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A Guide to 1-Bay NAS Drives – Get it Right First Time

27 septembre 2021 à 01:48

Choosing the Best 1-Bay NAS Drive from Synology & QNAP

Choosing the best NAS drive for your needs can often be a difficult or imposing job. Network Attached Storage has evolved a lot over the years to a point now where they are less like basic storage devices and more like fully functioning computers, with operating systems, applications and a complete graphical user interface. Two of the biggest brands in their field are Synology and QNAP NAS, who have been in the business of producing NAS solutions for a number of years and in the field of desktop 1 drive (hard drive or solid-state drive) NAS systems, that are pretty well established as a reliable, user-friendly and fully featured brand provider. With an impressive selection of NAS solutions currently available in their 2021/2022 range of devices, it can often be difficult to choose the best 1-Bay NAS for your needs. Never fear, below is a quick and easy guide to the best NAS for Plex Media Server, Backups, Media Streaming, Surveillance, Office work or all of them together! Before you go ahead, below are what BOTH brands and their 1-HDD NAS provide:

 

Synology DS118

Synology DS120j

QNAP TS-131K

QNAP TS-130

Price/Buy HERE – $199 / £179 / AU$299 HERE – $99 / £89 / AU$199 HERE – $220 / £190 / AU$320 HERE – $140 / £130 / AU$250
CPU Model Realtek RTD1296 Marvell Armada 3700 88F3720 AnnapurnaLabs AL214 Realtek RTD1295
CPU Quantity 1 1 1
CPU Architecture 64-bit ARM 64-bit ARM 32bit ARM 64-bit ARM
CPU Frequency 4-core 1.4 GHz 2-core 800 MHz 4-core 1.7 GHz 4-core 1.4 GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine Yes Yes Yes Yes
System Memory 1 GB DDR4 non-ECC 512 MB DDR3L non-ECC 1GB DDR3 1 GB DDR4, not expandable
RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port 1 1 1 1
USB 2.0 Port 0 2 0 1 GB DDR4, not expandable
USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port* 2 0 2 1
Noise Level* 16.7 dB(A) 16.9 dB(A) 15.8 db(A) 15.2 db(A)
Power Consumption* 9.4 W (Access)
4.22 W (HDD Hibernation)
9.81 W (Access)
4.68 W (HDD Hibernation)
11.62 W (Access)
7.29 W (HDD Hibernation)
7.29 W (Access)
3.45 W (HDD Hibernation)
Warranty 2 Years 2 Years 2 Years 2 Years
  • Support of over 100 Applications that can be installed on the Synology DSM and QNAP QTS user interface
  • Access from over the network or anywhere in the world (with encryption) via Windows, Mac, Android and iOS systems
  • Many client applications for Mobile and Desktop Computer systems for tailored access
  • DLNA Media streaming support to Smart TVs, Consoles, Audio to Amazon Alexa, FireStick Streaming and more (some third-party apps might be needed, such as ‘MyMedia’)
  • Plex Media Server Support (in some cases)
  • Although lacking RAID, many 1-Bay NAS support Storage Snapshots, as well as numerous backup systems
  • AI-Powered Photo Recognition (extent of support is very dependant on the model/CPU)
  • Apple Time Machine Supported services
  • Supporting multiple users and multiple security credentials at once
  • Business-class Surveillance software (Surveillance Station) and 2 cameras licences with every NAS 1-Bay
  • Backup Software for USB, Cloud, NAS-to-NAS and general file servers with Hyper Backup/HBS 3
  • Cloud and Remote server Synchronization Services (to connect your existing cloud account as an available storage area
  • iTunes Media Server and support of most DLNA streaming hardware

So, there is ALOT that you can do with any of the desktop 1-Bay solutions in today’s article that I want to discuss today, however, some of them are better at some tasks than others and with limitations ranging from the amount of memory they have, the proficiency of the CPU and design choices along the way, let’s take a look at the currently available 2 Bay NAS you can buy from.

 

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Performance

Most 1-bay NAS devices will provide a pretty low level of performance if compared with bigger and more established NAS drives. There are lots of reasons for this and one of the common is simply that a 1 HDD/SSD solution is classed as a cost-effective solution, all too often used as a network backup (due to its lack of a RAID system for failover), or as a home media server for use in Plex Media Server or over DLNA to home consoles, smart TVs, Amazon firesticks and more. Of the 1-Bay NAS that Synology and QNAP NAS have available, the DS118 from Synology is still the most powerful in terms of hardware+software (despite being released quote some time ago), whereas QNAP offers the TS-130 which has very similar hardware (though a fractionally less able CPU), but better port options on day 1 and later in the systems life via supported ethernet adapters. Whereas, at the budget end of the scale, the QNAP TS-131K easily outperforms the Synology DS120j, which twice the memory available and over double the power and cores in terms of CPU. The rest are either too low in power to make an impact (providing a poor user experience of what DSM and QTS have to offer) or are too close in price to the recommended 1 bay previously mentioned to make them a viable alternative at this price point.

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

Realtek RTD1296 4-Core 1.4Ghz CPU

1GB DDR4 Memory

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Realtek RTD1295 4-Core 1.4Ghz CPU

1GB DDR4 Memory

QNAP TS-131K NAS

Annapurna Labs, AL214, 4-core, 1.7GHz

1GB DDR4 Memory

Great CPU and Slick GUI =

Best Performance!


Good Internal Hardware =

Good Value Speed Option


Great internal and External Hardware =

Good Performance!

 

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Ports and Connections

Unsurprisingly, when a NAS is designed to hold just a single Hard Drive or Solid State Drive, the manufacturer will often not go overboard on the connectivity. This is because the media inside will already be at a severe bottleneck of jsut being a single drive that is being read/written to at any time. Bigger NAS units that feature RAID will be able to use multiple drives being accessed at once to channel great speeds, so manufacturers will add more connectivity. Sadly for the 1-Bay NAS, this is just not profitable or useful. So, you will see that ALL 1-Bay NAS will have a single RJ45 LAN port. However, after that, there are a few differences between NAS drive makers and how they approach connectivity on this micro-scale.  For a start, the more expensive 1-Bay NAS devices, like the Synology DS118 and TS-131K arrive with USB 3.0 Ports and even 1-touch copy buttons in the case of the QNAP NAS. Although the USB 3.0 on these more expensive devices may seem like a bit of a ‘meh’ factor compared with the USB 2.0 on the cheaper DS120j and TS-230, as these 1-Bays do not have RAID, they will only have 2 ways to backup. Either using a 3rd party clouds (discussing later in the software and features section) or only a connected USB Drive. If you choose the latter, you will DEFINITELY see a difference in backup times when using a USB 3.0 Drive in a USB 3.0 Port, compared with that of USB 2.0.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

QNAP TS-131K NAS

3x USB 3.1, SD Card, 1 Touch Copy, 1Gbe, Lockable Tray

QNAP TS-130 NAS

1x USB 3.1, 1x USB 2.0, 1Gbe

Synology DS118 NAS

1Gbe & USB 3.1 – Good Software Connectivity

Good Selection of Connectivity =

Most Adaptive 1-Bay!

Good, petite and connectible =

Good all rounder!


More Focused on Software Connectivity =

Beginner Choice


Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Upgrades and Expansions

Sadly, even though this is a single Bay NAS system, very few of them can actually be expanded. This is normally because connecting a NAS expansion is more than just connecting a USB drive and in most cases, the user will want to expand the storage pool of the NAS to include the extra drives in an expansion into a RAID pool. The issue is that the CPU found in most 1-Bay NAS is just not strong enough to do this (or more likely low memory amounts). There is also the slight suspicion that some brands do this to ensure buyers go for a 2/4 Bay device instead, but that is never certain. Currently, none of the Synology 1-Bays can be expanded (DS119j, DS120j and DS118), but the QNAP TS-130 and TS-131K can have their storage increased by connecting the 2-Bay TR-002 and 4-Bay TR-004 NAS Expansions devices. This is because these devices are HARDWARE RAID enclosures and the handling of the RAID is done by the expansion, not the NAS. However, as you would expect, these cannot really be used the expand an existing storage pool/volume and merely bolt on additional storage areas for use inside the QNAP NAS system.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

QNAP TS-131K NAS

3x USB forTR-002/TR-004 Expansion, Supports the QNAP 5Gbe to USB Adapter

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Can connect the TR-002 and TR-004 Expansion, but cannot spread the RAID pool/volume

Synology DS118 NAS

No Official Expandability but uses USB Storage as external drive Storage

Can be upgraded and expanded

in a number of ways =

Most Future Proof!

Lightly Expandability =

Good Affordable Pick

Functional and Can have Storage bolt ons =

Good Value


Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Noise and Power Use

Of course, one of the reasons people buy 1-Bay NAS drives is because they consume considerably less power than the majority of NAS devices (down to the single SATA bay and more value series internal hardware), as well as being a great deal quieter than most other NAS drives and having a considerably smaller hardware footprint on your environment. Pretty much all of 1 Bay NAS servers from QNAP and Synology have low power consumption in both access and in standby, as well as having alow noise levels. However, it will not surprise you to know that as you scale up through the prices, the power consumed and the noise generated also go up, as the hardware inside and out is going to be a little more rugged and a little more capable, so this results in a growth in heat, noise and power consumption – all of which are still incredibly low compared with bigger 2/4/6/8 Bay devices, but still do scale appropriately, with the DS119j and DS120j at the bottom end, and the DS118, TS-130 and TS-131K at the top.

1ST 2ND 3RD

QNAP TS-130 NAS

7.06 W (Live Access)
2.9 W (Hibernation)

15.7 dB(A) Noise Level

 

Synology DS120j NAS

9.81 W (Live Access)
4.68 W (Hibernation)

16.9 dB(A) Noise Level

Synology DS118 NAS

9.4 W (Live Access)
4.22 W (Hibernation)

16.7 dB(A) Noise Level

Lowest Power Used and Noise Generated=

Best Choice in this area!

Very Low Environmental Impact=

Good Performance

Good Power at a Low Impact, higher price =

Best Performance Choice


Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Features and Software

Because of the hardware being rather modest inside the single media bay NAS drives, you will expect them to arrive with a more streamlined version of the DSM and QTS software on board. That said, although the DS119j, DS120j, TS-230 and TS-112P all arrive with more scaled-down versions of the hardware, they can still support backups, 3rd party cloud sync, media tools like Photo Station, Music Station and File Station, as well as a few of the Surveillance tools in Surveillance Station and QVR Elite. However, in the more powerful(and expensive) DS118 and TS-131K, you find that over 70% of the software and functionality from Synology and QNAP is available in DSM and QTS respectively. That means that you can use more cameras, use the storage snapshots, have more active users and can even install PLEX Media Server – though without transcoding and it will consume the bulk of the hardware available whilst in operation.

The speed of the 1-Bay NAS selection from QNAP and Synology is a difficult one. For a start, they ALL have 1Gbe LAN ports, so none of them can exceed 100-110MB/s upload and download speeds. However, the amount of system resources that are consumed by the device whilst read and write actions take place makes ALOT of difference, with the DS118 and TS-131K maxing out that 1Gbe connection at even busy file use, whilst the lesser NAS devices will either only hit as high as 70MB/s or so, OR can only hit 100MB/s if they use practically ALL their resources, or have perfect file environments to test with and SSDs inside – which is rare/unlikely. Finally, you can see that the range of 1-Bay devices all supports different numbers of maximum users ad folders. This is because then differing hardware will support a different depth of file and index structure, so the more powerful the NAS, the more files and folders it can support. Likewise, the number of active users (so, users connected at once) and created users (so, users total) will be lower if you have a smaller amount of memory or a less powerful CPU for multi-tasking. The DS118 arrives with a Realtek 64bit ARM 4 Core Processor and 1GB of DDR4 memory, so it is pretty much the strongest NAS here in this area.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

Synology Drive, Moments, Mail, Calendar, Hyper Backup, Chat, Office, Plex Media Server and more

QNAP TS-131K NAS

Photo, Video and Music Station, QuMagie, Hybrid BackupSync 3, Plex Media Server, Streaming Apps, Hybrid Mount and Cloud Apps

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Photo, Video and Music Station, Hybrid BackupSync 3, Streaming Apps and Cloud Apps

Great Apps and Fluid GUI =

Best Option for Mac/New NAS Users!


Good Selection of Apps, Great GUI=

Best for Android/Windows Users

Good Budget choice of Apps =

Affordable NAS App Entry Point

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Plex and Media Streaming

In terms of multimedia playback, any of these 1-Bay NAS drives from Synology or QNAP will support you as a DLNA media server device to share locally to your Smart TV, Amazon Firestick, Media Box, Home console and network sound system. However, after the initial confirmation, I am afraid things get a little murky. For a start, even without transcoding or Plex Media Server, all of these devices are designed with smaller streaming groups in mind, with the DS120j and DS119j supporting only 1 or 2 simultaneous streams with it’s low hardware. In fact, all of these one bays should not be considered if you are going to access media from more than about 3 devices at once, and especially if one or more of them are accessing the data over the internet. In terms of NATIVE transcoding (so when you are accessing media on the Synology/QNAP NAS using a client app for the viewing device from Synology/QNAP, only the DS118 and TS-230 will provide transcoding.

However, in terms of Plex Media Server, only the DS118, TS-230 and TS-131K will actually let you install Plex comfortably and run – even then WITHOUT transcoding and using a large % of the system memory and CPU whilst in operation. In short, none of the Synology or QNAP 1-Bay range should be considered for a stable Plex Media server, but if you are looking at native transcoding and network/internet streaming to several devices, then you should fix your sights on the QNAP TS-230, TS-131K and Synology DS118 only.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

1080p Transcoding Natively

4K Transcoding Natively

Plex Media Server NO TRANSCODING

QNAP TS-131K NAS

1080p Playback Natively

4K Playback Natively

Plex Media Server NO TRANSCODING

QNAP TS-130 NAS

1080p Playback Natively

Plex Media Server NO TRANSCODING

1080P and 4K Playback =

Best 1-Bay for Basic Plex and Native Transcoding!


Basic Plex Playback and DLNA Streaming =

Best for Budget NAS Streaming

Low end Multimedia Use =

Value choice for Multimedia Streaming

Best 1-Bay Synology/QNAP NAS – Surveillance, NVR and CCTV

I am pleased to confirm that all of the 1-Bay NAS drives from Synology and QNAP arrive with support of their Surveillance Station platforms within DSM and QTS Respectively. However, the extent to which you can use this surveillance application will differ wildly. None of them can really be considered ideal solutions to show of the surveillance software that each brand provides with their operating systems, with the QNAP solution only supporting Surveillance Station and not QVR Pro, due to hardware limitations. All of these solutions arrive with 2 camera licences and often users will include considerations of CCTV and NVR use of a NAS to maximize the investment they have made in a NAS (alongside backups, media streaming, etc). You can generally consider a 1-Bay NAS to be used for upto 5 cameras comfortably. Although the Synology DS118 and QNAP TS-230 both state you can have 10+ cameras, you would need to be using pretty low resolution/FPS settings in order for the NAS to cope – ESPECIALLY if you plan on using the NAS Drive for other things whilst it is still working. This is both because of the modest CPUs in use, and MAINLY because of the maximum 1GB of memory available (with as little as 512MB in the DS120j and 256MB in the DS119j).

In short, if you are going to use the Synology or QNAP 1-Bay NAS for ONLY Surveillance/NVR use, then you can get away with the budget class DS120j and TS-230, but if you want a smoother surveillance experience, or plan on using this 1-Bay NAS for Surveillance AND other tasks, then you should look a little higher at the Synology DS118 and QNAP TS-230 NAS.

 

1ST 2ND 3RD

Synology DS118 NAS

Surveillance Station

Upto 15 Cameras

2 Licenses

QNAP TS-130 NAS

Surveillance Station/QVR Elite

Upto 10 Cameras

2 Licenses

Synology DS120j NAS

Surveillance Station

Upto 5 Cameras

2 Licenses

Good all round low-end CCTV Support =

Best 1-Bay for Surveillance Overall!


Suitable for a Small Office =

Discreet NVR Option for an Office

Small and Very Low Impact=

Best choice for a shop, home environment

 

 


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DriveStor 2 Pro NAS Review – Best Budget Buy

18 août 2021 à 01:15

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Cost-Effective Cloud?

The affordable tier of home NAS solutions is one that has grown quite saturated in recent years. With the majority of NAS (Network Attached Storage) brands producing a wide range of low, medium and high-end solutions, the result has been that the value of hardware at the bottom of the list has become wildly inconsistent! At this home/entry-level point, brands could be accused of cutting a few corners in their solutions, leave out the features they deem ‘prosumer’ or ‘premium’ and ultimately leave the budget boxes to be a tad restrictive. It’s a fine line and hard to balance – however Asustor’s latest value series release, the Drivestor 2 Pro, is seemingly offering a few things that other brands have neglected to include at a similar price point. This new Realtek ARM 64bit NAS that arrives with 2.5GbE, expandability, 2GB memory and new software updates in ADM 4.0 seems to talk a big game, but is that going to be enough? Can this stand up against the QNAP TS-230 and Synology DS220J? Ultimately, does the Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro deserve your data? Let’s take a look.

Other Asustor Reviews You Might Be Interested In:

Asustor AS6604T LockerStor 4 NAS Review – https://nascompares.com/2020/08/17/asustor-as6604t-lockerstor-4-nas-hardware-review

Asustor AS6510T Lockerstor 10 NAS Reviewhttps://nascompares.com/2020/01/23/asustor-as6510t-lockerstor-10-nas-review

Asustor AS5304T Nimbustor 4 NAS Review – https://NAScompares.com/2019/06/27/asustor-nimbustor-NAS-hardware-review

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Quick Conclusion

The Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro NAS is a modest system that for the most part does not over-promise in what it can provide. Its architecture lends quite well to the more budget-friendly buyer, home users and those that are simply looking for an easy backup option to the cloud. Additionally, less demanding users who want some light multimedia support, network-based camera surveillance and cross-platform file sharing will certainly see plenty of use in the Drivestor 2 Pro device. The software and services available via ADM on the Drivestor 2 Pro AS3302T also provide a decent level of utilities and provides a good level of confidence to the end-user in housekeeping and secure functionality. Though the system is arguably let down by weak upgradeability and internal hardware that has been a tad overused in recent years, you still have a very functional solution here that mostly sticks the landing in offering your own private cloud solution.

PROs of the AS3302T Drivestor 2 Pro CONs of the AS3302T Drivestor 2 Pro
  • Good Price Point
  • 2.5Gbe Connectivity
  • Rare Realtek NAS that is Expandable
  • 4K HEVC Transcoding
  • Great Plex Media Server Hardware
  • Modern Software Design
  • Wide Range of Mobile Apps
  • Cloud/NAS/USB Backup Support
  • Lack of HDMI = No KVM Setup
  • No Option to Upgrade Memory
  • Software still not quite on par with competitors

Going to Buy on Amazon? Use the button Below – Thank You!

