a PCIe connector on the board adjacent to the SATA socket.

PCI: There is what looks like a PCI slot. However this is a non-standard connector that is used with an expansion housing that doubles the width of the thin client. The words on the expansion Module mention gaining a x4/PCI slot and a parallel and second serial port. Obvious connections to the latter must pass over this interface. An email I received about the t610 showed that in some models at least the pin-out of the socket starts off as a genuine PCIe socket. So it is possible that pins 1-32 offer a standard PCIe x4 socket in a similar way to the x4 socket that Al found on the t610. I haven’t yet checked this but will do so in due course.

Fitting a SATA disk drive

The photographs here come from Pascal in France.

Originally Pascal was running an HP t5700 as a small home server. He had added a Samsung 2.5″ IDE drive to it and had installed Windows XP SP3. After a few years he felt the need for a performance boost and managed to find an inexpensive st5742 on eBay…..why is it the ones I see are always several hundred pounds?

His first step was to move the IDE drive across to the st5742:

First I’ve tried with my 44 pin ribbon and my ide disk but it’s seem there is some problems of CRC errors which make slow disk access (UDMA 1 or even PIO mode which is very slow under Windows…). I’ve tried with another ribbon but still errors 🙁

So I’ve bought a sata extender cable to use the sata port on the motherboard, and plugged a sata disk. I had to make some modification of the sata connector to fit the small box, it was a bit hard, but now it’s ok 🙂

I installed Windows 7 on it which works very well.

Here are pictures showing what he did…

st5742 with SATA disk

Here’s an overview of the st5742 with the SATA drive.

One issue here is the SATA connector – by the nature of its design it sticks out too far from the board and prevents the thin client’s cover from being fitted. Pascal has had to ‘modify’ it to reduce the height.

I guess HP expect you to have fitted the expansion module if you are using this socket.

SATA plug mods

The ‘mods’ to the plug involve cutting away enough of the black plastic so that the leads can be bent over sufficiently close to the board so that the cover can be fitted. The red circle shows a point where Pascal got over enthusiastic and cut into the cable. As a result he had to dig out his soldering iron to repair the wires he’d cut through.

st5742 board

There is another socket for the RAM on the other side of the motherboard. Pascal moved the RAM across to that one to get it clear of the hard disk and heat it might be producing.

st5742 added sata disk

The disk is fitted to the underneath of the metal cover. Pascal drilled a couple of extra holes in order to be able to mount it.

st5742 added sata disk

The SATA cables fit neatly around the inside edge of the housing.

st5742 a view inside of the sata disk

A view inside – with the cover nearly in place showing where the disk drive sits.