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QNAP NAS Plex Performance Guide – 2021 Edition

2 juin 2021 à 16:00

What is the Best QNAP NAS for a Plex Media Server?

Plex has fast become the most popular media server software for home users in 2021. With a slick user interface, smart organization, relevant media images and descriptions sourced from many online sources applied automatically and clever show recommendations and watched records, it is easy to see why Plex challenges many of the online streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Instant and Hulu. Another attractive feature of Plex is that the software is available free (or a more feature-rich paid version), whereas online streaming sources have monthly subscriptions, do not let you play your own content and change/rotate available media content on a monthly basis. With Plex, you play the media that you own and it is organized in an attractive and easy way. However in order to take advantage of Plex, you need a device for your media and the Plex media server to live, and this is where the money part comes. The best means with which to host a plex media server is a Network Attached Storage device (or NAS server). One of the biggest NAS server providers in the world right now is QNAP and they have a large range of NAS devices that support Plex in many, many ways (transcoding, smooth running, 4K, etc). However which QNAP NAS should you buy for your Plex media server, what is transcoding on a QNAP Plex media server like and what is the best QNAP NAS for a Plex Media Server (PMS)?

What is Software Transcoding on a QNAP Plex Media Server?

When media lives on your QNAP NAS, often the device a that you are playing back your plex media (Smart TV, iPhone, Laptop, iPod) onto cannot support the media file type, the resolution or audio codec. In this case, the Plex Media Server on your QNAP NAS will try to change the file to a more suitable version, on the fly, to ensure you can enjoy your media in the best way. This is known as transcoding and though the Plex application is actioning this with the software, the actual work is being done by the QNAP NAS CPU. Software transcoding takes a heavy toll on the CPU and you will need a relatively powerful processor in order to support this feature. Typically the CPU will need to be:

  • In Intel or AMD Based Based CPU that is 64bit (x86) in Architecture
  • Higher than 1.6Ghz in Frequency
  • More than 2 Cores

It is important to highlight that transcoding for Plex on a QNAP NAS only really needs more power in the case of converting/changing video files. Audio and Image files will not require much support from the NAS.

Choosing the Right QNAP NAS for a Plex Media Server

When it comes to choosing the right QNAP NAS for your Plex Media Server, below I have broken down the entire currently available NAS you can buy. I have broken them down into the following areas:

Model ID – This is the Name of the QNAP NAS Device

CPU – This is the central processor of the QNAP NAS server and this will be what decides the performance of your Plex Media Server

SD 480p / 576p –Most likely the lowest point at which you will need transcoding of a video media file, 480p was used for many early Plasma televisions, whereas 576p is considered Standard Definition in many countries worldwide

HD 720p – Otherwise known as ‘HD Ready’ or ‘Standard HD’, it is generally considered the lowest starting point for watching HD media and starts at 1280×720

HD 1080p – Widely regarded at ‘Full-HD’, it arrives at 1920×1080. Most media listed at high definition in 2021 will be 1080P

4K SDR 2160p – 4K SDR is the entry point into 4K Media. An SDR 2160p supported TV has around 4,000 lines of resolution (the lines across the screen that form the rows of pixels) but is not capable of completely showing the depth and richness of colours spectrum and contrast of 4K HDR. It is by no means a compromise and still an excellent picture, but rather this is due to the physical differences in the construction of the screen and not just how the images are processed, just like the differences between and SD and HDTV.

4K UHD HDR 2160p – The current top end of 4K Media file formats in popular commercial media. A 4K HDR TV has the same 4000 lines of resolution as those that support 4K SDR 2160p, but is physically capable of rendering an image with increased contrast and richer colours\separation thanks to the physical build superiority.

Be sure to check the kind of media you own (or plan on streaming from your QNAP NAS), as well as the devices you will be playing back on for a better idea of what kind of plex media transcoding support you will need from your NAS server from QNAP. Be sure to check the supported file types (most common modern files types you find for 1080p and 4K are .MKV .MP4 .MOV and .AVI).Below is the entire current QNAP NAS range and how well they perform in the Plex Media Server Application with a single Stream.

Guide for the Chart Below

Software Transcode = Uses the NAS software and CPU Power to alter a file to a more suitable Plex Playback type

Hardware – Accelerated Transcoding – Uses Embedded Graphics that are Integrated into the CPU to Alter a file to a more suitable version for Plex Playback

RED BOX – Recommended Synology NAS for Plex Media Server. Could be based on Performance, Price or Value between both

Use the FREE ADVICE Button to contact me directly for a recommendation on the Best Plex NAS for your Setup/Budget. Please bear in mind that this is a one-man operation, so my reply might take a little bit of time, but it will be impartial, honest and have your best interests at heart.

 

Latest 2021 QNAP NAS Releases:

 

Software Transcoding

 

 

Hardware – Accelerated Transcoding

 

Model CPU Model SD
480p / 576p
HD
720p
HD
1080p
4K
SDR 2160p
HD
720p
HD
1080p
H.264
2160p
HEVC SDR
2160p
HEVC UHD
2160p
TS-131K ARMv7 (Alping AL-214) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-230 ARMv8 (RealTek 1296) 1.4Ghz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-231K ARMv7 (Alping AL-214) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-231P3 ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7 Ghz No No No No No No No No No
TS-251D x64 (Celeron J4005) 2.0Ghz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-253D x64 (Celeron J4125) 2.7Ghz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-431KX ARMv7 (Alping AL-214) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-431P3 ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-431X3 ARMv7 (Alpine AL-212) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-451D2 x64 (Celeron J4005) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-451DeU x64 (Celeron J4025) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-453DU (-RP) x64 (Celeron J4125) 2.7 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-453D x64 (Celeron J4125) 2.7 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-653D x64 (Celeron J4125) 2.7 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes SDR Only H.264 Output H.264 Output
TS-h973AX x64 (Ryzen V1500B) 2.2GHz Yes Yes Yes No Some Some No No No

Previous 2020 and Older QNAP NAS Releases:

