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Best Surveillance NAS of the Year – 2022/2023

31 décembre 2022 à 18:00

A Guide to the Best Surveillance NAS Drives to Buy Right Now

When you consider investing in a NAS drive in your home or business environment, you always want to maximize your investment in this new kind of technology. Systems are designed to do many different things at once and each top-tier NAS brand includes a complete software and application environment with their hardware, allowing you to support multiple different services at any given time. The most popular services that new buyers tend to choose are that of multi-tiered backups, multimedia playback, shared drives for collaboration and, of course, surveillance. Utilising a NAS system as a bespoke and highly proficient NVR (network video recorder) system is growing in popularity all the time and allows home to small business users to ensure the safety and security of family and employees alike. It is for this reason that the majority of brands have their own surveillance software included with the purchase of your NAS, allowing you to add multiple IP cameras in your network environment that can be accessed and recorded from 24/7, with customised alerts and an enterprise-level dashboard with which to control them. Because all of the NAS brands tend to include surveillance software with their hardware, it can be hard to choose the right NAS for your own particular surveillance setup. Factors such as the maximum number of cameras you can use, compatibility with IP Camera brands and available camera licenses will always play a part. So today I am showing you the top 3 NAS for surveillance to buy in 2022/2023. Each one has been selected based on their own individual highlights, with one being the best value surveillance solution, one being the most robust surveillance NAS and finally one is the best business class enterprise NAS surveillance solution where power and performance are key. Let’s take a look.

Best Surveillance NAS – What Qualifies?

As mentioned, almost all NAS drives have an element of surveillance included to a greater or lesser extent, so how can I break down thousands of NAS solutions down to just three? Well, first off all NAS that are considered need to confirm against the following qualifications for a NVR use NAS system:

  • Only Desktop/Tower systems are being considered, Rackmount servers are generally harder to compare and are more tailored to data center and/or general server file storage
  • Each solution must be a combined Hardware+Software solution – Include a Surveillance Management utility
  • Must have at least 2 years of manufacturers warranty
  • MUST include at least 4 Camera Licenses (a large part of the cost ultimately)
  • Must be at least a 4-Bay NAS, as you need to provision for storage AND redundancy in the event of a failed drive
  • Must have the ability to export footage without interrupting live feeds
  • Must support accepted camera brands (AXIS, Hikvision, Edimax, Reolink, Annke, etc) as well as ONVIF protocol and client applications

The above rules certainly narrow down the available NAS drives in the market down a little, but it still means that a lot of NAS drives are suitable, but not PERFECT. So, below is my top three recommended NAS to buy for surveillance in 2022/2023.

What Have All the Best Surveillance NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different Surveillance NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best Surveillance solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another Surveillance NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS includes the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand-supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwolf 22TB and WD Red 22TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above as these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best Surveillance NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.


Best All Round Surveillance NAS Drive – QNAP TS-453E NAS

0-88TB, 8 Surveillance Camera Licenses, 40x Camera Max, M.2 Google TPU Support for AI Services, USB Camera Support,KVM Support, 2x M.2 Gen 3 NVMe 2280, Intel J6412 Celeron CPU, 8GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 3yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $599

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Aug ’22:

The QNAP TS-453E NAS is a device that really grew on me! With these home/business server companies releasing refreshes of their ranges every 2-2.5yrs or so, it is easy to see them fall into repetitive patterns when it comes to how the hardware is picked at each tier/price-point. The TS-453E NAS on the other hand manages to carve a new tier into the brand’s portfolio right now in 2022, managing to give you some really solid internal/external hardware that most would have assumed would be half of what it is at this level of QNAP’s 4-bay portfolio (i.e Quad-Core, 8GB, NVMe M.2s, 2.5GbE, 10G USB, 3yr warranty, etc) and it will certainly make some buyers wonder about whether the current Prosumer/flagship TS-464 is as necessary to their home or office as they once thought.

Click to view slideshow.

The fixed memory, even at 8GB default, is rather annoying and a lack of PCIe slot means that 10GbE will remain out of reach – but look at this NAS sandwiched between the TS-451D2 & TS-464 and it makes alot of sense. This is for those not really looking at expandability years from now and although that plastic case still looks a little dated/cheap, this is not a device designed to be noticed day-to-day. For those looking to make their first tentative entry into the world of NAS a decent one or looking to upgrade cautiously from an ARM system, the QNAP TS-453E is an excellent shout!

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻Exceptional CPU choice for the Scale/Tier
👍🏻8GB of DDR4 Memory
👍🏻2.5GbE (x2) Ports on Day 1
👍🏻Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s) Ports!
👍🏻2x M.2 NVMe Slots alongside those 4x SATA Bays for Storage (Caching, Tiered Storage or standalone Pools)
👍🏻Includes VM, Surveillance (8 licenses and upto 32 Cams), Backup, Sync, Multimedia, SaaS sync/migration and office tools (some with added AI services)
👍🏻3-Year Warranty (Can be extended)
👍🏻VERY Compact, low-impact design
👍🏻Supports 1-2x Expansions
👍🏻20TB and 22TB Confirmed Compatibility
CONS
👎🏻Memory Cannot be Upgraded
👎🏻M.2 NVMe SSD Slots are Gen 3 x2
👎🏻Chassis is still a little dated looking

 


Most Powerful Surveillance NAS System – Synology DVA3221 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, Intel C3538 4-Core CPU,  4-32GB ECC Memory, 4x 1Gb Ports, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 3yr Warranty, 8 Camera License included, 

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $2000+

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Nov ’20:

The Synology DVA3221 is a NAS that when I heard it could be used as a surveillance station NAS and a Diskstation NAS made me very happy indeed. However, now with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that this compromise in dedicated surveillance use has led to some choices (the CPU and lack of HDMI/DVI + KVM output) that in many ways limit its complete potential. I have no hesitation in saying this is the very best and most capable surveillance NAS that Synology has ever produced, and once you take into account the inclusion of that graphics card and 8 camera licences for surveillance station, the price can even be justified for the most part. What it comes down to is whether you desperately need these features and don’t mind paying more now to save lots later. A year from now Synology might allow users to install their own graphics cards or will find a way to introduce some deep video analysis features onto non-GPU NAS – of this there is no guarantee, but if you need these features in 2020/2021, this is the best NAS you can get right now. The DVA3221 NVR NAS features familiar internal hardware in terms of CPU and available memory. Arriving with the Intel C3538 Atom CPU, this quad-core processor with a 2.1 GHz clock speed has already proven on several occasions to be a highly capable processor for everything from surveillance to virtual machines and multimedia use in the likes of the DS1819+ and DS1618+. I know it is not the most popular processor in the market right now since Synology has moved their SMB devices towards the Ryzen-embedded V1500B, but Synology has spent quite a few years working with this CPU family and has optimised the hell out of it for the DSM platform. Though it’s the support of 4K is less than other Celeron and Pentium processors right now, it is still a CPU with a tremendous amount of potential still left in it.

Once again, they could have opened the door to a more capable processor such as the Intel Xeon found in the DS1621xs+, but this would have only served to increase the base price point of the DVA3221 again. This CPU is further supported with 8GB of DDR4 memory, that can be upgraded all the way to an impressive 32GB of memory. Additionally, this memory is Error Code Correction (ECC) memory, which is especially attractive to business users and (in the case of an NVR solution) is another layer of protection from data failure to have. If you intend to use the DVA3221 to its full potential, it is recommended that you increase the base memory of this device to at least 16GB, as although the memory on the graphics card provides great real-time analytics and analysis of captured footage, the standard memory of the NAS is still going to be tremendously important for the typical running of this device.
SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 7/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻Affordable Alternative to the DVA3221
👍🏻Real-Time AI Camera recording saves hundreds of man-hours
👍🏻Uses CPU Integrated Gfx, using less power than a separate Graphics Card
👍🏻8 Camera Licenses included (worth around £300)
👍🏻BTRFS and SHR Support
👍🏻Great Surveillance Person/Thing tracking
👍🏻Intelligent Motion Tracking
👍🏻Intelligent Counting and Border Control
👍🏻Additional Deep Video Analysis Options
👍🏻KVM Support over a 4K 60FPS HDMI
👍🏻Synology Recently released first-party cameras!
CONS
👎🏻ONLY 6GB Max Memory
👎🏻Quite expensive for a 2-Bay NAS and not expandable
👎🏻The CPU is a little disappointing for 2022
👎🏻No m.2 slots and only 1 LAN

Surveillance Station DVA1622 DVA3221
Video Analysis Deep Video Analytics Features
  • People and vehicle detection (with license plate recognition)
  • People counting
  • Vehicle counting
  • Intrusion detection
  • Face recognition
  • People and vehicle detection (with license plate recognition)
  • People counting
  • Vehicle counting
  • Intrusion detection
  • Face recognition
Deep Video Analytics Tasks
  • People and vehicle detection (with license plate recognition): up to 2 tasks
  • People counting: up to 2 tasks
  • Vehicle counting: up to 2 tasks
  • Intrusion detection (detecting specific objects): up to 2 tasks
  • Face recognition: up to 1 task
  • People and vehicle detection (without license plate recognition): up to 12 tasks
  • People and vehicle detection (with license plate recognition): up to 6 tasks
  • People counting: up to 12 tasks
  • Vehicle counting: up to 12 tasks
  • Intrusion detection (detecting specific objects): up to 12 tasks
  • Intrusion detection (detecting all objects): up to 6 tasks
  • Face recognition: up to 6 tasks

Best Affordable AI Surveillance System NAS  – Synology DVA1622 NAS

0-44TB, 2-Bays, Intel Celeron J4125 4-Core CPU, 4-32GB ECC Memory, 1x 1Gb Ports, Uses Integrated Graphics for AI Processes, 3yr Warranty, 8 Camera License included, 16 CAMS Max

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $599

Hardware Review – (Coming Soon)

YouTube Video Review – (Coming Soon, Hardware Overview HERE)

Synology NVR DVA1622 is a 2-bay desktop recording server that gives home and small business users access to fast, smart, and accurate video surveillance powered by deep learning-based algorithms. Built-in automated event detection helps safeguard properties by detecting people, vehicles, or objects and alerting staff when self-configured rules or thresholds are breached

Click to view slideshow.

Complete Surveillance Solution With Built-in AI Capabilities
The DVA1622 makes powerful AI-enabled surveillance available for everyone in a compact solution that includes everything you need to create an efficient surveillance system.

  • Cover all angles: Record and manage up to 16 IP camera feeds
  • Leverage deep learning: Run 2 simultaneous real-time video analysis processes or 1 facial recognition task
  • Licenses included: Add up to 8 IP cameras without purchasing additional licenses
  • Direct video output: Simply plug a monitor into the built-in HDMI port to watch surveillance feeds without a separate PC or mobile device
  • Local management: Set up, manage, and control your deployment locally by attaching a keyboard and mouse
SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 7/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻Affordable Alternative to the DVA3221
👍🏻Real-Time AI Camera recording saves hundreds of man-hours
👍🏻Uses CPU Integrated Gfx, using less power than a separate Graphics Card
👍🏻8 Camera Licenses included (worth around £300)
👍🏻BTRFS and SHR Support
👍🏻Great Surveillance Person/Thing tracking
👍🏻Intelligent Motion Tracking
👍🏻Intelligent Counting and Border Control
👍🏻Additional Deep Video Analysis Options
👍🏻KVM Support over a 4K 60FPS HDMI
👍🏻Synology Recently released first-party cameras!
CONS
👎🏻ONLY 6GB Max Memory
👎🏻Quite expensive for a 2-Bay NAS and not expandable
👎🏻The CPU is a little disappointing for 2022
👎🏻No m.2 slots and only 1 LAN

 


 


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Best 4K Plex NAS of 2023

29 décembre 2022 à 18:00

A Guide to the Best 4K Plex NAS Drives to Buy Right Now

If you have been looking at buying a Synology or QNAP NAS drive in 2023 for use as a Plex Media Server, then chances are you are doing this because you are sick of paying for a bunch of online streaming services OR you have an enormous physical library of discs that you own in your home that you want to watch conveniently on an Amazon FireTV, Roku Box or home Console, disc free! It’s not a big ask, is it! Do you remember when watching movies and boxsets from your sofa was easy? You owned a few hundred DVDs or Blurays, you popped in the disc for what you wanted to watch, then you watched it. It had a few extra steps that Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and Disney+, BUT you owned what you watched and you were in control of what you wanted to see. The dominance of subscription streaming services was unquestionable and for a while, it genuinely felt like it was the best option for ease of access to a huge library of multimedia that you only really wanted to watch once or twice anyway – all for just $5-10 per service. However, it got complicated. We went from 3-5 media streaming services, to suddenly HUNDREDS, with Films/Boxsets appairing on exclusive platforms (in some cases actual tv seasons being divided across different services too). This also led to TV shows being available/featured on a streaming service considerably shorter, due to the show-owner realising that timed exclusivity and switching streamingly platforms is much more lucrative in the long run. So, the streaming services STOPPED being so convenient, stopped being such good value – with most households now having/needing 3-4 different subscription services (so, in most cases Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and the cable TV/Sky provider service) and spending $400-500 a year, and not owning a single piece of media or having control of when things are not available. Add to that the rather bias search abilities of these platforms pushing ‘suggested’ content and you cannot help but pine for those simple days of sitting on the sofa and watching that DVD. It is for this reason that many have made the jump over to Plex Media Server. To find out more about what Plex, a Plex Media Server NAS are and what they do, watch the video below:

A free service that allows you to stream the media YOU own, but still features slick graphics, user-friendly GUI, descriptions, trailers, thumbnails, reviews and more. Today I want to discuss the best three NAS drives for use as a Plex Media Server. There are literally thousands of different NAS devices on the market that can be used for Plex (it is a fairly low resource demanding tool in its smallest form) but the extent to how much you will use it, the number of users you want to share with, the volume of media and the quality of the content (e.g 4K, 1080p, etc) make a HUGE difference to which NAS you should choose for your Plex Media server. So my five PLEX NAS recommendations for 2023 are based on the best Budget 1080p Plex NAS, the best 4K Plex NAS and finally, the Best EVERYTHING Plex NAS for 2023. Let’s begin.