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Retail Packaging

When I first unpacked the shipping container to get to the Drivestor 2, I was pleasantly surprised by the retail packaging. I shouldn’t be – Asustor has always been very graphical in their packaging, going to good lengths to detail what the units can do, the hardware specs, the software specs and generally creating a very appealing and engaging retail design. I often comment warmly on the attention many companies make on retail packaging, despite the fact that these devices are almost always purchased from online stores (so by the time you see the packaging, you have already purchased it), it would be a dull, dull world indeed if everything arrived in default brown box packaging (do you hear me Synology?).

No, my surprise was the size of the retail box. Considering this contains a 2-Bay NAS drive, it is rather small. Given this device promises a whole lot of hardware abilities, along with 2 bays of HDD storage, it seemed remarkably condensed. As minor a point as this is, I thought it would be remiss not to highlight this, as, alongside speed and capacity, factors such as noise, chassis and heat are pretty important concerns. If we open up the box, we find the following contents:

  • 1x Asustor Drivestor 2 AS3302T NAS Drive
  • 1x 65W External Power Supplier, 100V to 240VAC
  • 1x Mains Power Cable
  • 1x RJ-45 LAN Cable(Cat 5e)
  • Packed of Flat Head Screw (for 2.5″ HDD)
  • Quick Start Guide and Instruction Manual

These accessories seem all standard (perhaps I would expect Cat 6e, but at 2.5Gbe, this makes no difference), but with a very efficient PSU (especially for a 2 bay NAS) I still very much a fan of external Power suppliers, as in the event fails (and this applies to all brands, not just in NAS) the power supplier is still the most failure-prone part of any hardware (it is technically ALWAYS working) and in the 2-3 times in my working history that a PSU failed, in the case of an internal power supplier, it has been difficult and time-consuming to repair. External power bricks are jsut easier for desktop devices, plus this 65W PSU means that the Drivestor 2 will be making a very, very tiny make on your environment. Lovely stuff.

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro AS3302T NAS Review – Design

Next, we need to move onto the Drivestor 2 Pro Chassis design. I have a bit of a disclaimer to add here that I should mention, I have always been a fan of this chassis since its first reveal back in 2018/2019 in the Nimbustor 2 and AS40 Series. In recent years, as NAS drives have moved ever more into home and small office environments, the old and ugly design of servers has changed into something much sleeker and appealing. The DriveStor AS3302T NAS is one of the best looking 2-Bay NAS devices I have ever seen in my opinion, so you will have to factor this personal view into the hardware review. Other releases in the meantime in the Lockerstor series have erred towards the more industrial and classic metal design.

As is a growing trend, the front panel of the Asustor DriveStor is not hinged or fixed, but can be removed easily. This means that when the device is doing its day-to-day tasks and not being physical used, it is a contained and covered unit, that looks very neat in most office environments. This removable front panel is even slightly raised and ventilated on all sides, to ensure the rear fan’s active airflow is not interrupted.

Like the modern edged design of the front panel, the sides of the Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro AS3302T NAS Drive have that angular edge to their surface. The chassis is only available in black and is plastic outside, surrounding a metal internal frame. Additionally, looking at the screw layout, this is a fixed frame that is not intended to be opened for upgrades/maintenance. You cannot even remove this chassis/panel to access the memory upgrade slots as this system does not allow expanding beyond the default 2GB memory sadly.

The base of the device features rubberized feet and a large ventilation slot that covers the base of the device to further assist passive airflow through the Hard Drive/SSD installed inside the Drivestor 2 NAS. Aside from this, there is little else on the base of the Asustor AS3302T NAS of note.

Removing the front panel completely and taking a closer look at the front of the Drivestor 2 reveals the media bays, LED indicators and a USB Copy Button. Although these are fairly standard across all NAS drives in 2021/2022, it is worth highlighting that many popular NAS brands have removed/simplified some/all of these in a way that has not pleased many users. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude is still very much a staple of many techies.

The front displayed LED lights and power button pretty much cover every active/passive factor you will need in the running of this NAS. The LEDs indicate the following:

  • Power/Standby
  • Network Access/Activity (one for each port)

  • System Activity (Read/Write Actions in progress)
  • Drive Activity (one for each drive, regardless of RAID)

I know LEDs are fairly standard, but the number of brands that are simplifying this for no real reason is growing and those who care about this kind of thing will notice!

Another often simple, yet overlooked hardware feature is the USB copy button. I know this seems a bit ‘meh’, but the number of users who use a NAS drive store all their files from phones, PCs, iPads, etc, then delete them from those devices to make room, thinking they have a backup (WRONG!) is pretty high. Storing all your files on a NAS is only good if you have those files somewhere else too, else what you have is the ONLY version of that file – THAT is not a backup. The easiest and most straightforward means to backup all/some files on a NAS in a portable offsite way is by connecting a USB 3.0 device and using the Asustor backup tools to make a backup. A one-touch USB copy button means that you do not even need to interact with the NAS software after the first time and after it is set up to back up the files you care the most about, you can jsut connect the USB device each time (daily, weekly, etc) and then just press the button to action a backup. Again, a simple idea that is not exactly new, but I am pleased they have kept this feature when other brands are making it button-less and fully reliant on the software. What’s wrong with having both?!

Of course, the main focus when removing the front panel is the HDD/SSD media bays of the DriveStor4 Pro AS3302T NAS. These two Bays support the very latest SATA based Hard Drives and Solid State Drives (18TB Seagate Ironwolfs/WD Red and 4TB commercially available grade respectively). The Asustor AS3302T can function with a single drive if you wish, as well as gradually/fully populated and features its own RAID handling of RAID 0 and RAID 1. Additionally, you can install a combination of Hard Drives and SSDs in individual bays, which can then be used to create separate RAID-enabled storage pools for fast/regular accessing data volumes. Alternatively, it is becoming common for small office and shop owners to use a 2-Bay with HDD and SSD installed for a large volume of storage space, supported with a portion of SSD caching. This results in an increased performance internally (and indeed externally thanks to that 2.5Gbe) when working from traditionally slower mechanical hard drives.

The trays themselves are plastic in design and (in the case of installing Hard Drives) do not require a screwdriver, featuring click and lock brackets. I tried installing larger 14TB Seagate Ironwolf NAS Drives, to see if there were any issues with their exceptionally large/enterprise frame in these bays (not uncommon) and they went in smoothly! All in all, this compact little two-bay gives you a decent scope of storage potential so far and the Drivestor 2 manages to do this with minimal space being used. Now, let’s delve a little deeper into the hardware.

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Ports and Connections

Somewhat in line with the modest and cost-effective design featured on the Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro, connections on the rear of the device are similarly few. Though I will highlight that it still manages to arrive with hardware a pinch better than a number of similarly affordable price points.

The rear of the device is largely dominated by that single active cooling fan that can have its RPM adjusted automatically or manually as the system internals require. Unless you utilise particularly enterprise or large capacity media, this NAS is not going to be particularly noisy. Additionally, the fact it has an external PSU further allows the system to do a better job of maintaining improved internal temperatures and keeping that fan at the best possible level of use.

The system also supports the connection of 2 additional USB devices, although the DriveStor lacks the KVM support (as found in the likes of the Lockerstor and Nimbustor series). Alongside the attachment of USB external storage, Wi-Fi dongles, improved network interface adaptors and network-attached office hardware like printers, scanners and UPS’, the Drivestor 2 Pro also supports the 4-bay Asustor expansion chassis that allows you to expand this system by an additional 12 bays of storage across 3 connected expansions. These ports are all USB 3.2 Gen1 however and limited to 5Gb performance, though this may well be limited by the processor rather than the brand opting towards lesser connections.

Another interesting if slightly brand predictable inclusion on the Drivestor 2 Pro AS3302T is that it arrives with 2.5Gbe connectivity at a price point where other brands like Synology and QNAP have opted for standard gigabit ethernet. Given that both of the 4 bay and 2-days Drivestor systems have the potential to push out 350-700MB per second internally, it is a welcome addition that externally you have a potential 270MB/s per second throughput possible with supported network hardware. Even this rather modest CPU, compared with that of the Intel and AMD in other systems, will still be able to fully saturate this external connection and it is a rare treat for the budget end of the NAS buyers market to enjoy 2.5Gbe.

For those that are concerned that the benefits of this larger bandwidth ethernet connection will be lost on them, Asustor also provides an optional USB to 2.5 GB adaptor that supports numerous operating systems and even connection to the NAS itself for further network connections (i.e add another connection in the network manager). It’s an additional purchase but at just £25+, it will hardly break the bank.

And that is really it for external connectivity on this box. The lack of a GPU embedded CPU means that HDMI support is totally absent and (sorry to repeat myself – but!) with it a lot of the KVM applications that many buyers still opt for Asustor solutions for absent here. Still, you are still getting a better than average selection of ports and connections is this modestly priced solution. Let’s discuss that internal hardware and the benefits of brings to the system software and services as a whole

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Internal Hardware

The internal hardware featured on the Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro is a surprisingly good value, but rather restricted level of components. There is practically no means of upgrading the internal systems and it should be highlighted that this NAS will likely consume around 25% of the available resources in just general operation. The advent of newly developed 64-bit CRM processors is something we have seen hugely benefit the private server market in recent years but it has to be said that it arrives with plenty of limitations early doors.

The Realtek RTD1296 inside the Drivestor 2 Pro NAS provides quite a good deal of the standard and first-party software+services available on the platform. Multimedia streaming, multi-tiered backups, background storage sync, security services, container installation and surveillance among many. Additionally, the system features enough hardware in that CPU architecture to make lovely transcode 4H H.265 media (HEVC) which at this price and power level is pretty impressive. Still, this is a processor that does not feature embedded graphics and because of that, some services are not supported by this CPU, such as virtual machine deployment, hardware transcoding in Plex media server, AI-assisted services and generally results in significantly more power usage to do anything with even a hint of graphical object handling. Nevertheless, with a 1.4 GHz frequency per core, the efficiency it brings allows it to do a great deal more than a 32-bit counterpart with fewer resources consumed. Additionally, it is quad-core so you do have a fairly robust processor getting the job done.

The system also includes 2GB of memory that, alongside this CPU, is actually quite good value and is enough to get a handful of decent applications running simultaneously very well. Also, this memory is DDR4 in architecture, at 2400Mhz, a noticeable upgrade over the 1GB and 512MB DDR3 at 1600Mhz in its predecessors. As good as this all sounds, the system generally will be utilising 20% of this to keep the system running in the background and the fact that you cannot upgrade this memory beyond this point does result in the system having a slight glass ceiling in terms of simultaneous users and services. Still, 2 Gigabytes a good level of base memory to be getting on with on this affordable solution.

The throughput reported by Asustor on the Drivestor 2 Pro NAS drive externally easily saturates the available to 2.5Gbe connection in regular file transmission, which isn’t a huge surprise for this RAID equipped box. Obviously, this bandwidth is shared between upload and download, so do bear that in mind when looking at these performance benchmarks. Internally the system and its software performed surprisingly well for the rather modest hardware inside and there is even a dedicated media mode that allows you to reserve 512MB of memory for dedicated use when streaming multimedia. The system does not feature dedicated SSD caching bays (e.g M.2 NVMe slots as found in the LockerStor) s and the lack of an integrated graphics CPU also means that the system will use considerably more power when handling visual tasks. But for a single user or light business backup server, the Drivestor 2 Pro NAS will provide acceptable throughput.

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Software & Services

We have discussed the latest or drive management software in previous Asustor reviews and although it features the same services and software platform, these new systems arrived with support of the latest version of this software ADM 4.0. Additionally, this software receives frequent updates to ensure that the software runs the very best it can on the DriveStor, as well as keeping up to date with security patches and application versions. We have touched on a number of the features in our Drivestor 2 and ADM 4.0 NAS software review (below) and it highlights already, but here are the highlights:

Plex – This system DOES support plex, but only as high as 1080p and without hardware transcoding (video below too)

Storage Management – Sadly there is no BTRFS Support, but there is EXT4 for the traditionalist, Multiple Snapshot storage and browsing for recovery, a large number of ISCSI and LUN target creation, fast-acting SSD caching use

Network Management – Support of LAG, Load Balancing and virtual switches, as well as maintaining top transmission over 2.5Gbe for editing or gaming over the network. As well as Jumbo Frame control, DDNS automation, Wake on LAN support and internet/external NAS access with EZ Connect

Backups – Supporting a wide range of multi-tiered backup options that can be carried out simultaneously thanks to the capable CPU in the DriveStor NAS, such as network RSync, USB Backups, NAS-2-NAS migration, Cloud Backups with Google Drive, Dropbox and Backblaze and numerous RAID levels internally for redundancy.

Content Management – Numerous Content Management Systems (CMS) and Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs) available in 1st and 3rd party forms, with simultaneous operations supported by the Asustor Drivestor 2 NAS

User Account Control – Supporting over 4,000 accounts, each with their own bespoke privileges and access levels, as well as grouping methods to automate the process easily

Security – AES 256bit hardware encryption on data in/out of the device, as well as over backup methods, as well as Windows ACL permission and configuration, auto blacklisting and multiple VPN provider support

Antivirus (ClamAV) – Scheduled Scans, Automatic Virus Definition Updates, Quarantine Infected Files

Download Center – Supports BT(Torrent & Magnet Link), HTTP and FTP Downloads, Torrent Search, Bandwidth Control, RSS Subscription and Automatic Downloading (Broadcatching), ASUSTOR Download Assistant for Windows & Mac

DropBox, OneDrive and Google Drive Sync – Each ADM Account is Able to Individually Log into one cloud Account, supporting Sync, Directly Upload Files to cloud from the NAS, or from cloud to NAS

LooksGood Media App –Built-in three main video library categories; movies, TV shows, home movies and smart video sorting management

    • The efficient global search function allows for searches by keywords followed by the execution of more detailed searches for the purpose of finding categories of movies, TV shows, home movies and parameters such as actors, director, year, genre, writer and title
    • Attractive poster wall and thumbnail display
    • Automatic production of video poster thumbnails
    • Centralized management and ability to configure the order of favourites and playlist history
    • The system administrator is able to configure video library and editing permissions according to user preferences
    • Can configure access permissions to share with
    • Multimedia conversion feature
    • Self-defined smart folder for video conversions
    • Supports digital TV recordings via digital
    • Easy streaming with Chromecast and DLNA
    • Supports playback of videos in Apple TV via AiVideos tvOS version

Mail Server – Each ADM Account can Become an Independent Email Account, Provides SMTP, IMAP and POP3 Mail Protocols, Spam Filter and Black List Settings, Antivirus Scanning for Emails, Exclusive Email Backup Mechanism, Auto-Forwarding and Auto-Response Protocols

Photo Gallary – “Album” and “Browse” Viewing Modes, Manage Photo Album Access Rights: Public Access, Restricted to Certain Accounts, Album Password, Multi-level Folder Structure Support, Supports Tagging of Photos, One-click Sharing to Social Media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Plurk, email), Intuitive Drag and Drop Management, Slideshow Viewing Mode, Supports a Wide Range of Image Formats: JPG/JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, RAW and Supports Video Playback

Surveillance Center – Numerous channels in 720p/1080p on single live view display, On-screen camera controls including camera PTZ, manual recordings, take snapshots, configure camera settings and open Maps, Up to 4 channels of synchronous and non-synchronous playback with audio, Intelligent video analytics including motion detection and foreign object detection, Supported Browsers: Windows Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Mac Safari, Mac Firefox ESR, Event notification supports SMS, E-mail, and mobile push notification, AiSecure mobile app for iOS and Android with Push notification, Maximum IP Cam (4 Free Licenses; Additional Licenses to be Purchased)

Takeasy – Download from YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch and More, Selectable Video Type and Quality, Automatic Downloads with YouTube or Twitch Subscriptions, Preview Downloads in Progress and Online Playback

SoundsGood Audio App – Import Personal/Public Music Collection, Personal/Public Music Collection Permission Control, Playlist Editor, ID3 Tag Editor, Local Speaker Support: HDMI, USB, Audio Jack, Supported Audio Formats for Browser: MP3, WAV, Ogg, Supported Audio Formats for Transcoding Through Browser: AIFF, Flac, Supported Audio Formats for Local Speaker: MP3, WAV, Ogg, AIFF, Flac

Backup Tools – Rsync (Remote Sync) Backup, Cloud Backup, FTP Backup, External Backup, One-Touch Backup, EZ Sync, Snapshots

Lastly, for those who are curious, here is how the Asustor ADM platform compares with the Synology DSM platform:

Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro Review – Conclusion

The Asustor Drivestor 2 Pro NAS is a modest system that for the most part does not over-promise in what it can provide. Its architecture lends quite well to the more budget-friendly buyer, home users and those that are simply looking for an easy backup option to the cloud. Additionally, less demanding users who want some light multimedia support, network-based camera surveillance and cross-platform file sharing will certainly see plenty of use in the Drivestor 2 Pro device.

The software and services available via ADM on the Drivestor 2 Pro AS3302T also provide a decent level of utilities and provides a good level of confidence to the end-user in housekeeping and secure functionality. Though the system is arguably let down by weak upgradeability and internal hardware that has been a tad overused in recent years, you still have a very functional solution here that mostly sticks the landing in offering your own private cloud solution.

UNIT
PROs of the AS3302T Drivestor 2 Pro CONs of the AS3302T Drivestor 2 Pro
  • Good Price Point
  • 2.5Gbe Connectivity
  • Rare Realtek NAS that is Expandable
  • 4K HEVC Transcoding
  • Great Plex Media Server Hardware
  • Modern Software Design
  • Wide Range of Mobile Apps
  • Cloud/NAS/USB Backup Support
  • Lack of HDMI = No KVM Setup
  • No Option to Upgrade Memory
  • Software still not quite on par with competitors

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Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro NAS Review

28 juillet 2021 à 02:00

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Cost-Effective Cloud?

In recent years we have seen a wide array of more affordable network-attached storage NAS solutions arrive on the market and this is thanks in no small part to the incredible research and development that has gone into modern CPUs. This new generation of lower-priced but still fully-featured NAS solutions take advantage of improved network connections, enhanced abilities of ARM processors and the improvements in storage media technologies. One brand that has gained a committed audience in this arena is Asustor and alongside a slowly evolving range of home and business solutions, their own software management and services have started to tread on the toes of bigger brands like Synology and QNAP. Their latest release, the Drivestor 4 Pro is a RAID 5 equipped system, with 4K native transcoding, container support, multi-tier backup supported and multimedia ready NAS that arrives at just $350-399. With similar systems arriving noticeably more expensive, does the Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro NAS deserve your data in 2021/2022? Let’s find out.

Other Asustor Reviews You Might Be Interested In:

Asustor AS6604T LockerStor 4 NAS Review – https://nascompares.com/2020/08/17/asustor-as6604t-lockerstor-4-nas-hardware-review

Asustor AS6510T Lockerstor 10 NAS Reviewhttps://nascompares.com/2020/01/23/asustor-as6510t-lockerstor-10-nas-review

Asustor AS5304T Nimbustor 4 NAS Review – https://NAScompares.com/2019/06/27/asustor-nimbustor-NAS-hardware-review

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Quick Conclusion

The Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro does manage to deliver a large number of modern network storage software and services that are comparable to bigger brands. It does have to be taken into perspective, given its more cost-effective build but although it arrives a fraction dwarfed by more aggressive Intel and AMD based NAS solutions from their more market-dominating competitors, the is still a lot to see here in the DriveStor 4 Pro 4. The system could certainly benefit from more memory as even in general operation, utilisation rarely dipped below 40%. On the whole though, and when more modest requirements are needed, the Drivestor4 Pro managers to deliver on its promises.