   
Software Transcoding


Hardware – Accelerated Transcoding

Model CPU Model SD
480p / 576p
HD
720p
HD
1080p
4K
SDR 2160p
HD
720p
HD
1080p
H.264
2160p
HEVC SDR
2160p
HEVC UHD
2160p
TS-128A ARMv8 (RealTek 1293) 1.2GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-131 ARMv7 (Cortex A9) 1.2GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-131P ARMv7 (Alpine AL-212) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-228A ARMv8 (RealTek 1295) 1.2GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-230 ARMv8 (RealTek 1296) 1.4Ghz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-231 ARMv7 (Cortex A9) 1.2GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-231+ ARMv7 (Alpine AL-212) 1.4GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-231P ARMv7 (Alpine AL-212) 1.7 Ghz No No No No No No No No No
TS-231P2 ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7 Ghz No No No No Yes Yes No No No
TS-251 x64 (Celeron J1800) 2.41GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TS-251+ x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-251A x64 (Celeron N3060) 1.6GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-251D x64 (Celeron J4005) 2.0Ghz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TS-253 Pro x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-253A x64 (Celeron N3150) 1.6GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-253B x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-253Be x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-269 Pro x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-328 ARMv8 (RealTek 1296) 1.2GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-332X ARMv8 (Alpine AL-324) 1.7GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-431 ARMv7 (Cortex-A9) 1.2GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-431+ ARMv7 (Alpine AL-212) 1.4GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-431P ARMv7 (Alpine AL-212) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-431P2 ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-431U ARMv7 (Cortex-A9) 1.2GHz No No No No Yes Yes No No No
TS-451 x64 (Celeron J1800) 2.41GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-451+ x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-451A x64 (Celeron N3060) 1.6GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-451U x64 (Celeron J1800) 2.41GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-453A x64 (Celeron N3150) 1.6GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-453mini x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-453B x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-453Be x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-453BT3 x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-453Bmini x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-453BU x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-453U x64 (Celeron J1800) 2.41GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-463U x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-463XU x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-469 Pro x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-469L x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-469U-RP x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-473 x64 (AMD RX 421ND) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-531P ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.4GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-531X ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-563 x86 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-569 Pro x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-569L x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No Yes Yes No No No
TS-651 x64 (Celeron J1800) 2.41GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only No No
TS-653 Pro x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-653A x64 (Celeron N3150) 1.6GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-653B x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-669 Pro x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-669L x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-677 x64 (AMD RX 421ND) 2.1GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-677-1600 x64 (AMD Ryzen 5-1600) 3.2 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-831X ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.4GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-831XU ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-832X ARMv8 (Annapurna) 1.7GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-832XU ARMv8 (Annapurna) 1.7GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-851 x64 (Celeron J1800) 2.41GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only No No
TS-853 Pro x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TS-853A x64 (Celeron N3150) 1.6GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-853BU x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TS-853U x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-863U x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-863XU x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-869 Pro x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-869L x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No No No No No No
TS-869U-RP x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No Yes Yes No No No
TS-870 Pro x64 (Core i3-3220) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-873 x64 (AMD RX 421ND) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-873U x64 (AMD RX 421ND) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-877-1600 x64 (AMD Ryzen 5 1600) 3.2 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-877-1700 x64 (AMD Ryzen 7 1700) 3.0 GHZ Yes Yes Yes Some Some Some No No No
TS-879 Pro x64 (Core i3-2120) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Yes No Some Some No No No
TS-879U-RP x64 (Core i3-2120) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TS-932X ARMv8 (Annapurna) 1.7GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TS-951X x64 (Celeron 3865U) 1.8Ghz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-963X x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No Some Some No No No
TS-1079 Pro x64 (Core i3-2120) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TS-1231XU ARMv7 (Alpine AL-314) 1.7GHz No No No No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TS-1253BU x64 (Celeron J3455) 1.5 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TS-1253U x64 (Celeron J1900) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-1263U x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-1263XU x64 (AMD GX-420MC) 2.0GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-1269U-RP x64 (Atom D2700) 2.13GHz Yes Some No No Some Some No No No
TS-1279U-RP x64 (Core i3-2120) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TS-1635 ARMv7 (Alpine AL-514) 1.7 GHz No No No No No No No No No
TS-1635AX ARMv8 (ARMADA) 1.7GHz Yes Yes Some No No No No No No
TS-1673U x64 (AMD RX 421ND) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Some No Some Some No No No
TS-1679U-RP x64 (Core i3-2120) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TS-1277-1600 x64 (AMD Ryzen 5 1600) 3.2 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-1277-1700 x64 (AMD Ryzen 7 1700) 3.0 GHZ Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-1677X-1200 x64 (AMD Ryzen 3 1200) 3.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TS-1677X-1600 x64 (AMD Ryzen 5 1600) 3.2 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-1677X-1700 x64 (AMD Ryzen 7 1700) 3.0 GHZ Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-1685-D1521 x64 (Xeon D1521) 2.4 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-1685-D1531 x64 (Xeon D1531) 2.2 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TS-EC1080 Pro x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-EC1279U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1225) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TS-EC1280U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-EC1679U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1225) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TS-EC1680U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TS-EC2480U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TS-EC879U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1225) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TS-EC880 Pro x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TS-EC880U-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some
Yes Yes No No No
TVS-471-i3 x64 (Core i3-4150) 3.5GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Some No No No
TVS-471-PT x64 (Pentium G3250) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Some No No No
TVS-472XT x64 (Pentium G5400T) 3.1 Ghz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TVS-473 x64 (AMD RX-421BD) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
TVS-473e x64 (AMD RX-421BD) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-671-i3 x64 (Core i3-4150) 3.5GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-671-i5 x64 (Core i5-4590S) 3.0GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Some No No No
TVS-671-PT x64 (Pentium G3250) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-672XT x64 (Core i3-8100T) 3.1 Ghz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TVS-673 x64 (AMD RX-421BD) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-672N-i3-4G x64 (Core i3-8100T) 3.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TVS-673e x64 (AMD RX-421BD) 2.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-682-i3-8G x64 (Core i3-7100) 3.9 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Some No No No
TVS-682-PT-8G x64 (Pentium G4400) 3.3GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-682T-i3-8G x64 (Core i3-7100) 3.9 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-871-i3 x64 (Core i3-4150) 3.5GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-871-i5 x64 (Core i5-4590S) 3.0GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-871-i7 x64 (Core i7-4790S) 3.2GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Some No No No
TVS-871-PT x64 (Pentium G3250) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-871U-RP-i3 x64 (Core i3-4150) 3.5GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-871U-RP-i5 x64 (Core i5-4590S) 3.0GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Some No No No
TVS-871U-RP-PT x64 (Pentium G3250) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-872N-i3-4G x64 (Core i3-8100T) 3.1 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-872XT-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-8400T) 1.7 Ghz Yes Yes Yes Some No No No No No
TVS-873e x64 (AMD RX-421BD) 2.1 Ghz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-882-i3-8G x64 (Core i3-7100) 3.9 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-882-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-6500) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-882T-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-6500) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-882BRT3-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-7500) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-882BRT3-i7-32G x64 (Core i7-7700) 3.6GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-882ST3-i5 x64 (Core i5-6442EQ 1.9GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-882ST3-i7 x64 (Core i7-6700HQ) 2.6GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-951X x64 (Celeron 3865U) 1.8 GHz Yes Yes Some No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-EC1080 x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-EC880 x64 (Xeon E3-1245 v3) 3.4GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-1271U-RP-i3 x64 (Core i3-4150) 3.5GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-1271U-RP-i5 x64 (Core i5-4590S) 3.0GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
TVS-1271U-RP-i7 x64 (Core i7-4790S) 3.2GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Some No No No
TVS-1271U-RP-PT x64 (Pentium G3250) 3.1GHz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-1282-i3-8G x64 (Core i3-6100) 3.7 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-1282-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-6500) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-1282-i7-32G x64 (Core i7-6700) 3.4 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only No
TVS-1282T-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-6500) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-1282T-i7-32G x64 (Core i7-7700) 3.4 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-1282T3-i5-16G x64 (Core i7-7500) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-1282T3-i7-32G x64 (Core i7-7700) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-1582TU-i5-16G x64 (Core i5-7500) 3.4 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes H.264 Only Decode Only Decode Only
TVS-1582TU-i7-32G x64 (Core i7-7700) 3.6 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-EC1280U-SAS-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1246 v3) 3.5 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-EC1580MU-SAS-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1246 v3) 3.5 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-EC1680U-SAS-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1246 v3) 3.5 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes No No No
TVS-EC2480U-SAS-RP x64 (Xeon E3-1246 v3) 3.5 GHz Yes Yes Yes Some Yes

What is Accelerated Transcoding with Plex on my NAS?