What Have All the Best Plex NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different Plex NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best Plex solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another Plex NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS include the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwofl 20TB and WD Red 20TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above. As these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best Plex NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.


Best All Round 4K PLEX NAS Drive – QNAP TS-464 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 3×1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel Celeron N5105 CPU, 4-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 1x PCIe Gen 3×2 Slot, 1 HDMI 2.0 4K 60FPS, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $550

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review April ’22:

The TS-464 comfortably arrives with the best hardware in its tier of the NAS market and that is something that QNAP has always been quite good at. Even if you rewind just 5 years, the level of hardware scalability and ease of upgradability that the TS-464 provides is frankly incredible and, fast forward to 2022, is still pretty unmatched. A Desktop 4-Bay NAS (eg Prosumer RAID 5 storage) has always been the next confident step for users who are tired of their hands being tied by subscription cloud services from Google, OneDrive and DropBox, who are looking for their own competent, flexible and fully-featured private server. In the TS-464 NAS, you find a system that is unquestionable the best hardware for your money you can possibly get right now. In software, things are a little less straightforward. QTS 5, although massively software and service-rich, arrives as a complete operating system in your web browser with multiple mobile/desktop clients and hundreds of applications and apps that can be installed at the touch of a button – which can all too often be something of a steep learning curve for many.

Lacking the slightly chewable, user-friendly nature of many of their rivals, QNAP and its software/service still have a tendency to be a bit of an information overload that can quickly intimidate the novice. However, for those that are looking for a system that is completely customizable in how/when/where you want data presented to you, as well as a wide degree of 3rd party support, QNAP and QTS 5 still manages to provide a huge degree of brand-unique service that are simply not available elsewhere. Just be prepared to invest your time wisely in its setup and more time ensuring the system is perfect for your needs.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻Very compact chassis design, despite large storage potential
👍🏻A BIG jump in hardware and scale from the TS-453Be and TS-453D, but with a largely identical RRP at launch
👍🏻Easily one of the most hardware packed SMB/Mid-range 4-Bay on the market
👍🏻Up to 16GB of Memory is fantastic
👍🏻m.2 NVMe SSD Bays AND a PCIe Upgrade Slot (no need to choose one upgrade path)
👍🏻8x Included Camera Licenses
👍🏻Includes Anti-virus, Firewall Tool, VPN client tools, Malware Remover, network manager and Security Councilor Tool
👍🏻3 Different Container/VM tools that also feature image download centers
👍🏻10Gb/s (1,000MB/s) USB Ports will be incredibly useful
👍🏻Large range of expansion options in the TR/TL series in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 Bays
CONS
👎🏻The PCIe Slot is PCIe 3×2 and the M.2 SSD Bays are PCIe 3×1 (likely limitations of all this H/W on a Celeron+chipset
👎🏻QNAP Has had 3 ransomware hits in 2019-2021 (Qlocker, Qsnatch and Deadbolt). Lots of Security app/changes since, but people remember and QNAP needs to win back that trust in 2022/2023

Best Low Noise 4K PLEX NAS Drive – QNAP HS-264 NAS

0-48TB, 2-Bays, Fanless Design, Intel Celeron N5105 CPU, 8GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 2x HDMI 2.0 4K 60FPS, KVM Support, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $549

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review April ’22:

I think it would be fair to say that QNAP has quite a few different NAS ranges in their portfolio. From hefty enterprise rackmounts and thunderbolt machines, to compact prosumer desktops and modest entry-level systems, the majority of their solutions all seemingly share the same physically architecture – a desktop or rackmount enclosure that has changed really only aesthetically in the last 10-15 years. However, QNAP’s Silent NAS series (started back in 2014/2015) has always been a very different beast and even in its earliest iterations was breaking the rules of what we thought a NAS is supposed to look like and (more importantly) sound like. The QNAP HS-264 is the latest release in the HS NAS series of devices (previously HS-251+ and HS-453DX) that has the bold claim to be ‘silent’! Now, of course, that is not strictly true. It IS a fanless NAS that is designed in a horizontal profile to promote increased heat dissipation into a unit heatsink system (that is how the use of a fan is avoided) along with the physical spreading of the system also dispersing vibration much better. This results in a reported active noise level with traditional NAS hard drives under 8TB to produce a lower rating than other 2-Bay systems in idle/standby (can’t switch off HDD spin and actuator noise). Plus, QNAP state that using SSDs results in the system being genuinely silent. Now for those that want their own NAS service for multimedia, plan on working in close proximity with the system or have a small office where this system will be working hard 24×7 in – the thought of a silent NAS is dream come true. However, hold your horse, just because the HS-264 is going to be quieter than the average NAS/bear, doesn’t mean it is automatically a ‘good NAS’.

Overall you cannot say that QNAP has not been a pinch more mature and sensible (perhaps to a fault) in the design and architecture of the HS-264 NAS. Living slightly in the shadow of the more bandwidth equipped but more expensive HS-453DX, the HS-264 is still a solid entry in the QNAP x64 series and if you are looking for a truly silent NAS that includes all the tools and services that a modern NAS system should feature, the HS-264 is unquestionably a great NAS system. As long as you factor in the noise of HDDs in 2022 (an often overlooked detail I would add), the HS-264 NAS is a system that focuses it’s abilities and power internally, which being by far the most ‘power and heat’ aware system that the brand has ever released in this series. Concerns about QNAP and recent ransomware attacks are always going to dog the brand for a while yet, but nevertheless, that does not undercut the achievement in hardware and design that this system provides. Perhaps if QNAP could have released a modernized version of the HS-453DX, buyers would be fully satisfied, but in it’s absence, the HS-264 and what it brings to the table ticks most of the important hardware boxes for me.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻The Silent NAS series has always been impressive and unique
👍🏻
👍🏻Very unique and discreet at just 4.1cm in height
👍🏻
👍🏻
👍🏻8x Included Camera Licenses
👍🏻
👍🏻
👍🏻Includes Anti-virus, Firewall Tool, VPN client tools, Malware Remover, network manager and Security Councilor Tool
👍🏻
👍🏻
👍🏻3 Different Container/VM tools that also feature image download centers
👍🏻
👍🏻
👍🏻10Gb/s (1,000MB/s) USB Ports will be incredibly useful
👍🏻
👍🏻
👍🏻Large range of expansion options in the TR/TL series in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 Bays
CONS
👎🏻Comes across as a less impressive package than the HS-453DX (though the HS-264 is $200 less)
👎🏻
👎🏻Sustained high power use makes the top panel noticeably hot
👎🏻
👎🏻
👎🏻8GB of Memory Max, despite the CPU and other 64 series QNAP’s supporting upto 16GB

Best Value 4K PLEX NAS Drive – Asustor Lockerstor 4 Gen 2 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 4x PCIe Gen 3×1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 CPU 4-Core Integrated Gfx, 4-16GB DDR4 Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 1x HDMI 2.0b, PCIe Upgrade Slot, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $579

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Nov’22:

The Lockerstor 4 Gen 2 NAS is a respectable piece of kit! Indeed, the hardware here is almost faultless! Unless you are particularly noise sensitive (and therefore the metal chassis adding a few dBa to the ambient sound), there is almost nothing I can fault here on the devices hardware. The scaling up of practically all hardware over the Gen 1 Lockerstor, such as Better CPU, Better Memory that goes higher, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.2 Gen 2, a 10GbE upgrade option and THOSE FOUR M. 2 NVMe SSD SLOTS – you simply cannot fault how much is getting included here at the price point vs it’s competitors. The software is a little less compelling, with a smaller range of 1st party applications on offer, more of a reliance on 3rd party services and the absence of a few AAA+ features that are present on other devices in the market (AI services, Cloud Bolt on live synchronization, 1st Party SaaS native sync with Google Workspace/Office365, etc).

That said, ADM does run very well, is clear and still quite user-friendly. The addition of choice of file systems EXT4 or BTRFS, flexibility on the use of those M.2 NVMe SSD bays and the Asustor HDMI portal still bring fantastic flexibility to the Lockerstor 4 Gen 2 NAS too. Ultimately, this is a system that is clearly making big waves on it’s hardware more than it’s software, but as long as you keep your feet on the ground and appreciate that this system is more of a 70/30 purchase of hardware vs software, you will come to respect and rely on this Asustor NAS as the backbone of your data storage setup.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻Hard/Impossible to find this level of NAS Hardware elsewhere at this price point
👍🏻Those FOUR M.2 NVMe 2280 SSD slots are great and turn this 4-Bay NAS into an 8-Bay
👍🏻2.5GbE by default, as well as the option to add further 2.5/5Gb connections over USB
👍🏻The option to scale up the network connectivity to 10GbE down the line (4 and 6 Bay only)
👍🏻$60 increase over RRP of Lockstor Gen 1, but upgrades practically everything 1-2 levels (New Celeron CPU, Better/High Memory Max, USB 10G, HDMI 2.0b, PCIe Gen 3 Architecture)
👍🏻Includes support for either EXT4 or BTRFS
👍🏻Includes KVM Support with Parallel GUI over HDMI, Asustor Portal
👍🏻ADM is better tha nit has ever been, responsive, clear and intuitive
👍🏻Several different setup and initialization options
👍🏻One of very few 4-Bay NAS drives that still feature a fully functional and controllable LCD Panel
👍🏻Full Support of the traditional RAID levels for this scale (RAID 0-1-5-6)
👍🏻Storage can be expanded with TWO of the Asustor AS6004U 4-Bay
CONS
👎🏻Lack of a fluid RAID System (such as Synology Hybrid RAID, Drobo BeyondRAID or Terramaster TRAID) to allow mixed drive media and easier scaling of storage over time
👎🏻Metal chassis and trays is going to result in an increase of ambient noise (hum/vibration) than other plastic casing/tray NAS systems
👎🏻Some apps (such as the Surveillance Center apps) are long overdue an update in visuals and services
👎🏻ADM is good, but lacks the killer apps/AAA and AI service tools that are being offered by other brands right now
👎🏻They were targeted by the Deadbolt ransomware attack at the start of 2022 and although the linux vulnerability that was used has been reported to be closed and they worked with affected users, this is still going to be on the minds of some buyers

Lowest Priced 4K Plex NAS Drive – Terramaster F4-423 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x Gen 3 x1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 Celeron CPU Quad-Core Integrated Gfx CPU, 4-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 3yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $500

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review May’22:

Terramaster still continues to be the most affordable fully-featured provider of the whole NAS market and although a number of their solutions have always felt a little rough around the edges, you always got the impression that you were getting a good deal for the hardware that was available from QNAP and Synology. Now in 2022/2023, the same continues to be true but in the F4-423 NAS’ case, you are actually getting some pretty top tier (for the Home/Prosumer) market at a price tag that is really tough to argue with. Terramaster has clearly been watching their bigger competitors and cherry-picked the features that people have been asking for (2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe SSD bays, etc) for this new generation.

In terms of software, things are a little less convincing and although TOS 5 (currently in Beta at the time of writing) still continues to evolve into something genuinely fully featured and impressive, TOS 4 that the F4-423 includes at launch is usable (if unexciting) platform that provides the base level services that a new NAS user would want, but lacks killer apps that their competitors are offering right now (File Streaming, AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc). Most of these ARE included in TOS5, but until it arrives much later in 2022 in a full release, the F4-423 feels like a powerful NAS that doesn’t have the software to show off its strengths yet. If you are reading this later in 2022 or 2023, this might well be irrelevant though, as the brand rolls out their bit firmware update to ALL Terramster NAS devices. Overall, I definitely CAN recommend the F4-423 NAS for its hardware, for Plex Media server or as an affordable multi-tier backup solution, but if you are looking for a NAS for more tailored data access or in a much more fully-featured package – hold out a little longer till TOS 5 gets released first.

