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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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Replacing your WD My Cloud NAS – Synology or QNAP NAS?

21 mai 2021 à 16:00

WD My Cloud NAS or Synology/QNAP?  Which Brand Should You Buy?

For many users, the first NAS they ever owned was the affordable and sturdy WD My Cloud NAS drive. From students and teachers to console gamers and small business, the WD My Cloud range of NAS devices was one of the earliest attempts by hardware manufacturers to bring the arguably tricky subject of home server ownership in an affordable and easy to use way. Indeed, in previous years I have recommended the WD My Cloud Pro P2100 and PR4100 NAS systems for use in Plex, low-level surveillance and prosumer home network storage. However, in the last few years brands like Synology and QNAP have absolutely dominated the home and small business NAS market with a large portfolio of solutions that effectively surpass the majority of WD NAS’ in every possible way. So, we sadly face the fact that given WD has not released a new generation of their My Cloud series for a number of years and desirability has begun to fall, many users are deciding on where to go with their data, whether it’s in a new NAS or upgrading on an older WD My Cloud system. Today I’m going to discuss which NAS brand you should choose when upgrading from a WD NAS and which manufacturer deserves your data.

Is WD My Cloud NAS Still Ok to Use?

It is important to highlight that this article is not about me saying the WD My Cloud range is bad, because it really isn’t and it is still one of the best bang for your buck NAS solutions you can buy right now in 2021 – as well as being remarkably user friendly for the first time NAS user! Additionally, with the majority of WD solutions arriving with bundled hard drives, a simple streamlined user interface and considerably better high street availability than any other brand, they are still a good solution. However, like most technology, the evolution and expectations in what it can do in the eyes of buyers change rapidly and although most other brands have pushed software and hardware innovation to some incredible lengths, the WD My Cloud NAS range has remained quite steadfast in its refusal to adapt. Although WD My Cloud is sturdy, safe, robust and makes no promises it cannot fulfil, in terms of what you can do with it and how you can evolve the system in its lifespan is tremendously limited. This along with some third party app brands not updating their applications for the WD NAS OS system has led to an increasing lack of support of these popular software platforms. Ultimately, the majority of people reading this are owners of a WD My Cloud NAS that are now looking to upgrade to something with a little more future-proofing and modern innovation. However, don’t overlook the fact that you can still use your WD My Cloud NAS as another tier of your backup strategy, by synchronising over the network or internet with numerous application methods available from WD themselves and others brands. 

Better Alternative to WD My Cloud NAS for Software – Synology

Unsurprisingly, if you have been researching the subject of NAS and thinking of upgrading from a WD My Cloud NAS, then the name ‘Synology’ and its incredible software will almost certainly have appeared on your radar. Although the brand is not as establish or steeped in years as Western Digital, Synology is still over 20-years old and has produced hundreds of NAS solutions in their portfolio. The main difference between Synology and WD when it comes to NAS software is twofold. The first major difference is the first party software on offer. WD and it’s NAS OS have surprisingly thin software add-ons available, with most of the system abilities being classed more as day-to-day services – RAID functionality, USB backups, synchronised backups and low-level account control. WD-OS is very functional but it has not changed much in the last 5-6 years in terms of innovation and most of its key abilities are considered rather rudimentary in 2021/2022. Synology on the other hand includes its DSM (Diskstation Manager) software platform with every NAS, which is is the equivalent of an entire operating system comparable to a desktop OS that can be accessed via the web browser and numerous mobile apps. The Synology supports all of the services that the WD My Cloud does, but has also evolved every one of them into a central data ecosystem. The range of first-party services, applications and add-ons that Synology provide are extensive and cover surveillance, virtual machine deployment, intelligent multi-tier backups, bespoke email server deployment and more. Alongside this, DSM also provides applications that attempt to wrestle the user away from third-party desktop client apps for business. Examples include Synology Chat that serves as an alternative to Skype, Synology Office which serves as an alternative to Google Docs/Office 365, Synology Video Station is a popular alternative to Plex Media Server as well as an alternative to the slick and easy UI of Google Drive and Dropbox with Synology Drive. The evolution of Synology software where is genuinely unparallel and although QNAP is always getting closer, it is still going to be very impressive for the end-user when switching away from WD My Cloud NAS OS to DSM.