PROs of the AS3304T DriveStor 4 Pro CONs of the AS3304T Drivestor 4 Pro
  • Good Price Point
  • 2.5Gbe Connectivity
  • Rare Realtek NAS that is Expandable
  • 4K HEVC Transcoding
  • Great Plex Media Server Hardware
  • Modern Software Design
  • Wide Range of Mobile Apps
  • Cloud/NAS/USB Backup Support
  • Lack of HDMI = No KVM Setup
  • No Option to Upgrade Memory
  • Software still not quite on par with competitors

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Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Retail Packaging

When I first unpacked the shipping container to get to the DriveStor 4, I was pleasantly surprised by the retail packaging. I shouldn’t be – Asustor has always been very graphical in their packaging, going to good lengths to detail what the units can do, the hardware specs, the software specs and generally creating a very appealing and engaging retail design. I often comment warmly on the attention many companies make on retail packaging, despite the fact that these devices are almost always purchased from online stores (so by the time you see the packaging, you have already purchased it), it would be a dull, dull world indeed if everything arrived in default brown box packaging (do you hear me Synology?).

No, my surprise was the size of the retail box. Considering this contains a 4-Bay NAS drive, it is rather small, at 23.7 (H) x21.4 (W) x32.3 (D) cm. Given this device promises a whole lot of hardware abilities, along with 4 bays of HDD storage, it seemed remarkably condensed. As minor a point as this is, I thought it would be remiss not to highlight this, as, alongside speed and capacity, factors such as noise, chassis and heat are pretty important concerns. If we open up the box, we find the following contents:

  • 1x Asustor DriveStor 4 AS3304T NAS Drive, measuring just 17cm (H) x 17.4cm (W) x 23cm (D)
  • 1x 90W External Power Supplier, 100V to 240VAC
  • 1x Mains Power Cable
  • 1x RJ-45 LAN Cable(Cat 5e)
  • Packed of Flat Head Screw (for 2.5″ HDD)
  • Quick Start Guide and Instruction Manual

These accessories seem all standard (perhaps I would expect Cat 6e, but at 2.5Gbe, this makes no difference), but with a very efficient PSU (especially for a 4 bay NAS) I still very much a fan of external Power suppliers, as in event fails (and this applies to all brands, not just in NAS) the power supplier is still the most failure-prone part of any hardware (it is technically ALWAYS working) and in the 2-3 times in my working history that a PSU failed, in the case of an internal power supplier, it has been difficult and time-consuming to repair. External power bricks are jsut easier for desktop devices, plus this 90W PSU means that the DriveStor 4 will be making a very, very tiny make on your environment. Lovely stuff.

Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro AS3304T NAS Review – Design

Next, we need to move onto the DriveStor 4 Pro Chassis design. I have a bit of a disclaimer to add here that I should mention, I have always been a fan of this chassis since its first reveal back in 2018/2019 in the Nimbustor4 and AS40 Series. In recent years, as NAS drives have moved ever more into home and small office environments, the old and ugly design of servers has changed into something much sleeker and appealing. The DriveStor AS3304T NAS is one of the best looking 4-Bay NAS devices I have ever seen in my opinion, so you will have to factor this personal view into the hardware review. Other releases in the meantime in the Lockerstor series have erred towards the more industrial and classic metal design.

As is a growing trend, the front panel of the Asustor DriveStor is not hinged or fixed, but can be removed easily. This means that when the device is doing its day-to-day tasks and not being physical used, it is a contained and covered unit, that looks very neat in most office environments. This removable front panel is even slightly raised and ventilated on all sides, to ensure the rear fan’s active airflow is not interrupted.

Like the modern edged design of the front panel, the sides of the Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro AS3304T NAS Drive have that angular edge to their surface. The chassis is only available in black and is plastic outside, surrounding a metal internal frame. Additionally, looking at the screw layout, this is a fixed frame that is not intended to be opened for upgrades/maintenance. You cannot even remove this chassis/panel to access the memory upgrade slots as this system does not allow expanding beyond the default 2GB memory sadly.

The base of the device features rubberized feet and a large ventilation slot that covers the base of the device to further assist passive airflow through the Hard Drive/SSD installed inside the DriveStor 4 NAS. Aside from this, there is little else on the base of the Asustor AS3304T NAS of note.

Removing the front panel completely and taking a closer look at the front of the DriveStor 4 reveals the media bays, LED indicators and a USB Copy Button. Although these are fairly standard across all NAS drives in 2021/2022, it is worth highlighting that many popular NAS brands have removed/simplified some/all of these in a way that has not pleased many users. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude is still very much a staple of many techies.

The front displayed LED lights and power button pretty much cover every active/passive factor you will need in the running of this NAS. The LEDs indicate the following:

  • Power/Standby
  • Network Access/Activity (one for each port)
  • System Activity (Read/Write Actions in progress)
  • Drive Activity (one for each drive, regardless of RAID)

I know LEDs are fairly standard, but the number of brands that are simplifying this for no real reason is growing and those who care about this kind of thing will notice!

Another often simple, yet overlooked hardware feature is the USB copy button. I know this seems a bit ‘meh’, but the number of users who use a NAS drive store all their files from phones, PCs, iPads, etc, then delete them from those devices to make room, thinking they have a backup (WRONG!) is pretty high. Storing all your files on a NAS is only good if you have those files somewhere else too, else what you have is the ONLY version of that file – THAT is not a backup. The easiest and most straightforward means to backup all/some files on a NAS in a portable offsite way is by connecting a USB 3.0 device and using the Asustor backup tools to make a backup. A one-touch USB copy button means that you do not even need to interact with the NAS software after the first time and after it is set up to back up the files you care the most about, you can jsut connect the USB device each time (daily, weekly, etc) and then just press the button to action a backup. Again, a simple idea that is not exactly new, but I am pleased they have kept this feature when other brands are making it button-less and fully reliant on the software. What’s wrong with having both?!

Of course, the main focus when removing the front panel is the HDD/SSD media bays of the DriveStor4 Pro AS3304T NAS. These 4 Bays support the very latest SATA based Hard Drives and Solid State Drives (18TB Seagate Ironwolfs/WD Red and 4TB commercially available grade respectively). The Asustor AS3304T can function with a single drive if you wish, as well as gradually/fully populated and features its own RAID handling of RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and more. Additionally, you can install a combination of Hard Drives and SSDs in individual bays, which can then be used to create separate RAID-enabled storage pools for fast/regular accessing data volumes. Alternatively, it is becoming common for small office and business users to use a 4-Bay with HDD and SSD installed for a large volume of storage space, supported with a portion of SSD caching. This results in an increased performance internally (and indeed externally thanks to that 2.5Gbe) when working from traditionally slower mechanical hard drives.

The trays themselves are plastic in design and (in the case of installing Hard Drives) do not require a screwdriver, featuring click and lock brackets. I tried installing larger 14TB Seagate Ironwolf NAS Drives, to see if there were any issues with their exceptionally large/enterprise frame in these bays (not uncommon) and they went in smoothly!

Alternatively, you can always use 1 or more Solid State drives for raw storage or caching (as discussed above), however, it is worth highlighting that these will require a screwdriver and use of the included screws. Not a massive surprise. Just remember that in order to take advantage of Read/Write caching, you need to have 2 drives installed (as it will create an SSD RAID 1 mirror for separate Read/Write actions), though 1 SSD will let you enable Read-Only cache.

All in all, this 4-Bay gives you a decent scope of storage potential so far and the DriveStor 4 manages to do this with minimal space being used. Now, let’s delve a little deeper into the hardware.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Ports and Connections

Somewhat in line with the modest and cost-effective design featured on the Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro, connections on the rear of the device are similarly few. Though I will highlight that it still manages to arrive with hardware a pinch better than a number of similarly affordable price points.

The rear of the device is largely dominated by that single active cooling fan that can have its RPM adjusted automatically or manually as the system internals require. Unless you utilise particularly enterprise or large capacity media, this NAS is not going to be particularly noisy. Additionally, the fact it has an external PSU further allows the system to do a better job of maintaining improved internal temperatures and keeping that fan at the best possible level of use.

The system also supports the connection of 2 additional USB devices, although the DriveStor lacks the KVM support (as found in the likes of the Lockerstor and Nimbustor series). Alongside the attachment of USB external storage, Wi-Fi dongles, improved network interface adaptors and network-attached office hardware like printers, scanners and UPS’, the DriveStor 4 Pro also supports the 4-bay Asustor expansion chassis that allows you to expand this system by an additional 12 bays of storage across 3 connected expansions. These ports are all USB 3.2 Gen1 however and limited to 5Gb performance, though this may well be limited by the processor rather than the brand opting towards lesser connections.

Another interesting if slightly brand predictable inclusion on the DriveStor 4 Pro AS3304T is that it arrives with 2.5Gbe connectivity at a price point where other brands like Synology and QNAP have opted for standard gigabit ethernet. Given that both of the 4 bay and 2-days Drivestor systems have the potential to push out 350-700MB per second internally, it is a welcome addition that externally you have a potential 270MB/s per second throughput possible with supported network hardware. Even this rather modest CPU, compared with that of the Intel and AMD in other systems, will still be able to fully saturate this external connection and it is a rare treat for the budget end of the NAS buyers market to enjoy 2.5Gbe.

For those that are concerned that the benefits of this larger bandwidth ethernet connection will be lost on them, Asustor also provides an optional USB to 2.5 GB adaptor that supports numerous operating systems and even connection to the NAS itself for further network connections (i.e add another connection in the network manager). It’s an additional purchase but at just £25+, it will hardly break the bank.

And that is really it for external connectivity on this box. The lack of a GPU embedded CPU means that HDMI support is totally absent and (sorry to repeat myself – but!) with it a lot of the KVM applications that many buyers still opt for Asustor solutions for absent here. Still, you are still getting a better than average selection of ports and connections is this modestly priced solution. Let’s discuss that internal hardware and the benefits of brings to the system software and services as a whole

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Internal Hardware

The internal hardware featured on the Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro is a surprisingly good value, but rather restricted level of components. There is practically no means of upgrading the internal systems and it should be highlighted that this NAS will likely consume around 25% of the available resources in just general operation. The advent of newly developed 64-bit CRM processors is something we have seen hugely benefit the private server market in recent years but it has to be said that it arrives with plenty of limitations early doors.

The Realtek RTD1296 inside the DriveStor 4 Pro NAS provides quite a good deal of the standard and first-party software+services available on the platform. Multimedia streaming, multi-tiered backups, background storage sync, security services, container installation and surveillance among many. Additionally, the system features enough hardware in that CPU architecture to make lovely transcode 4H H.265 media (HEVC) which at this price and power level is pretty impressive. Still, this is a processor that does not feature embedded graphics and because of that, some services are not supported by this CPU, such as virtual machine deployment, hardware transcoding in Plex media server, AI-assisted services and generally results in significantly more power usage to do anything with even a hint of graphical object handling. Nevertheless, with a 1.4 GHz frequency per core, the efficiency it brings allows it to do a great deal more than a 32-bit counterpart with fewer resources consumed. Additionally, it is quad-core so you do have a fairly robust processor getting the job done.

The system also includes 2GB of memory that, alongside this CPU, is actually quite good value and is enough to get a handful of decent applications running simultaneously very well. Also, this memory is DDR4 in architecture, at 2400Mhz, a noticeable upgrade over the 1GB and 512MB DDR3 at 1600Mhz in its predecessors. As good as this all sounds, the system generally will be utilising 20% of this to keep the system running in the background and the fact that you cannot upgrade this memory beyond this point does result in the system having a slight glass ceiling in terms of simultaneous users and services. Still, 2 Gigabytes a good level of base memory to be getting on with on this affordable solution.

The throughput reported by Asustor on the DriveStor 4 Pro NAS drive externally easily saturates the available to 2.5Gbe connection in regular file transmission, which isn’t a huge surprise for this RAID equipped box. Obviously, this bandwidth is shared between upload and download, so do bear that in mind when looking at these performance benchmarks. Internally the system and its software performed surprisingly well for the rather modest hardware inside and there is even a dedicated media mode that allows you to reserve 512MB of memory for dedicated use when streaming multimedia. The system does not feature dedicated SSD caching bays (e.g M.2 NVMe slots as found in the LockerStor) s and the lack of an integrated graphics CPU also means that the system will use considerably more power when handling visual tasks. But for a single user or light business backup server, the DriveStor 4 Pro NAS will provide acceptable throughput.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Software & Services

We have discussed the latest or drive management software in previous Asustor reviews and although it features the same services and software platform, these new systems arrived with support of the latest version of this software ADM 4.0. Additionally, this software receives frequent updates to ensure that the software runs the very best it can on the DriveStor, as well as keeping up to date with security patches and application versions. We have touched on a number of the features in our DriveStor 4 and ADM 4.0 NAS software review (below) and it highlights already, but here are the highlights:

Plex – This system DOES support plex, but only as high as 1080p and without hardware transcoding (video below too)

Storage Management – Sadly there is no BTRFS Support, but there is EXT4 for the traditionalist, Multiple Snapshot storage and browsing for recovery, a large number of ISCSI and LUN target creation, fast-acting SSD caching use

Network Management – Support of LAG, Load Balancing and virtual switches, as well as maintaining top transmission over 2.5Gbe for editing or gaming over the network. As well as Jumbo Frame control, DDNS automation, Wake on LAN support and internet/external NAS access with EZ Connect

Backups – Supporting a wide range of multi-tiered backup options that can be carried out simultaneously thanks to the capable CPU in the DriveStor NAS, such as network RSync, USB Backups, NAS-2-NAS migration, Cloud Backups with Google Drive, Dropbox and Backblaze and numerous RAID levels internally for redundancy.

Content Management – Numerous Content Management Systems (CMS) and Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs) available in 1st and 3rd party forms, with simultaneous operations supported by the Asustor DriveStor 4 NAS

User Account Control – Supporting over 4,000 accounts, each with their own bespoke privileges and access levels, as well as grouping methods to automate the process easily

Security – AES 256bit hardware encryption on data in/out of the device, as well as over backup methods, as well as Windows ACL permission and configuration, auto blacklisting and multiple VPN provider support

Antivirus (ClamAV) – Scheduled Scans, Automatic Virus Definition Updates, Quarantine Infected Files

Download Center – Supports BT(Torrent & Magnet Link), HTTP and FTP Downloads, Torrent Search, Bandwidth Control, RSS Subscription and Automatic Downloading (Broadcatching), ASUSTOR Download Assistant for Windows & Mac

DropBox, OneDrive and Google Drive Sync – Each ADM Account is Able to Individually Log into one cloud Account, supporting Sync, Directly Upload Files to cloud from the NAS, or from cloud to NAS

LooksGood Media App –Built-in three main video library categories; movies, TV shows, home movies and smart video sorting management

    • The efficient global search function allows for searches by keywords followed by the execution of more detailed searches for the purpose of finding categories of movies, TV shows, home movies and parameters such as actors, director, year, genre, writer and title
    • Attractive poster wall and thumbnail display
    • Automatic production of video poster thumbnails
    • Centralized management and ability to configure the order of favourites and playlist history
    • The system administrator is able to configure video library and editing permissions according to user preferences
    • Can configure access permissions to share with
    • Multimedia conversion feature
    • Self-defined smart folder for video conversions
    • Supports digital TV recordings via digital
    • Easy streaming with Chromecast and DLNA
    • Supports playback of videos in Apple TV via AiVideos tvOS version

Mail Server – Each ADM Account can Become an Independent Email Account, Provides SMTP, IMAP and POP3 Mail Protocols, Spam Filter and Black List Settings, Antivirus Scanning for Emails, Exclusive Email Backup Mechanism, Auto-Forwarding and Auto-Response Protocols

Photo Gallary – “Album” and “Browse” Viewing Modes, Manage Photo Album Access Rights: Public Access, Restricted to Certain Accounts, Album Password, Multi-level Folder Structure Support, Supports Tagging of Photos, One-click Sharing to Social Media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Plurk, email), Intuitive Drag and Drop Management, Slideshow Viewing Mode, Supports a Wide Range of Image Formats: JPG/JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, RAW and Supports Video Playback

Surveillance Center – Numerous channels in 720p/1080p on single live view display, On-screen camera controls including camera PTZ, manual recordings, take snapshots, configure camera settings and open Maps, Up to 4 channels of synchronous and non-synchronous playback with audio, Intelligent video analytics including motion detection and foreign object detection, Supported Browsers: Windows Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Mac Safari, Mac Firefox ESR, Event notification supports SMS, E-mail, and mobile push notification, AiSecure mobile app for iOS and Android with Push notification, Maximum IP Cam (4 Free Licenses; Additional Licenses to be Purchased)

Takeasy – Download from YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch and More, Selectable Video Type and Quality, Automatic Downloads with YouTube or Twitch Subscriptions, Preview Downloads in Progress and Online Playback

SoundsGood Audio App – Import Personal/Public Music Collection, Personal/Public Music Collection Permission Control, Playlist Editor, ID3 Tag Editor, Local Speaker Support: HDMI, USB, Audio Jack, Supported Audio Formats for Browser: MP3, WAV, Ogg, Supported Audio Formats for Transcoding Through Browser: AIFF, Flac, Supported Audio Formats for Local Speaker: MP3, WAV, Ogg, AIFF, Flac

Backup Tools – Rsync (Remote Sync) Backup, Cloud Backup, FTP Backup, External Backup, One-Touch Backup, EZ Sync, Snapshots

Lastly, for those who are curious, here is how the Asustor ADM platform compares with the Synology DSM platform:

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro Review – Conclusion

The Asustor DriveStor 4 Pro NAS is a modest system that for the most part does not over-promise in what it can provide. Its architecture lends quite well to the more budget-friendly buyer, home users and those that are simply looking for an easy backup option to the cloud. Additionally, less demanding users who want some light multimedia support, network-based camera surveillance and cross-platform file sharing will certainly see plenty of use in the DriveStor 4 Pro device. The software and services available via ADM on the DriveStor 4 Pro AS3304T also provide a decent level of utilities and provides a good level of confidence to the end-user in housekeeping and secure functionality. Though the system is arguably let down by weak upgradeability and internal hardware that has been a tad overused in recent years, you still have a very functional solution here that mostly sticks the landing in offering your own private cloud solution.