SOFTWARE - 5/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 10/10
VALUE - 8/10


7.8
PROS
👍🏻2.5GbE at the Price of 1GbE
👍🏻Good CPU for the Price Point
👍🏻USB 3.2 Gen 2 is very forward-thinking for local backups
👍🏻Great RAID Options
👍🏻Snapshot Replication
👍🏻BTRFS Support if preferred
👍🏻Supports Plex and all 1080p Transcoding
👍🏻4K Video transcoding natively
👍🏻A large amount of maximum memory supported (16-32GB – TBC)
👍🏻Includes two M.2 NVMe SSD Bays that can be used for storage or caching
CONS
👎🏻Default 4GB memory is 2133Mhz
👎🏻HDMI Currently Unsupported
👎🏻Until TOS5 is Fully Released, TOS Software feels a little empty of Killer-Apps (AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc)

ULTIMATE 4k and 8K Plex NAS Drive – QNAP TVS-h874 NAS

0-176TB, 8-Bays, 2x PCIe 4 M.2 NVMe 2280, PCIe Gen 4×16 Upgrade Slot, Intel Core 12th Gen i5/i7/i9 CPU, 16-64GB DDR4 Memory, 2.5Gbe Port, 10Gb x2 Prots (Intel i9 Version), KVM, ZFS or EXT4 Setup, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $2000-2500-3000

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Dec ’22:

The QNAP TVS-h874 NAS is easily one of the most hardware-capable desktop NAS systems that I have ever seen (as you would expect for £2500+) and has clearly been designed with phenomenal future proofing in mind! If you are concerned about the longevity of this NAS, this hardware architecture will still be top tier 5 years from now, with the added support of PCIe 4 meaning that high capacity and performing micro upgrades throughout its life also ensuring it remains relevant long after. It’s price tag clearly moves this purchase out of the home and squarely into the business market (though likely those that take their media seriously will add it to the cart) and the TVS-h874 will function as a solid solution for Video editing (even at 8K), high frequency and performing VMs, large scale AI powered Surveillance setup, hybrid cloud/on-prem alternative to Office 365/Google Workspace services and as the center point for all your data storage operations. Crucially though, it is that the hardware on offer here will be able to do ALL of these at the same time, therefore maximising the investment for most businesses that want to move aware from their cloud dependant ops. In terms of software,t things are a little less absolute, with QTS and QuTS still getting a little busy at times, with a steeper learning curve than its big rival DSM from Synology. That said, die-hard fans of ZFS (Zettabyte File System) will adore the inclusion of benefits in RAID handling, management and recovery that are exclusive to that platform, whilst enjoying the wide range of applications and service benefits in QuTS that are often restricted to Linux platforms.

8K PLEX TESTS – QNAP TVS-h874 4K PLEX TESTS – QNAP TVS-h874

The slightly conveluded approach to release hardware that does complicate the selection process (different CPUs in the Intel 12th Gen family changing the rest of the system architecture) is something that I hoped this brand would graduate from (for the sake of simplicity), but for many, this level of choice in hardware and budget will be welcome. As is QNAP’s position on the support of 3rd party hardware (drives, PCIe upgrades, etc) and software, something that we have seen a worrying trend in the last few years against elsewhere in the industry but some other brands, to err towards 1st party/proprietary compatibility more and more. There are still lingering doubts by some on the security of NAS, with ransomware attacks on the rise and ALL brands and ALL platforms being targetted (NAS, Cloud ,etc), finding a middle ground between ease of use and depth of security being a tricky tie rope walk indeed. The TVS-h874 arrives with a wide range of Day 1 tools, further rigid defaults in QTS/QuTS in 2022/2023, considerable security settings to configure and multiple system scan tools for recommendations & preventative measures available. The QNAP TVS-h874 is probably the most powerful desktop/tower NAS drive I have ever reviewed and if you are looking for a system that can legitimately do anything server-side, but you are also willing to put in the time to configure it correctly – you will genuinely be hard pushed to find a better system in 2022, 2023 and likely 2024 at this price point and scale.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 10/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


9.0
PROS
👍🏻First Commercial Intel Core 12th Gen i5, i7 and i9 NAS Drive
👍🏻Upto 20 Cores, 24 Threads and High End Integrated Graphics
👍🏻PCIe Gen 4 x16 Upgrade Slot for 10/25/100GbE Cards and 2x PCIe Gen 4 x4 M.2 NVMe Slots for 7GB SSDs
👍🏻No Obstinant 3rd Party Hardware Limitations on Support or Compatibility
👍🏻Much larger support of 3rd Party Software Services than most other NAS Brands
👍🏻10Gb/s USB Connectivity, in Type A and Type C
👍🏻Upto 64GB of Memory and Potential for 128GB
👍🏻ZFS or EXT 4 File System Choice
👍🏻M.2 NVMe SSD Bays can be used for Storage or Caching
👍🏻Volume Encryption, SED SSD Support and WORM
👍🏻Enhanced AI Surveillance Services, with opt to upgrade with $30 Google TPU
👍🏻AI Photo Management Tool (QuMagie) Includes Thing Recognition and works offline
👍🏻ALL the ZFS Benefits, whilst also the GUI and App benefits of a Linux Software Platform in one
CONS
👎🏻Available Versions/Configs of the 4/6/8-Bay are confusing
👎🏻QVR Elite (not QVR Pro) only has 2 Cam Licences
👎🏻HDMI Output is 1.4b
👎🏻10Gbe is ONLY included with the most expensive Intel i9 Model
👎🏻Noisy when in operation when fully populated
👎🏻Too Many licenses on Enterprise Tools (Drive Analyzer, Face Tiger, etc) with too few free licenses

And there you have it. Those are the three best Plex NAS drives available right now at the end of 2022 and going into 2023. thought it is always worth remembering that these systems typically have a refresh (i.e manufacturers release a new version/follow-up) every 2-3 years on average. Therefore although these systems are all still great Plex NAS drives, they might have been upgraded in a newer released version, or recently released alternative Plex’s may have arrived on the scene that provides better pricing, value or features. If you are in doubt about whether to buy a Plex solution from my recommendations, want to check if a newer system has been released recently OR are simply looking for some free expert advice, then use the free advice section below over. Just enter in a few details of your setup, storage requirements and (in the case of buying a new solution) your budget – then me and Eddie the Web guy can help you with your question. This is a completely free service, is NOT provided with profit in mind and is manned by two humans (no bots, no automated replies, etc). Assistance might take an extra day or two (the service gets a lot of visitors) but we do try to answer every message. If you want to support this service, you can find out how to donate HERE. Otherwise, you can still jsut message us for free advice anyway!

 

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Best 8-Bay NAS Drive – 2022/2023

23 décembre 2022 à 18:00

A Guide to the Best 8-Bay NAS Drives to Buy Right Now

If you have been looking at getting a NAS for your business, then I think it is safe to say that 8-Bay is where things get SERIOUS. Up until this point, most NAS system can typically fall into home use, budget use, small business and effective storage for a small group of users and their data. However, 8 drive (hard drive or SSD) NAS systems are where you start to see the NAS brands flex their muscles a bit. 8-Bays have typically been the jumping-off point from Desktop to Rackmount servers (slightly less so in recent years admittedly), thanks to the larger degree of storage on offer allowing greater performance, capacity and redundancy – So you start to see hardware appearing inside/outside that can greatly enhance the system’s utility. Features such as 10-gigabit ethernet, Xeon processors, considerably more memory and ultimately a system that can support a much wider number of users and processes than the systems that came before it. NAS brands very early on championed the inclusion of 8-Bay desktop servers in their portfolios, recognizing the need for a desktop server for compact deployment that could challenge the traditionally high power of rackmount solutions, so there are ALOT of different 8-Bay NAS systems on the market to choose from – all with their own distinct hardware and software capabilities, yet all at comparable pricing. Today I want to highlight to you the best three 8-Bay NAS to buy in 2022 and 2023 out of the hundreds (maybe even thousands) that are currently available on the market. These are systems that I choose, based on their value, scalability and overall power. Let’s begin.

What Have All the Best 8-Bay NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different 8-Bay NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best 8-Bay solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another 8-Bay NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS includes the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand-supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwolf 22TB and WD Red 22TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above as these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best 8-Bay NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.


Best All Round 8-Bay NAS Drive – Synology DS1821+ NAS

0-176TB, 8-Bays, 2x NVMe Cache Bays, Quad-Core Ryzen V1500B 2.2Ghz CPU, 4-32GB DDR4 ECC Memory, 4x 1Gbe Port, 1x PCIe 3×8 Upgrade Slot, 5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $1099

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Dec ’20:

What you have here is a solid piece of hardware that very much lives up to everything Synology promises, even if some of those promises aren’t to everyone’s taste. With a hardware architecture that we have already tested to notable success in the DS1621+ previously, we already knew that this NAS would be able to do everything it promised. Many users looking to spend their annual business budgets on an improved or extended data storage solution will find the balanced position of hardware vs software found by the Synology DS1821+ to be quite desirable, as well as the scaled potential to upgrade external performance via PCIe and storage via eSATA. However, there is no ignoring that despite the fact this 2020 release excels in many things, it also arrives with a little bottlenecking in a number of others. The continued default utilisation of 1Gbe on the newest generation by Synology is somewhat perplexing and although I have continued admiration for Synology’s engagement with intelligent M2 NVMe cache utilisation and providing a solution that allows more flexible upgrade paths, I know that there are still users who just wish they could use that super fast NAND for raw storage pools and have better than gigabit connections out by default.

Click to view slideshow.

It has never been a secret that buying a Synology NAS solution was always a largely ‘software over hardware’ purchase, and the DS1821+ is still a fine example of that balance. However, with other brands closing the gap in what they can offer the SMB (Small/Medium Business) user, while still providing superior hardware and similar warranty coverage, there is the tiniest feeling that the DS1821+ is a NAS that sits on its laurels a bit. Hugely upgradable and still with that award-winning and fantastically intuative DSM software, the DS1821+ is about buying a solution you can adapt within its lifespan and not one that will knock your socks off on day one. A solid and dependable data storage solution, if a little safe, at the end of 2020.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻Desktop Ryzen Powered Solution
👍🏻Dual NVMe M.2 cache
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 x8 PCIe Equipped
👍🏻Great RAID Options (inc SHR)
👍🏻Excellent choice of Apps
👍🏻DDR4 ECC Memory up to 32GB
👍🏻Numerous Backup Software Options
👍🏻Huge Virtualization Support
👍🏻3yr Warranty and Extendable to 5yrs
CONS
👎🏻1Gbe Ports seem a bit limited now
👎🏻Shame it does not support 1/2 x DX1215
👎🏻NVMe SSDs cannot be used for RAW storage

 


Most Powerful 8-Bay NAS Drive – QNAP TVS-h874 NAS

0-176TB, 8-Bays, 2x PCIe 4 M.2 NVMe 2280, PCIe Gen 4×16 Upgrade Slot, Intel Core 12th Gen i5/i7/i9 CPU, 16-64GB DDR4 Memory, 2.5Gbe Port, 10Gb x2 Prots (Intel i9 Version), KVM, ZFS or EXT4 Setup, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $2000-2500-3000

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Dec ’22:

The QNAP TVS-h874 NAS is easily one of the most hardware-capable desktop NAS systems that I have ever seen (as you would expect for £2500+) and has clearly been designed with phenomenal future proofing in mind! If you are concerned about the longevity of this NAS, this hardware architecture will still be top tier 5 years from now, with the added support of PCIe 4 meaning that high capacity and performing micro upgrades throughout its life also ensuring it remains relevant long after. It’s price tag clearly moves this purchase out of the home and squarely into the business market (though likely those that take their media seriously will add it to the cart) and the TVS-h874 will function as a solid solution for Video editing (even at 8K), high frequency and performing VMs, large scale AI powered Surveillance setup, hybrid cloud/on-prem alternative to Office 365/Google Workspace services and as the center point for all your data storage operations. Crucially though, it is that the hardware on offer here will be able to do ALL of these at the same time, therefore maximising the investment for most businesses that want to move aware from their cloud dependant ops. In terms of software,t things are a little less absolute, with QTS and QuTS still getting a little busy at times, with a steeper learning curve than its big rival DSM from Synology. That said, die-hard fans of ZFS (Zettabyte File System) will adore the inclusion of benefits in RAID handling, management and recovery that are exclusive to that platform, whilst enjoying the wide range of applications and service benefits in QuTS that are often restricted to Linux platforms.

Click to view slideshow.