Some QNAP NAS arrive with a CPU that has improved rendering or graphical embedding enabled. This means that is Plex can utilize this hardware for transcoding, it will require much, much less of the CPU processing power to transcode a video file. In order to take advantage of Plex hardware transcoding on your QNAP NAS, you will need to first check which NAS supports the transcoding to the extent you need by checking below. Next, you will need to upgrade your Plex Membership from the free version to the paid ‘Plex Pass’ subscription, as the option of Accelerated Transcoding with QNAP NAS hardware is not included in the plex free subscription. However, below has included all the current available QNAP NAS and to what extent they support Hardware transcoding with a Plex Pass:How to Enable Hardware Acceleration with Plex Media Server on a QNAP NAS

To use Hardware Transcoding on your QNAP NAS in a Plex Media Server, you need to enable it using the Plex Web access (head over to your Plex User interface on your browser.

  1. Open the Plex Web app.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Server > Transcoder to access the server settings.
  3. Turn on Show Advanced in the upper-right corner to expose advanced settings.
  4. Turn on Use hardware acceleration when available.
    hwaccel.png
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom.

The changes should take place straight away and there is no need to reboot your QNAP NAS. Be sure to have updated to the latest version of the Plex Media Server application on your NAS and that Hardware Transcoding is listed as supported in the list above.


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Buying a NAS for Video Editing – Get it Right First Time

31 mai 2021 à 16:00

Buying a NAS for Video Editing – A Buyers Guide

Whether you are a professional, semi-pro or hobbyist video editor, the appeal of moving your editing suite over to a NAS based environment can be quite high. Although not quite as straightforward as utilising traditional an internal SSD or external storage on USB and thunderbolt, video editing on a NAS can bring a significant number of advantages and improvements to even a low-level post-production environment focused on editing video privately or commercially. It can be frightfully intimidating to understand which components you need to buy, let alone know how to create the ideal video editing set up on a NAS for multiple connected clients on windows and mac systems. So today I wanted to take some time and talked about why you should edit video on a NAS, why you shouldn’t and the key considerations when making the move towards network-attached storage for your video editing workflow.

Ready to Edit Video on a NAS Drive? Below is my FULL GUIDE to Edit on a NAS (Click Below):

What are the Benefits of Video Editing on a NAS

Network-attached storage (NAS) has been around now commercially for more than 20-years and it has only really been in the last few years that the viability of editing dense media, such as 1080P and 4K raw, has become particularly viable. NAS brings a number of unique advantages to video editors that apply to both the process of rendering in post-production AND general good working practice with your data. Key benefits of using a NAS in your video editing workflow are:

One Area of Storage, Accessible by Many at Once – Multiple users can connect to the same storage device, internal and external backup routines can be managed by the device and connected storage

Diverse Connectivity – Multiple types of connection are available for users to interact with the device

Security Advantages – Encryption and multiple security access options are available on the storage side

Easy Distribution – Completed projects can be distributed to the network or internet without requiring an additional cloud storage platform

Mixed OS Support – Different OS and file structures can communicate with the same storage device without being incompatible

Scaled Storage Options – Storage capacity is scalable with the ability to gradually add hard drives and SSD as you need them and even attach additional enclosures – ie you are not limited on day one with a preset storage capacity

Users & Group Access Controls with Custom Privileges – Each user can have their own login with access to different areas of the system storage being allowed/denied on the fly

AJA Speed Test from 4x Synology HAT5300 Hard Drives in a RAID 5 over 10Gbe NAS Connectivity Below:

What are the downsides of Editing on a NAS?

Of course, editing on a NAS is still not perfect for everyone and although it features numerous benefits to those working in post-production, there are still several hurdles that may be too much for some users. Below are several reasons why you may not want to use a NAS for video editing:

Top Speed Potential – Like-for-like a NAS will not quite hit the same top performance of a direct-attached storage device (DAS)

Arguable More Expensive – NAS costs more than a traditional DAS

Not Strictly Plug-n-Play – NAS is not as straightforward or feature the same level of plug-and-play that a regular DAS does

Additional Equipment (e.g Switches) – In order for multiple users to access a NAS at the same time, it can sometimes require additional hardware

Steeper Learning Curve – NAS systems have a marginally higher learning curve when it comes to setting up and maintenance when it comes to external network security

Overall, a NAS is still fantastic for video editing, but all the advantages that it brings for multi-editor environments and improving your workflow are not without a little friction at the start. That said, these are small in the grand scheme of things and most can be overcome with even a small amount of IT knowledge. Below are guides on how to setup your Synology or QNAP NAS for Video Editing for the first time:

Important Considerations When Choosing a NAS for Video Editing

In order to cover every aspect of how you can adapt a NAS into your video editing workflow, I have broken the whole thing down into several key considerations. Each one was selected based on its recurrence in the enquiry section here on NASCompares and I strongly recommend that you check the suitability of each in your setup before proceeding with purchasing any NAS solution for business class post-production, low-level video editing and even just for simple one-off tasks involving video.

Video Editing on a NAS – Size, Capacity and RAID

Let’s start with something straightforward and easy to understand, namely the subject of storage space and capacity. The amount of storage you’re going to need in a NAS that you plan on using for video editing may seem simple at first. Depending on whether you plan on utilising the NAS to its fullest in terms of editing, distribution and archiving, or simply plan on using the NAS for just the editing, you will need to make sure that you have enough storage for current projects and long-term storage. Typically, it is recommended that you work out how much data you generally create per year and times it by x5. However, capacity is only a small part of the importance of storage on your video editing NAS.

Here is a Guide to Understanding Each of the Main RAID Types (Click Below to read in a new tab)

In order to improve the performance of the NAS for optimal video editing, it is recommended that you use a NAS setup that features multiple hard drives or SSD in order to take advantage of both the redundancy and multi-disc access performance benefits available in RAID (redundant array of independent disks). A single hard drive can provide around 150-260 Megabytes per second of performance on average, but with each additional hard drive you add to a NAS system, it increases the overall performance by around 70-150MB/s per drive (more so with SSD). Although hard drives are traditionally slower than more expensive SSD, this can be negated via the use of multiple hard drives in a RAID and provide a much better price per terabyte investment. This also means that the NAS is able to store more projects for editing and archiving overall.

Finally, there is the consideration for the number of bays available on the video editing NAS. If you intend to take advantage of the performance and redundancy that RAID provides, you will need to ensure that you buy a NAS system that allows enough bays for you to populate with hard drives or SSD. However, you may also need to consider adding more drives later in your NAS drives life, whether to increase capacity later or just do improve performance when you need it. So it never hurts to consider partially populating a NAS in order to give yourself a little more flexibility later with your capacity, whether it is installing four hard drives in an 8 bay NAS or choosing a NAS that has the option of expandability with an externally connected expansion chassis.