UNIT
PROs of the AS3304T DriveStor 4 Pro CONs of the AS3304T Drivestor 4 Pro
  • Good Price Point
  • 2.5Gbe Connectivity
  • Rare Realtek NAS that is Expandable
  • 4K HEVC Transcoding
  • Great Plex Media Server Hardware
  • Modern Software Design
  • Wide Range of Mobile Apps
  • Cloud/NAS/USB Backup Support
  • Lack of HDMI = No KVM Setup
  • No Option to Upgrade Memory
  • Software still not quite on par with competitors

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Best Plex NAS to Buy for over £2000 in 2021

23 juillet 2021 à 01:07

Top 3 NAS Drives for Plex Media Server for £2000

How many of us have decades of media in our homes? Somewhere between hard drives and USB that are full of cinematic enjoyment, collections of boxsets, music cluttering up CDs and hundreds of DVDs all over the place has led to most users sitting on hundreds or thousands of their favourite bits of media. Nevertheless, the convenience of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime video has led many users to abandon this hardware media in favour of watching the same multimedia streamed online. However subscription-based streaming services are far from perfect, with available media rotating and the availability of TV shows changing from month to month, results in a multimedia experience that can be at best diverse and at worst rigidly controlled. This is one of the main reasons that many users have made the switch from paying monthly for the likes of Netflix and switching over to their own Plex media server on a NAS. Aside from the ability to enjoy the media that they already own and grow that collection organically, Plex media server also provides the slick and attractive graphical user interface (GUI) found on those streaming services. Rather than traditional file folder access, a Plex media server NAS will scrape online databases for information such as thumbnails, cast information, trailers, reviews from reputable websites, extra behind the scenes footage and does this using the media that you own! The one barrier that stands between you and your perfect Plex media server is the amount you are prepared to pay for the hardware that the server utilizes and, in short, the scale of the NAS drive you purchase. NAS Drives have fast become one of the most popular ways in which people create their own ‘set-up and forget’ Plex media server and previously we have discussed the best Plex Nas for £500-1000. However in order to truly have a uncompromising Plex media server that will comfortably stream 1080p and 4K media to multiple client devices at once (at a variety of scalable quality levels) requires a noticeably larger investment and today I want to discuss my top 3 NAS drives for £2000 THAT will provide the very best Plex media server for you, your family and friends in 2021. Let’s take a look.

Note – it is worth bearing in mind that a NAS drive will still require you to purchase hard drives and although all NAS drive servers for Plex can run with as little as a single hard drive (and then add more later) this still means that you have to factor this into your budget.

 

QUICK CONCLUSION

NASCompares Top 3 Plex NAS for £2000 and Above

QNAP TVS-672X

Intel i3 8100T
8-64GB DDR4

Synology DS1621xs+

Intel Xeon D-1527

8-32GB DDR4 ECC

= $1600+

QNAP TVS-h1288X

Intel Xeon W 6-Core

16-128GB DDR4

= £2500+

What should I be looking for in a Plex NAS?

Any NAS that is going to be used as a Plex media server needs to have certain hardware and software options as standard, to skip even one of these will severely bottleneck your performance from Day 1. Although most of these are available in more affordable NAS drives, the extent to which they are supported will make all the difference between a good Plex media server and a great Plex media server on a tight budget. (as well as still having money for hard drives). These factors are:
  • An Intel or AMD based CPU that is 64-bit x86 in architecture
  • Support of at least 1080p and 4K regular playback, as well as the support of 1080p transcoding to Plex client devices
  • Embedded graphics or transcoding support (hence that CPU range)
  • At least two Bays of storage (for greater storage and redundancy, AKA – Disk Failure Protection)
  • A frequently updated and stable graphical user interface (such as Synology DSM or QNAP QTS)
  • Support and compatibility for the plex media server application (not all NAS support it, weaker ARM CPU and Unbranded NAS might not)

Rest assured that all three of the NAS drives for Plex that I have recommended below will provide excellent support for these features. It’s no huge secret that any old budget PC, unused Mac  mini or old laptop can run as a Plex media server, but the reason people are purchasing NAS drives from companies like Synology and QNAP for use in Plex is because these devices, even in a budget form, provide the following advantages:
  • Quiet and stable storage
  • RAID functionality for hard drive failure or combined storage
  • 24/7 reliability and efficiency
  • Software and Graphical user interface (GUI) that is easily accessible from a desktop or mobile device
  • Network and Internet access for hundreds of simultaneous users
ALL of these factors are what will ensure your Plex Media Server NAS, (even on a tight budget) will be fantastically capable and stable. So, let’s get on to my top 3 devices for PLEX servers.

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Price vs Performance – QNAP TVS-672X NAS

QNAP TVS-672X, Intel i3 8100T, 8-64GB DDR4, 1x 10GbE, 2x 1GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, NVMe Slots, PCIe Gen 3×4, EXT4/ZFS, 2yr Warranty = $1700+

What Said in the TVS-872X Review on 05/2021 – The TVS-672X is a revamp of the older TVS-672XT, which was amongst our top 10 NAS of the last few years. 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.


 

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Expandability and Scalability – Synology DS1621xs+ NAS

Synology DS1621xs+, Intel Xeon D-1527, 8-32GB DDR4 ECC, 1x 10GbE, 2x 1GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 1, NVMe Slots for Cache, PCIe Gen 3×8, EXT4/BTRFS, 5yr Warranty = $1600+
It is fair to say that the Synology DS1621xs+ NAS makes a bold statement in what it is bringing to the table. Synology has been a brand that up until a few years ago traded significantly more on its software than it does on its hardware. Devices like the DS1621xs+ go a long way to dispel this myth in 2020/2021 and what we find here is an exceptionally well-equipped desktop NAS system. Obviously, at this price tag, you would expect it to deliver a lot and as a combined hardware and software package, the DS1621xs+ certainly achieved this. What issues you can make with the hardware are of the DS1621xs+ are more a question of the brands own decisions on what users want in storage right now. Small factors such as the NVMe bays not being accessible for RAW storage, the lack of Synology hybrid RAID and the use of CPU seen in 2017 and 2018 release hardware might put some potential buyers on the fence. But ultimately if you’ve committed to a desktop Synology solution because of DSM, the brand’s high reputation and that spec sheet – you will genuinely struggle to find a more powerful and equipped desktop NAS from this company right now.


 

Best Plex Media Server NAS for EVERYTHING 4K and 1080p – QNAP TVS-h1288X NAS

QNAP TVS-h1288X, Intel Xeon W Series 6-Core, 16-128GB DDR4, 1x10GbE, 2x 10GbE, 4x 2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, SATA HDD+SATA SSD+NVMe SSD, 3x PCIe Gen 3×4 Slots, EXT4/ZFS, 3yr Warranty = £2500+
What we Said in our TVS-h1288X Review on 11/2020 This is, hands down, the most impressive desktop NAS drive I have ever handled – and I do not say that lightly! QNAP has been working overtime these last 2 years to not only introduce their ZFS series to the SMB and Enterprise marketing, with gradual but compelling results – but it is only now in the TVS-h1288X system that they have successfully merged it into another core area of their business – content creators. Whether you are on board with the ‘optional thunderbolt card’ nature behind this device, you cannot fault the sheer weight of hardware on offer here and how it is perfectly tuned and appropriate for the storage, performance and safety benefits of ZFS in QuTS Hero included with this device. Yes, it is a hungry beast of a device in terms of power, but right now THIS is the NAS system to beat in the market right now in desktop form. There are still the odd hurdle for surveillance users to jump and the fact this range starts at 8/12-Bay is an odd choice – but with a 6-core Xeon processor that features high grade embedded graphics, upto 128GB of DR4 ECC memory, 3 storage tiers of scaling speeds, a combined external bandwidth of 30 Gigabits per second (so 3,000MB/s) and that is without even the inclusion of a Thunderbolt update that can allow upto 4 more Thunderbolt users to enjoy simultaneous access for photo/video editing – You simply cannot fault the ambition behind the TVS-h1288X and it leaves most of its 8-Bay competitors in its dust – just maybe raid the piggy bank before you buy it though


It is worth highlighting that regardless of which NAS drive you buy, all three of these devices can do so much more than that, providing you with the following additional software and support options to you, your family and colleagues:
– Multi-tiered backup options for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux devices.
– Synchronisation and migration options for NAS to NAS, cloud to NAS, USB to NAS and Apple time machine.
– DLNA media support for enjoying all your media across all your devices
– Multiple user support that allows simultaneous file access and control over the network and internet.
– Privilege, time limit, password and remote share options for sending files to those that need them
– A wide range of third-party apps support from dedicated app centres via the NAS GUI
– Multiple mobile apps available from iOS and Android, that are free and tailored to different file requirements
– Dedicated surveillance software that allows you to connect access and control multiple pan tilt zoom IP cameras in your network environment and record footage, Taylor alerts and set recording rules
– all arrived with two to three years of manufacturer’s warranty worldwide.
So there you go, those are the best NAS drives for use as a Plex media server for you right now. Still unsure? Not quite ready to spend the money? Never fear, you can always contact me directly for free advice using the form below. This is a free service and only manned by myself and Eddie, so our reply might take an extra day or two, but my advice will be impartial and with your best interests at heart! If you want to support, you can always donate (on the right) or you can click an ad banner and that goes straight to supporting the site!

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.


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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.   This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today’s video. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Recommended NAS for Plex for £1000 in 2021

16 juillet 2021 à 01:10

Top 3 NAS Drives for Plex Media Server for £1000

Buying a NAS for a Plex media server can be a very intimidating purchase. The technology behind network-attached storage has evolved dramatically in recent years and has far surpassed the simple ‘file and folder hard drive over the internet’ image that many associate it with. Modern NAS drives have a huge array of software applications, services, customisable fully featured graphical user interfaces, numerous applications to access your data in the best possible way and, of course, full integration with the popular private multimedia server software plex. That said, not all NAS servers are created equal and much like any piece of hardware, the amount of money you spend on a solution will result in better hardware and performance overall – and a NAS for Plex is no different. Previously I have discussed the best NAS drives for plex for under £500, which all provided an excellent base level of multimedia support but when it came to the handling of particularly dense media, HEVC and in particular 4K, would either reach full resource utilization OR just fail on playback entirely. So today I want to look at the NAS drives for Plex that, although up to twice the price of those mentioned previously, will give you a significant increase in your multimedia playback! Let’s take a look at the best Plex NAS you can buy in 2021.

Note – it is worth bearing in mind that a NAS drive will still require you to purchase hard drives and although all NAS drive servers for Plex can run with as little as a single hard drive (and then add more later) this still means that you have to factor this into your budget.

 

QUICK CONCLUSION

NASCompares Top 3 Plex NAS for £1000

QNAP TS-473A

AMD Ryzen V1500B

8-64GB DDR4

= $800

Synology DS1621+

AMD Ryzen V1500B

4-32GB DDR4 ECC

= $900+

QNAP TS-h973AX

AMD Ryzen V1500B
8-64GB DDR4

What should I be looking for in a Plex NAS?

Any NAS that is going to be used as a Plex media server needs to have certain hardware and software options as standard, to skip even one of these will severely bottleneck your performance from Day 1. Although most of these are available in more affordable NAS drives, the extent to which they are supported will make all the difference between a good Plex media server and a great Plex media server on a tight budget. (as well as still having money for hard drives). These factors are:
  • An Intel or AMD based CPU that is 64-bit x86 in architecture
  • Support of at least 1080p and 4K regular playback, as well as the support of 1080p transcoding to Plex client devices
  • Embedded graphics or transcoding support (hence that CPU range)
  • At least two Bays of storage (for greater storage and redundancy, AKA – Disk Failure Protection)
  • A frequently updated and stable graphical user interface (such as Synology DSM or QNAP QTS)
  • Support and compatibility for the plex media server application (not all NAS support it, weaker ARM CPU and Unbranded NAS might not)

Rest assured that all three of the NAS drives for Plex that I have recommended below will provide excellent support for these features. It’s no huge secret that any old budget PC, unused Mac  mini or old laptop can run as a Plex media server, but the reason people are purchasing NAS drives from companies like Synology and QNAP for use in Plex is because these devices, even in a budget form, provide the following advantages:
  • Quiet and stable storage
  • RAID functionality for hard drive failure or combined storage
  • 24/7 reliability and efficiency
  • Software and Graphical user interface (GUI) that is easily accessible from a desktop or mobile device
  • Network and Internet access for hundreds of simultaneous users
ALL of these factors are what will ensure your Plex Media Server NAS, (even on a tight budget) will be fantastically capable and stable. So, let’s get on to my top 3 devices for PLEX servers.

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Affordability – QNAP TS-473A NAS

QNAP TS-473A, AMD Ryzen V1500B, 8-64GB DDR4, 2x 2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, NVMe Slots, PCIe Gen 3×4, EXT4/ZFS, 3yr Warranty = $800
What We Said about the QNAP TS-73A Review on 03/21I know I have said this like 10x in the review, but I genuinely respect how mature and focused the TS-473A is, especially when compared with a number of more ‘throw as much hardware as possible at it’ based 8-Bay devices are available from QNAP in their portfolio. A much better balance of internal and external hardware result in a system that feels significantly more capable of business that most devices that the brand have produced in the last 12 months. Add to this that the TS-873A arrives with the QNAP QuTS Hero ZFS platform and you have a system that will tick ALOT of boxes for both novice NAS buyers and more worldly data storage experts. Seemingly taking a leaf out of the books of Synology and their DS1821+ in terms of keeping it straight forward, this solutions sits very well in the portfolio. It would have been easy for the brand to try to squeeze more in, make at the risk of eliminating consumer flexibility down the line and ramping the price up at day 1, but it would seem like QNAP has learned from the odd bit of overstretching in systems like the TVS-872N and TS-1635AX, this time producing a solution that gives the business buyer what they need in 2021, but then allowing them to scale the solution in line with the storage of 2022 and beyond. This is by no means a sexy or exciting solution, for you, I would recommend the TVS-872XT or TVS-1288X. But what you have here is just business, nothing personal.


 

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Expandability and Scalability – Synology DS1621+ NAS

Synology DS1621+, AMD Ryzen V1500B, 4-32GB DDR4 ECC, 1x 1GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 1, NVMe Slots for Cache, PCIe Gen 3×8, EXT4/BTRFS, SHR, 3yr Warranty = $900+
What We Said in Our DS1621+ Review on 10/2020 – Whether you’re looking at buying the Synology DS1621+ as your first footsteps into the world of NAS, or as an upgrade to your existing smaller network-attached storage system, the DS1621+ ticks practically every box. Although some might argue that the hardware might seem almost a little too mid-range, they are missing the point of this device entirely. The DS1621+ is a prime example of everything that Synology is about and frankly, if you love the brand you will love this NAS device. Finding a fair middle ground internally and externally at this price point, the DS1621+ represents Synology doubling down on hardware R&D over the last 2 years and is largely successful in every way. It would have been nice to see a more graphically equipped processor, or something a tad closer in architecture to that of the comparatively powerhouse DS1621xs +, but right now this is the best Synology 6 bay you are going to find and without breaking the bank. The Synology ‘Plus’ series of devices has long held a reputation for providing mid-range hardware to mid-range business customers. Because of this, the DS1621+ needs to balance a fine line between providing fast and reliable hardware, whilst still maintaining a price point that won’t intimidate the average small-medium business user. In this regard, I think the Synology DS1621+ NAS gets it right, finding an impressive halfway point between these two factors. However, it is important for buyers to understand what they are buying and where the budget for the Synology DS1621+ is being aimed. Although it seemingly lacks some of the multimedia and prosumer features of ‘cheaper’ NAS devices in the Synology portfolio, it doubles down on more business and enterprise-level features in efforts to support that core audience. It’s about getting the right tool for the job and in that area, Synology almost completely succeed. The lack of +gigabit connectivity afforded to a NAS unit at this price point, compared with their competitors, may put some users off, but on the whole, you are getting good performance and excellent value on this combined hardware and software solution with some excellent scalability.


 

Best Plex Media Server NAS for All-Purpose Use – QNAP TS-h973AX

QNAP TS-h973AX, AMD Ryzen V1500B, 8-64GB DDR4, 1x10GbE, 2x 2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, 5x SATA+2xSATA SSD+2x U.2 NVMe, EXT4/ZFS, 3yr Warranty = $990+
What We Said in Our TS-h973AX Review on 11/2020 – I have seen a lot of network-attached storage over the years and the TS-h973AX brings a lot of colour to what was fast becoming a somewhat grey landscape. In short, QNAP has gone and done it again by proving they are the hardware innovators of this industry and have managed to provide a genuinely unique solution here. When they first revealed their new Hero ZFS operating system last year, you could not help but get the impression that only top-end enterprise businesses with £10K starting budgets were ever going to benefit. The TS-h973AX desktop NAS is solid evidence that QNAP will share the wealth and that this is the start of a whole new series of affordable ZFS solution from the brand. That isn’t to say that this system is perfect and pernickety points about a lack of HDMI or LCD may put off some users, and the compact 9 bay chassis that will attract some will no doubt deter others. Ultimately though QNAP has succeeded in creating what they sought out here and what we find is one of the best examples of hardware and software meeting in the middle, while still arriving with a price tag in 3 figures. In the current absence of a straightforward QuTS license purchase option for existing QNAP NAS systems right now, this is a solution that serves as a good alternative to a number of 4 and 6 Bay solutions in their portfolio. Though, make sure you upgrade that memory on day one!


It is worth highlighting that regardless of which NAS drive you buy, all three of these devices can do so much more than that, providing you with the following additional software and support options to you, your family and colleagues:
– Multi-tiered backup options for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux devices.
– Synchronisation and migration options for NAS to NAS, cloud to NAS, USB to NAS and Apple time machine.
– DLNA media support for enjoying all your media across all your devices
– Multiple user support that allows simultaneous file access and control over the network and internet.
– Privilege, time limit, password and remote share options for sending files to those that need them
– A wide range of third-party apps support from dedicated app centres via the NAS GUI
– Multiple mobile apps available from iOS and Android, that are free and tailored to different file requirements
– Dedicated surveillance software that allows you to connect access and control multiple pan tilt zoom IP cameras in your network environment and record footage, Taylor alerts and set recording rules
– all arrived with two to three years of manufacturer’s warranty worldwide.
So there you go, those are the best NAS drives for use as a Plex media server for you right now. Still unsure? Not quite ready to spend the money? Never fear, you can always contact me directly for free advice using the form below. This is a free service and only manned by myself and Eddie, so our reply might take an extra day or two, but my advice will be impartial and with your best interests at heart! If you want to support, you can always donate (on the right) or you can click an ad banner and that goes straight to supporting the site!

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.


Articles Get Updated Regularly - Get an alert every time something gets added to this page!


This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.   This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today’s video. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

How To Create A Windows 11 VM on Your Synology NAS

12 juillet 2021 à 01:10

How to Setup a Windows 11 VM on Your Synology NAS

As Many of you may have heard, Microsoft has formally announced that Windows 11 is coming and after several high-profile presentations and numerous published references online, you are now able to begin the formal process of testing this new operating system to see if it brings any impressive improvements to your existing Windows 10 machine. When it is fully released later this year, you will be able to purchase Windows 11 for your new PC build or upgrade from your existing copy of Windows and onto this new software revision. Many of us have horror stories of bench testing a new OS either in beta or alpha release form, as it can often result in our working processes and workflow to suddenly wobble and fall over. When it comes to testing an entire operating system, not just an individual application or service, it is highly recommended that instead of upgrading your existing system blind, that you choose to run this operating system as a virtual machine. Also more commonly referred to as a ‘VM’, it is a virtual equivalent of a regular PC. Although you still need a physical bare-metal computer to host this VM and software for it to live within, known as a hypervisor, a virtual machine is an incredibly small alternative to a standard computer with all of its hardware specifications merely being a fractional and digital version of the physical computer that it lives within. A virtual machine can exist as a duplicated virtual version of your physical computer or as an entirely new computer that allows you to bench test Windows updates and whole system versions like Windows 11 without putting your existing setup at risk.