The slightly conveluded approach to release hardware that does complicate the selection process (different CPUs in the Intel 12th Gen family changing the rest of the system architecture) is something that I hoped this brand would graduate from (for the sake of simplicity), but for many, this level of choice in hardware and budget will be welcome. As is QNAP’s position on the support of 3rd party hardware (drives, PCIe upgrades, etc) and software, something that we have seen a worrying trend in the last few years against elsewhere in the industry but some other brands, to err towards 1st party/proprietary compatibility more and more. There are still lingering doubts by some on the security of NAS, with ransomware attacks on the rise and ALL brands and ALL platforms being targetted (NAS, Cloud ,etc), finding a middle ground between ease of use and depth of security being a tricky tie rope walk indeed. The TVS-h874 arrives with a wide range of Day 1 tools, further rigid defaults in QTS/QuTS in 2022/2023, considerable security settings to configure and multiple system scan tools for recommendations & preventative measures available. The QNAP TVS-h874 is probably the most powerful desktop/tower NAS drive I have ever reviewed and if you are looking for a system that can legitimately do anything server-side, but you are also willing to put in the time to configure it correctly – you will genuinely be hard pushed to find a better system in 2022, 2023 and likely 2024 at this price point and scale.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 10/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


9.0
PROS
👍🏻First Commercial Intel Core 12th Gen i5, i7 and i9 NAS Drive
👍🏻Upto 20 Cores, 24 Threads and High End Integrated Graphics
👍🏻PCIe Gen 4 x16 Upgrade Slot for 10/25/100GbE Cards and 2x PCIe Gen 4 x4 M.2 NVMe Slots for 7GB SSDs
👍🏻No Obstinant 3rd Party Hardware Limitations on Support or Compatibility
👍🏻Much larger support of 3rd Party Software Services than most other NAS Brands
👍🏻10Gb/s USB Connectivity, in Type A and Type C
👍🏻Upto 64GB of Memory and Potential for 128GB
👍🏻ZFS or EXT 4 File System Choice
👍🏻M.2 NVMe SSD Bays can be used for Storage or Caching
👍🏻Volume Encryption, SED SSD Support and WORM
👍🏻Enhanced AI Surveillance Services, with opt to upgrade with $30 Google TPU
👍🏻AI Photo Management Tool (QuMagie) Includes Thing Recognition and works offline
👍🏻ALL the ZFS Benefits, whilst also the GUI and App benefits of a Linux Software Platform in one
CONS
👎🏻Available Versions/Configs of the 4/6/8-Bay are confusing
👎🏻QVR Elite (not QVR Pro) only has 2 Cam Licences
👎🏻HDMI Output is 1.4b
👎🏻10Gbe is ONLY included with the most expensive Intel i9 Model
👎🏻Noisy when in operation when fully populated
👎🏻Too Many licenses on Enterprise Tools (Drive Analyzer, Face Tiger, etc) with too few free licenses

 


Best Value Hardware 8-Bay NAS Drive – Terramaster T9-423 NAS

0-198TB, 9-Bays, 1x PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel Celeron N5105 Quad Core CPU, 8-32GB Memory, 2x 2.5GbE Port, 2yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $999

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review April ’22:

I like the terramaster T9-423 NAS a lot more than I thought I was going to! Over the years I have seen several quirky NAS designs appear from brands looking to find gaps in the existing market between the traditional 2-bay, 4-bay, 8-bay and rackmount systems. In most cases, these brands tend to never really hit the ground running with these systems and a lot of that is because they are either priced poorly, have bad internal hardware choices for the sake of offsetting the overall cost of a new design or simply do not read the room in knowing what people want. I’m pleased to say that the Terramaster T9-423 does not seem to suffer any of these things. This 9-Bay arrives in a chassis that is a smaller and more convenient frame than many eight-bay desktops, arrives at a price point that for the scale is reasonable and has the same or better hardware than most other mid-range desktop NAS in 2022. Alongside this, Terramaster’s innovations in TOS5 to improve their platform to include many more storage services, backup methods and a few premium apps in the works means that the brand still manages to be competitive in spite of its more cost-effective reputation and hardware focus.

Click to view slideshow.

First-party app development still pales in comparison to bigger NAS brands (though popular third-party tools that already exist in the market are supported and available to download) and in terms of software, this system is still a little underwhelming, if very functional. Then you have the build quality. The construction of this chassis is particularly higher than I anticipated and unlike many of the brand’s rather dated or plastic-looking cases in 2 and 4 bays, The T9-423 is remarkably well constructed with excellent considerations being made to ventilation and keeping the device compact despite its large storage potential. As long as you keep in mind that you are buying a more cost-effective or value alternative to top-tier brands, as well as having perhaps a little more patience with the software than you might like, the Terramaster T9-423 is a great NAS and an exceedingly positive move by the brand to further evolve.

SOFTWARE - 7/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻Surprisingly compact for 9 Bays of Storage
👍🏻Good Middle ground between a Rackmount and Desktop System
👍🏻2.5GbE at the Price of 1GbE
👍🏻Good CPU for the Price Point
👍🏻USB 3.2 Gen 2 is very forward-thinking for local backups
👍🏻Great RAID Options
👍🏻Snapshot Replication
👍🏻BTRFS Support if preferred
👍🏻Supports Plex and all 1080p Transcoding
👍🏻4K Video transcoding natively
👍🏻A large amount of maximum memory supported (16-32GB – TBC)
👍🏻M.2 SSD Bay inside for caching/storage at PCIe Gen 3×2
CONS
👎🏻Only 1x M.2 NVMe SSD Bay
👎🏻Default 4GB memory is 2133Mhz
👎🏻HDMI Currently Unsupported
👎🏻TOS Software feels a little empty of Killer-Apps at the moment (as the AI photo recognition, Surveillance, Centralized Backup tools, etc are still in Beta)


Where to Buy a Product
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Need More Help Choosing the right NAS?

Choosing the right data storage solution for your needs can be very intimidating and it’s never too late to ask for help. With options ranging from NAS to DAS, Thunderbolt to SAS and connecting everything up so you can access all your lovely data at the touch of a button can be a lot simpler than you think. If you want some tips, guidance or help with everything from compatibility to suitability of a solution for you, why not drop me a message below and I will get back to you as soon as possible with what you should go for, its suitability and the best place to get it. This service is designed without profit in mind and in order to help you with your data storage needs, so I will try to answer your questions as soon as possible. Just enter in a few details of your setup, storage requirements and (in the case of buying a new solution) your budget – then me and Eddie the Web guy can help you with your question. This is a completely free service, is NOT provided with profit in mind and is manned by two humans (no bots, no automated replies, etc). Assistance might take an extra day or two (the service gets a lot of visitors) but we do try to answer every message. If you want to support this service, you can find out how to donate HERE. Otherwise, you can still just message us for free advice anyway!

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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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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]  

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    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.  

Best 2-Bay NAS of the Year – 2022/2023

6 décembre 2022 à 18:00

A Guide to the Best 2-Bay NAS Drives to Buy Right Now

When you are looking for a new data storage solution, chances are that in terms of cost vs storage, a 2 drive solution is pretty much a solid choice – especially for tech novices or those dipping their toes into owning their own server for the first time. If you can overcome the initial downfall of losing 50% of your storage space (RAID 1 over two hard drives), you can get some genuinely incredible 2 bay solutions in 2022, as well as many 2023 releases having already appeared. 2 Disk storage systems always held a rather wimpy reputation till about 2017/18, as it was assumed that because the system had limited capacity and throughput to work with, it would be a waste to make it powerful. Fast forward to now and the general standard of hardware that is equipped on some of the 2-Bay NAS released in the last year or so has escalated hugely, 10GbE support has appeared and add to that the fact that NAS hard drives (such as Seagate Ironwolf and WD Red) are now available in 20-22TB sizes, a 2 HDD NAS server is compact, powerful and hugely capacity enabled! So today I want to talk about the best 2-Bay NAS drives of the year and help you choose the right one for your home or business needs, covering the best for software, the best for hardware and the best for both. Let’s begin.

What Have All the Best 2-Bay NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different 2-Bay NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best 2-Bay solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another 2-Bay NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS includes the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand-supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwofl 22TB and WD Red 22TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity (higher in some cases)
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above. As these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best 2-Bay NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.

NoteORIGINALLY I would have put the QNAP TS-264 in this category, regretfully though, it is still unavailable at the time of writing, so it cannot be included. However, it would DEFINITELY deserve to be here and might even be the real ‘best all-round 2-Bay NAS.


Best All Round 2-Bay NAS Drive – QNAP TS-253E NAS

0-44TB, 2-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 3×2 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel Celeron J6412 CPU, 8GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10G), 1x HDMI 1.4b 4K 30FPS, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $509

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Aug ’22 Review of the TS-453E (4-Bay Alternative):

The QNAP TS-453E NAS is a device that really grew on me! With these home/business server companies releasing refreshes of their ranges every 2-2.5yrs or so, it is easy to see them fall into repetitive patterns when it comes to how the hardware is picked at each tier/price-point. The TS-453E NAS on the other hand manages to carve a new tier into the brand’s portfolio right now in 2022, managing to give you some really solid internal/external hardware that most would have assumed would be half of what it is at this level of QNAP’s 4-bay portfolio (i.e Quad-Core, 8GB, NVMe M.2s, 2.5GbE, 10G USB, 3yr warranty, etc) and it will certainly make some buyers wonder about whether the current Prosumer/flagship TS-464 is as necessary to their home or office as they once thought.

Click to view slideshow.

The fixed memory, even at 8GB default, is rather annoying and a lack of PCIe slot means that 10GbE will remain out of reach – but look at this NAS sandwiched between the TS-451D2 & TS-464 and it makes alot of sense. This is for those not really looking at expandability years from now and although that plastic case still looks a little dated/cheap, this is not a device designed to be noticed day-to-day. For those looking to make their first tentative entry into the world of NAS a decent one or looking to upgrade cautiously from an ARM system, the QNAP TS-453E is an excellent shout!

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 7/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.0
PROS
👍🏻Exceptional CPU choice for the Scale/Tier
👍🏻8GB of DDR4 Memory
👍🏻2.5GbE (x2) Ports on Day 1
👍🏻Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s) Ports!
👍🏻2x M.2 NVMe Slots alongside those 4x SATA Bays for Storage (Caching, Tiered Storage or standalone Pools)
👍🏻Includes VM, Surveillance (8 licenses and upto 32 Cams), Backup, Sync, Multimedia, SaaS sync/migration and office tools (some with added AI services)
👍🏻3-Year Warranty (Can be extended)
👍🏻VERY Compact, low-impact design
👍🏻Supports 1-2x Expansions
👍🏻20TB and 22TB Confirmed Compatibility
CONS
👎🏻
👎🏻Memory Cannot be Upgraded
👎🏻M.2 NVMe SSD Slots are Gen 3 x2
👎🏻Chassis is still a little dated looking

 


Best Software 2-Bay NAS Drive – Synology DS720+ NAS

(Note – The Synology DS723+ NAS was first revealed unofficially in October ’22. This is the refresh to the Synology DS720+ NAS, but with a Ryzen Processor, ECC Memory and optional 10GbE upgrade. However, launch of that device looks like it will be Jan ’23)

0-44TB, 2-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 2×4 M.2 NVMe 2280, Quad Core Intel Celeron J4125 CPU, 2-6GB DDR4 Memory, 2x 1Gbe Port, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $399

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review June ’20:

The Synology NAS brand is one that we have long associated with software as the KEY selling point. However, users these days know alot more about this kind of technology than ever before and Synology has clearly responded some ways better than others. The inclusion of NVMe SSD caching is absolutely something that I can get behind in a positive way! The standard of 1Gbe (x2 technically) is still a bit of a sore one and something many would have assumed would serve as a pricing/buying tier between the DS220+ vs DS720+ (also the DS420+ vs DS920+) but though 2.5Gbe is still in its infancy, it is growing trend that Synology will not ignore for much longer and perhaps something that will give more experienced users pause before clicking the ‘buy now’ button.

Click to view slideshow.

In practically EVERY OTHER WAY the DS720+ is a worthy successor to the DS718+, as well as easily earning the title of the best 2-Bay the biggest brand in modern NAS has ever put out. From its strengths in supporting DSM as one of the best software GUIs and platforms in the area of storage to its mould-breaking utilization of SSD caching in DSM 6.2 (with promised improves even more in DSM 7.0), the Synology DS720+ is a NAS drive that gives you ALOT of power and potential under the hood to help you enjoy your data, just know that it arrives with the tiniest bit of a network ‘glass-ceiling’ down the line.

SOFTWARE - 9/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 7/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.4
PROS
👍🏻Dual NVMe M.2 cache add-on
👍🏻Great RAID Options
👍🏻Excellent choice of Apps
👍🏻Snapshot Replication
👍🏻BTRFS and SHR
👍🏻Support Plex
👍🏻Virtualization
👍🏻4K Video transcoding
👍🏻Full Plex Transcoding
👍🏻Hot-Swap trays
👍🏻DLNA Compliant
👍🏻Expandable
CONS
👎🏻Only 1Gbe Ethernet ports
👎🏻No PCIe slots
👎🏻2GB Memory is a little low in the long term
👎🏻Only a single accessible Memory Bay

 


Best Value Hardware 2-Bay NAS Drive – Asustor Lockerstor 2 Gen2 NAS

0-44TB, 2-Bays, 4x PCIe Gen 3×2 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 CPU 4-Core Integrated Gfx, 4-16GB DDR4 Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $399

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Dec’22:

The Lockerstor 2 Gen 2 NAS is a respectable piece of kit! Indeed, the hardware here is almost faultless! Unless you are particularly noise sensitive (and therefore the metal chassis adding a few dBa to the ambient sound), there is almost nothing I can fault here on the devices hardware. The scaling up of practically all hardware over the Gen 1 Lockerstor, such as Better CPU, Better Memory that goes higher, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.2 Gen 2, a 10GbE upgrade option and THOSE FOUR M. 2 NVMe SSD SLOTS – you simply cannot fault how much is getting included here at the price point vs it’s competitors. The software is a little less compelling, with a smaller range of 1st party applications on offer, more of a reliance on 3rd party services and the absence of a few AAA+ features that are present on other devices in the market (AI services, Cloud Bolt on live synchronization, 1st Party SaaS native sync with Google Workspace/Office365, etc).