Video Editing on a NAS – Noise and Distance from the NAS

Another massively overlooked area in using a NAS for video editing, and one that when overlooked can lead to enormous irritation, is avoiding ambient noise that some enterprise NAS devices generate. One of the biggest differences between editing using an SSD inside your Mac or Windows system compared with editing on an external device like a NAS/DAS is that due to the larger array of storage media combined with external enclosure design, the clicks, hums and vibration can create a noticeable increase in ambient noise. This can obviously vary based on the NAS and drive media you choose to use, but still nonetheless the general rule of thumb is that high performance in a NAS will equal a larger volume in in operational noise. If you are running a less noise prohibitive workflow, take advantage of professional headphones or maintain a decent distance from the system, you should be perfectly fine. However many users do not realise that video editing on a NAS enclosure can be rather noisy. To give you an example, below is some examples of general ambient noise generated from just a single NAS based hard drive when in operation:

Audio/Noise Tests of FOUR Popular NAS based Hard Drives:

Seagate Ironwolf Noise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgXtQ1nGMI0/

WD Red Noise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf23exhPDXg/

Seagate EXOS Noise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW4FIWX1QKo/

Western Digital UltraStar Noise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THYPA5FMiD4/

 

Video Editing on a NAS – Hard Drives, SSDs, or Both in your NAS

Most people are already well aware that although hard drives bring a tremendous amount of storage potential at an affordable level, they pale in comparison to SSD when it comes to performance. Solid-state drives provide read and write speeds that practically no modern traditional hard drive can match. That is the main reason that a lot of people rely on SSDs inside their modern computers for operating systems and general high-performance file handling. However, when it comes to network-attached storage the gap between hard drives and SSD performance can be closed significantly via the utilisation of RAID (redundant array of independent disks – mentioned earlier), which allows a user to install multiple hard drives inside I NAS and because each Drive is being read and written to at the same time, it results in something that far surpasses that of a singular hard drive in speed. In short, if you look at the price of per terabyte of an SSD as around 4-5x that of a regular hard drive, you can still achieve these speeds by simply using 4-5 hard drives instead, but actually having more capacity available to you, as well as the option of a safety net that most RAID configurations offer by default. So do not assume that video editing on a NAS will be better just because you spent more money on SSDs. If you did choose to spend significantly more money in fully populating a NAS with SSD only, this could potentially over-saturate the connection between your NAS and your editing computer, so if you are running a 10 Gigabit connection (i.e 1000MB/s), on a NAS fully populated with SSD, you cannot actually exceed 1000 megabyte per second – so you would have wasted a lot of money on SSD to start with.

Of course, there is the third option of utilising both storage media in an intelligent way. The act of using a mixed media storage configuration can be realised in either taking advantage of a tiered storage system that moves data inside to whichever storage media is the most beneficial (i.e more regularly accessed on SSD, least accessed on HDD – known on QNAP NAS as QTier), or SSD caching that moves a copy of more frequently accessed data from the hard drive RAID storage array onto a smaller but higher-performing area of SSD storage media. The benefits of SSD caching on video editing are negligible unless you are utilising many, many smaller files and need these files more frequently accessed at any given time. Ultimately, this all means that you are not locked in on utilising just one kind of storage media on your video editing setup and it is recommended that you investigate the benefits of either or both in order to maximize your investment in a NAS for video editing.

Video Editing on a NAS – Buying a NAS with 10Gbe

For those who are looking at purchasing a NAS system for video editing, the appeal of 10-gigabit ethernets is largely inarguable. One of the biggest problems when it came to editing video and even photos on a NAS until recently was that you simply could not get the bandwidth and performance through it that you would need in order to edit a big single file. This changed when 10-gigabit ethernet became available, but more so when you became affordable. You can now pick up some 10Gbe NAS systems for as little as £200-300, which might leave you feeling that a NAS for video editing can be spectacularly cheap. However, it is so much more complicated than simply having a 10Gb port on your NAS to allow video editing in any seamless form. Indeed, there are several key factors that a lot of 10G buyers either overlook or consciously cheap-out on, which inevitably leads to slower performance. These are as follows:

Choosing the Right NAS CPU

As mentioned, there are several very affordable 10Gbe NAS systems out there that highlight how competent they are at file server handling. However, not all CPUs are built the same and unless you are using an x86 64-bit CPU, you are not going to get the performance needed to edit video smoothly. Most affordable alternative systems arrived with ARM-based processors (Realtek, Marvel, Annapurna, etc), in 32-bit and 64-bit. These CPU are designed for maximum efficiency but low heavy performance handling and along with featuring lesser power frequencies, cannot handle larger instructions particularly well. Video editing is an intense operation with numerous read-write actions happening in the background that is often unknown to the editor (caching, editing multiple streams on a timeline, etc) and an ARM processor is just not up to the task. This can be marginally mitigated with improved memory, but even this is like sticking a plaster on a shotgun wound! You need to opt for 10Gbe NAS that have either an Intel or AMD based processor that is 64-bit in architecture in order to ensure smooth editing of your videos personally or professionally. I recommend at last an Intel Xeon, Intel Core, AMD Ryzen or Pentium at the very least.

Choosing the Right Amount of NAS Memory

Although nowhere near as important as selecting the right CPU in a 10Gbe NAS solution, Memory still needs to be considered when setting up the device for video editing. This is because although a chunk of memory will be used by the NAS for individual video editing instructions and operations, the NAS will also need additional reserved memory for running background system operations, backup routines and any additional apps you have installed from the brand respective app centre (surveillance, snapshots, cloud synchronisation, etc). The majority of budget 10Gbe NAS solutions arrived with 2GB of memory (sometimes non-upgradable and soldered via individual memory chips to the motherboard), though I strongly recommend that video editors use at least 8GB of memory if you have at least two editors. There are also differences in memory types and frequency, but these are less vital in video editing NAS and generally the better CPU your NAS has, the better the memory it will include.

Choosing the Right Amount of Terabytes for Storage to MAX 10Gbe

Having 10G on a NAS does not mean you INSTANTLY guarantee 1000MB/s performance. The number of hard drive SSD bays that the NAS has is actually an extremely important part of setting up a NAS for 10G editing. Individual SATA hard drive or SSD arrives with speeds ranging from 160-550MB/s, with faster drives obviously being the more expensive. But if your system has multiple drive bays, with the right RAID configuration you can read and write from multiple disks at once and this multiplies the performance possible. This also means that cheaper, larger but slower hard drives can get a great deal closer to the performance of SSD if they are used in larger configurations of 6 or 8 bays. The performance of 10Gbe does not guarantee 1000MBs, it simply opens the channel to push that much data through. Utilising a NAS with more Drive bays and drives inside will allow you to maximize this connection and fully saturate 10Gbe for video editing.

Factoring Upgrades on your Client PCs and Macs

An often-overlooked factor, just because you buying a 10Gbe equipped NAS does not guarantee you 10G performance with all of your connected devices externally. 10Gbe on a NAS arrives in an available ethernet port in copper or fibre connectivity, 10GASE-T or SFP+ respectively. However, you still need to make sure that other devices in your network involved in connectivity and video editing also have this connection. Typically that means that you either need to upgrade your network switch to include one with 10Gbe on board and/or you need to upgrade the video editing workstations in your home/business environment with 10Gbe connectivity. Typically these connections arrived as either thunderbolt external adaptors or PCIe upgrade cards (not suitable for MacBooks, Mac minis or laptops). There are lesser connections such as 2.5G and 5G that allow USB upgrades by providing 250-500MB/s, but if you want to take advantage of 10GBe, you need to look at applying upgrades to any devices involved with video editing. Below is a guide to 10Gbe Upgrades:

Just remember that regardless of the hard drives you use, the memory you install and the number of hard drives you install inside, these all primarily affect internal performance and it is only by upgrading your ethernet connectivity to greater than 1Gbe that you will see external performance improve – VITAL for video editing!