Why use a Synology NAS to host a Windows 11 VM?

In the last few years, we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of people that are using a Synology NAS to host one or more virtual machines. Not only because a NAS can be remotely accessed locally via the network or anywhere in the world via the internet, but it features a dedicated virtual machine hypervisor software that allows the system to efficiently host multiple VM and allow users to simply connect via a single portal tunnel and deploy the VM for use. Additionally, NAS VM software such as Synology Virtual Machine Manager allows you to take snapshots to revert a VM to a previous version, configure hardware assets and resources on the system up/down to improve your VM/bare-metal server as needed and also allows you to duplicate virtual machines very quickly and turn one successful VM deployment into many. Therefore if you have a Synology NAS with available resources to spare, it makes a lot of sense to test out windows 11 on your NAS with its free and inclusive software.

What You Will Need to Run Windows 11 on Your Synology NAS as a VM

In order to deploy a Windows 11 virtual machine on your Synology NAS, you are going to need a few things. These include:

  • I Synology NAS, obviously. But a Synology NAS with at least a 4 core Intel or AMD 64-bit x86 processor and at least 4GB of memory
  • A Windows VM beta image. There are numerous methods online to get the windows 10 ISO image file that I will discuss in this guide, that there is also the option to get a Windows 11 licence code directly from their website as long as you have an existing and authenticated copy of Windows 10 available.
  • It is recommended that you have at least 50GB of storage available for the test and likely more if you want to give Windows 11 an extensive preview experience.
  • Ideally, a desktop or laptop computer in order to conduct the steps in setting up the VM as it is a little bit more tricky (the UI) to perform with just a mobile device like a phone or tablet.

That is about it, everything you need to deploy a Windows 11 VM on your Synology NAS will likely already be in your possession if you are reading this guide. I recommend at minimum that you should have a mass such as DS920+ or DS1621+ in order to install this VM and still have sufficient system resources to run the NAS simultaneously.

Setting Up the VM software on Your Synology NAS Drive

The first thing we need to do is set up the virtual machine manager software on your Synology NAS. If you already have Synology VMM (Synology Virtual Machine Manager) on your NAS, you can skip this step and head to the next one. Otherwise, head into the DSM GUI on the NAS and onto the app centre.

From here, scroll down and find or use the search box, for the Synology virtual machine manager tool. It should allow you to click within a single button and it may ask you to install further applications such as the replication tool and system tools, go ahead and allow these as these will help you run the virtual machine fluidly.

After the application is installed you need to open it from the available list of apps and before you can proceed with the tool you will be asked to quickly check that you have sufficient resources available on your NAS in CPU and memory, as well as the system asking if it can create a new virtual network switch configuration. Click ok and allow it to do this as it ensures that the windows 11 VM can access by the network and the internet after it is deployed. If successful, you will be greeted with the Synology virtual machine manager user interface with a list of options on the left-hand side of the screen and a few hints and tips displayed in the middle of the screen. Next, you will need to get a copy of Windows 11 beta which can arrive in numerous forms.

Setting Up the Windows 11 ISO Image

As mentioned earlier, Windows 11 is currently available from numerous sources across the internet (for example) and alongside the ability to download the digital image of the software, more commonly produced as an ISO (which can be mounted vertically or burnt to a physical DVD if you want to install Windows 11 on a physical computer instead). Alongside this, you can use your existing copy of Windows 10 to connect with the Windows beta program (shown above, by searching for ‘Windows Insider Programme‘ in the settings menu) and it will provide you with a Windows 11 licence and means with which to test Windows 11 on your existing system. There are numerous other methods online and a quick Google search will provide you with numerous download sites where you can get hold of Windows 11 beta. For this guide, I have downloaded Windows 11 beta as an ISO at 4.54GB. it downloads as a single file and this is the file that you will need to transfer over to the NAS.

Once you have downloaded your Windows 11 ISO, simply access your NAS file manager as you normally would and then drag and drop the windows 11 ISO file into a NAS directory that you have access to. Depending on your upload speed this can take from seconds to minutes, As soon as that is done, make your way back into the Synology virtual machine manager tool and continue with the installation of Windows 11 on your soon to be created brand new virtual machine.

Creating Your Synology Virtual Machine for Windows 11

Once you have made your way back into the Synology virtual machine manager application. Select the side bar option called ‘Image‘. 

At the top, you will find an option that allows you to add a new image. Select option and when prompted, select the option Synology NAS.

The list of available options on screen will be the ones that you have on your NAS and you just need to browse through the folders to find the one where you uploaded the windows 11 virtual machine ISO earlier. Click this ISO and then go-ahead to the next step.

Now head up to the top of the menu at ‘virtual machine’ and click create.

Then select the option for Microsoft Windows as the Virtual Machine Type

Then select the storage volume on your Synology NAS that you want the Windows 11 Virtual Machine to live/run-in

Next, You need to assign how much storage in GB/TB that you want the windows 11 Virtual Machine to use

Next, you need to assign the Windows 11 Virtual machine to a network. Synology Virtual Machine Creates a new virtual network when the software is installed, so you can use this or create a new one if you choose.

At this point, the virtual machine creation window will appear. You will need to assign CPU cores and Memory amounts to this VM. It is recommended that you dedicate at least 2 cores of your x86 64bit CPU and 2GB of memory, however, Windows 11 will run much, MUCH better if you can assign more hardware to this VM. Just remember that in order for the NAS to run smoothly (and there for the Virtual Machine Manager Hypervisor software to run well), you should leave sufficient CPU/Memory to the NAS.

From here you will need to connect the Windows 11 ISO/image you added earlier (should appear in a drop-down) and it is recommended that you use the Synology Windows Guest Driver ISO into the 2nd mounted drive too (as shown). You can also assign USB ports to the VM to allow you to connect devices physically to the NAS and then they will be accessible/visible to the Windows 11 VM.

Next you will need to let the Synology NAS know which users can access the Windows 11 VM. A list of the current NAS users/groups will appear and you can put a tick next to the users whose login credentials will allow access to this VM.

Then you need to confirm that the settings are correct, then you can confirm and the Synology Virtual Machine Manager will create the VM with the Windows 11 ISO/Image mounted for the first time setup.

When the Synology Virtual Machine manager displays the VM as available/powered off, you can power it on from the options at the top and connect to it in the web browser

When you connect to the VM at start up, much like a physical PC, the system will read from the mounted ISO/Image (as a normal PC would boot from the DVD drive to check from media) and you will boot straight into the Windows 11 installation screen.

If you are using the Windows 11 ISO/Image and do not have a product key, but still want to test out the Windows 11 system, you can click the option at the bottom to install without a licence.

Then just select the version of windows you want to install:

Then the area of storage you created in the VM setup on the Synology NAS will appear and you can select it to install the Windows 11 operating system on to.

From there installation will begin and it will be a relatively fast process, depending on the power of the VM resources you gave it and the speed of the storage media in your Synology NAS

After this, the VM will reboot and then go straight into the Windows 11 Setup tutorial

If you do not want to supply your Microsoft associated account details to this VM and Windows 11, you can do it without entering them by clicking the option to sign in another way

Then clicking the offline option:

Then just entering local/offline security information. However, do remember that this will limit some features of Windows 11 that require a Microsoft account.

Then you can proceed with the setup and the system will apply the settings you created:

The Windows 11 desktop will then be displayed and you can go ahead and have fun with your new VM

By default, Windows 11 will display via the web browser in a lower resolution (in case it cannot be displayed to users with older tech. But you can change this quickly by right-clicking and selecting display options

Then you can increase the resolution, which will make the screen bigger in your browser VM access too:

Additionally, if you want to access the VM OUTSIDE of the browser, the best way to do it is with the Remote Connection tool on a local PC:

And remember to keep an eye on memory and CPU use on your Synology NAS whilst the Windows 11 Virtual Machine is running

And there you have it. You now have a windows 11 VM on your Synology NAS hypervisor software:

 

If you have already installed Windows on a brand new computer before, then all of the steps necessary to install Windows are very familiar to you. Even then, you may need a refresher, so use the video below for my guide on how to set up Windows 101on a NAS after the virtual machine and ISO have been created. Although this guide is for Windows 11 on a Synology NAS, the steps for setting up a VM are are remarkably similar to other brands.

And there you have it, you can now test out Windows 11 as a virtual machine on your NAS without fear of it leading to problems on your existing Windows 10 PC. It is worth remembering that this is still a beta of Microsoft’s brand new operating system and therefore you can expect there to be a few hiccups along the way. Additionally, bear in mind that the performance of the VM will also be hinged in a big way on the hardware resources of your NAS and depending on the amount of resources you assigned to the VM ,and therefore the amount of resources you left to your NAS to run in the background will dictate how well Windows 11 will run. So do bear that in mind

 


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.   This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today’s video. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

QNAP NAS QTS 5.0 Beta Now Available

4 juillet 2021 à 23:00

Beta Now Available for QNAP QTS 5.0 Released

Most people who own a NAS drive, for business or for pleasure, will realise very early on that the software that these systems arrive with is more than just simple file/folder storage access. In particular, the QNAP QTS system software and services is one that has evolved a great deal over the years and has now found a good balance between providing a user-friendly experience and providing a good degree of system/storage information when needed. Add to this that QNAP has generally been the first to market when it comes to innovation in the NAS industry (sometimes a little sooner than some might like!) and this has led to them introducing a number of key applications in the past before their competitors in NAS (HybridMount, vJBOD, Container Station, Linux Station and Multimedia Console to name a few) in their previous versions of QTS. At the same time that Synology now launching their new DSM 7 platform (after nearly 3 years in development), QNAP is now going to let users have a test and provide feedback on QTS 5.0. The Beta of QTS 5.0 is now available to download from QNAP HERE and along with numerous background improvements, there are several new applications, new services (that include AI-assisted analysis improvements with the google TPU upgrades) and improved SSD cache handling, security tightening measures. The Beta Test period ends at 23:59 (UTC+8) on July 31, 2021.

What QNAP have said about the QTS 5.0 Beta – QNAP released the QTS 5.0 Beta, the latest version of the NAS operating system. QTS 5.0 has upgraded with Linux Kernel 5.10, improved security, WireGuard VPN support, and enhanced NVMe SSD cache performance. The DA Drive Analyzer, powered by a cloud AI engine, helps predict the expected life of drives. The new QuFTP app helps fulfil personal and business file transfer needs. QNAP now welcomes users to join the Beta Program and provide their feedback so QNAP can further improve QTS and provide a more comprehensive and secure user experience. QTS 5.0 builds upon its solid foundations with an updated system kernel and optimized user interface – followed by enhanced security measures to protect your digital assets, improved system performance to streamline your applications, and integrated AI machine learning to strengthen image recognition and drive failure prediction. Providing cutting-edge features to meet the challenge of rapid technological changes, QTS 5.0 brings you data security, power, and intelligence.

Increase your security level

QTS 5.0 supports TLS 1.3 to improve security and performance, with automatic updates of QTS and apps to ensure your NAS operates under optimal conditions. You can also use SSH keys for authentication to secure access to your NAS, preventing password breaches or similar potential attacks. Previous revisions, TLS 1.2, initializes the connection with a dialogue to agree on a certain encryption type. Once the client and server agree, they begin sharing encryption keys. The reason for TLS 1.3 being faster is because this communication never takes place. Instead, the initial connection is information from the client saying what it plans to access along with supported cypher, key agreements and other information. The server responds with the chosen cypher suite and also a key share. Since the server provides the key right away, the client cannot demand the use of older forms of encryption, hence making the connection more secure. Technically, the client sends all the necessary information to establish a secure connection in the initial ‘Hello message’. It even calculates multiple pre-shared keys based on offered cypher suites. Once the server receives the initial ‘Hello message’, it provides a key to the client based on the chosen cypher suite.

Predict drive failure and minimize downtime with the help of AI

Now you have an exciting solution that can protect you from drive failure and data loss. The DA Drive Analyzer – developed in partnership with QNAP and ULINK Technology – is an AI engine that predicts the expected life of drives, allowing you to take preemptive steps to prevent data loss from predicted drive failure.

Check both the life prediction score and drive health status with a user-friendly interface.

Check the status of all drives in your NAS and expansion units. (TR series expansion units are not supported)

Check each drive’s status on Drive Life Prediction Score. The lower the score, the lower the drive’s health.

Check which day DA Drive Analyzer alerts you on the Alert History tab.

Supports WireGuard VPN for secured internet connection

Your internet and public Wi-Fi connection may put your personal data and privacy at risk. VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides a safe and recommended way to protect your online activity while browsing the internet or remotely accessing your NAS. The new QVPN 2.0 (coming soon!) integrates the popular, lightweight, and reliable WireGuard VPN, providing you with an easy-to-use interface for setting up a secure connection – an especially great tool for home and remote working.

Boosted NVMe SSD cache performance

The new kernel improves PCIe performance, which enables QTS 5.0 to enhance NVMe SSD performance and utilization. When cache acceleration is activated, SSD storage can be utilized more efficiently while also offloading memory resources. It maintains high performance even when multiple concurrent users access the same shared folders, and transferring large-size files via SMB/NFS becomes faster.

QuFTP fulfills personal and business file transfer needs

QuFTP consolidates all FTP related activities into a single app with a user-friendly interface and permission settings for efficiently and securely transferring large amounts of data.

FTP Server

The encrypted SSL/TLS connection provides higher security and protects your FTP transfers. QoS bandwidth allows for setting FTP transfer limitations or speed limitations for users and groups. QuFTP’s rule engine allows more detailed configuration, including access hours, limiting access to only the FTP root folder, adding watermarks to images and videos, and more.

FTP Client

Before activating the FTP client, make sure that your firewall allows connections to the FTP server. You can also create remote mounts of shared folders to make them accessible on the NAS.

The FULL List of Changes in QTS 5.0 Compared to QTS 4.5

Along with the bigger changes listed above, there are numerous other smaller changes in QNAP QTS 5.0 compared with QTS 4.5 for NAS that are worth noting. Some are improvements in compatibility within certain applications and are more noticeable changes in the default lineup of applications are services at launch. Here are the rest of the change notes from QNAP on this new NAS software:

  • QTS now supports Desktop Notice Board, which provides notifications for various events and announcements.
  • QTS now supports TLS 1.3 for HTTPS secure connection.
  • Users can now import custom root certificates to certify the SSL certificate of a server that the NAS needs to access.
  • Updated OpenSSL to 1.1.1.
  • Improved SSD cache design to enhance storage performance. Existing SSD cache will be automatically converted to the new design after QTS update to 5.0.0.
  • File Station now supports displaying thumbnail previews for PDF files.
  • Network & Virtual Switch now supports the DDNS service “DDNS Now”.
  • Added the option to enable or disable strong cipher suites.
  • Added an option to choose whether to redirect users to the NAS login screen when connecting to the NAS IP address without the system port. To enhance device security, this option is disabled by default.
  • To enhance device security, UPnP Discovery Service is now disabled by default.
  • Added support for Content Security Policy HTTP header.
  • QTS now enables the default “admin” account and resets its password when users press the Reset button on the NAS for three seconds. Nevertheless, to ensure device security, we recommend disabling the “admin” account and using a new administrator account after you finish resetting the system.
  • Users in the administrator group now have read/write access permissions for default shared folders, except the “homes” shared folder.
  • Users can now manually specify the time interval and the maximum number of failed login attempts in Control Panel to further enhance NAS security.
  • Qsync Central is not pre-installed in QTS. Users can install this application in the App Center
  • Improved the user interface of Advanced Search in QuLog Center.
  • Added support for displaying the total connection time of online users.
  • QuLog Center now displays computer names and accessed resources in System Access Log and Online Users.
  • To ensure device security, QTS now displays a message to remind users to disable the default “admin” account and to create another administrator account.
  • QTS now displays a message to remind users to enable 2-step verification to ensure account security.
  • QTS Smart Installation Guide now requires users to create a new administrator account. The default “admin” account is disabled after initialization.
  • QTS no longer pre-installs SSD Profiling Tool by default. Users can install this tool in the App Center.
  • To ensure system security, QTS now automatically disables applications that are not updated and that do not meet the minimum version requirements.
  • Removed support for USB printers.
  • Qboost is no longer a built-in application of QTS. Users can choose to install Qboost in App Center.
  • To ensure system security, QTS now automatically disables applications that are not updated and that do not meet the minimum version requirements.
  • Starting from QTS 5.0.0, QVR Pro Client is no longer supported. You can now install QVR Smart Client as the client software for your QVR Pro or QVR Elite surveillance servers.
  • Users need to manually remove and then re-create SSD cache after updating QTS to 5.0.0 beta.
  • QTS 5.0.0 beta temporarily does not support certain file systems on external storage devices. To work around this issue, users can use HBS3 to back up files to external storage devices. Note that this workaround may require more CPU resources and increase backup task duration. We will soon fix this issue in an upcoming release.
  • QTS 5.0.0 beta temporarily does not support the following applications, utilities, or services:

* vSphere Web Client Plug-in
* QNAP SMI-S Provider
* QNAP Snapshot Agent
* KoiMeeter
* Marvell 88SE1475 driver
* Intel QuickAssist Technology (QAT) Driver
* Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) Driver
* NVIDIA GPU Driver
* Advanced Network Driver
* Other miscellaneous third-party applications

Which QNAP NAS Drives Support the QTS 5 Beta?

The full range of QNAP NAS systems that support the QTS 5.0 Beta is largely limited to systems that have been released in the 2019-2021 release period, however, they are not limited to the high-end releases, with several ARM-based and Entry-level NAS systems being included. Also, remember that this is a whole system software upgrade and it’s not entirely clear how easy/possible it is to downgrade your system to QTS 4.5 afterwards. I am in the process of deploying this QTS 5.0 beta over on YouTube and comparing it with QTS 4.5 to show you guys how they have changed things up. Stay tuned for that, otherwise, if you want to go ahead and test the QTS 5.0 beta on your QNAP NAS today, you can use the link HERE and check below to make sure you are on the compatibility list.