Click to view slideshow.

That said, ADM does run very well, is clear and still quite user-friendly. The addition of a choice of file systems EXT4 or BTRFS, flexibility on the use of those M.2 NVMe SSD bays and the Asustor HDMI portal still bring fantastic flexibility to the Lockerstor 2 Gen 2 NAS too. Ultimately, this is a system that is clearly making big waves on it’s hardware more than it’s software, but as long as you keep your feet on the ground and appreciate that this system is more of a 70/30 purchase of hardware vs software, you will come to respect and rely on this Asustor NAS as the backbone of your data storage setup.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.2
PROS
👍🏻Hard/Impossible to find this level of NAS Hardware elsewhere at this price point
👍🏻Those FOUR M.2 NVMe 2280 SSD slots are great and turn this 2-Bay NAS into an 6-Bay
👍🏻2.5GbE by default, as well as the option to add further 2.5/5Gb connections over USB
👍🏻$45 increase over RRP of Lockstor Gen 1, but upgrades practically everything 1-2 levels (New Celeron CPU, Better/High Memory Max, USB 10G, HDMI 2.0b, PCIe Gen 3 Architecture)
👍🏻Includes support for either EXT4 or BTRFS
👍🏻Includes KVM Support with Parallel GUI over HDMI, Asustor Portal
👍🏻ADM is better than it has ever been, responsive, clear and intuitive
👍🏻Several different setup and initialization options
👍🏻Full Support of the traditional RAID levels
👍🏻Storage can be expanded with TWO of the Asustor AS6004U 4-Bay
CONS
👎🏻Lack of a fluid RAID System (such as Synology Hybrid RAID, Drobo BeyondRAID or Terramaster TRAID) to allow mixed drive media and easier scaling of storage over time
👎🏻Metal chassis and trays is going to result in an increase of ambient noise (hum/vibration) than other plastic casing/tray NAS systems
👎🏻Some apps (such as the Surveillance Center apps) are long overdue an update in visuals and services
👎🏻ADM is good, but lacks the killer apps/AAA and AI service tools that are being offered by other brands right now
👎🏻They were targeted by the Deadbolt ransomware attack at the start of 2022 and although the linux vulnerability that was used has been reported to be closed and they worked with affected users, this is still going to be on the minds of some buyers

Lowest Priced Plex 2-Bay NAS Drive – Terramaster F2-423 NAS

0-44TB, 2-Bays, 2x Gen 3 x1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 Celeron CPU Quad-Core Integrated Gfx CPU, 4-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, USB 3.2 Gen 2 10G, 3yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $389

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review (4-Bay Review, but F2-423 Coming Very Soon) – Watch

What I said in my review May’22:

Terramaster still continues to be the most affordable fully-featured provider of the whole NAS market and although a number of their solutions have always felt a little rough around the edges, you always got the impression that you were getting a good deal for the hardware that was available from QNAP and Synology. Now in 2022/2023, the same continues to be true but in the F2-423 NAS’ case, you are actually getting some pretty top tier (for the Home/Prosumer) market at a price tag that is really tough to argue with. Terramaster has clearly been watching their bigger competitors and cherry-picked the features that people have been asking for (2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe SSD bays, etc) for this new generation.

Click to view slideshow.

In terms of software, things are a little less convincing and although TOS 5 still continues to evolve into something genuinely fully featured and impressive, TOS 4 that the F2-423 includes at launch is usable (if unexciting) platform that provides the base level services that a new NAS user would want, but lacks killer apps that their competitors are offering right now (File Streaming, AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc). Most of these ARE included in TOS5, but until it arrives much later in 2022 in a full release, the F2-423 feels like a powerful NAS that doesn’t have the software to show off its strengths yet. If you are reading this later in 2022 or 2023, this might well be irrelevant though, as the brand rolls out their bit firmware update to ALL Terramster NAS devices. Overall, I definitely CAN recommend the F2-423 NAS for its hardware, for Plex Media server or as an affordable multi-tier backup solution, but if you are looking for a NAS for more tailored data access or in a much more fully-featured package.

SOFTWARE - 7/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.4
PROS
👍🏻2.5GbE at the Price of 1GbE
👍🏻TRAID Flexible RAID is great stuff!
👍🏻Good CPU for the Price Point
👍🏻Supports Current 22TB HDDs from WD and Seagate
👍🏻VERY easy TrueNAS installation is possible
👍🏻USB 3.2 Gen 2 is very forward-thinking for local backups
👍🏻Great RAID Options
👍🏻Snapshot Replication
👍🏻BTRFS Support if preferred
👍🏻Supports Plex and all 1080p Transcoding
👍🏻4K Video transcoding natively
👍🏻A large amount of maximum memory supported (16-32GB - TBC)
👍🏻Includes two M.2 NVMe SSD Bays that can be used for storage or caching
CONS
👎🏻HDMI Currently Unsupported
👎🏻Although TOS 5 has seen some big improvements and more AAA+ apps and services added, it is still not as polished as DSM or QTS from their competitors

 


Where to Buy a Product
amzamexmaestrovisamaster 24Hfree delreturn VISIT RETAILER ➤ 
amzamexmaestrovisamaster 24Hfree delreturn VISIT RETAILER ➤

Need More Help Choosing the right NAS?

Choosing the right data storage solution for your needs can be very intimidating and it’s never too late to ask for help. With options ranging from NAS to DAS, Thunderbolt to SAS and connecting everything up so you can access all your lovely data at the touch of a button can be a lot simpler than you think. If you want some tips, guidance or help with everything from compatibility to suitability of a solution for you, why not drop me a message below and I will get back to you as soon as possible with what you should go for, its suitability and the best place to get it. This service is designed without profit in mind and in order to help you with your data storage needs, so I will try to answer your questions as soon as possible. Just enter in a few details of your setup, storage requirements and (in the case of buying a new solution) your budget – then me and Eddie the Web guy can help you with your question. This is a completely free service, is NOT provided with profit in mind and is manned by two humans (no bots, no automated replies, etc). Assistance might take an extra day or two (the service gets a lot of visitors) but we do try to answer every message. If you want to support this service, you can find out how to donate HERE. Otherwise, you can still just message us for free advice anyway!

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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

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]  

Support What We Do


support what we do
    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.  

Best 4-Bay NAS of the Year – 2022/2023

1 décembre 2022 à 16:00

A Guide to the Best 4-Bay NAS Drives to Buy Right Now

I think it would be fair to say that, when it comes to users who are making the jump professionally from Cloud to their own private server, the 4-Bay NAS market is often their first choice! Aside from the obvious benefits in capacity (NAS hard drives are now available at 22TB and 24TB is just around the corner) and redundancy (i.e safety nets), 4 disk servers tend to be where NAS brands introduce better hardware internally and externally. As NAS technology has improved year on year, the standard of the average prosumer/small-business 4-Bay NAS has increased quite substantially – all the while with the price point largely remaining the same at each tier (give or take a few %). So, today I want to discuss the very best 4-Bay NAS drives that you can buy right now at the end of 2022 and into 2023. I have reviewed hundreds of NAS devices in the last few years, and I can comfortably say that 2022/2023 has easily been the most competitive. We have seen the evolution of M.2 NVMe SSD use in these systems extending to caching and storage across all NAS brands, the continued growth of 2.5GbE, a new generation of processors arrive that open the doors to larger bandwidth internally and all the while, the software that all these devices arrive with become incredibly diverse and capable! So, let’s get down to it, what are the best 4-Bay NAS drives of 2022 and 2023? Let’s go.

What Have All the Best 4-Bay NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different 4-Bay NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best 4-Bay solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another 4-Bay NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS includes the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • ALL the solutions in my top 4-Bay NAS of the year feature both SATA and M.2 NVMe SSD bays (an absolute must-have right now)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand-supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwofl 22TB and WD Red 22TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above. As these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best 4-Bay NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.


Best All Round 4-Bay NAS Drive – QNAP TS-464 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 3×1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel Celeron N5105 CPU, 4-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 1x PCIe Gen 3×2 Slot, 1 HDMI 2.0 4K 6-FPS, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $550

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review April ’22:

The TS-464 comfortably arrives with the best hardware in its tier of the NAS market and that is something that QNAP has always been quite good at. Even if you rewind just 5 years, the level of hardware scalability and ease of upgradability that the TS-464 provides is frankly incredible and, fast forward to 2022, is still pretty unmatched. A Desktop 4-Bay NAS (eg Prosumer RAID 5 storage) has always been the next confident step for users who are tired of their hands being tied by subscription cloud services from Google, OneDrive and DropBox, who are looking for their own competent, flexible and fully-featured private server. In the TS-464 NAS, you find a system that is unquestionable the best hardware for your money you can possibly get right now. In software, things are a little less straightforward. QTS 5, although massively software and service-rich, arrives as a complete operating system in your web browser with multiple mobile/desktop clients and hundreds of applications and apps that can be installed at the touch of a button – which can all too often be something of a steep learning curve for many.

Click to view slideshow.

Lacking the slightly chewable, user-friendly nature of many of their rivals, QNAP and its software/service still have a tendency to be a bit of an information overload that can quickly intimidate the novice. However, for those that are looking for a system that is completely customizable in how/when/where you want data presented to you, as well as a wide degree of 3rd party support, QNAP and QTS 5 still manages to provide a huge degree of brand-unique service that are simply not available elsewhere. Just be prepared to invest your time wisely in its setup and more time ensuring the system is perfect for your needs.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻Very compact chassis design, despite large storage potential
👍🏻A BIG jump in hardware and scale from the TS-453Be and TS-453D, but with a largely identical RRP at launch
👍🏻Easily one of the most hardware packed SMB/Mid-range 4-Bay on the market
👍🏻Up to 16GB of Memory is fantastic
👍🏻m.2 NVMe SSD Bays AND a PCIe Upgrade Slot (no need to choose one upgrade path)
👍🏻8x Included Camera Licenses
👍🏻Includes Anti-virus, Firewall Tool, VPN client tools, Malware Remover, network manager and Security Councilor Tool
👍🏻3 Different Container/VM tools that also feature image download centers
👍🏻10Gb/s (1,000MB/s) USB Ports will be incredibly useful
👍🏻Large range of expansion options in the TR/TL series in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 Bays
CONS
👎🏻The PCIe Slot is PCIe 3×2 and the M.2 SSD Bays are PCIe 3×1 (likely limitations of all this H/W on a Celeron+chipset
👎🏻QNAP Has had 3 ransomware hits in 2019-2021 (Qlocker, Qsnatch and Deadbolt). Lots of Security app/changes since, but people remember and QNAP needs to win back that trust in 2022/2023

 


Best Software 4-Bay NAS Drive – Synology DS923+ NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe 2280, Dual Core AMD Emb.Ryzen R1600 CPU, 4-32GB DDR4 ECC Memory, 2x 1Gbe Port, 10GbE Optional Upgrade Slot, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $550+

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Nov’22:

Synology has clearly made something of a gamble in the release of the Synology DS923+ NAS. There is no avoiding that making the switch from the Intel Celeron that has historically been the build choice of this product family and opting for the AMD Emb.Ryzen has ruffled some feathers! On the face of it, the R1600 here has a heck of alot of going for it over the previous generation! Higher clock speed, greater PCIe Gen 3 Support throughout, that 4-32GB of DDR4 memory in such a compact system and just generally giving you a lot more horsepower to play with, as well as better bandwidth potential inside and out! But at what cost? The 1GbE standard connectivity in the base model leaves alot to be desired, the proprietary 10Gb upgrade (though incredibly handy) limits the upgradability a tad and the lack of an integrated graphics processor is likely going to result in many long-term Synology advocates to skip this generation. Synology Diskstation Manager (DSM 7.1 at the time of writing) still continues to impress and although the brand still continues to heavily push their 1st party priorities, they have left a little more wriggle room in DSM 7.1 than DSM 7 before it in terms of media compatibility.

Click to view slideshow.

In terms of design, I cannot fault Synology on this as the DS923+ chassis still arrives as one of the best-looking and still exceptionally well-structured devices at this physical scale and storage level. As always, a Synology NAS is more about the software than the hardware (and the DS923+ delivers in spades on the software side!) and with DSM 7.2 around the corner improving things. Just always keep in mind that the Synology DS923+ NAS is a system that arrives with the slight emphasis on having to do many things ‘their way’. If you are less technically versed, then you will definitely appreciate this level of user-friendly design and assistance, but more technically minded admins’ main strain a pinch! In short, the DS923+ IS a good NAS drive, but its focus has certainly ebbed more towards the business user this generation than the home.

SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻DSM 7/7.1 (and DSM7.2 Around the corner) still continues to be an absolute tour-de-force of NAS Software
👍🏻This latest generation expandable 4-Bay arriving with a 10G Upgrade Option is fantastic
👍🏻ECC Memory Support and scalability to 32GB is completely unparallel at this price point
👍🏻The design of the DS923+ NAS still continues to be market-leading
👍🏻The New CPU architecture allows great PCIe3 bandwidth to be afforded to the rest of the hardware, inside and out
👍🏻Low Noise, Low Physical Impact and Intelligent Automatic Power Use Adjustment Settings
👍🏻Increased Support for macOS in Synology Drive and Active Backup Suite (DSM 7.2)
👍🏻Synology C2 Cloud Services, 1st Party Backup/Sync Tools and Collaboration Suite App = Complete 1st Party Eco-system that can rival Office365 and Google Workspace
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools!!! FINALLY!
👍🏻Tremendously User-Friendly!!!
CONS
👎🏻The AMD Emb.Ryzen instead of a Intel Celeron (with Integrated Graphics) will be a dealbreaker for alot of users
👎🏻The default 1GbE ports that the system arrives with are tremendously dated
👎🏻The USB ports on the system are older gen USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) and their support/usability have been quite pared back in recent DSM releases
👎🏻The continued moves by Synology to prioritize 1st party hardware and software services may put some users off
👎🏻Plex Support on the Synology DS923+ is still great for native playback, client-side handling and client devices with relevant multimedia licenses in place, but if server-side media conversions are needed - this system will struggle in comparison with the DS920+ before it

 


Most Powerful 4-Bay NAS Drive – QNAP TVS-h474 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x Gen 3 x2 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel Pentium Gold G7400 2-core/4-thread 3.7 GHz CPU, Intel Embedded UHD Graphics 710, 8-128GB DDR4 Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, PCIe Gen 4 x16 + PCIe Gen 3 x2, USB 10G, HDMI 2.0B, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $1,199

Hardware Preview – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my Preview Sept ’22:

As previously mentioned, the QNAP TVS-h474, TVS-h674 and TVS-h874 are the follow-ups to the popular TVS-472XT, TVS-672XT and TVS-872XT released in the closing stages of 2018. In the 4 years since their initial release, that thunderbolt 3 product series ended up being diversified into a standalone 10GbE version and a 5GbE version – all of which using 2/4/6 Core, 8th Gen Intel Core processors and PCIe 3 architecture. The newer 4, 6 and 8-Bay x74 series have pretty much ramped up every element of their predecessor’s architecture (even the USB ports) and although the CPU is the main reason for this tremendous upscaling of the result of the hardware architecture, you do still get some fantastic hardware under the bonnet generally. That said, it’s worth highlighting that the scaling of the hardware between each capacity tier (and even sub-versions at each tier) means that depending on which system in the series you choose, some hardware options might not be available. The TVS-h874-64GB 8-Bay version is the full Intel i9 16 Core version with full PCIe4 support and 10GbE, whereas the most affordable tier is the TVS-h474-8G 4-Bay with PCIe 3/4 architecture, a Dual Core Pentium Gold and 2.5GbE. Let’s quickly compare the hardware architecture of the three NAS systems and their sub-versions:

Click to view slideshow.

So, let’s dig a little deeper into those CPUs.  With QNAP slowly revealing more and more PCIe 4 upgrade and expansion cards (such as the 2x10GbE+2xPCIe4 NVMe Combo card QM2-2P410G2T and the Dual Port 100GbE QXG-100G2SF-CX6), the necessity for their business class and desktop enterprise solutions to utilize these cards is going to be tremendously important. However, PCIe 4 bandwidth is what makes these cards possible, as a single PCIe4 lane provides approx 2,000MB/s compared with the 1000MB/s of PCIe3 – even when you add x4 or x16 lane multipliers that form the architecture of PCI slots, that still means a difference of 16GB vs 32GB of potential bandwidth. The barrier for many though is that PCIe4, although established in many motherboards and accessories, is not quite as widely supported in server-class CPUs till around 2021 onwards. This (alongside a hugely powerful onboard embedded graphics component) is what continues to push QNAP to utilize the Intel Core family of CPUs in this product tier over the years. With CPUBenchmark scoring for these CPUs ranging from 6,600+ to 36,000+, you have some series Xeon/EPYC challenging processors here and when you consider these are DESKTOP solutions, not rackmount, that is especially impressive!

SOFTWARE - 9/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 10/10
PRICE - 7/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻ZFS and EXT4 Support
👍🏻Pentium Gold Processor 4-Bay - NICE
👍🏻Graphics Card Support
👍🏻PCIe Gen 4 Lanes and a 4x16 Slot
👍🏻2.5GbE by default
👍🏻Massive Memory Support
👍🏻LCD Panel Always Useful
👍🏻USB 10G Ports
👍🏻m.2 NVMe SSD Slots for Caching OR Storage Pools
👍🏻Best Plex 4-Bay NAS in 2022/2023 by a good distance!
CONS
👎🏻Expensive!
👎🏻Still waiting for an I3 option
👎🏻Power Hungry and a pinch noisy in operation

 


Best Value Hardware 4-Bay NAS Drive – Asustor Lockerstor 4 Gen2 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 4x PCIe Gen 3×1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 CPU 4-Core Integrated Gfx, 4-16GB DDR4 Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 1x HDMI 2.0b, PCIe Upgrade Slot, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $579

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Nov’22:

The Lockerstor 4 Gen 2 NAS is a respectable piece of kit! Indeed, the hardware here is almost faultless! Unless you are particularly noise sensitive (and therefore the metal chassis adding a few dBa to the ambient sound), there is almost nothing I can fault here on the devices hardware. The scaling up of practically all hardware over the Gen 1 Lockerstor, such as Better CPU, Better Memory that goes higher, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.2 Gen 2, a 10GbE upgrade option and THOSE FOUR M. 2 NVMe SSD SLOTS – you simply cannot fault how much is getting included here at the price point vs it’s competitors. The software is a little less compelling, with a smaller range of 1st party applications on offer, more of a reliance on 3rd party services and the absence of a few AAA+ features that are present on other devices in the market (AI services, Cloud Bolt on live synchronization, 1st Party SaaS native sync with Google Workspace/Office365, etc).

Click to view slideshow.

That said, ADM does run very well, is clear and still quite user-friendly. The addition of choice of file systems EXT4 or BTRFS, flexibility on the use of those M.2 NVMe SSD bays and the Asustor HDMI portal still bring fantastic flexibility to the Lockerstor 4 Gen 2 NAS too. Ultimately, this is a system that is clearly making big waves on it’s hardware more than it’s software, but as long as you keep your feet on the ground and appreciate that this system is more of a 70/30 purchase of hardware vs software, you will come to respect and rely on this Asustor NAS as the backbone of your data storage setup.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻Hard/Impossible to find this level of NAS Hardware elsewhere at this price point
👍🏻Those FOUR M.2 NVMe 2280 SSD slots are great and turn this 4-Bay NAS into an 8-Bay
👍🏻2.5GbE by default, as well as the option to add further 2.5/5Gb connections over USB
👍🏻The option to scale up the network connectivity to 10GbE down the line (4 and 6 Bay only)
👍🏻$60 increase over RRP of Lockstor Gen 1, but upgrades practically everything 1-2 levels (New Celeron CPU, Better/High Memory Max, USB 10G, HDMI 2.0b, PCIe Gen 3 Architecture)
👍🏻Includes support for either EXT4 or BTRFS
👍🏻Includes KVM Support with Parallel GUI over HDMI, Asustor Portal
👍🏻ADM is better tha nit has ever been, responsive, clear and intuitive
👍🏻Several different setup and initialization options
👍🏻One of very few 4-Bay NAS drives that still feature a fully functional and controllable LCD Panel
👍🏻Full Support of the traditional RAID levels for this scale (RAID 0-1-5-6)
👍🏻Storage can be expanded with TWO of the Asustor AS6004U 4-Bay
CONS
👎🏻Lack of a fluid RAID System (such as Synology Hybrid RAID, Drobo BeyondRAID or Terramaster TRAID) to allow mixed drive media and easier scaling of storage over time
👎🏻Metal chassis and trays is going to result in an increase of ambient noise (hum/vibration) than other plastic casing/tray NAS systems
👎🏻Some apps (such as the Surveillance Center apps) are long overdue an update in visuals and services
👎🏻ADM is good, but lacks the killer apps/AAA and AI service tools that are being offered by other brands right now
👎🏻They were targeted by the Deadbolt ransomware attack at the start of 2022 and although the linux vulnerability that was used has been reported to be closed and they worked with affected users, this is still going to be on the minds of some buyers

Lowest Priced Plex 4-Bay NAS Drive – Terramaster F4-423 NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x Gen 3 x1 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 Celeron CPU Quad-Core Integrated Gfx CPU, 4-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 3yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $500

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review May’22:

Terramaster still continues to be the most affordable fully-featured provider of the whole NAS market and although a number of their solutions have always felt a little rough around the edges, you always got the impression that you were getting a good deal for the hardware that was available from QNAP and Synology. Now in 2022/2023, the same continues to be true but in the F4-423 NAS’ case, you are actually getting some pretty top tier (for the Home/Prosumer) market at a price tag that is really tough to argue with. Terramaster has clearly been watching their bigger competitors and cherry-picked the features that people have been asking for (2.5GbE, USB 3.2 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe SSD bays, etc) for this new generation.

Click to view slideshow.

In terms of software, things are a little less convincing and although TOS 5 (currently in Beta at the time of writing) still continues to evolve into something genuinely fully featured and impressive, TOS 4 that the F4-423 includes at launch is usable (if unexciting) platform that provides the base level services that a new NAS user would want, but lacks killer apps that their competitors are offering right now (File Streaming, AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc). Most of these ARE included in TOS5, but until it arrives much later in 2022 in a full release, the F4-423 feels like a powerful NAS that doesn’t have the software to show off its strengths yet. If you are reading this later in 2022 or 2023, this might well be irrelevant though, as the brand rolls out their bit firmware update to ALL Terramster NAS devices. Overall, I definitely CAN recommend the F4-423 NAS for its hardware, for Plex Media server or as an affordable multi-tier backup solution, but if you are looking for a NAS for more tailored data access or in a much more fully-featured package – hold out a little longer till TOS 5 gets released first.

SOFTWARE - 5/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 10/10
VALUE - 8/10


7.8
PROS
👍🏻2.5GbE at the Price of 1GbE
👍🏻Good CPU for the Price Point
👍🏻USB 3.2 Gen 2 is very forward-thinking for local backups
👍🏻Great RAID Options
👍🏻Snapshot Replication
👍🏻BTRFS Support if preferred
👍🏻Supports Plex and all 1080p Transcoding
👍🏻4K Video transcoding natively
👍🏻A large amount of maximum memory supported (16-32GB – TBC)
👍🏻Includes two M.2 NVMe SSD Bays that can be used for storage or caching
CONS
👎🏻Default 4GB memory is 2133Mhz
👎🏻HDMI Currently Unsupported
👎🏻Until TOS5 is Fully Released, TOS Software feels a little empty of Killer-Apps (AI photo recognition, Surveillance, etc)

 


Where to Buy a Product
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Best Photography NAS of the Year – 2022/2023

20 décembre 2022 à 18:00

Choosing the NAS for Photo Viewing, Sharing and/or Editing Photography of the Year

Many users first time hearing about NAS drives will often be when the limitations of their 3rd party cloud storage space (from the likes of Google, Apple or DropBox) start to become clear, with few groups feeling this pinch more than keen amateur or professional photographers. In the beginning, backing up your photo collections onto a space-free or low-price subscription cloud space seems so convenient! Backing up those photos from your phone so easy, the space you can free up from your phone periodically is so useful – but within a year or two it suddenly becomes apparent that you have been digging quite a hole for yourself! Limitations such as small capacities, slow backup speeds, regular payments towards something you will need to pay for indefinitely without true ownership and the every present nagging query about if your photos are completely under your control. Many users who want to quit the cloud are going to need somewhere for those photos to live eventually and the more time passes, the bigger the collection becomes. Now a NAS drive is so much more than a simple ‘hard drive on the internet’ and in reality is a multi-faceted storage system that can serve as an easy photo backup device, smart AI-powered photo recognition and organization tool, an editing target, a professional sharing space for business or all of those together (with plenty of other services leftover). Thanks to the continued evolution of NAS’ keeping up with the advances in camera technology, the result is that a NAS can provide an equal/better level of photo data management than all the cloud platforms on the market, with the added benefit that YOU have FULL CONTROL of your photography. Today I want to discuss the three best NAS drives on the market for Photographers, ranging from the best value, to professional business photo storage and ending at the ultimate photo NAS right now.

What Have All the Best Photography NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different Photography NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best Photography solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another Photography NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS includes the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand-supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwolf 22TB and WD Red 22TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above as these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best Photography NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.


