Upgrading the CPU in the RS3412xs/RS3412RPxs

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Upgrading the CPU in the RS3412xs/RS3412RPxs

If your Synology has a removable CPU socket, I would recommend changing the CPU to a faster and energy efficient counterpart. Due to the age of the server you could source a much faster CPU cheaply from auction website such as eBay. For this model the Synology RackStation RS3412xs and RS3412RPxs has an Intel i3-2100 that uses a LGA1155 socket, please note that LGA1155 socket support Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge.

Do not attempt to change architect, this is solely that Synology decided not to update the firmware of their chipset to include Ivy Bridge CPU. How did I know? I’ve tried an Intel Xeon E3-1230 v2, does not boot.

Please note that the Intel i3-2100 are pre-installed in the DiskStation DS3611xs, DiskStation DS3612xs, RackStation RS3411xs, RackStation RS3411RPxs, RackStation RS3412xs, RackStation RS3412RPxs all have the replaceable CPU LGA1155 socket, though your disassembly instructions may differ.

For this model you can try any Sandy Bridge, but there is a catch any i5 or i7 CPU does not have the ability to use ECC DDR RAMS. Intel did this on purpose to avoid consumer product to be used in Server product as we all know that consumer is always cheaper than server counterparts such as Xeon. But if you decide that you cannot source an Xeon then the i5 or i7 would have trouble restarting, it can only shutdown and turn on correctly. Makes updating awkward as you need to do a hard shutdown and restart if you wish to continue using an non-Neon.

When upgrading the CPU ensure that you follow similar TDP, the Intel i3-2100 specification is 65 W. This guild-line is the heat output, if you want a different CPU with higher TDP I would recommend that you change the heatsink to handle the heat demand. What happen if you don’t change the heatsink? You will encounter hard-shutdown (temperature sensor activated) when ever you hit the thermal limit of the CPU, running transcoding on the CPU would instantly reach it limits within minutes.

What I recommend is the Intel Xeon E3-1260L, for the lower TDP, double threads, double power, and lower energy usage.

Start off by removing the top panel of the case by removing the 2 screws located on the back, you then slide it towards the edge and lift the panel off.

The location of the CPU is right below the supporting bar, you may wish to remove this if you have difficulty in removing the heatsink. I left it on as this bar can remind you how to position the heatsink back.

Simply unscrew the 4 screws from each corner of the heatsink with a crosshead screwdriver. Carefully remove the heatsink, you will notice that the heatsink is not symmetrical due to the supporting bar Synology decided to get it trimmed on one side.

Your setup should look like this.

You then push down on the retainer bar, and move the bar to the right to unlock the clip.

The brace would then lift up, remove the CPU and then proceed in removing the thermal paste from the heatsink and CPU.

All clean, useful to pack it away in an anti-static packaging.

Now the E3-1260L

Insert the CPU back in, ensure that you put on thermal paste using any technique (pea drop or cover the whole top with a thin layer). Now reverse the installation, put heatsink back (note: supporting bar need to fit) and slide the panel back on.

Geekbench Browser i3-2100 vs E3-1260L

The CPU is faster in single and multi usage, and the AES built-in instructions in the Xeon blast the i3 away. The performance is noticeable faster and with the lower power usage you can slowly regain the money spent on the CPU.

Be aware that the control panel will show the incorrect CPU model in the basic information, Synology has hard-coded the CPU text within the firmware.

13 Responses

  1. Al says:

    Thank you very much for showing me this.

  2. Geoff says:

    I too upgraded the CPU in an RS-3412, however I went with the 80W E3-1270 and also upgraded the heatsink to one with heatpipes, used better grease, and also added some ducting inside. The result is a stable max temp of 62C at 100% usage vs 65C for the old i3. I’ve also noticed decreased power consumption under basic NAS operation presumably due to the variable frequency.

    Here’s a geekbench to compare it to your E3-1260l:

    I do have one question. The only concern I had with the E3-1270 is it lacks an integrated gpu. As the Synology is headless, I thought it shouldn’t matter, but now I’m using more VMs and the video is choppy at best. Do you run a VM on your RS-3412 and is VMM able to take advantage of the Intel GPU? I may swap my i3 back in to test, but I thought I’d check first.