QTS 5.0.0 Beta Supported NAS
TS-328, TS-428, TS-230, D2 Rev-B
TS-231+, TS-431+, TS-131P, TS-231P, TS-431P, TS-131K, TS-231K, TS431K, D2, D4, D4 Rev-B
TS-251B
TS-251D, TS-451D, TS-451D2
TS-253D, TS-453D, TS-653D, TS-453Dmini, HS-453DX, TBS-453DX,
TS-453Bmini, TS-253B, TS-453B, TS-653B, TS-453BT3, TS-253Be, TS453Be
TVS-472XT, TVS-672XT, TVS-872XT
TVS-872X, TVS-672X
TVS-672N, TVS-872N
TS-473, TS-673, TS-873
TS-473A, TS-673A, TS-873A, TS-h973AX
TS-h2490FU

 


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

SEARCH IN THE BOX BELOW FOR NAS DEALS

Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.   This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today’s video. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Best NAS and Drives For £500 in 2021

2 juillet 2021 à 02:00

The Best NAS and Hard Drives for the Home on a Budget of £500

If you are looking at buying a NAS drive (whether it is to move away from the likes of Google Drive or Dropbox, or to just have all of your data in a single controllable location), then it can be a rather intimidating task. For many users, the very, VERY first hurdle they encounter is the price tag! NAS systems, although not massively expensive, do always seem a little more expensive than you think – especially given the modest internal hardware used inside sometimes when compared again DIY PCs. Add to this the fact that these devices ALSO need to be populated with storage media and you can be looking at a price tag that can easily spiral out of control. Add to this that a lot of users simply do not want/need all the enterprise features and just want a system that can be used as a backup for all of their desktop and mobile devices, is as secure as possible, can support a good level of 4K/1080p media over DLNA/Remotely (e.g Plex), feature a little bit of camera connectivity for security, Provide a intuative and user-friendly photo album access and all the while having a system that runs smoothly and quietly in the background! Although most NAS systems support all these features to a small/large degree, you will all too often find that the price point and scale of these NAS systems are wildly different! So, today I wanted to highlight the BEST three NAS drives in 2021 that not only provide ALL of the features mentioned (and can run them all at once with ease), but also allow you to purchase the NAS and Hard drives for less than £500. Each solution has its own particular advantages and although each one might better suit a different kind of user, all three are by far the best that each brand can provide (including Seagate Ironwolf NAS hard drives) for this modest price point.

IMPORTANT – Most home users who look at buying a NAS and Hard Drive media at this price point are usually quite focused on Plex Media Server support, as although they will use the myriad of other features and software that these devices arrive with, the lion share of its use will be for a Plex Media Server NAS for their friends and family to connect and enjoy movies, boxsets, albums and their photos. So I have focused a little more on these system’s multimedia abilities than most other services.

If you just want to skip to the end, all three NAS are below, otherwise, scroll through my top 3 NAS for the buyers on a budget! I would recommend you purchase one of the following Three NAS drives:

— Short Version —

Synology DS220+, NAS – Designed to be network/internet-only access, VERY user-friendly, most expensive of the 3, good for Mac users and excellent first Party Software

QNAP TS-251D NAS – Designed to be Network/Internet/HDMI, pretty user-friendly, PCIe upgrade option for a later date, Good for Windows/Android users

Asustor Nimbustor 2 NAS – Quite user-friendly, Best CPU, Best Memory, Network/Internet/HDMI 4K, 2.5Gbe connection (the rest have 1Gbe), Good for Android/Windows users

NASCompares Top 3 Budget NAS for £500 (including Drives and Tax)

Synology DS220+ NAS

+ Seagate Ironwolf NAS Hard Drive (2x 2TB)

= £472 TOTAL

QNAP TS-251D NAS

+ Seagate Ironwolf NAS Hard Drive (2x 4TB)

= £495 TOTAL

Nimbustor 2 NAS

+ Seagate Ironwolf NAS Hard Drive (2x 2TB)

= £465 TOTAL

 

— Long Version —

All three have their own dedicated browser software access, dedicated mobile applications, backup applications and surveillance software. Below is alot more information about each device.

Best £500 Synology NAS for Beginners – DS220+ and Seagate 4TB Seagate Ironwolf

Synology DS220+, Intel J4025 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU, 2/6GB DDR4 2666Mhz Memory, BTRFS, SHR, 2yr Warranty, Seagate Ironwolf NAS Hard Drive (2x 2TB) = £472 TOTAL
The DS220+ NAS is one that budget buyers have been using as a Plex media server for a lot of 2020/2021. Although the device might look a little modest compared with the more powerful DS920+ or even DS720+, even at this price point it features multiple ports and connections. It is the surprisingly powerful and efficient Synology software that the DS220+ arrives with that means that you are getting a number of key plex options covered by this NAS drive. Arriving with the popular Intel Celeron J4025, the DS220+ from Synology is one of the most popular NAS drives that they have released in a very long time. If you want to stay within the £500 budget, including hard drives and tax, you will be able to find this device for just over £300 tops and that gives you another £200 that you should be able to get a couple of 2TB or 3TB Seagate Ironwolf hard drives for your NAS.
What makes the DS220+ such an impressive device is that it gives you everything you need in a modern device for plex, at a remarkably affordable price. Featuring a transcoding engine (embedded graphics) on that CPU, that Plex pass users will be able to utilise, the performance of media on the DS220+ is pretty impressive for such an affordable NAS drive. Add to that the fact that it is a two-bay device with support of BTRFS as its file system for stability, SHR for a more fluid RAID system that allows you to mix and match drives to increase storage later down the line and an overall sense of stability and user-friendliness in this device. Sure, there are more powerful Synology NAS drives out there for use as a larger scale backup or powerful Plex media server, but at this price level, it is not only the most affordable fully-featured NAS you can buy, but also one of the best examples of what Synology is all about – all for under £500 that includes storage and tax.

 

 

NAS Review Where to Buy YouTube Review

 

Best £500 QNAP NAS for Ultimate Access – TS-251D and Seagate 8TB Seagate Ironwolf

QNAP TS-251D, Intel J4055 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU, 2/8GB DDR4 2400hz Memory, HDMI 2.0 4K, PCIe Slot 2×2, 2yr Warranty, Seagate Ironwolf NAS Hard Drive (2x 4TB)= £495 TOTAL

As soon as you mention any kind of NAS drive for home or business and Synology, you will of course then mention QNAP. These two brands have been producing great NAS drives for use as local/remote backup servers for years now and the most cost-effective QNAP drive that allows you to get both the device and a good amount of storage space for under £500 is the TS-251D device. The QNAP TS-251D has exactly the same internal CPU+RAM hardware as the previously mentioned DS220+ NAS, with the added benefits that it is a pinch lower in price and features several hardware advantages that, even a budget Plex NAS user, may factor into their media server now or later that are damn near irresistible.  Featuring such advantages as an HDMI 2.0 4K 60FPS port to connect your TV directly to your NAS (for media, surveillance, VM use and more) and enjoy media at almost 0-second latency speeds (which is especially useful for 4K playback), the QNAP TS-251D NAS even features a PCIe upgrade slot that will allow you to increase your network speeds at a later date. These kinds of hardware options, as well as the transcoding support at 1080p and 4K at less than £500 including tax and storage, is genuinely impressive. At this price point, you are able to get this and maybe a couple of 2 or 3 Terabyte Seagate Ironwolf NAS hard drives, still leaving you with around £10-20 leftover!
As mentioned, the internal hardware is identical in traditional spec to that of the DS220+, with the same Intel Celeron J4025 CPU and 2GB of DDR4 memory, though in the TS-251D you can expand all the way up to 8GB of memory (the Synology oddly limiting you to 6GB at 2+4GB), further highlighting the upgradability of this NAS and allowing you to buy a budget NAS drive today that can become a much more powerful and useful NAS later. On a software level, QNAP has the QTS platform that is much more catering to Windows and Android users in its design. Whereas Synology try to keep things to Network/internet-only access, the QNAP gives you far more customization in and out of their core system, and the TS-251D gives a much greater balance of access for local, access and internet/network connectivity.
NAS Review Where to Buy YouTube Review

 

Best £500 Asustor NAS for Performance – Nimbustor 2 and Seagate 6TB Seagate Ironwolf

Asustor AS5202T, Intel J4005 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU, 2/8GB DD4 2400Mhz Memory, HDMI 2.0a, BTRFS. 2.5G, 3yr Warranty, Seagate Ironwolf NAS Hard Drive (2x 3TB)= £465 TOTAL
One NAS brand that has REALLY accelerated it’s customer awareness this year is Asustor. The release of the Nimbustor series really shook up the NAS world with its incredibly affordable price point, despite featuring some of the very best hardware available on this list. At our £500 price point for a Plex NAS, you can buy the Nimbustor 2 and 4TB of storage (including TAX) with £30-40 leftover, which really does make this tough to beat. from a hardware point. Arriving with an Intel Celeron dual-core processor, the J4005 at 1.5-2.7Ghz per core and 2GB of DDR4 memory, in PLEX that translates to some fantastic performance, supporting 1080p and 4K playback, along with a good chunk of 1080p transcoding and lower-end 4K.
What makes the Nimbustor 2 so much better than the TS-251D or DS220+ for Plex power buyers is that despite me including it in my budget Plex NAS list, it actually provides a great many features that even £1000+ NAS drives do not. That powerful Gemini lake dual-core processor promises that you will get great plex performance (though less than a modern Pentium Gold or higher i3/i5/i7). Alongside this, all of the file system or hardware features from the TS-251D and DS220+ are here in one form or greater. Such as BTRFS support and that HDMI 2.0 output, that lets you playback 4K Plex media locally to your connected TV at 60FPS. However, it is in terms of future connectivity that the Nimbustor 2 really succeeds. Although it is the most affordable NAS on the list today, this device arrives with two 2.5Gbe ports. These ports are completely backwards compatible with regular 1Gbe RJ45 connectivity (found in all homes and offices), but allow your Plex media server NAS to take advantage of greater network speeds in your network environment as your surrounding network and internet equipment evolved over the years. With file sizes getting bigger and bigger, yet our demand for data getting faster and faster, options like 2.5Gbe in the Nimbustor 2 and PCIe upgraded NICs (network interface cards) on the TS-251D are definitely worth consideration. The Nimbustor 2 NAS, despite its low price point, even arrives with a fully-featured and gamer inspired graphical user interface and operating system, ADM. So notwithstanding some great performance as a Plex media server, it also arrives with a myriad of backup and file streaming options available to you.
NAS Review Where to Buy YouTube Review
I go into alot more detail if you watch the video below, In short, I focus on this primarily because of their affordability (including hard drives and tac), as a Plex Media Server, but also because they will do EVERYTHING else on your too list. They may seem a pinch higher $ than you might have wanted to spend, but in terms of future-proofing, smooth access and ease of use, these are pretty much as good as it gets right now at this price point.

If you interested in how each NAS system and its software perform/present themselves, take a look below at my video review of the Synology DSM 7, QNAP QTS and Asustor ADM NAS GUI and system software:

Synology DSM Software

QNAP QTS Software

ASUSTOR ADM Software

Synology DSM vs QNAP QTS

I hope this helps you with choosing the right NAS for your home and family. Thanks for reading!

 


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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.   This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today’s video. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Top 3 NAS for Plex under £500 in 2021

25 juin 2021 à 01:10

Recommended 3 NAS Drives for Plex Media Server Under £500

The growth in popularity that Plex media server has enjoyed these last few years is genuinely outstanding. Multimedia has gone through several phases as the common household media technology in our homes has evolved, from local media boxes, to popular subscription-based streaming services and now onto the re-emergence of owning your own media server. Privately owned media servers are not exactly new, but the way that this multimedia that you own on a NAS or spare computer system is presented to the end-user is where the real difference lies. Plex media server allows you to turn your decades of multimedia from a rather unappealing array of files and folders and turning into a beautifully presented graphical user interface, that scrapes metadata from numerous online resources for free in order to present you with your very own personal Netflix. With streaming services often costing users £100 a year (not including multi-device licences), lacking the choice of playing content in your own multimedia collection and little or no control over the shows you have available month to month, you can see why a lot of users are taking that money that they would spend on a subscription service and plough it into a NAS drive for Plex media server. That said, a privately owned NAS is going to cost you a few hundred $/£/€ at day one and you want to make sure that you are spending wisely. So today I am going to talk about the top 3 NAS drives for Plex media server that you can buy for less than 500. Each one is guaranteed to playback and transcode 1080p standard media and even some mid to high 4K media too. So what are we waiting for, let’s take a look at my recommended NAS in 2021 for Plex.

Note – it is worth bearing in mind that a NAS drive will still require you to purchase hard drives and although all NAS drive servers for Plex can run with as little as a single hard drive (and then add more later) this still means that you have to factor this into your budget.

 

QUICK CONCLUSION

NASCompares Top 3 Plex NAS for £500

Synology DS220+

Intel J4025 2.0-2.9Ghz CPU
2/6GB Memory

QNAP TS-453D

Intel J4125 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU

4/8GB Memory

 = £500+

Synology DS920+

Intel J4125 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU

4/8GB Memory

= £475

What should I be looking for in a Plex NAS?

Any NAS that is going to be used as a Plex media server needs to have certain hardware and software options as standard, to skip even one of these will severely bottleneck your performance from Day 1. Although most of these are available in more affordable NAS drives, the extent to which they are supported will make all the difference between a good Plex media server and a great Plex media server on a tight budget. (as well as still having money for hard drives). These factors are:
  • An Intel or AMD based CPU that is 64-bit x86 in architecture
  • Support of at least 1080p and 4K regular playback, as well as the support of 1080p transcoding to Plex client devices
  • Embedded graphics or transcoding support (hence that CPU range)
  • At least two Bays of storage (for greater storage and redundancy, AKA – Disk Failure Protection)
  • A frequently updated and stable graphical user interface (such as Synology DSM or QNAP QTS)
  • Support and compatibility for the plex media server application (not all NAS support it, weaker ARM CPU and Unbranded NAS might not)

Rest assured that all three of the NAS drives for Plex that I have recommended below will provide excellent support for these features. It’s no huge secret that any old budget PC, unused Mac  mini or old laptop can run as a Plex media server, but the reason people are purchasing NAS drives from companies like Synology and QNAP for use in Plex is because these devices, even in a budget form, provide the following advantages:
  • Quiet and stable storage
  • RAID functionality for hard drive failure or combined storage
  • 24/7 reliability and efficiency
  • Software and Graphical user interface (GUI) that is easily accessible from a desktop or mobile device
  • Network and Internet access for hundreds of simultaneous users
ALL of these factors are what will ensure your Plex Media Server NAS, (even on a tight budget) will be fantastically capable and stable. So, let’s get on to my top 3 devices for PLEX servers.

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Budget Buyers – Synology DS220+ NAS

Synology DS220+, Intel J4025 2.0-2.9Ghz CPU, 2/6GB Memory, BTRFS, SHR, 2yr Warranty, 2x 1GbE = $330

What we said in our DS220+ Review 06/2020 – The Synology DS220+ affordable NAS does not make overly bold promises, leaving those to more expensive and more powerful devices in the product portfolio (DS920+, DS1621xs, etc). Whether you are a new or old NAS user, Synology has made a clear distinction in the DS220+, showing the difference between buying what you want and buying what you need. That may sound like pointless and annoying rhetoric, but comparing the DS220+ with other diskstation plus series NAS shows you that by removing a lot of the bells and whistles of the bigger and boulder devices (i.e NVMe SSD caching, expandability of storage down the line, longer warranties and higher-end processors) it provides you with a setup that will serve a smaller and less intense user exceptionally well, at a price point that makes the first investment in a Synology NAS considerably easier to make. Ultimately, why buy a Ferrari if you just need something to do the weekly grocery shopping? The Synology DS220+, much like its predecessors in this product line, is still a great and solid NAS purchase in 2020/2021 and something that Synology can continue to be proud of, just don’t expect that Ferrari and you’ll be fine.


 

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Upgrades and Scalability – QNAP TS-453D NAS

QNAP TS-453D, Intel J4125 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU, 4/8GB Memory, EXT4, HDMI, PCIe Upgrades, 2.5GbE, 3yr Warranty = £500+
What we Said in our TS-453D Review on 06/2020 – To put it bluntly – the QNAP TS-453D is a heck of a piece of kit! The hardware available at this price point, along with the software that is bundled with your purchase is possible some of the best ‘price vs return’ I have yet to see in a NAS drive. This combined with a very open-door policy on upgrades and future-proofing, as well as maintaining a very good first/third-party software support ratio, make the QNAP TS-453D one of the best units the company has produced in the history of the brand and an excellent unit to begin a new decade. Is it perfect? No. With a few of the shiny slick branding touches of their biggest rival Synology, as well as a design that is not for everyone, the QNAP TS-453D is a NAS that gives you alot of tools, alot of ways to use them – then lets you choose to how and where you want to interact with it, rather than ask you to do it ‘it’s way’ for the most part. As is often the case, whereas the Synology platform and the closest rival to the TS-453D (the DS920+) will provide a very ‘Apple’ design, fluidity and ease of design to a % of the market, the QNAP TS-453D caters to many more users and although sometimes that versatility can lead to early confusion (a teeny pinch of tech knowledge will help) it is an enormous jump forward for this big brand in NAS storage.


 

Best Plex Media Server NAS for Beginners – Synology DS920+ NAS

Synology DS920+, Intel J4125 2.0-2.7Ghz CPU, 4/8GB Memory, BTRFS, SHR, 3yr Warranty, SSD Caching Option = £475
What we Said in our DS920+ Review on 05/2020 – The DS920+ NAS is something that Synology should be proud of. It is a great entry into their already impressive range of Diskstation NAS devices. If you are looking for a brand new NAS to consolidate your home media, to support your relative as the ‘IT whizz’ of the family, or move your business away from Google Drives and DropBox’ onto something safer, more scalable and dependable – then the DS920+ has alot to offer you. It gives you a great base to start using the DSM platform, as well as a good means to upgrade your storage internally at a later date (expansions in memory, expansions in storage, expansion in NVMe). If you are an existing DS918+ or DS916+ owner, this might not seem like the jump you were waiting for. There are always areas of improvement, the USB ports, the 1Gbe, that 1 memory slot – but these are things that Synology no doubt feel should be pushed into a higher price/hardware bracket – Allowing the DS920+ Price to be as close to its predecessors it can be. Whether you agree or disagree, I think that we can agree that this NAS is still giving you alot of bang for your buck in 2020/2021


It is worth highlighting that regardless of which NAS drive you buy, all three of these devices can do so much more than that, providing you with the following additional software and support options to you, your family and colleagues:
– Multi-tiered backup options for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux devices.
– Synchronisation and migration options for NAS to NAS, cloud to NAS, USB to NAS and Apple time machine.
– DLNA media support for enjoying all your media across all your devices
– Multiple user support that allows simultaneous file access and control over the network and internet.
– Privilege, time limit, password and remote share options for sending files to those that need them
– A wide range of third-party apps support from dedicated app centres via the NAS GUI
– Multiple mobile apps available from iOS and Android, that are free and tailored to different file requirements
– Dedicated surveillance software that allows you to connect access and control multiple pan tilt zoom IP cameras in your network environment and record footage, Taylor alerts and set recording rules
– all arrived with two to three years of manufacturer’s warranty worldwide.
So there you go, those are the best NAS drives for use as a Plex media server for you right now. Still unsure? Not quite ready to spend the money? Never fear, you can always contact me directly for free advice using the form below. This is a free service and only manned by myself and Eddie, so our reply might take an extra day or two, but my advice will be impartial and with your best interests at heart! If you want to support, you can always donate (on the right) or you can click an ad banner and that goes straight to supporting the site!

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.