Best Semi-Pro Photography NAS Drive – Synology DS923+ NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe 2280, Dual Core AMD Emb.Ryzen R1600 CPU, 4-32GB DDR4 ECC Memory, 2x 1Gbe Port, 10GbE Optional Upgrade Slot, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $550+

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

Synology DSM NAS Software Review – HERE

Apps/Tools for Photographers and Photo sharing Services: Synology Photos (AI Photo Recognition), Synology Drive, Active Backup Suite, Hyper Backup and 10GbE Support for Editing

What I said in my review Nov’22:

Synology has clearly made something of a gamble in the release of the Synology DS923+ NAS. There is no avoiding that making the switch from the Intel Celeron that has historically been the build choice of this product family and opting for the AMD Emb.Ryzen has ruffled some feathers! On the face of it, the R1600 here has a heck of alot of going for it over the previous generation! Higher clock speed, greater PCIe Gen 3 Support throughout, that 4-32GB of DDR4 memory in such a compact system and just generally giving you a lot more horsepower to play with, as well as better bandwidth potential inside and out! But at what cost? The 1GbE standard connectivity in the base model leaves alot to be desired, the proprietary 10Gb upgrade (though incredibly handy) limits the upgradability a tad and the lack of an integrated graphics processor is likely going to result in many long-term Synology advocates to skip this generation. Synology Diskstation Manager (DSM 7.1 at the time of writing) still continues to impress and although the brand still continues to heavily push their 1st party priorities, they have left a little more wriggle room in DSM 7.1 than DSM 7 before it in terms of media compatibility.

Click to view slideshow.

In terms of design, I cannot fault Synology on this as the DS923+ chassis still arrives as one of the best-looking and still exceptionally well-structured devices at this physical scale and storage level. As always, a Synology NAS is more about the software than the hardware (and the DS923+ delivers in spades on the software side!) and with DSM 7.2 around the corner improving things. Just always keep in mind that the Synology DS923+ NAS is a system that arrives with the slight emphasis on having to do many things ‘their way’. If you are less technically versed, then you will definitely appreciate this level of user-friendly design and assistance, but more technically minded admins’ main strain a pinch! In short, the DS923+ IS a good NAS drive, but its focus has certainly ebbed more towards the business user this generation than the home.

SOFTWARE - 10/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻DSM 7/7.1 (and DSM7.2 Around the corner) still continues to be an absolute tour-de-force of NAS Software
👍🏻This latest generation expandable 4-Bay arriving with a 10G Upgrade Option is fantastic
👍🏻ECC Memory Support and scalability to 32GB is completely unparallel at this price point
👍🏻The design of the DS923+ NAS still continues to be market-leading
👍🏻The New CPU architecture allows great PCIe3 bandwidth to be afforded to the rest of the hardware, inside and out
👍🏻Low Noise, Low Physical Impact and Intelligent Automatic Power Use Adjustment Settings
👍🏻Increased Support for macOS in Synology Drive and Active Backup Suite (DSM 7.2)
👍🏻Synology C2 Cloud Services, 1st Party Backup/Sync Tools and Collaboration Suite App = Complete 1st Party Eco-system that can rival Office365 and Google Workspace
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Support as Storage Pools!!! FINALLY!
👍🏻Tremendously User-Friendly!!!
CONS
👎🏻The AMD Emb.Ryzen instead of a Intel Celeron (with Integrated Graphics) will be a dealbreaker for alot of users
👎🏻The default 1GbE ports that the system arrives with are tremendously dated
👎🏻The USB ports on the system are older gen USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) and their support/usability have been quite pared back in recent DSM releases
👎🏻The continued moves by Synology to prioritize 1st party hardware and software services may put some users off
👎🏻Plex Support on the Synology DS923+ is still great for native playback, client-side handling and client devices with relevant multimedia licenses in place, but if server-side media conversions are needed - this system will struggle in comparison with the DS920+ before it

 


Best Home Photography NAS Drive – QNAP TS-453E NAS

0-88TB, 4-Bays, 2x PCIe Gen 3×2 M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel Celeron J6412 CPU, 8GB Memory (fixed), 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 1 HDMI 1.4b 4K 30FPS, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $589

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

QNAP QTS NAS Software Review – HERE

Apps/Tools for Photographers and Photo sharing Services: QNAP Photo Station, QNAP QuMagie AI Photo Recognition, Multimedia Console Manager, QSync Share, HybridMount, Hybrid Backup Sync 3 and support of 2.5GbE and 5GbE Adapters

What I said in my review Aug ’22:

The QNAP TS-453E NAS is a device that really grew on me! With these home/business server companies releasing refreshes of their ranges every 2-2.5yrs or so, it is easy to see them fall into repetitive patterns when it comes to how the hardware is picked at each tier/price-point. The TS-453E NAS on the other hand manages to carve a new tier into the brand’s portfolio right now in 2022, managing to give you some really solid internal/external hardware that most would have assumed would be half of what it is at this level of QNAP’s 4-bay portfolio (i.e Quad-Core, 8GB, NVMe M.2s, 2.5GbE, 10G USB, 3yr warranty, etc) and it will certainly make some buyers wonder about whether the current Prosumer/flagship TS-464 is as necessary to their home or office as they once thought.

Click to view slideshow.

The fixed memory, even at 8GB default, is rather annoying and a lack of PCIe slot means that 10GbE will remain out of reach – but look at this NAS sandwiched between the TS-451D2 & TS-464 and it makes alot of sense. This is for those not really looking at expandability years from now and although that plastic case still looks a little dated/cheap, this is not a device designed to be noticed day-to-day. For those looking to make their first tentative entry into the world of NAS a decent one or looking to upgrade cautiously from an ARM system, the QNAP TS-453E is an excellent shout!

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻Exceptional CPU choice for the Scale/Tier
👍🏻8GB of DDR4 Memory
👍🏻2.5GbE (x2) Ports on Day 1
👍🏻Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s) Ports!
👍🏻2x M.2 NVMe Slots alongside those 4x SATA Bays for Storage (Caching, Tiered Storage or standalone Pools)
👍🏻Includes VM, Surveillance (8 licenses and upto 32 Cams), Backup, Sync, Multimedia, SaaS sync/migration and office tools (some with added AI services)
👍🏻3-Year Warranty (Can be extended)
👍🏻VERY Compact, low-impact design
👍🏻Supports 1-2x Expansions
👍🏻20TB and 22TB Confirmed Compatibility
CONS
👎🏻Memory Cannot be Upgraded
👎🏻M.2 NVMe SSD Slots are Gen 3 x2
👎🏻Chassis is still a little dated looking

 


Most Powerful 4K/8K Photo Editing NAS Drive – QNAP TVS-h874 NAS

0-176TB, 8-Bays, 2x PCIe 4 M.2 NVMe 2280, PCIe Gen 4×16 Upgrade Slot, Intel Core 12th Gen i5/i7/i9 CPU, 16-64GB DDR4 Memory, 2.5Gbe Port, 10Gb x2 Prots (Intel i9 Version), KVM, ZFS or EXT4 Setup, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $2000-2500-3000

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

QNAP QuTS NAS Software Review – HERE

Apps/Tools for Photographers and Photo sharing Services: Intel Core 12th Gen CPU with High-End Integrated Gfx, Dual 7,000MB/s SSD Slots for Editing 4K/8K, Support of 10GbE/25GbE/100GbE PCIe Upgrades, ZFS or ETX 4 File System Choice, QNAP Photo Station, QNAP QuMagie AI Photo Recognition, Multimedia Console Manager, QSync Share, HybridMount, Hybrid Backup Sync 3 and support of 2.5GbE and 5GbE Adapters

What I said in my review Dec ’22:

The QNAP TVS-h874 NAS is easily one of the most hardware-capable desktop NAS systems that I have ever seen (as you would expect for £2500+) and has clearly been designed with phenomenal future proofing in mind! If you are concerned about the longevity of this NAS, this hardware architecture will still be top tier 5 years from now, with the added support of PCIe 4 meaning that high capacity and performing micro upgrades throughout its life also ensuring it remains relevant long after. It’s price tag clearly moves this purchase out of the home and squarely into the business market (though likely those that take their media seriously will add it to the cart) and the TVS-h874 will function as a solid solution for Video editing (even at 8K), high frequency and performing VMs, large scale AI powered Surveillance setup, hybrid cloud/on-prem alternative to Office 365/Google Workspace services and as the center point for all your data storage operations. Crucially though, it is that the hardware on offer here will be able to do ALL of these at the same time, therefore maximising the investment for most businesses that want to move aware from their cloud dependant ops. In terms of software,t things are a little less absolute, with QTS and QuTS still getting a little busy at times, with a steeper learning curve than its big rival DSM from Synology. That said, die-hard fans of ZFS (Zettabyte File System) will adore the inclusion of benefits in RAID handling, management and recovery that are exclusive to that platform, whilst enjoying the wide range of applications and service benefits in QuTS that are often restricted to Linux platforms.

Click to view slideshow.

The slightly conveluded approach to release hardware that does complicate the selection process (different CPUs in the Intel 12th Gen family changing the rest of the system architecture) is something that I hoped this brand would graduate from (for the sake of simplicity), but for many, this level of choice in hardware and budget will be welcome. As is QNAP’s position on the support of 3rd party hardware (drives, PCIe upgrades, etc) and software, something that we have seen a worrying trend in the last few years against elsewhere in the industry but some other brands, to err towards 1st party/proprietary compatibility more and more. There are still lingering doubts by some on the security of NAS, with ransomware attacks on the rise and ALL brands and ALL platforms being targetted (NAS, Cloud ,etc), finding a middle ground between ease of use and depth of security being a tricky tie rope walk indeed. The TVS-h874 arrives with a wide range of Day 1 tools, further rigid defaults in QTS/QuTS in 2022/2023, considerable security settings to configure and multiple system scan tools for recommendations & preventative measures available. The QNAP TVS-h874 is probably the most powerful desktop/tower NAS drive I have ever reviewed and if you are looking for a system that can legitimately do anything server-side, but you are also willing to put in the time to configure it correctly – you will genuinely be hard pushed to find a better system in 2022, 2023 and likely 2024 at this price point and scale.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 10/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


9.0
PROS
👍🏻First Commercial Intel Core 12th Gen i5, i7 and i9 NAS Drive
👍🏻Upto 20 Cores, 24 Threads and High End Integrated Graphics
👍🏻PCIe Gen 4 x16 Upgrade Slot for 10/25/100GbE Cards and 2x PCIe Gen 4 x4 M.2 NVMe Slots for 7GB SSDs
👍🏻No Obstinant 3rd Party Hardware Limitations on Support or Compatibility
👍🏻Much larger support of 3rd Party Software Services than most other NAS Brands
👍🏻10Gb/s USB Connectivity, in Type A and Type C
👍🏻Upto 64GB of Memory and Potential for 128GB
👍🏻ZFS or EXT 4 File System Choice
👍🏻M.2 NVMe SSD Bays can be used for Storage or Caching
👍🏻Volume Encryption, SED SSD Support and WORM
👍🏻Enhanced AI Surveillance Services, with opt to upgrade with $30 Google TPU
👍🏻AI Photo Management Tool (QuMagie) Includes Thing Recognition and works offline
👍🏻ALL the ZFS Benefits, whilst also the GUI and App benefits of a Linux Software Platform in one
CONS
👎🏻Available Versions/Configs of the 4/6/8-Bay are confusing
👎🏻QVR Elite (not QVR Pro) only has 2 Cam Licences
👎🏻HDMI Output is 1.4b
👎🏻10Gbe is ONLY included with the most expensive Intel i9 Model
👎🏻Noisy when in operation when fully populated
👎🏻Too Many licenses on Enterprise Tools (Drive Analyzer, Face Tiger, etc) with too few free licenses

 

 



Where to Buy a Product
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Best 6-Bay NAS of the Year – 2022/2023

12 décembre 2022 à 18:00

A Guide to the Best 6-Bay NAS Drives to Buy Right Now

In the last 5 years or so, the popularity of 6-Bay NAS systems has skyrocketed! Up until that point, most users in the home/small-business market who were looking at desktop solutions would either settle for the modest 2/4 Bay scale of system, or jump up towards the 8-Bay scale when they needed more storage capacity to play with. However, the recent increase in 6 Drive server systems is larger thanks to two factors. The first is the huge capacities of drive that have arrived in the last few years (currently hitting 22TB sizes and with 24TB around the corner) that have allowed even modest-sized NAS systems to easily break into the 100TB storage mark. The second factor is the growing concerns over data redundancy and doubt about the single drive safety net afforded by RAID 5 compared with the 2 drive failure protection of RAID 6. These two factors together have resulted in 6-Bay NAS systems specifically leveraging large drives in a RAID 6 configuration to become a great deal more affordable and palatable. NAS Manufacturers have definitely observed this and we have seen considerable growth in the range of 6-Bay NAS solutions arriving on the market, scaling in hardware, power and price. Today I want to share with you my recommended 6-Bay NAS drives to buy in 2022 and 2023. These are solutions that stand out for their own specific reasons. So, let’s go through the best 6-Bay NAS servers you should be considering

What Have All the Best 6-Bay NAS Drives Have in Common?