Video Editing on a NAS – Buying a NAS with Thunderbolt

Although by no means a new way to edit video on a NAS, connecting to a NAS via thunderbolt is still a comparatively recent method and one that is largely only available from QNAP. In many ways, utilising a Thunderbolt 3 equipped NAS for video editing is largely identical to 10Gbe and is heavily dictated by many of the factors detailed above (CPU, memory, connectivity, etc). However, Thunderbolt NAS eliminates a lot of the client upgrade hurdles for many users, particularly Mac users, allowing them to connect directly with the NAS over TB3/USB-C for performance speeds much greater than traditional Gigabit LAN. Many users have edited video on local thunderbolt storage for years, more commonly referred to as DAS (direct-attached storage), a thunderbolt NAS allows multiple users to connect via thunderbolt and edit video on the same storage enclosure. The reality though is that thunderbolt NAS does not provide the same level of performance and throughput as a regular thunderbolt DAS enclosure. This is because it is utilising network protocol in its connectivity (in order to ensure that multiple users can connect at once – something a DAS drive cannot do). It can still provide potentially thousands of megabytes per second depending on the media inside and CPU, but there is a notable disparity between a DAS of the same scale. Additionally, whereas the majority of thunderbolt DAS (LaCie, G-Tech, Drobo, etc) are almost completely plug-n-play and appearing as an external drive immediately upon connection, Thunderbolt NAS requires a little more work in order to appear as an available drive on your Mac or Windows system. Most of these connection hurdles only need to be configured during the first time setup and then saved for the future, but it can still be a notably intimidating move to switch to a thunderbolt NAS for video editing. Nevertheless, thunderbolt NAS is still one of the best options out there are for video editors who work in a team and need to share the same storage array for backups, live editing, distribution and managing multiple archives in house.

Choosing A NAS for Video Editing – Need More Help?

So, those were the key considerations for those looking to buy a new NAS for video editing, or looking to upgrade/migrate from an existing DAS/External drive setup. However, there is still so much that you may need to know ranging from software compatibility, how to connect the NAS in the best way, Shoadowfiles and the best backup methods. If you still need help choosing the NAS solution for your needs, use the NASCompares free advice section below. It is completely free, is not a subscription service and is manned by real humans (two humans actually, me and Eddie). We promise impartial advice, recommendations based on your hardware and budget, and although it might take an extra day or two to answer your question, we will get back to you.

Learn More About Multiple Backup Strategies on your Synology NAS in the Guide Below:


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QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review – 10G and ZFS, But No Thunderbolt

24 mai 2021 à 16:30

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review

In the last few years, we have seen the evolution of network-attached storage from being a simple hard drive that you can access remotely, to something far more evolved and capable. Innovations in everything from the hardware available, to what the software can do has resulted in even modest budget home users jumping on board with more and more capable solutions. One of the latest releases from QNAP to arrive on the market is a slight change on an existing system that although is tough to call something new, can certainly be called popular in the hardware it brings to the table. The brand new QNAP TVS-872X system is a non-thunderbolt alternative to the 2018 generation TVS-872XT, arriving at a lower price point, including ZFS support and still featuring 10G. This overwhelmingly popular Intel i3 -bay has been in our top-5 lists in its thunderbolt form for many years, but does this reimagining of the formula make the QNAP TVS-872X still worth your money and your data in 2021? Let’s take a look.

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review – Quick Conclusion

The QNAP TVS-872X is undeniably still a great example of the wide-ranging features available to prosumers who want a storage system heavily geared towards high-performance transmission via high-performance media with higher tier hardware at their disposal. It would be misleading to think of this NAS as any kind of significant upgrades over the XT, and the price tag that the TVS-872X currently arrives at (£1700+ / $2400) is perhaps a tad closer to that of the thunderbolt version than can be justified, but with an increasing over-reliance by brands on Xeon based systems, the TVS-872X is one of the most graphically well-equipped systems in the market today. If you are looking for a NAS for video editing, Plex media server, AI-assisted surveillance or virtualisation in a more compact form, the TVS-872X and its hardware has a heck of a lot to offer you.

What the QNAP TVS-872X can do (PROS):

  • One of the few Intel Core NAS Systems Released in 2020/2021
  • High Virtualisation Use
  • 10Gbe Enabled and still has 2x 1Gbe
  • SSD Optimized with NVMe Support
  • Very Expandable (File System & config dependant)
  • Optimized for Post Production and Broadcasting
  • Can be upgraded to 10/25/40Gbe
  • 10G alternative to the TVS-872XT for those that didn’t want TB3
  • Surveillance including multiple camera licences – 8 Licences FREE
  • Download server (FTP, HTTP, BT,NZB)
  • CMS and CRM systems included
  • Media Center support across numerous apps

What the QNAP TVS-872X cannot do (CONS):

  • GPU Card Support is not clear
  • 8G Default Module is a little restrictive for ZFS
  • PCIe Card Installation is a lot more complicated than you expect

 

If you are thinking of buying a QNAP NAS, please use the links below

 

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review – Packaging

The retail box for this 8 bay NAS is pretty large and in its defence, certainly needs to be. Aside from the large metallic 8 bay chassis inside, QNAP has not scrimped on the protective packaging that the TVS-872X arrives in. The box is fairly nondescript and is largely the same 8 bay desktop carton that we have seen in other hardware releases, with a addition of the specific model label of course, but all the information you’re going to need is visible and they have certainly made sure that this unit will be well protected from motion and shock damage whilst in transit.

Opening up the retail box shows us the chassis contained in rigid foam from all angles. Sure, it isn’t going to protect the unit from any kind of aggressive ‘warehouse-forklift-based-mishap’, but it is more than enough to withstand worldwide traditional transit bumps and knocks.

Inside we also find a box of accessories for setting the device up for the first time. The TVS-872X is sold unpopulated, so hard drives and SSD will need to be purchased separately. However, practically every other component needed to set this device up for the first time, as well as a few small extras, is available in this accessories pack and it is surprisingly diverse.

Although the obvious things like setup guides, screws for hard drives and SSD and power cables are clearly present, the fact that this system arrived with individual heat sinks for the internal M2 SSD batteries is a nice little extra (small, but appreciated). There is information on the warranty and details on extending that warranty (2years by default – something I will discuss later on) if you wish, as well as ethernet cables. Also a tiny thing, but I am pleased to confirm that the unit arrives with Cat6 Ethernet cable. A very, VERY small thing to highlight but you would be amazed at the number of 10Gbe solutions that arrived with less appropriate cat5e cables.

It’s easy to argue that the cost is tiny and the end-user can easily buy the Cat6 themselves – but then, if the cost is so low, then why not inc them? So yes, I like this.

All in all, a familiar and fairly reliable range of accessories included with the system. Again, most of what we see today will bear remarkable similarity to our TVS-872XT reviews a few years ago.

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review – Design

The chassis that the QNAP TVS-872X utilizes is one that originally premiered in the thunderbolt model several years ago and has had little change in the intervening years. This is not strictly a bad thing and along with provisions for more sophisticated cooling internally, it is a remarkably compact casing for 8 hard drives, 2 SSDs and two PCIe upgrade cards with one at PCIex16. It is a fairly stocky build but certainly exudes ruggedness.

The front of the chassis is subtly ventilated and is mostly grey, black and blue in colour. Despite the rather impressive NAS hardware included in this system (that we will touch on later), the external chassis is a mix of rugged metal, with occasional economic choices subtly hidden in between. Of course, the immediate thing that gets your attention is those 8 SATA storage bays. Each bay supports a traditional 3.5″ hard drive (I recommend Pro class NAS or Data Center hard drives such as Ironwolf Pro, WD Red Pro, Western digital Ultrastar and Seagate EXOS, currently available in up to 18 TB) or 2.5″ SATA SSD.