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.   This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today’s video. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

6 Things You Can Do With Your NAS Other Than Backup Storage

23 juin 2021 à 16:00

Cool Things You Can Do With Your NAS other Than Backup Storage

The main motivation for most users who purchase a new network-attached (NAS) storage device is often a means to create an alternative to Cloud services, backup several devices safely and really just to make sure that there is a mean to keep their data safe and sound, but also within reach when needed. The majority of NAS brands perform this function well and if you are looking for a NAS just to do these functions, then you will always be successful, regardless of the unit you choose. However, there is actually a huge number of things that a NAS can do and with the evolution of modern NAS hardware from brands like Synology and QNAP, most users do not even realise the cool things they can do with their system to maximize their investment or simply to have a little fun. So today I want to go through some of the best things you can do with a NAS drive that are more than just using it as a simple backup storage system. Let’s go!

Important – All of the things below that I recommend for your NAS drive are available on the majority of NAS systems from Synology, QNAP, Asustor, WD My Cloud or Terramaster. However, the extent to which they can be done and the overall performance that you will achieve will be based on the power of the NAS drive that you own and the number of simultaneous processes that you run. So if you are already using more than 90% of the existing hardware to run a large-scale simultaneous backup operation, that will not leave a vast amount of resources to run anything else. So just bear in mind that the extent to which the below fun things you can do with your NAS also depend on the hardware resources at your disposal.

Use Your NAS to Build Your Own NetFlix

Probably the most well-known thing about NAS that is popular for home users is that you can use the system to watch media over DLNA in your home. However, a lot of users do not realise the extent to which you can enjoy movies and box sets on your NAS. It’s one thing to have a big pile of files that you can access in a breadcrumb file/folder level over the network. It is another thing entirely to create a complete slick and well-designed user interface, with all of your decades of TV shows and movies displayed in a form similar to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, this is exactly what you can do if you take advantage of PLEX media server or Synology Video Station. These applications allow you to index (ie scan and catalogue) your existing collections of media, then they search online databases for box art, reviews, cast lists, trailers and more, which then allows you to automatically present this information on your smart TV, tablet, console or phone in beautifully designed and intuitive software menus. Indeed, Plex Media Server and Synology Video Station are available on the majority of everyday internet-connected media devices and both of these applications are free or included in the cost of your NAS. Find out more about Plex media server on your NAS using the media you own, as well as connecting online multimedia services, in the video below.

It is also worth highlighting that your own personal Netflix on your NAS experience is not limited to just been connected to by you, as you can allow family and friends to access your NAS with this sleek and intuitive user interface anywhere on the network or remotely via the internet too.

Use Your NAS to Build Your Own Google Drive Shared Cloud

Most users think of a NAS as a giant hard drive that they connect to their devices remotely in order to back up their data. In most cases, a home user who purchased the NAS did so to move away from Cloud services like Dropbox and Google. However, some users are still blissfully unaware that you can use a NAS to host your very own version of Dropbox or Google drive for hundreds or thousands of users if you choose. Taking advantage of the file and space management services of a NAS in conjunction with online browser-based access and you can present areas of storage on your NAS to users with their very own login information, area of space that can be changed on the fly, controlled file types/sizes and the whole thing presented as an easy web browser-based cloud platform. Although this is available on the majority of NAS brands using their own software and client, Synology Drive provides this in the best way and is by far the most similar in design, ability and execution to DropBox and Google Drive. Find out more about Synology drive below:

The number of simultaneous or concurrent user that you can provide individual private cloud space to is only really limited by the NAS and the total available capacity, but even very very modest NAS systems at a few £100 can support hundreds of users at once. 

Use Your NAS to Setup a Enterprise-Grade Surveillance System at Home or Work

Most people who are even vaguely aware of modern NAS will hear the word surveillance thrown around quite a lot. They sort of know that they can have some cameras about the place that can send recordings to their NAS drive, but above and beyond that, they don’t really know much about it, don’t know how easy it is and ultimately decide not to really look into it. However in the most modern examples of network-attached storage, not only do the big brands all include surveillance software that is genuinely on par with the best and most premium grade NVR and CCTV software (Milestone and Axis Nvr), but also the cost of IP cameras that connect to your home or office network cost way, WAY less than you think. Even the compatible range of cameras that you can use that are supported arrive in the thousands of models and as long as the camera supports ONVIF, it will work. Many affordable Wi-Fi cameras and even solar-powered cameras that connect to your NAS over the network internet can be purchased for as little as £30 and once connected to the NAS surveillance software, with its remote access architecture and easy-to-use graphical user interface, you can set up a surveillance and protective security system in your home/business for very little money than you already spent on the NAS. Here is how Synology Surveillance station and QNAP’s QVR Pro software compare. Just remember that both of these programs are included with the cost of your NAS, which brings any expense on your NVR setup even lower:

The maximum number of cameras you can run at any one time, the total picture quality and the size of recordings generated will depend on the power and size of your NAS, but even affordable one day NAS solutions can be quite effective as a surveillance network video recorder.

Use Your NAS to Create a Virtual Machine for Work, Rest and Play

The use of virtual machines (VMs) used to be something that was only deployed and understood by big business. However, in 2021/2022, they are now being used to a highly productive and effective degree by even small home users as remote connecting systems. In essence, a virtual machine is a digital image of a physical computer. It needs to live within the confines of another computer, in this case a NAS, but its hardware specifications are represented as digital equivalents and this virtual version of a computer can be accessed remotely via the network or internet. Many users who purchased network-attached storage devices simply for backups will one day find out that they are using a mere fraction of the total available hardware inside their NAS. A great way to take advantage of this hardware available and put it to better use while your NAS is on 24×7 is to create a virtual machine within the NAS and then use it for business use, for personal centralised computer use or even or numerous fun tasks. These can include testing an operating system that you’ve never used before, running a legacy operating system like Windows 98 or XP in order to play old games or software, or even create light Linux VMs to deploy bespoke custom applications and retro games via emulation software like Retroarch and LaunchBox. Virtual machines are now painfully easy to deploy and all of the current modern NAS brands include their own first past the VM software. Take a look below at how Synology and QNAP compare in virtual machine support on their mass.

A particular stand out of this is QNAP with three separate virtual machine tools (Virtualization Station, Linux Station and Container Station) and within each of them, the ability to simply download numerous virtual machine images (from within the software GUI) for near-instant deployment in around 2 clicks of the mouse. Taking care of the entire setup and allowing you to just start having fun or doing business with your new virtual machine.

Use Your NAS to Farm and Plot Chia Coin Cryptocurrency

Although many people would agree that the latest change in the cryptocurrency market towards more environmentally friendly methods is a good thing, there are plenty who would argue that the Chia cryptocurrency wave that is massively affecting the storage market right now is pretty dreadful. The appeal of taking advantage of high-performance SSD and high durability hard drives in order to plot and farm potential Chia coin is constantly growing in popularity and for those users that want to jump on this potentially lucrative bandwagon, many are not even aware that they already have the hardware to do so. As long as you have a NAS that supports multiple hard drives in a RAID storage array and allow the installation of containers, then your NAS can be used in the Chia crypto processes. Executing it is by no means straightforward and although it is easier on some NAS browns than others, it still does require you to have a decent amount of available storage space and a fairly decent array of default resources in the NAS at your disposal. Nevertheless, once you overcome over the initial steeper learning curve, afterwards your NAS is largely self-governed and you don’t have to interfere with the system in the running of Chai based processes. Take a look below at how to set up your chia machine on a QNAP NAS (QNAP UK have a great video on this):

It is also worth highlighting that QNAP even has a third-party app that you can install on your system to marginally make this process even easier. It is available in the unofficial app center, but worth a look:

Use your NAS for Medical Science and Human Innovation

Sometimes users can tend to feel a little guilty that the NAS they use simply for storage and backups is left on for days, weeks or months at a time. There is of course the matter of when your electricity bill arrives, which is arguably quite a small some thanks to modern efficient design, but there is nevertheless the feeling of the environmental impact and the fact that you are leaving a system to run idle between the sporadic times that you need access to its resources. NAS drives are not alone in this (though there is arguably more wasteful resource computer hardware out there) but to combat this there are actually several more altruistic ways in which you can use your NAS to help others and maybe the betterment of society. Currently, there are several different installable apps or deployable containers that you can install and run on your NAS system that (although modest in their power consumption) will allow the idle time that your NAS is left on to be used for a better purpose. From research into deciphering genetic and DNA coding to algorithms breaking and medical research, there are numerous different charitable and positive organisations out there that are able to take advantage of the aggregated extra hardware of hundreds and thousands of different machines remotely in efforts to achieve their goals.

If the idea of donating the unused resources of your NAS for more human benefiting methods interests you, use the links below to find out more (Click Below):

 


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Plex Media Server vs Synology Video Station for NAS

4 juin 2021 à 15:00

Plex Vs Synology Video Station on a NAS in 2021/2022

One of the most popular reasons that users choose to buy a network-attached storage (NAS) device is for use as a media server. The appeal is pretty clear. With most users now owning decades of media (either in digital form or ripped from optical media at home), the ability to enjoy these box sets and Movies on the latest devices can be complicated. Despite this, streaming all of your multimedia from a NAS to all of your TVs, phones, tablets and other devices are growing increasingly popular and a lot of this is thanks to the increasing affordability of NAS from brands like Synology and QNAP and free software from companies like Plex and Emby. The most popular NAS for home media tends to be Synology, with its support of numerous media server applications and its own premium video service app too. This combined with the oversaturation of third-party online streaming services that ask you to pay a subscription (such as Netflix) with little control or right to ownership of the media you watch means that many users just want to enjoy their own unique media collections. So now that a lot of users are choosing to switch from the likes of Netflix and Prime Video towards an in-house media server, the next question is which piece of software they should choose. The most popular private media server app right now worldwide to counter the likes of Netflix is Plex Media Server, software available in host and client form that allows you to transform your media collection into a glossy, slick and informative UI that genuinely rivals big online streaming platforms. Synology on the other hand would likely prefer users to stick with their own fully-featured media server application, Synology Video Station, which they have invested well in and developed to an impressive standard that easily rivals that of Plex. So today I want to compare these two media server choices and help you decide which one is the ideal media server choice for you.

Important – ‘Free’ Vs Paid Media Server Services on a NAS

Before going any further, it is worth addressing the elephant in the room, namely that a number of key media server services that are included with Plex Media Server are locked behind a paid subscription service known as Plex Pass. Whereas Synology Video Station is an application that is included with your NAS on Day 1 at no additional cost. All that said, neither service can technically be called free, as both still require you to purchase a Synology NAS. Additionally, it is still worth highlighting that some more recent Innovations in Plex online services and utilisation of hardware transcoding (the ability to use the CPU’s embedded graphics or an available graphics card to adapt files on the fly to make them better suited to a client) is not available on the free tier of Plex, but ARE available by default in the Synology Video Station application. You can still utilise software transcoding on Plex for free and this will deal with a large degree of transcoding requirements, but the fact that you have to pay extra within the Plex app to utilise the hardware already available on your NAS is something a number of users find difficult to accept. Throughout this article, any feature that is only available as a paid Plex Pass feature will be highlighted as such.

Plex VS Synology Video Station – Installation and First Time Setup

Installation of either the Synology Video Station or Plex Media Server application is near enough identical. Both are readily available in the Synology app centre and can be installed within two clicks. Both media server applications do not require your multimedia files to be stored in a pre-designated/directory location and the sources for TV shows, Movies and more can be scanned and indexed by each media server application after they are installed. In fact, the initial installation on both is incredibly straightforward and there is really only one main difference between them. That difference is that whereas the Synology Media application uses your original NAS login credentials, Plex will require you to set up an account with them online in order to use the software, even if you only intend to use your Plex Media Server on the local network/DLNA. As Plex is a third-party application, this is a little understandable if a tiny bit annoying for some. 

It is also worth highlighting that both media server applications will receive regular updates during their lifespan and this is treated slightly differently too. As Synology Video Station is a first-party app, as soon as an update is available, you will be notified immediately in the app centre and even have the opportunity to apply these firmware updates automatically. Plex updates on the other hand will almost always need to be installed manually, as the available default Plex application on the Synology app centre is updated considerably less frequently and as soon as you setup Plex for the first time, it will ALWAYS inform you that there is a new update available straight away. The Plex Media Server application itself will tell you when an update is available regularly at the top right and in the settings menu, but requires you to download the latest Plex server update to a connected computer and then you need to upload this update directly to the Synology NAS app centre manually. It is only a small inconvenience really, but does mean that regular updates on your media server of choice are handled more easily and with likely more frequency on Synology Video Station rather than Plex.

Plex VS Synology Video Station – GUI, Media Support and Browsing

The user interface of Synology Video Station and Plex Media Server are quite similar when viewed on a client device, such as a console, TV and Amazon Fire TV stick. With all of your available Movies and Boxsets clearly shown and the metadata collected by each media server application creating a great user interface for your connected users. 

However the back end/server view of each media server application is considerably different and where the Synology Video Station application is designed exclusively around video media options and configuration (as Synology have a wide range of applications for different Media types and general NAS server maintenance already available), Plex, on the other hand, is a far better equipped tool for a complete server, with the bulk of server maintenance and customisation options built into the single Plex GUI. If you are something of an IT novice, the wide range of options that Plex Media Server throws at you for system maintenance can be a touch intimidating and because Plex is designed around many different kinds of media support (something we will touch on later) it’s configuration needs to be noticeably broader than the video-centric options in the Synology official video application. These additional options, if you take the time to go through them, will definitely lead to a better media server user experience and a far better multimedia streaming system overall, it’s just a question of how bespoke and how elaborate you want your media server to be.

As mentioned, there is a clear difference in the multimedia types supported in Plex Media Server or Synology Video Station. In terms of handling of video Media, they are near enough identical with some exceptions with regard to specialist audio handling for certain dense Media. However, much like the back-end server control mentioned earlier, Synology Video Station only handles video media and relies on alternative applications such as Synology moments, photo station, Synology photos, audio station and download station to play and obtain other kinds of multimedia. Plex Media Server is a much more diverse multimedia tool with support of your photo collections (AI-assisted too), album collections, podcast streaming and several online video streaming services included. In both cases, it makes a lot of sense why they are designed this way, but some users may prefer their media server to be more of a Swiss army knife and others may want their video streaming, music streaming and photo streaming to be different services for different devices and clients. Neither Plex or Synology Video Station really gain any advantage here but simply show how they are different in their architecture. If you want simplicity in the user interface, go with Synology Video Station. If you want simplicity in your media server as a whole, go with Plex Media Server.

Plex VS Synology Video Station – Meta Data Scraping

The scraping of metadata in a media server is precisely what separates a bog-standard selection of files and folders on your screen from a slick graphical user interface that is engaging, informative and a joy to use. When we talk about metadata, we are talking about thumbnails, box art, media descriptions, cast listings, review scores, trailers and more. When we say scraping, that is the process of the software accessing numerous online databases to retrieve and store this information locally to the NAS. The result is your years of TV and movie collection being transformed into something near identical to Netflix and Amazon Prime video in presentation. Metadata ultimately benefits connected users and their client hardware devices, with both Plex and Video Station being very similar in how they look to a client device, albeit with a few branded differences in colour and config.

However, on the server-side, both Synology Video Station and Plex have gone a different way with metadata scraping at a setup level. Of the two, Synology Video Station is definitely the less option-heavy and although this is thanks in many ways to a lot of key options being found in the general server GUI outside of the app, it is still pretty thin on the ground for configuration of your video media server. This is not an enormous surprise given how Synology have generally erred towards keeping things as user-friendly as possible and this is often done by simplifying configurations and sitting numerous settings to system default. The options for scraping metadata on the Synology are surprisingly thin on the ground and some more advanced options require you to sign up to some resource database websites to obtain a two-way key. Despite this, Synology still manages to scrape a tremendous amount of metadata without this key and resource linking. Indeed, although the number of supported databases for metadata listed on the Synology Video Station app is few and far between, it was still able to find the same level of metadata found on the Plex Media Server application and displayed all of the test media perfectly. 

Plex Media Server has access to significantly more online databases and although the system will generally ask you to select which one individually you wish to scrape for metadata in each library, it does do it with a high degree of accuracy. It also manages to scrape this metadata for more than just your Movies and applies this also to your music collection and podcast collection too within the app. Metadata scraping via Plex Media Server also does not require any kind of log-in to these individual databases and is largely automated off the bat, with users being able to switch designated databases for each Media type and folder on the fly. Of course, this all doesn’t guarantee accuracy and will still always be based on the format and layout of your Media in many cases (tv shows listed as S01E01 for season 1, episode 1, etc), but nevertheless, it has to be said that with more available resources and less configuration required for each of them, that Plex Media Server has the broader and more likely to succeed position on metadata scraping.

Plex VS Synology Video Station – Playback and Transcoding

This is one of the most important parts of any media server in the grand scheme of things – multimedia playback and transcoding. This is typically the action of changing a media file into a version that is more acceptable to the client device that you are enjoying it on (TV, Phone, Console, etc). This extends to but is not limited to, changing the resolution, changing the bitrate, changing the file format and ultimately compressing a file into a smaller version in most cases. Because Plex and Synology Video Station are available on the same NAS system, it means that media variations with regard to codecs, compressions and file types will be equally supported at the default level. If a file can be played back in its original version on Plex, it can be played back on Synology Video Station. However, it is when these files need to be adapted with transcoding that we see clear distinctions between each of them. Transcoding is something that remote accessing client users will likely use without even realising it, as they might well be on a limited data connection (speed or coverage at the time) or using a smaller device (such as a phone) to playback a monster 4K 60FPS movie that is overkill on that hardware. So, transcoding is at its best when you do not notice it is being done OR it is adaptable in as many ways as possible to cover all your likely scenarios.

When the NAS needs to perform a transcode on a file on the fly (eg, so you need to convert a video file into a better-suited version for the client watching device upon request and without delay) it will typically do it with software transcoding or hardware transcoding. Software transcoding is when the system uses the raw resources of the CPU and memory inside the NAS to convert the file. Hardware transcoding is when the NAS system features a graphical component (such as embedded graphics featured on a CPU) or an available graphics card that is installed – as these are designed for handling video files and/or graphical manipulation tasks, and will therefore utilise considerably fewer resources. Plex Media Server only provides hardware transcoding in the paid subscription service Plex Pass and then needs to be enabled in the encoding section by selecting the option ‘make my CPU hurt’. Software transcoding is available for the free version of Plex Media Server but is far less efficient and will result in much higher-end Media in 4K and 1080p playback consuming the majority of hardware resources to transcode or will simply not play at all. 

Synology Video Station on the other hand, because it is a native first-party app, has full access to the hardware transcoding element of the NAS and therefore allows users to take advantage of it easily and immediately, and at no additional cost. This has been one of the driving forces behind the popularity of Synology Video Station application, as although the majority of NAS brands have their own video player, Synology is the only one that manages to merge the slick meta-data supported graphical user interface found in Plex but still manages to provide the free and unlimited limited access to the hardware resources you would expect after spending several $100s on a NAS. That said, the way that Synology handles the subject of transcoding in its user interface is a little peculiar, especially for users who are trying to balance the best possible playback vs the most appropriate transcoding level on the fly/manually. 

