Synology DS1010+ NAS

The Synology DS1010+ is my primary storage server for video content. It has since been superseded by the DS1515+ but I’ve not seen any reason I need to upgrade. This DS1010+ serves me well and has really great performance and flexibility. I picked it up based on my NAS research.

../../_images/synologyds1010.jpg

Diskstation Manager (DSM) is the operating system that runs Synology NAS devices. It supports installation of packages that provide additional functionality (beyond just storage) from the device. Anything from Git to MySQL to Plex can be run as a DSM package.

Plex Support

Plex does have a package to allow you to run right on the Diskstation via DSM.

The problem I ran into with Plex on the DS1010+ was transcoding support.

Whenever you play a video that doesn’t natively play on a device or can’t handle the throughput, Plex transcodes the video to something the device can handle. For example, if I’m on a phone I might easily have the bandwidth to accommodate SD content, but I might not be able to accommodate HD content (or my phone’s screen might have a lower resolution that can’t display full HD), so Plex will try to step it down to accommodate the restrictions.

The DS1010+ doesn’t have enough CPU power to handle transcoding HD video with Plex, full stop. I tried to configure the server and my various devices to avoid messing with transcoding but never could get the right setup. I’d get one front-end device working and it would cause some other device to start requiring transcoding. SD video? Great. HD? Nope.

This lack of power is why I built the Megaplex custom server to handle Plex for me. I keep the storage on the DS1010+, I still run other packages and services, but Plex is specifically offloaded ot the dedicated machine to enable a smooth viewing experience.

Aside: Synology does provide a “Video Station” package that has similar functionality to Plex - serving video to different devices, transcoding, etc. - and it does allow the DS1010+ to transcode HD streams. It does this because it’s very specifically tailored to the Synology DSM environment. Plex, serving a much wider range of hardware, doesn’t include those customizations and there is no intention of doing so to my knowledge. This has seen a lot of discussion on the Plex forums. Note I didn’t choose “Video Station” over Plex because Plex has a wider array of client support and a far nicer experience in general.

Storage

Of the 2TB drives listed as directly supported, these seem reasonably viable. Others are rated far too slow or are way beyond the $250/drive range (as of ~2010)…

In June 2016 I replaced the 2TB drives with 3TB drives so I could deprecate the Windows Home Server which had started getting finicky. I picked up five WD Blue 3TB WD30EZRZ drives (5400RPM, 64MB cache, $89 each) and went through the process of replacing one drive at a time. I went from an array of (7.15TB capacity / 5.8TB used / 1.35TB available) to (10.73 capacity / 5.8TB used / 4.93TB available) in a RAID 5 configuration.

Fan Upgrade

In September 2019 I was working more in my office and having to sit right next to the Synology for longer periods of time. White noise from fans was bugging me. The Synology has two 80mm cooling fans that I ended up replacing with “be quiet! Pure Wings 2” silent fans.

As part of that, I did have to disable the fan beep. It seems to be a well-known thing that Synology uses fans that aren’t standard. If you replace it with a nice, standard fan, the system thinks the fan has stopped and does all sorts of alerting, eventually shutting down for safety.

I did that by connecting via ssh root@diskstation using the admin user’s password and then:

# Find the location of the fan settings
# For me this was /sys/module/pineview_synobios/parameters/check_fan
find /sys -name *fan*

# Create a startup script to turn off the beep
vi /usr/syno/etc.defaults/rc.d/S99_beep_fan_disable.sh

In the script:

echo 0 > /sys/module/pineview_synobios/parameters/check_fan

Finally, set it to execute.

chmod +x /usr/syno/etc.defaults/rc.d/S99_beep_fan_disable.sh

Before you reboot, go into the DSM control panel. Under “Notifications,” disable all the “server fan” notifications. CPU and expansion unit fan notifications should still be fine. Now reboot.

I found one person who did a hardware hack to make a standard fan simulate what Synology wants. I haven’t gone to those lengths. Honestly, the person could probably make a mint selling little fan adapters that would hook inline with a standard fan.