It is worth noting that the QNAP TVS-872X does not need to be fully populated at initialisation and you can run the system with as little as a single hard drive, then add further storage media later. This is of course not recommended and at least two drives should be used to benefit from RAID support. It is also worth noting that the system allows you to utilise all three kinds (if you use the m.2 slots) of media internally with systems such as SSD caching, individual Storage Pools and Qtier, to vastly improve the internal operations speed of the NAS and ensure that more frequently accessed data is living on the most beneficial storage area. This system arrives with both ext4 and ZFS as a choice of the file system, with numerous performance benefits accessible in ZFS, but note that currently QTier is still not supported (at time of writing) on the QuTS Hero ZFS based system software.

Removing all of the drives inside reveals a sleek and well-ventilated internal chassis that is clear of loose cables, taking advantage of combined data and power SATA connectors. The QNAP TVS-872X is deceivingly good at passive airflow and a lot of this is to do with strategically placed vents throughout the chassis, around the storage bays and with lots of surrounding airflow. This is is pretty necessary when dealing with a compact system like this and is arguably a tad more aggressive in its hardware than most typical desktop solutions in the market. The media trays themselves are plastic, click and load in design, which is almost a little disappointing after the aggressive metallic chassis and rugged design. Some users are less keen on plastic trays, as early generations of trays like these would be prone to cracking as they gave in to heat and vibration over the years. I’m pleased to confirm that more modern plastic trays are a great deal more rugged and enduring, with the added benefit that they also reduce ambient vibration by a small degree. It is still a contentious point of course and many would highlight that plastic trays in a system that is almost exclusively metal in every other way are a little late to the party when it comes to ambient noise.

Another cool feature of the TVS-872X and one that is present in the majority of QNAP NAS is an LCD panel to provide real-time information about the system whilst in operation. This display allows you to check system health, details on alerts, a breakdown of the currently used IPs and just generally gives you more information about the health and status of your system at a glance. QNAP is one of the last brands to still continue to include LCD panels on their NAS  systems, with many others switching towards utilising LEDs only (which QNAP does too), and along with the utilisation of HDMI, is one of those things that the brand still garners a certain keen and dependable audience with.

The LEDs and the system features on the front of the chassis can be broken down into two varieties. There are the usual individual LEDs for denoting the initialization, activity and health of individual SATA storage bays, and there are also three LEDs at the top left of the system display that the network activity system status and activity on the individual M2 PCIe NVMe SSD slots. Of course, all of these LED lights can be dimmed or completely turned off if you choose. I personally quite like the LCD panel on my solutions, as it is considerably quicker than logging in via a client device to check any alerts on the fly.

Another rather long-standing staple of NAS systems, especially QANP it should be said, is the inclusion of a USB Copy button on the front of the system. To allow on-the-fly backups to and from the system onto an external HDD at the physical touch of a button. Of course, this can be completely automated if you choose when a drive is connected utilising the hybrid backup sync software, with numerous methods of backup. These range from whole drive clone, to incremental and time managed – again, in either direction whether you want to backup a regular USB drive or you want regular backups of the NAS on a removable drive to keep off-site. The appealing thing here though is that it has both a physical button to provide you with that peace of mind that the job has been actioned, but also there is the fact it is USB 3.2 Gen 2. That means that this system supports the 10 gigabit per second more modern USB connection and for those looking at faster backups, this will be a godsend. It genuinely annoys me in 2021 that we are still seeing hardware arriving in the thousands of pounds with USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0 5Gb/s) and I am pleased this is avoided here.

Ventilation on the external chassis of the TVS-872X is fairly well placed, with vents on either side, 2x on the rear of the device, tons surrounding the internal storage media and slotted ventilation underneath the base of the system to assist air passage on the storage drives. With a reported 24.2db(A) by QNAP when the unit is in operation, this is going to be even higher when using the recommended enterprise-grade drives. So do bear in mind that this system is not going to be especially quiet in typical operation. For those thinking of utilising the TVS-872X for video editing over 10Gbe, you may want to put some distance between you and it.

You can’t really question the passive cooling vent on the TVS-872X, as they are on practically every side, also take advantage of a metal chassis to assist heat dissipation and the system boasts technically five active internal cooling fans, two on the rear, two on a dedicated CPU cooling fan and of course the one on the PSU. Let’s have a look at what port and connections the TVS-872X has to offer.

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review – Ports and Connections

The differences between the TVS-872X and TVS-872XT NAS come down to one simple difference, that of thunderbolt on the more expensive device. When the TVS-872XT was first released at the start of 2018, it was highly praised for being a remarkably future-proof desktop NAS system, with its use of high-performance PCIe bandwidth options, onboard 10GbE, 10G USB throughput, HDMI 4K 60FPS and NVMe storage pool options. Fast forward to 2021 with the TVS-872X and what we have is still a very good NAS, but those same hardware factors from before are now arguably more mainstream. That said, the system still boasts some hardware highlights that are unique to the TVS-X72 series.

The rear of the system is dominated by those two large active cooling fans. There is lots of passive ventilation around the rear of the chassis, but those big fans will keep the internal chips, heatsinks and media at a very good operational temp. You can lower the RPM manually, to reduce any ambient noise, but this system will work at its best if you leave this at automatic and allow the system to raise/lower RPM as the sensors dictate.

The system also features an internal PSU, rated at 250W, which is going to come in pretty handy if you are looking to max out the potential 1,000MB/s on the 10G, or want to install some hefty PCIe cards inside. That said, the system is a little more power-hungry than recent releases like the TS-873A or TS-653D, with a reported 65.03W whilst in operation and 41.47W whilst in standby.

The dedicated 10Gbe port featured on the TVS-872X does not arrive on a dedicated PCIe card (as seen in the likes of the TVS-1282T3 etc). However, a quick check internally shows that it has its own dedicated Aquantia controller located underneath the main heatsink alongside the CPU. The 8 Bays of storage found inside this system alongside the impressive i3-8100T CPU, will mean that fully saturating a 10G connection will be incredibly easy. However, this external 10Gbe connection may ironically come across as a bottleneck once you consider utilising a full 8 enterprise drive setup, as well as the NVMe drives as tiered storage or separate storage pool. At this price point, 10Gbe would be fully expected but given its similarity to the thunderbolt 2018 alternative that also had 10Gbe on board, it might have been nice to see a 2 port 10Gbe setup.

Alongside the 10-gigabit ethernet connection, we find two standard gigabit ports. These are fairly normal, even if other QNAPs in 2020/2021 feature 2.5G in the (e.g the TS-453D and TVS-872X), these are still perfectly acceptable alongside the existing 10G port. My complaints of improving the bandwidths externally on this system may seem a tad churlish and perhaps limitations have resulted in QNAP presenting these connections as the most efficient way to share up those PCIe lanes, I still think it would have been nice to see a little more evolution between the TVS-872X and TVS-872XT given the 3-year difference and only a modest £300 price difference.

One connection that the TVS-872X features that I will always approve of are the inclusion of USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. The system arrives with four of these much faster 10Gb USB ports in type A and type C connectivity which support everything from external storage drives, peripheral control devices, 5Gbe network adaptors, office hardware and more. For a faster local backup drive in a wider backup strategy, these port are ideal for keeping this process as quick as possible across multiple drives. Equally, these ports can be used for high-end web cameras for surveillance and assigned individually to virtual machines.

Then there is the range of RAID enabled expansions from QNAP in their TR and TL series. Utilising those 1000Mb/s local connections with an expansion will ensure that the bottlenecks occasionally associated with equipping expansions are largely avoided.