When you wish for the NAS system to transcode a file in the Video Station user interface, you are presented with the options for adjusting the picture quality to high, medium, low, very low, etc. This is exactly what one might expect from a brand that wants to consistently keep things as simple as possible, however, for those who want to select a specific quality level to playback the file or want a better idea of the best quality level in future should be for other files, this will be extraordinarily limiting. Plex Media Server on the other hand allows you to switch between an automatic transcode option that changes the file to the recommended quality level for the client and connection, or you can specifically switch one of numerous video quality levels that break down into both resolution and bitrate in several places. Overall, the ability for Video Station to be able to take advantage of hardware transcoding at no additional cost and with little or no intervention from the end-user is still ultimately the best thing here. I just wish they gave uses a better degree of control and choice as found in Plex Media Server.

Plex VS Synology Video Station – Client Support

Having a slick and well-performing media server is always good, but if you cannot watch the media inside it on the devices you regularly use, then it’s all a bit pointless. Most people are already well aware that the multimedia collections they have on a NAS can easily be streamed over the local area network via popular methods such as DLNA and UPnP (digital living network alliance and universal plug and play). However, they are much more file and folder, breadcrumb level streaming and in order to enjoy the pretty GUI of Plex and Synology Video Station, an official client app needs to be available on the respective app centre or made unofficially and manually installed. This is an area where Plex Media Server almost completely wins over Synology Video Station, as it simply cannot compete with the variety and accessibility of the Plex client availability in popular app centres. 

Full credit to Plex, they have really taken the time to make sure their platform is available on pretty much any modern device, in what multiple client or media server application forms. They also take the time after an official update of services and then push these updates across each available downloadable client. This is largely impossible for Synology to compete with and they instead opt for a much more targeted client support regime, supporting all modern mobile phone OS’, desktop operating systems and some of the major sofa accessible app centres on TVs and streamers like Amazon fire TV. In  8 out of 10 cases, your device will support both Plex and Synology Video Station, but this is by no means total and sometimes a hardware client (such as an off-brand Android phone, tablet or media box) that you hope to support Video Station will sadly not. 

It is once again worth mentioning that Synology separates different multimedia types towards their own individual client apps, for example, DS Audio or Audio Station for music and DS Photo for photography. Indeed, some of these apps are quite advanced with practically unique connectivity to the likes of Amazon Alexa (something currently impossible on any other NAS platform without a 3rd party application like ‘my-media’ Alexa skill. But this, unfortunately, does not make up for being truly overshadowed by the wider degree of support available on Plex across numerous clients and smart Home devices – though the latter does require a Plex Pass. For sheer volume of connectivity on the clients, Plex wins by an absolute landslide.

Plex VS Synology Video Station – Conclusion

Throughout this comparison of Plex Media Server and Synology Video Station, it has become abundantly clear that one tool is designed around being a Swiss army knife of features and functions, whilst the other performs a smaller but key range of services exceptionally well. Those who have been using Plex Media Server for a number of years are highly unlikely to make the jump to Synology Video Station, as it may feel less feature-rich and perhaps a tad bare-bones. However, those users who are new to the idea of private NAS based multimedia streaming would do very well to try out Synology Video Station first, as I genuinely believe when it comes to concentrating on video streaming services, it is genuinely one of the best platforms out there – albeit clearly restricted to just Synology NAS devices. Plex Media Server attempts to do many things in its pursuit of being the go-to media server of choice for those jumping ship from Netflix and succeeds in most cases, it is just worth remembering that in recent years the platform has perhaps tried to diversify a tad too much. 

PLEX MEDIA SERVER

Synology Video Station

Best for Mixed Media

Best for Ease of Access on Client Hardware

Best for Transcoding Control

Best for Add On Services

Best for Metadata Sources

Best for Price

Best Performance for Transcoding

Best for Ease of Use

Best for Ease Setup

Best for Updates & Firmware Revs

Thanks for reading and I hope this guide helps you choose the perfect multimedia server for streaming with your friends, family and colleagues. If you are still lost on the right NAS, multimedia software or ideal backup system for your needs, then take advantage of the free advice section below. This is a completely free and unbias service to help work out their ideal data storage solution for you. It is manned by my myself and EddieTheWebGuy, so although replies may take an extra day or so, we will answer your email and have your best interests in mind! Have a great week.

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 

 

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

 

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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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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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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 

Plex vs Emby on your NAS Drive – Which Should You Choose For Your Media Server

14 mai 2021 à 01:03

Choosing Between Plex and Emby on a NAS in 2021/2022

Despite the fact that network-attached storage NAS has a vast number of services and utilities for home and business use, many users predominantly use their NAS for a media server. From streaming multimedia to numerous devices in the home, to sharing their entertainment collection with friends and family worldwide, the advantages in using a NAS as a centralised location for all of your movies, box sets, music and photos are pretty obvious. Many users choose to buy a NAS as a viable alternative to streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime video in order to watch the media they own, rather than pay monthly for media they can only rent without choice. In recent years, creating a private media server with your own collections of TV shows and more has become increasingly easy and even manages to provide the slick, detailed and appealing design of internet streaming giants. Two of the biggest media server applications for NAS drives in 2021 are Plex and Emby, two free media server applications set are available 4 pretty much all the client and playback devices in your home, your bag and your pocket worldwide. Both services not only package your own media in the most appealing way possible, but also the connections to online media databases and the scraping of metadata can allow you to transform your decades of multimedia into your very own personal Netflix. However, each kind of media server application for NAS has its own advantages and disadvantages, with some people preferring the more user-friendly plex or the more customisable Emby. Today I want to compare the Emby and Plex media server programs for NAS and figure out which one is best for your own personal multimedia collection.

Plex vs Emby Media Server – Installation

After you have set up your NAS for the very first time, you will have the option to install more applications on your device and make the most of all of those terabytes of storage you have to play with. Both Plex and Emby are completely free applications that are supported by the majority of modern NAS brands, with installation being possible within minutes. However, it is worth highlighting that although Plex media server is an available application in practically all NAS app centres from Synology, QNAP to Asustor and WD, Emby in most instances needs to be downloaded directly from the official website and then installed manually in the NAS system software. This is by no means difficult and only adds around a minute to the initial installation, but the result is that many users are not even aware that they can use Emby due to its apparent absence on most NAS application stores.

After its initialisation, both the Plex and Emby media server software will ask you the location of the media on your NAS, categorise it by type, configure how much metadata scraping and from which sources you want the media server software to perform it. Metadata is crucial in how the media server software creates a beautifully graphical user interface of thumbnails, media descriptions, cast lists, reviews and just overall makes your multimedia collection into your very own fully-featured personal streaming service! However one of the earliest differences between the Emby and Plex media server software is that Emby allows you to scrape from multiple sources at once and then it will select the best result for your media (so, a larger capture area), whereas Plex asks you to choose one source from several choices and then pull the metadata from that single source. There are exceptions in some of the background data that Plex pulls from multiple metadata sources, but in the majority of cases and where graphical details are considered, you have less flexibility in Plex than you have in Emby.

Once your media collections are complete and metadata scanned and applied, you can create multiple users to connect with your media server and stream those lovely box sets and movies. Another early advantage of Emby media server free version is that it allows you to create multiple users on a single NAS that each have a custom level of media access and NAS control. This allows you to share the contents of your NAS with some users but prevent them from changing all or accidentally deleting any of your content. Plex media server has this but unfortunately is part of the premium Plex pass service that requires an additional fee.

Overall I think it is safe to say that the initial installation is definitely easier and a lot more straightforward on the Plex media server application, however, the Emby media server application is a great deal more customisable and arrives with numerous features at the setup that are either absent on Plex or require a paid subscription. 

Plex vs Emby Media Server – User interface

The difference in the user interface of your media server NAS depending on whether you use Plex or Emby is notable, but more on a backend/server level. The actual front-end that connected clients use when browsing your multimedia on their phones, Amazon Fire TV, consoles and more is is quite similar with each type of media being clearly distinguishable and the scraped metadata immediately doing its job to create a smooth, slick and intuitive user interface for your connected users and devices. Indeed, logos aside and use of green vs orange, the UI for a connected client/user is largely the same.

However, the back-end where you customise your Plex or Emby media server, adjust user privileges, produce Analytics, adapt the system behaviour and just generally control your entire media server are very different indeed. Plex media server is the slightly more user-friendly option of the two, as you might have expected. The areas related to users, the server, file handling and connected services are all clearly indicated and although the number of configurable options on Plex is a fraction lighter than those found in Emby, they are easy to follow and for the most part, do not require any kind of technical understanding.

Where options can become technical in areas of DLNA configurations, port forwarding, checking on system resources and monitoring connected devices, Plex has hidden most of the technical aspects behind an ‘advanced tab’ option. As you might expect, some more useful and popular aspects are only accessible with the Plex pass subscription and although most of these can be ignored, the fact they hid the task manager, adding multiple users and system resource monitor behind a subscription service seems a little mean to me

Emby by comparison throws a whole lot of options and choices at you immediately when entering the system & software settings of this media server. If you have ever used the back end of a WordPress website, then the general server admin user interface will seem very familiar. Although much like Plex, it also provides an advanced tab that hides some information deemed more technical from the user, even the standard options and configurations of Emby are a few steps above the novice tier and despite descriptions and clarifications of what each setting is for are available, can still be a tad intimidating for those less tech-savvy. Emby media server makes up for this by being incredibly adaptable and if you are willing to take the time to configure it and navigate each of the settings available, you can easily create a farmer custom and ultimately better media server for your needs.

Overall I prefer the flexibility and customisation found in the Emby media server over that of Plex because it allows a wider degree of customization to the end-user. Little options such as saving metadata and grouped media background files locally to the NAS in custom locations to be used in other ways (info files too for other media players and resources). Then you have the much more open worldwide supported functionality towards subtitles and metadata downloading where you can be more regionally specific to your needs and wider simultaneous support of metadata sources at once means that although the Plex media server is incredibly user-friendly by comparison, after a while the advantages of the Emby system become abundantly clear. You should take the time to learn your way around your new media server with Emby.

Plex vs Emby Media Server – Client Applications

Although both Plex and Emby are available as media server applications for multiple NAS host platforms, in order to watch and enjoy the multimedia on your NAS, you will need to utilise the client applications of each software. The majority of modern internet-accessible household entertainment devices have access to either their own dedicated app centre (Google Play Store, iTunes, etc) or provide the ability to manually install third-party applications. Both the Emby and Plex multimedia client apps are available for numerous hand-held, desktop, home cinema and console platforms. However, Plex has by far the larger coverage of these devices and the majority of devices in your home probably have access to the Emby client app but certainly have access to Plex.

The advantage that Plex has in client support is further improved by the fact that a number of key devices do not feature the Emby client app in their native app centre, leading to many users having to manually install the application (mentioned earlier). It’s a very small distinction and one that generally has little to no impact in the grand scheme of things, but many devices will ask you to confirm and accept liability when installing applications from outside of their official app centres. This can all too often make users give Emby a miss and stick with the presented security that the Plex client app provides. Overall Plex most certainly winds in terms of client support and availability over Emby.

Plex vs Emby Media Server – Playback

Once you have your Plex/Emby media server NAS ready and installed all the proprietary clients on your entertainment devices, the next big deciding factor is simply going to be playback. The performance of your NAS multimedia server is something that theoretically you should NEVER think about and if a media server is doing its job properly, you should never notice any performance problems. As both Plex and Emby media server are third party applications (i.e neither have 1st party hardware and rely on a NAS or custom PC server build for installation) this leads to an additional layer between the software and the server hardware that does all of the tricky media handling, transcoding and tweaking to ensure that the multimedia client applications playback faultlessly. So, it is worth mentioning that technically, both Plex and Emby will never outperform the native NAS video application on the hardware itself (see Synology Video Station vs Plex/Emby videos below).

Generally, if either Plex or Emby is installed and deployed on a NAS system, they will playback files pretty much the same and any differences between them is barely noticeable in the case of playing back media in its original file format. The user interface of the player as well as the location and navigation on both media software clients is intuitive and everything is where you might expect it to be. One small difference between them that is worth a brief mention is that Emby has a stats for nerds button that allows real-time playback and media information to be displayed on the screen. This is an incredibly niche and largely overlooked feature, but still pretty cool for those that want to know the quality of the multimedia they are watching.

In the event that you need to adapt files to be better suited to destination device hardware, network strength and screen size, the system will need to utilise transcoding. As mentioned, if you are using older client hardware, using a device with fewer supported formats, streaming over a more limited connection or just generally want to view a more compressed version of a file, both Plex and Emby support this functionality. However, both media server platforms only provide software transcoding in the free versions and in order to take advantage of hardware transcoding (i.e use the NAS system embedded graphics or a graphics card) you will need 2 views Plex Pass or Emby Premiere on a monthly subscription. Nevertheless, in testing when trying to play HEVC/H.265 10bit files that required transcoding or forcing the system to transcode files on the fly, the Emby application was notably the more responsive and executed these transcoding actions marginally quicker on almost every occasion (even with just software transcoding). Both platforms allow the numerous different transcoding formats to choose from but Plex would take those extra few seconds longer to continue playing the file after each instruction. It’s a small edge, but the Emby Media Server did do a slightly quicker job which will likely be felt in exceedingly high format media (whilst still considering the base level NAS hardware of course).

Plex vs Emby Media Server – Metadata Scraping & Plugins

The thing that sets Plex and Emby media players apart from regular DLNA multimedia streaming and basic file servers is the awesome graphical user interface that ultimately allows you to turn your bog-standard decades of multimedia collected over the years into your very own personal high-quality media centre. Premium media server applications like Plex and Emby are able to utilise resources found on numerous film and TV databases such as IMDb and then use this to present your own collections alongside box art, descriptions, cost lists, published reviews and even trailers. The information gathered from these third-party databases for use in Plex and Emby media servers is known as metadata and the act of collecting the appropriate resources for your personal collection is known as scraping. Despite their similarities, these two media server programs approach the subject of metadata scraping slightly differentially and the resulting implementation makes a difference on your media server. 

Plex media server has access to all of the usual official TV and movie online databases, as well as review sites and casting information. It also has access to some third-party and unofficial databases that allow users to have a more bespoke user interface on your Plex media server. Likewise, the Emby media server has access to practically the exact same resources for all of this metadata. However, the big difference is that whereas Emby allows you to aggregate and apply metadata from all of these sources at the same time (with the system prioritizing metadata from multiple sources for a single media file by priority of source), Plex asks you to select just one source for that metadata for it to scrape at any time for each category. This is a small but significant difference as it ensures that more obscure media in your collection has a higher chance of having its metadata found and applied automatically. 

If your collection is made up of popular classic media and all from reputable sources, then this will be little or no difference for you as Plex will no doubt find all of the metadata appropriate to your media. However, if you have slightly harder to come by media in your collection (older recordings of non publicly released content that has been found on older film forums and Reddit sharing for example), unique versions or simply multimedia that is formatted in a less common way, you are far likely to find the metadata applied initially on an Emby based setup overall. 

Emby is made significantly more attractive when it comes to custom content over Plex when you also factor in plugins. Services from data and coverage upgrades, the IP TV streaming, add-on media services and smart home upgrades are available to be downloaded and installed on the Emby Media server in it’s very own app/plug-in center. Plex Media server seems to have largely abandoned this feature (available in a more open form in earlier versions of plex and now largely cut off) in favour of connecting plex with numerous online content sources for shows and movies, though many question the appeal of this as they are not exactly premium service and ones that can still be accessed online easily outside of plex. There are newer innovations for Plex (such as the recent Plex Arcade from emulation service at an additional cost) but these are all seemingly paid extras or small diversion services that Emby provides in a better way in the plug-in center.

Plex vs Emby Media Server – Free Vs Paid

Both Plex and Emby require you to create an account with the respective media server developer. This allows you to access long-term software updates, access numerous software add-ons and also enables remote access over the internet to your NAS multimedia server collection. Both Plex and Emby media server do not require any kind of payment to use the base-level services and features of their programs, but both platforms have a premium level subscription service for around £5-10 a month that allows access to more fully-featured services and functionality, such as hardware transcoding, trailers and more.

VS

Now, it is important to highlight that you do NOT need a paid/premium account for Plex or Emby in order to enjoy all the main range of services on offer. In most cases, the Plex Pass and Emby Premiere add ons are related to things that require 3rd party services, are something that only a small % users might use or are genuinely things that have seemingly required technical/design implementation in the media server platform. However, that still does not make them ALL justified and overall. Here is a breakdown of which services are included on Emby and Plex that are either Free or Paid:

X = It is included in the appropriate FREE/PAID service

Feature Plex Emby
Free Plex Pass (PAID) Free Premiere (PAID)
Camera Upload X X
Remote Streaming X X
Local Streaming X X
Full Playback (Local & Remote) Web App, Non-mobile Android (Fire TV, Android TV), Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Smart TVs, TiVO, and Game Consoles Mobile Android and iOS Apps – require Unlock fee or Plex Pass Web App, Roku, Apple TV, Smart TVs Android (including Fire TV, Android TV), iOS, Emby Theater, Game Consoles – require unlock fee or Premiere
Media Optimizer X X
Hardware Transcoding X X
Live TV X X
DVR X X
Mobile/Folder Sync X X
Multiple Users X X
Parental Controls X X
Photo Albums X
Lyrics X
Library Sharing X More Options X
Trailers and Extras X X
Cloud Sync
Multiple Users X (All accounts except Managed Users require Plex online account.) X (All accounts are local. Emby connect account is optional)
Smart Home Unofficially Alexa and Google Assistant
Other Content Movies, TV, Web Shows, Podcasts, and News Podcasts

Even at a casual glance, it is abundantly clear that the bulk of the services that are on offer from Plex is either ONLY available in the paid Plex Pass tier OR are only available in a more limited/streamlined capacity at the free tier. This also applies to Emby too in a number of key areas too, however, there are certainly some odd choices. Hardware Transcoding (which requires the software to understand the complexity of many hardware platforms) is understandably only in the paid version of Emby and Plex, however the fact that the dashboard resource monitor AND ability to add more users requires the paid subscription service on Plex is a little harder to justify!

The 2021/2022 Price of a Plex Pass Subscription

Parental controls on Plex being locked behind a paywall is also a little disappointing too, especially when cross-referencing the certification and suitability of media in your collection via metadata must arguably be very easy indeed. Emby is by no means perfect though, with the client application for game consoles not being in the free tier being a real shame. However, taking everything into account, when it comes to both the free AND paid services on each media server, I think Emby and Emby Premiere give you more than Plex and Plex Pass on your NAS system.

The 2021/2022 Price of a Emby Premiere Subscription

Plex vs Emby Media Server – Conclusion

Both Plex media server and Emby media server for NAS are great applications that manage to give you that great feeling of owning your very own Netflix style streaming service, however as good as Plex is, it is arguable gotten a little too comfortable as the de-facto media server of choice in the last few years and allowed a few more fringe services like Emby and the slightly more technical Jellyfin to close in and (in some ways) surpass them. With Plex trying to merge more entertainment streams into their service (3rd party online sources, podcasting, emulated games roms, etc) they might have lost their focus a little and in doing so make their platform less immediately desirable to the new NAS media server user. Emby is still a media server service for NAS that has a few early hurdles for some (either by its absence in the default app center of your NAS brand, or the more layered setup options on day one, but if you are happy to spend a little more time at setup, Emby will most certainly allow you to create the better Media Server solution on your NAS in 2021/2022.

 

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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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 

 

 

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