    • poyu says:

      Hello Geoff, could you tell us what model heatsink did you get? Be helpful for anyone that is planning to do the same. I’ve retired my system, what test you want me to do? Play YouTube 1080p? I’m currently quite busy for this week, I can run a VM next week if I remember.

      Thank you for the benchmark, looking good for performance.

      While Intel i3-2100 does have an integrated GPU, I don’t think it even utilise the GPU what’s so ever. An VM would lock the GPU for 1 VM if it did, but sadly Synology haven’t incorporated GPU selection in their VM software. Also most CPU from Synology doesn’t have GPU, haven’t came across any business or high end system to do so. Their kernel doesn’t incorporated GPU drivers, I will run a 3D benchmark to prove this.

  3. Geoff says:

    The heatsink I used was the second revision of the Dynatron K666 with direct contact heatpipes. If I were upgrading more than one machine I might research some more options as the later XS+ Rackstations have a seemingly larger fin area and heatpipes. Also the included 60mm cooling fan isn’t fully compatible with the PWM control from the mainboard. The ducting I created was inspired by the RS-3413xs+:

    As far as the VM’s, after you offered to play a 1080p Youtube, I realized I must have something configured wrong as I was in single digit fps for 360p youtube. I found the mistake I made, somehow I duplicated an early test vm with cirrus graphics instead of vmvga. A couple of changes and the performance is decently smooth now. Thanks for the offer to test.

  4. Benjamin Start says:

    What is the max RAM you can put in this with a Xeon? Synology says max 6gb RAM with the i3 config.

    • poyu says:

      I had 32GB RAM installed in an 4*8GB configuration. Synology doesn’t state the correct max for most of their products. You normally check the CPU/Chipset memory controller max capacity on Intel website.

      • Benjamin Start says:

        Thanks! One more question. I would be ruining VM’s within DSM using the Virtual Machine app. I know the Control Panel will show an i3 is installed….but I am wondering if the VM app will see all the cores on a Xeon. I think Synology VM allows 2 VMs per core. So an i3 would allow a total of 4 VMs and the Xeon would allow a total of 8 VMs.

        • Geoff says:

          Just a quick update for you, the VMM app I have (2.3.3-9020 somewhat out of date) has the limit for VM cores as 2 per physical thread, so I can run 16 virtual cores on my Xeon. I haven’t messed with the priority or reserved thread functions. Memory cannot be over-allocated. I would however recommend using a set of mirrored SSDs, as VMs tend to have quite a bit of small random disk usage. I started bumping into slow disk access even with just one VM if the NAS was under sustained usage.

          I also haven’t had time to try this but installing the system to the mirrored SSD by waiting until fully configured to install the spinning disks is supposedly quite a bit faster in app / system response and performance. DSM 7 may get a better SSD usage options, but that’s not going to be easily available for the RS3412.

  5. Peter says:

    Is there someone who can describe the type of usable DDR3 modules with the E3-1260L


    • poyu says:

      Hi Peter, I’ve used 4* 8GB Kingston KVR16LE11/8 to make 32GB. Has the following specifications 1600MHz DDR3L ECC CL11 DIMM 1.35V, make sure you get ECC non buffered type (registered don’t work). DDR3L voltage can automatically switch to 1.5V if the system isn’t compatible, I’m sure the DDR3 should work too.

      • Peter says:

        Hello Poyu,

        So I need DDR3 memory with a front side bus 1600 Mhz and ECC. None ECC doesn’t work!
        Is it also possible to start first with 2* 8Gb modules?

        Thanks for your advice.

  6. Andy says:

    I was hoping to gain faster encrypted folders using DSM 6.2.3 and DS3624xs with E3-1260L, but it did not help.

    Apparently AES-NI feature is not being used by folder encryption as the Geekbench via Docker does detect AES and shows substatial gains.

    Oh well.

    Otherwise it is working fine, 32GB of RAM and all. Ready for another decade of storage (coming from DS1512+ that I bought new).

    • poyu says:

      Thanks Andy for your response, it seems that Synology DSM does not acknowledge the AES-NI feature. Though at least the docker and virtual machines can utilise the AES-NI, have fun with your speedy Synology.

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