Another area of NAS that QNAP is one of the largest supporters of is the utilisation of HDMI on devices for creating a visual and parallel GUI to enjoy your visual data on a locally connected monitor. Support of KVM environments and a wide range of official (and custom/unofficial applications over on QNAPClub) mean that your NAS can be utilised as a stand-alone computer, standalone surveillance system, stand-alone entertainment system and all the while still supporting the network and remote shares of your network-attached storage system simultaneously. Much like the older unit, the TVS-872X features 4K 60hz HDMI 2.0 output and particularly for standalone surveillance uses and multimedia buyers, this will be very appealing. It is worth highlighting though that HDMI enabled applications on NAS have grown a little thinner on the ground in recent years, but the bulk of the core services and applications still support this visual out option, receiving regular updates, even going as far as to support connecting a virtual machine to the HDMI via QVM and connecting any USB keyboard and mouse.

A staple of 8-bay desktop solutions, the TVS-872X also has PCIe upgradability and much like the previous thunderbolt release, it has two PCIe slots. The first is a PCIe 3×4 slot that comfortably provides support for the majority of modern network interface cards, Wi-Fi 6 cards, SSD Media upgrades and even accelerator cards from QNAP themselves and third-party cards like Google’s TPU AI acceleration card.

The second slot however is particularly interesting as it is a PCIe gen 3×16 slot. This really opens the door to more aggressive cards and substantially bigger upgrades to the system, with dual-port greatly increased fibre network interface cards in 25-100Gbe SFP and a small but effective range of graphics cards supported. The TVS-872X already features quite an impressive CPU and 10-gigabit ethernet by default, but the bandwidth available to this upgrade slot means that the upgradeability of this system down the line is pretty fantastic. In its thunderbolt variation, a 2 port thunderbolt card occupied one of these slots but now this new version allows greater upgrade options, even if the physical installation of cards in this system is a little tighter than some might like.

As mentioned, the TVS-872X bears a near-identical comparison with the TVS-872XT, with only that dual-port thunderbolt card serving as any difference in ports and connections. Even 3 years since they similar systems debut, this is still an impressive arrangement of physical local connections on offer and aside from perhaps swerving the opportunity to upgrade those 1Gbe ports into something attached more exciting, there is little to critique in this system connectivity. Let’s take grab a screwdriver and see what is going on under the bonnet.

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Drive Review – Internal Hardware

The metal external casing is easily removed with 3 screws and slides off to reveal a surprisingly spacious chassis. The passive ventilation throughout this system that is pushed by those active fans has plenty of room to work with and although perhaps the level of space available will be less in smaller models in this family, there is plenty of airflow available here. This is not the first QNAP system to also feature the enhanced cooling deck internally, which comprises an additional dual-fan array that lives above the controller board and feeds into a phenomenally sized heatsink. 

As mentioned earlier, the system features two dedicated NVMe M2 slots that allow the installation of much faster modern SSD. Now it should be highlighted that these M.2 slots are PCIe gen 3×2 in bandwidths, so media will not be able to exceed 2000 Megabytes per second on either slot (most PCIe Gen 3 NVMe are advertised at speeds of 3000-4000MB/s Read Max). This is still a remarkably large amount of potential throughput however and once you factor in RAID support and using them as a storage pool, they provide a substantially faster area of space for editing. As well as the aforementioned support of caching and QNAP’s QTier system. These slots also arrived on the other side of the main controller board, not in line with the two fan active cooling system that the CPU and 10G controller benefit from. However, they are directly in line with the two massive rear fans and metal heat sinks are included in the accessory box mentioned earlier, so heat should not be a worry.

The memory slots on this system are located on the inside of the core storage bays and the TVS-872X arrives with 8GB of memory by default. This memory is DDR4 SODIMM in architecture, across two slots and the default memory arrived in a single module. Thanks to the Intel Core CPU, this system can support up to an impressive 64GB of memory which is hugely beneficial to virtualisation and network surveillance deployment. QNAPs main rival, Synology, have opted for ECC memory in their comparative system (the Synology DS1621xs+ – Read my comparison HERE) and although it is absent on the TVS-872X, it does arrive with significantly higher maximum memory potential instead (64GB rather than 32GB). One important factor that should be mentioned on the memory that the QNAP TVS-872X arrives with is that although the system features the choice of ZFS as a filesystem at the start, some of the features of ZFS such as inline deduplication are not available without a minimum 16GB of memory. This is especially galling for some who see the thunderbolt model arriving with 16GB of memory and an i5-8100T processor at just over £300+ more. Still, 8GB of memory is a good base level for this system and it is still a respectable i3 8th Gen CPU.

The CPU inside the TVS-872X is an Intel i3-8100T. Rated at over 5000 on CPU benchmark currently, it is a quad-core 3.1GHz processor that also features UHD 630 embedded graphics. QNAP is one of the last NAS brands and server makers in the market to still utilise Intel core processors, ranging from Pentiums to i5 and i7’s. The majority of NAS released for business and enterprise storage in the last 3-years have almost exclusively arrived with Xeon based processors. This is thanks to Xeon’s exceptional file handling and consistent performance (pretty much series-wide), as well as arriving in significantly more core configurations and efficient power vs performance design. However, many uses prefer Intel core processors with NAS systems because alongside aggressively high-performance they also arrive with embedded graphics, which is hugely beneficial in Virtualisation, 4K Multimedia, widespread camera surveillance and are especially adept in thunderbolt NAS solutions (even the latest TB3 NAS, the TVS-h1288X is a graphically embedded Xeon). There was a time when simply featuring an Intel core CPU would increase a NAS’s price by 20-30% over Xeon systems, but in these times of widespread use and increased investment by Intel in xeon development, the result is that intel core powered NAS are a pinch more affordable, if a touch less available.

Adjacent to the main processor of this device, we also find the dedicated 10Gbe network processor. In the last few years, this brand has managed to make 10-gigabit ethernet performance considerably more affordable and the majority of NAS brands and network manufacturers owe a large debt of thanks to them for ultimately making 10Gbe notably more accessible for home and prosumer users worldwide. Although this particular Aquantia is the same processor debuted in the thunderbolt model over 3 years ago, it is still an excellent 10Gbe handling chip and this combined with the throughput of the i3 and 8-bays of storage will present you with an impressive system to edit with. Both the CPU and 10G network controller are covered by an especially large (by the standards of NAS certainly) heat sink that ensures that these two key components are being kept at an ideal operating temperature. Heat sinks in NAS’ are not new and largely are used to minimise power consumption when compared with dedicated CPU fans, furthering the lifespan of the product. Unusually though, this heat sink is also being directly cooled by a unique slim twin fan box located immediately next to it.

This two-piece low noise fan kit utilises two main vents to push and draw air around the system and predominantly throughout that large heatsink. This is one of few qnap NAS systems to do this and it is no coincidence that this compact desktop NAS chassis with its arguably more aggressive components would feature it. Despite their low noise and low impact design, these twin fans add to the general ambient noise of the system when in operation and only further highlight why this system, although ideal in power for those video editors looking to switch to NAS, is going to be less fun to work in close proximity to.

Noise criticisms aside, this is still a remarkably well-engineered NAS device even by 2021 standards and although the majority of the hardware architecture we are seeing here has changed very little since the TVS-872XT release back in 2018, it still holds up remarkably well. Next, we’ll talk about how this device delivers in the software department, as well as what this device brings to the table that may have been absent in previous versions.