The second reason that the Synology NAS software platform is significantly superior to the WD NAS software is the support of third-party applications. WD NAS OS does have access to a small apps centre that includes easy installation of a few third-party applications. Although the majority of these have been all but abandoned in terms of updates and utility in recent years, one popular 3rd party application that most users a few years ago purchased the WD My Cloud NAS for was Plex media server. However updates on the Plex media server application on the WD NAS platform have slowed down and because this is a third-party application, you are heavily reliant on the manufacturer to develop updates for the WD NAS platform – something that has become increasingly less frequent from 2020 onwards. Synology NAS on the other hand supports significantly more third-party applications in it’s app center, as well as numerous custom apps that can be installed manually. There is certainly a few bits of bloatware in this application centre that can be overlooked, but nevertheless, there is still a good 30-40x third-party applications here that are worth your time and updated with more frequency than those found on the WD NAS platform. Equally, as the popularity of Synology NAS has increased, so has the amount of time that developers have spent on both the first and third-party applications for this platform and this combined with the improvements in mobile applications has led to the Synology NAS range being wildly superior to that of WD NAS My Cloud in software. Add to this that Synology also provides the option of BTRFS as a filesystem choice option with its file self-healing and lower resource-consuming snapshot creation, as well as the Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) configuration for allowing mixed hard drive capacities, and the Synology NAS software is easily the preferred upgrade choice for those moving away from the WD My Cloud NAS platform for apps and services.

Better Alternative to WD My Cloud NAS for Performance – QNAP

The performance of a NAS drive will often be dictated by both the internal and external hardware available. The quantity and number of hard drives you install inside will always provide something of a performance boost, but overall the performance will always be dictated by the primary components that the brand chooses to use and the external connectivity that a system features by default. Each one of the WD My Cloud range of devices are very efficient, make the most of the hardware inside and are designed for smooth running with little or no intervention by the end-user at any point. However, it has to be said that the hardware featured inside pales in comparison to that of QNAP alternatives in the last few years. With the WD My Cloud series largely concentrating on an Intel Pentium processor from 2015/16, alongside several ARM processors in 32-bit and 64-bit, they are certainly comparable to a number of QNAP NAS systems in the TS-X31K, TS-51D and TS-53D Series. Unfortunately, they soon get surpassed in comparison to the wide array of more modern processors available in QNAP desktop systems that can range from Pentium Gold, Newer Gen Celeron and Ryzen, to Intel Core i5, i7 and Xeon. This disparity also extends to the memory available, with most WD My Cloud systems arriving with between 1-2GB of memory that cannot be upgraded – where has QNAP arrive with vast memory upgrade options and many models arriving with 4GB and 8GB by default.

The difference between QNAP and WD My Cloud is made even more clear when you learn that the majority of QNAP NAS systems also include M2 storage upgrade slots internally that allow you to install SSD in SATA or NVMe that can be used for an area of superfast storage, tiered storage for data to be scanned and moved to the most appropriate media source or for caching to allow frequently access data to be copied over to the SSD for improved performance in the files that need it most. Although the use of SSDs for intelligent caching is by no means a new feature of NAS, it is still something that WD My Cloud NAS has yet to integrate and something that QNAP NAS has applied to the majority of their hardware portfolio. So, with both the baseline level of hardware AND the upgradability of the internal hardware found in a QNAP NAS to be better than that found in WD My Cloud NAS, it’s a great upgrade for those that are interesting in improved internal performance in their next NAS purchase.

Better Alternative to WD My Cloud NAS for Connectivity – QNAP

The connectivity between the network-attached storage device and your local network hardware environment will massively dictate the speed at which your client devices can access your data for home or business use. Although there are a handful of more enterprise-level WD NAS solutions available, all of the WD My Cloud Feature 1Gbe with no means with which to upgrade that connectivity. Some NAS in the My Cloud range are a little better with dual 1Gbe RJ45 connections, but even then this is a small all edition that in 2021/2022 is less desirable than it once was. However if you are looking for the best possible external connectivity in a modern NAS when choosing from or upgrading from a WD My Cloud NAS, then QNAP have easily the best selection of external connectivity on even their modest hardware solutions available.

Rear of the WD My Cloud Pro PR4100

Rear of the QNAP TS-453D 4-Bay

Even on the 1/2-bay NAS solutions, you can find 2.5Gbe connectivity on a number of QNAP solution, which then scales progressively throughout their portfolio to multiple 2.5Gbe connections, 5Gbe connections and 10Gbe very easily while still maintaining a price point that remains compatible with that of even the biggest WD My Cloud solution. Then you have the fact that a number of QNAP solutions can be upgraded via PCIe or USB upgrade adaptors for more numerous external connectivity or at the enterprise level with larger bandwidth connections such as 25Gbe and 40Gbe of PCIe Gen 3 NICs for just a few £100s. Finally, there is the growing collection of Thunderbolt 3 equipped NAS systems from QNAP that allow a marginally more plug-and-play connection between the NAS and a thunderbolt 3 USB-C equipped client device. Ultimately QNAP NAS wildly outpaces the WD My Cloud range in terms of external connectivity and is arguably better for its external bandwidth than most NAS brands on the market today.