It is worth remembering that although there are ALOT of different 6-Bay NAS drives available to buy, they are by no means created equal! With numerous super-budget brands popping up online, it can be tempting to consider these alongside the premium NAS brands. However, all too often they offer solutions righty seem ‘too good to be true’ and then are gone from the web before your warranty even gets cold! So, whether you are looking at the three best 6-Bay solutions that I am recommending below OR are looking at another 6-Bay NAS you saw on offer/recommended elsewhere – the best NAS system ALWAYS includes the following software and services:

  • Combined Hardware & Software Solution – That means that you are buying the hardware, but it ALSO includes a web browser GUI, mobile apps and desktop client apps (including backup, media, streaming, surveillance and file management software)
  • All NAS systems in this guide are compatible with (and can be accessed by) Windows, Mac, Android and Linux operating systems
  • All NAS Solutions arrive with between 2-3 years Warranty (with the option to extend to 5 years)
  • All NAS drives can be accessed locally over the network, as well as secure remote access is possible with brand-supported services (at no additional cost)
  • The most modern and regularly updated NAS systems will support the very latest 20TB NAS hard drives (such as the Seagate Ironwolf 22TB and WD Red 22TB)
  • All the recommended solutions support multiple drive configurations (RAID) for drive failure protection and performance enhancements
  • All solutions receive regular updates to their security, features and services
  • All recommended NAS drives can connect and synchronize with cloud services (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc), as well as Business/Enterprise services such as AWS, Azure, Backblaze and more
  • All NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature the ability to host a shared drive on your PC/Mobile/Laptop systems that are synchronized with the NAS via the network/internet, but is shown in your native operating system file manager (i.e Mac Finder or Windows Explorer)
  • All the NAS solutions listed can be accessed DIRECTLY via an ethernet/network cable being connected from your PC/Mac system, to the NAS RJ45 port for 100MB/s and higher connectivity
  • All the best NAS solutions (regardless of brand) feature backup and sync tools that can be installed on your local client computer and allow regular backups of your files and system data

So, make sure that if you are looking at a NAS solution that is NOT recommended below, that it includes all of the above as these are some of the clearest areas that brands all too often cut orders to produce cheaper by ultimately inferior NAS servers for home and business. So, let’s discuss the very best 6-Bay NAS to buy now in 2022/2023.


Best All Round 6-Bay NAS Drive – QNAP TS-664 NAS

0-132TB, 6-Bays, 2x M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 4-Core 2.0-2.9Ghz CPU, 8-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 4K HDMI 2.0 Port, USB 3.2 Gen 2 10G, PCIe Gen 3×2 Slot, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $799

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review April ’22:

In terms of hardware, it is extremely hard to fault the QNAP TS-664 NAS. For its price tag, short of building your own system from the ground up, what you have here is the best example of a 6-Bay NAS available for under $800-850. Then the fact that it features embedded graphical, upgradability in a number of ways (storage, network bandwidth, both), faster local backup options and an aggressive 16GB memory maximum (almost unheard of at this price tier without going higher end SMB). So yeah, the hardware included in the TS-664 certainly (especially when you factor in that this is a hardware/software combined solution when you pay for it) is a good deal. All that said, the system has certainly spread itself a little thin in places to ensure this level of upgradability, trimming those PCIe and M.2 slots in bandwidth to allow the CPU to stay on top of everything, something that only the especially die-hard NAS user is going to notice in day to day use. Now, in terms of software, the sheer range of applications available from QNAP included with the TS-664, as well as the range of 3rd party support that the system can handle has to be appalled, though the learning curve on day 1 has to be acknowledged and means the TS-664 might not be the right system for those that largely want to ‘setup and forget’ the system.

Click to view slideshow.

Then there is the subject of ransomware and security that QNAP has been taken to task over in the last 2021/2022. Although the company has stressed that vulnerabilities found in an earlier version of their software (some from Linux that practically all NAS software from all brands is built on, but also ones found in their own services stemming from poor security defaults and control being given to users without sufficient understanding of the consequences) have been addressed, with changes and improvements throughout the platform, many buyers are still going to view the TS-664 with slight trepedation. Overall I would still highly recommend the TS-664 NAS and if you know what you are doing, have a well-developed 3-2-1 backup strategy in place (as we ALL should) and don’t become overly reliant on default settings, you will genuinely struggle to find a better 6 Bay for your prosumer RAID6 in the market right now.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻Very compact chassis design, despite large storage potential
👍🏻A BIG jump in hardware and scale from the TS-453Be and TS-653D, but with a largely identical RRP at launch
👍🏻Easily one of the most hardware packed SMB/Mid-range 6-Bay on the market
👍🏻Up to 16GB of Memory is fantastic
👍🏻m.2 NVMe SSD Bays AND a PCIe Upgrade Slot (no need to choose one upgrade path)
👍🏻8x Included Camera Licenses
👍🏻Includes Anti-virus, Firewall Tool, VPN client tools, Malware Remover, network manager and Security Councilor Tool
👍🏻3 Different Container/VM tools that also feature image download centers
👍🏻10Gb/s (1,000MB/s) USB Ports will be incredibly useful
👍🏻Large range of expansion options in the TR/TL series in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 Bays
CONS
👎🏻The PCIe Slot is PCIe 3×2 and the M.2 SSD Bays are PCIe 3×1 (likely limitations of all this H/W on a Celeron+chipset
👎🏻QNAP Has had 3 ransomware hits in 2019-2021 (Qlocker, Qsnatch and Deadbolt). Lots of Security app/changes since, but people remember and QNAP needs to win back that trust in 2022/2023

 


Best Software 6-Bay NAS Drive – Synology DS1621+ NAS

0-132TB, 6-Bays, 2x M.2 NVMe 2280, AMD Emb.Ryzen V1500 4-Core 2.2Ghz CPU, 4-32GB DDR4 ECC Memory, 4x 1Gbe Port, 1x PCIe Gen 3×8 Slot, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $899

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Oct ’20:

Whether you’re looking at buying the new 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. 

Click to view slideshow.

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.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 7/10
VALUE - 8/10


7.8
PROS
👍🏻Desktop Ryzen Powered Solution
👍🏻Dual NVMe M.2 cache
👍🏻PCIe Gen 3 x8 PCIe Equipped
👍🏻Great RAID Options (inc SHR)
👍🏻Excellent choice of Apps
👍🏻DDR4 ECC Memory up to 32GB
👍🏻Numerous Backup Software Options
👍🏻Huge Virtualization Support
👍🏻3yr Warranty and Extendable to 5yrs
CONS
👎🏻1Gbe Ports seem a bit limited now
👎🏻Shame it does not support 1/2 x DX1215
👎🏻NVMe SSDs cannot be used for RAW storage

 


Best Value Hardware 6-Bay NAS Drive – Asustor Lockerstor 6 Gen 2 NAS

0-132TB, 6-Bays, 4x M.2 NVMe 2280 (PCIe Slot Swap Opt for 10GbE), Intel N5105 4-Core 2.0-2.9Ghz CPU, 8-16GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 4K HDMI 2.0b Port, USB 3.2 Gen 2 10G, 3-5yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $809

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review Nov ’22:

The Lockerstor 6 Gen 2 NAS is a respectable piece of kit! Indeed, the hardware here is almost faultless! Unless you are particularly noise sensitive (and therefore the metal chassis adding a few dBa to the ambient sound), there is almost nothing I can fault here on the device’s hardware. The scaling up of practically all hardware over the Gen 1 Lockerstor, such as Better CPU, Better Memory that goes higher, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.2 Gen 2, a 10GbE upgrade option and THOSE FOUR M. 2 NVMe SSD SLOTS – you simply cannot fault how much is getting included here at the price point vs it’s competitors. The software is a little less compelling, with a smaller range of 1st party applications on offer, more of a reliance on 3rd party services and the absence of a few AAA+ features that are present on other devices in the market (AI services, Cloud Bolt on live synchronization, 1st Party SaaS native sync with Google Workspace/Office365, etc).

Click to view slideshow.

That said, ADM does run very well, is clear and still quite user-friendly. The addition of choice of file systems EXT4 or BTRFS, flexibility on the use of those M.2 NVMe SSD bays and the Asustor HDMI portal still bring fantastic flexibility to the Lockerstor 6 Gen 2 NAS too. Ultimately, this is a system that is clearly making big waves on it’s hardware more than it’s software, but as long as you keep your feet on the ground and appreciate that this system is more of a 70/30 purchase of hardware vs software, you will come to respect and rely on this Asustor NAS as the backbone of your data storage setup.

SOFTWARE - 7/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.4
PROS
👍🏻Hard/Impossible to find this level of NAS Hardware elsewhere at this price point
👍🏻Those FOUR M.2 NVMe 2280 SSD slots are great and turn this 6-Bay NAS into an 10-Bay
👍🏻2.5GbE by default, as well as the option to add further 2.5/5Gb connections over USB
👍🏻The option to scale up the network connectivity to 10GbE down the line (4 and 6 Bay only)
👍🏻$60 increase over RRP of Lockstor Gen 1, but upgrades practically everything 1-2 levels (New Celeron CPU, Better/High Memory Max, USB 10G, HDMI 2.0b, PCIe Gen 3 Architecture)
👍🏻Includes support for either EXT4 or BTRFS
👍🏻Includes KVM Support with Parallel GUI over HDMI, Asustor Portal
👍🏻ADM is better tha nit has ever been, responsive, clear and intuitive
👍🏻Several different setup and initialization options
👍🏻One of very few 6-Bay NAS drives that still feature a fully functional and controllable LCD Panel
👍🏻Full Support of the traditional RAID levels for this scale (RAID 0-1-5-6)
👍🏻Storage can be expanded with TWO of the Asustor AS6004U 4-Bay
CONS
👎🏻Lack of a fluid RAID System (such as Synology Hybrid RAID, Drobo BeyondRAID or Terramaster TRAID) to allow mixed drive media and easier scaling of storage over time
👎🏻Metal chassis and trays is going to result in an increase of ambient noise (hum/vibration) than other plastic casing/tray NAS systems
👎🏻Some apps (such as the Surveillance Center apps) are long overdue an update in visuals and services
👎🏻ADM is good, but lacks the killer apps/AAA and AI service tools that are being offered by other brands right now
👎🏻They were targeted by the Deadbolt ransomware attack at the start of 2022 and although the linux vulnerability that was used has been reported to be closed and they worked with affected users, this is still going to be on the minds of some buyers

 


Best Price Hardware 6-Bay NAS Drive – Terramaster T6-423 NAS

0-132TB, 6-Bays, 2x M.2 NVMe 2280, Intel N5105 4-Core 2.0-2.9Ghz CPU, 8-32GB Memory, 2x 2.5Gbe Port, 4K HDMI 2.0b Port (Code/Command Level Access, no GUI), USB 3.2 Gen 2 10G, 3yr Warranty

Current Price/Availability on Amazon – $649

Hardware Review – LINK

YouTube Video Review – Watch

What I said in my review July ’22 of the T9-423 9-Bay (Same Hardware, but 3 More Bays!):

I like the terramaster T9-423 NAS a lot more than I thought I was going to! Over the years I have seen several quirky NAS designs appear from brands looking to find gaps in the existing market between the traditional 2-bay, 4-bay, 8-bay and rackmount systems. In most cases, these brands tend to never really hit the ground running with these systems and a lot of that is because they are either priced poorly, have bad internal hardware choices for the sake of offsetting the overall cost of a new design or simply do not read the room in knowing what people want. I’m pleased to say that the Terramaster T9-423 does not seem to suffer any of these things. This 9-Bay arrives in a chassis that is a smaller and more convenient frame than many eight-bay desktops, arrives at a price point that for the scale is reasonable and has the same or better hardware than most other mid-range desktop NAS in 2022.

Click to view slideshow.

Alongside this, Terramaster’s innovations in TOS5 to improve their platform to include many more storage services, backup methods and a few premium apps in the works means that the brand still manages to be competitive in spite of its more cost-effective reputation and hardware focus. First-party app development still pales in comparison to bigger NAS brands (though popular third-party tools that already exist in the market are supported and available to download) and in terms of software, this system is still a little underwhelming, if very functional. Then you have the build quality. The construction of this chassis is particularly higher than I anticipated and unlike many of the brand’s rather dated or plastic-looking cases in 2 and 4 bays, The T9-423 is remarkably well constructed with excellent considerations being made to ventilation and keeping the device compact despite its large storage potential. As long as you keep in mind that you are buying a more cost-effective or value alternative to top-tier brands, as well as having perhaps a little more patience with the software than you might like, the Terramaster T9-423 is a great NAS and an exceedingly positive move by the brand to further evolve.

SOFTWARE - 7/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻Surprisingly compact for 9 Bays of Storage
👍🏻Good Middle ground between a Rackmount and Desktop System
👍🏻2.5GbE at the Price of 1GbE
👍🏻Good CPU for the Price Point
👍🏻USB 3.2 Gen 2 is very forward-thinking for local backups
👍🏻Great RAID Options
👍🏻Snapshot Replication
👍🏻BTRFS Support if preferred
👍🏻Supports Plex and all 1080p Transcoding
👍🏻4K Video transcoding natively
👍🏻A large amount of maximum memory supported (16-32GB – TBC)
👍🏻M.2 SSD Bay inside for caching/storage at PCIe Gen 3×2
CONS
👎🏻Only 1x M.2 NVMe SSD Bay
👎🏻Default 4GB memory is 2133Mhz
👎🏻HDMI Currently Unsupported
👎🏻TOS Software feels a little empty of Killer-Apps at the moment (as the AI photo recognition, Surveillance, Centralized Backup tools, etc are still in Beta)

 


Where to Buy a Product
amzamexmaestrovisamaster 24Hfree delreturn VISIT RETAILER ➤ 
amzamexmaestrovisamaster 24Hfree delreturn VISIT RETAILER ➤

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