QNAP TVS-872X ZFS NAS Review – Software

The software found with the QNAP TVS-872X NAS can be broken down into 2 sections. namely those of the advantages that QNAP QTS already bring to a business user, and then the widespread system and storage advantages that QuTS Hero and ZFS bring as well. For those unfamiliar with the QNAP operating system, it arrives with hundreds of free applications, can be accessed from a web browser or desktop client, arrives with many, many apps for mobile on IOS and Android and is definitely in the top two operating systems you can get for network-attached storage devices. Often compared with their biggest rival Synology NAS and DSM, QNAP QTS GUI is designed in a way that will definitely appeal more to Android and Windows users, giving you everything you will need from a network-attached storage device in 2021 and arrives with constant updates for added features and security.

QNAP File Management Highlights

  • File Station – File Browsing and Management Tool
  • QSirch -Intelligent and Fast System-wide search tool
  • QFiling – Smart and customizable long term storage and archive tool
  • SSD Caching Monitor and Advisor – Allowing you to scale your SSD cache as needed, or get recommendations on how much you need
  • QTier – The QNAP intelligent, multi-layer tiering system that works to optimize your SSD vs HDD use, moving files to the appropriate storage media (not currently supported on QuTS Hero, just QTS)

  • Microsoft Active Directory– Support and cross-platform control of Active Directory processes
  • Access-Anywhere with myQNAPcloud – Safe and secure remote access over the internet to your storage systems, apps or just file storage
  • Qsync for multiple hardware environment backups and Sync – Client applications that can be installed on multiple 3rdparty devices and create a completely customizable and scaled back up network between your devices
  • QuDeDupe / Deduplication tools – Allowing you to conduct backups between multiple devices and directories, but allows same-data in numerous locations to be only held once (but recorded in all locations) to allow smaller backups and lesser bandwidth consumption. Once again, remember that you will need to upgrade to 16GB of memory in order to take advantage of these more advanced ZFS utilities in practice.

Then you have KEY applications that are used on the QNAP NAS system that moves into tailored data access and use, such as:

  • Hybrid Backup Sync 3 – Allows you to Backup and Sync with Amazon Glacier, Amazon S3, Azure Storage, Google Cloud Storage, HKT Object Storage, OpenStack Swift, WebDAV, Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Drive, Amazon S3, BackBlaze B2, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, HiDrive, hubiC, OneDrive, OneDrive For Business, ShareFile and Yandex Disk. As well as backup to another NAS over real-time remote replication (RTRR) and USB connected media. All scheduled and all accessible via a single app user interface.
  • vJBOD and Hybrid Mount – Gives you the ability to mount cloud storage as a visible drive within the NAS (and the apps access it as if it was local) or mount a % of space from your NAS onto another as a virtual chunk of space to use
  • Multimedia Console – one portal access point to manage media access, searching, indexing and transcoding on your NAS device.
  • Photo, Video and Music Station – Multiple file type tailored applications to access data in the best possible way that is suited to their output – along with smart searching, playlists and sharing
  • Virtualization Station – Used to create virtual computers that can be accessed anywhere over the network/internet with the correct credentials. Supporting Windows, Linux, Android and more. You can import an existing VM image to the NAS, or you can even download Linux and Windows VMs directly to the NAS for trials for free
  • Container Station – much like the VM app, Container station lets you mount and access smaller virtual tools and GUIs, then access them over the network or internet.
  • Linux Station – Handy application to deploy multiple Linux based Ubuntu VMs from the NAS, all easily and within a few clicks
  • QVR Pro and Surveillance Station – Surveillance applications that allow you to connect multiple IP cameras and IP speaks to your network and manage them with the applications. Arriving with 4 camera licenses for Surveillance Station and 8 licenses for QVR Pro (the better one IMO), QNAP is constantly updating this enterprise-level surveillance application – adding newer security hardware and software tools for 2020 (see QVR Face and QVR Door)
  • QuMagie – Facial and Thing recognition application to help you retrieve, tag and catalogue photos by its use of AI to actually ‘view’ all your years of photos and let you search by the contents of them, not the file names.
  • Download Station – A download management tool that can handle HTTP, BT, FTP and NZB files in bulk to be downloaded to your NAS drive and keep safe. As well as keeping an eye on your RSS feeds and keeping your podcast downloads automatically updated with every episode
  • Malware Removers and Security Councillor – Along with Anti Virus software trials on the app centre, QNAP also provide numerous anti-intrusion tools and even a whole app interface to monitor in/outgoing transmissions with your NAS. It can make recommendations to beef up your security and keep you safe

Above are a few of my software overviews that cover the general GUI and system of QuTS Hero on the TS-h886, as well as RAID rebuild and storage management overviews of the system to give you some idea of what the TVS-872XT  can and cannot do:

Space Saving Efficiency – Inline data deduplication, compression, and compaction reduce file size to conserve storage capacity and optimize performance.

Intelligent Memory Cache – Main memory read cache (L1 ARC), SSD second-level read cache (L2 ARC), and ZFS Intent Log (ZIL) for synchronous transactions with power fail protection are simultaneously supported to boost performance and security

RAID Z – Multiple RAID levels allow flexible capacity utilization. RAID Triple Parity and Triple Mirror deliver higher levels of data protection.

App Center – Apps for backup/sync, virtual machines/containers, content management, productivity, and more features can be used to expand the application potential of the TS-h972AX.

All in all, the fact that the QNAP TVS-872X arrives with the option of the ZFS or EXT4 versions of the QNAP Software and GUI is a large part of what makes these NAS appealing.

QNAP TVS-872X NAS Review – Conclusion

If this was the first time I was seeing the hardware featured on the QNAP TVS-872X, with its Intel Core CPU, 64GB of potential memory, 10Gbe on-board, NVMe equipped slots and USB 10G throughout – I would have been reasonably impressed. Likewise, the scalability in PCIe, storage expansions and network connectivity down the line is also a very valid and positive aspect of this system. But for me, it will always live slighting in the shadow of its Thunderbolt 3 equipped older big brother in the TV-872XT. The software on either ZFS or EXT4 file system is still doing what it does well, finding the line between 1st party apps, 3rd party support, customization and (mostly) getting it right – if occasionally trying to be too big for its boots.

The QNAP TVS-872X is undeniably still a great example of the wide-ranging features available to prosumers who want a storage system heavily geared towards high-performance transmission via high-performance media with higher tier hardware at their disposal. It would be misleading to think of this NAS as any kind of significant upgrades over the XT, and the price tag that the TVS-872X currently arrives at (£1700+ / $2400) is perhaps a tad closer to that of the thunderbolt version than can be justified, but with an increasing over-reliance by brands on Xeon based systems, the TVS-872X is one of the most graphically well-equipped systems in the market today. If you are looking for a NAS for video editing, Plex media server, AI-assisted surveillance or virtualisation in a more compact form, the TVS-872X and its hardware has a heck of a lot to offer you.

What the QNAP TVS-872X can do (PROS):

  • One of the few Intel Core NAS Systems Released in 2020/2021
  • High Virtualisation Use
  • 10Gbe Enabled and still has 2x 1Gbe
  • SSD Optimized with NVMe Support
  • Very Expandable (File System & config dependant)
  • Optimized for Post Production and Broadcasting
  • Can be upgraded to 10/25/40Gbe
  • 10G alternative to the TVS-872XT for those that didn’t want TB3
  • Surveillance including multiple camera licences – 8 Licences FREE
  • Download server (FTP, HTTP, BT,NZB)
  • CMS and CRM systems included
  • Media Center support across numerous apps

What the QNAP TVS-872X cannot do (CONS):

  • GPU Card Support is not clear
  • 8G Default Module is a little restrictive for ZFS
  • PCIe Card Installation is a lot more complicated than you expect

 

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