Better Alternative to WD My Cloud for Plex – Synology

As mentioned at the start of this article, many users purchased the WD My Cloud Pro NAS system as it was remarkably proficient at Plex Media Server, thanks to its choice of Pentium Processor and hardware transcoding in Plex as standard utilization. However, due to Plexnot frequently updating the WD NAS Media Server application in line with how the platform has evolved over time, the WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 and PR4100 have grown increasingly less proficient at Plex Media Server, leading to guides and support walkthroughs being needed to bridge the gap more informally and this has been one of the largest driving force for users wishing to trade away from a WD NAS and onto something a little more modern. When it comes to buying a NAS that is primarily used for Plex media server, for the sheer simplicity and Performance it is hard to argue with a Synology NAS as a better Plex media server. Although many would argue that a QNAP NAS would serve as a better Plex media server due to a higher class of CPU, the Synology NAS platform tends to get more out of the hardware at any given time in terms of efficiency which for most users and Plex media server is highly desirable for a stress-free, set up and forget architecture.

Here is my FULL Guide on Synology NAS for Plex in 2021 (Click Below):

The performance of Plex media server on a Synology NAS when compared with that of a WD My Cloud NAS though is not quite as clear-cut as you might like though. For a start, in order to take advantage of hardware transcoding on the Synology, you are going to need a paid Plex Pass, which may come as a real disappointment given that earlier revisions of Plex media server on the WD My Cloud allow Plex to use this CPU and hardware transcoding for free by default. However, the performance of this older Pentium in hardware transcoding is of a similar level to the software transcoding of the much newer Celeron found in the Synology recent diskstation releases – so this advantage can be largely negated. One final point that, although not applicable to everyone is still worth considering when looking at a NAS for Plex media server, is how the system utilises the hardware resources available between both the Plex application, other software services and the system in general. Plex media server in its recent 1.23 version consumes the majority of the hardware available on the WD My Cloud Pro system with even modest playback of 1080p media and is all but consumed by 4K files, leaving little or no resources for the rest of the NAS and it’s applications. The majority of Synology Plus Series Diskstation NAS systems, by comparison, thanks to using more modern hardware architecture and upgradeability in their design result in a smaller percentage of resource consumption buy Plex media server and therefore more fuel in the tank for other services too.

Better Alternative to WD My Cloud for Business – Synology

When network-attached storage was in its infancy, it was presented as a means for prosumers and small-medium business users to have an alternative to subscription-based Cloud services (DropBox, Google Drive, etc) with improved customizable security and larger capacities. Due to the nature of data and how it is the centre of all kinds of business in the last few decades, the idea of a business having its own server is hardly a new thing, given the importance of data retention and GDPR. However, the expectations from a business in what a server can do at even the most modest level have grown rapidly and a simple hard drive connected to the internet will simply not do! As mentioned earlier, the software available on the WD NAS OS platform is starting to look a little underwhelming in 2021, whereas Synology has invested heavily in software development for the NAS systems likely more than any other brand. This extends to more than the brand trying to ape popular business software and extends to numerous business class advantages and functions in even the comparatively small hardware options by comparison.

A business user already knows that a Synology NAS will be able to store the data in a centralised manner. However, Synology DSM also features business class surveillance with the Surveillance Station 8 platform that can easily rival that of enterprise-class NVR/CCTV utilities like Milestone. There is also the Active Backup Suite software that is included with every Synology NAS that is a licence free multi-platform backup and synchronisation tool that extends from NAS and server utilisation to Office 365 and Google workspace platforms. Moving forward there is also the Synology Virtual Machine Manager platform that not only allows you to deploy VM (virtual machine) images directly from your NAS, but also allows synchronisation and third party software OS migration from the likes of VMware and Hyper-V in just a handful of clicks. Thanks to services like these used in conjunction with the first party communication tools such as Synology Chat and Synology Mail, spreadsheet and document editing with Synology Office and even data pinning and on-the-fly streaming locally with Synology Drive for Mac and Windows – Synology provide an extensive range of business tools in their NAS software that is still a few steps ahead of practically any other brand.

Should I Choose Synology or QNAP NAS?

So, if you have reached this far in the article, you are likely wondering whether you should switch from a WD My Cloud NAS towards either a Synology or QNAP NAS? It’s a valid question, as both brands (especially in recent years) managed to carve their own very distinct design, the priority of build and available utilities for different end-users. Synology will always be the software optimized choice over hardware (60/40) and manages to get the very most possible out of comparatively less hardware in their own first-party applications. QNAP NAS on the other hand has more of a hardware focus (again 60/40) which means that they have a better 1t and 3rd party hardware balance when it comes to using their system in your environment. Synology is a solution that wants you to do things its way and in return gives you a smooth if safe and predictable outcome. QNAP NAS manages to be exceedingly customizable and adaptable and for those who take the time to tweak it, setup it up from scratch or adapt it to their 3rd party environment, can achieve much better results overall. Below is two videos that focus on each brand and key consideration on QNAP and Synology before you buy. Take a look:

 

Choosing A NAS – Need More Help?

So, those were the key considerations for those looking to buy a new NAS or looking to upgrade/migrate from an older NAS Drive. However, there is still so much that you may need to know to range from operating system compatibility, how to connect the NAS in the best way, ideal software 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.

 


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