FreshRSS

🔒
❌ À propos de FreshRSS
Il y a de nouveaux articles disponibles, cliquez pour rafraîchir la page.
Aujourd’hui — 6 octobre 2022Flux principal

Plex Tests – Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ NAS Comparison

6 octobre 2022 à 08:56

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – Which Should You Buy?

Today I want to compare the hardware on offer inside the Synology DS1522+ NAS (released in Summer 2022) and compare it with the much older, but hugely popular Synology DS920+ NAS (released over two years ago in Summer 2020). However, unlike previous comparisons of these two NAS (such as the hardware and software comparison HERE that I published a few months ago) today I want to compare how the DS920+ and DS1522+ perform as a Plex Media Server, with a series of 720p, 1080p and 4K tests. I have already tested these two NAS devices individually, but never directly compared their performance side by side. Now that a number of prominent Synology NAS releases have arrived with AMD Ryzeen embedded processors (such as the AMD Ryzen R1600 and V1500), many are wondering if they should choose to buy the older and more affordable Synology NAS drives that still feature Intel embedded/integrated graphics, such as the DS920+ with it’s J4125 Celeron CPU. So, let’s get this test up and running. First, we need to take a quick look at the individual hardware of these two NAS devices.

Note – a draft version of this article was published in error; apologies if you saw/received the incredibly bare-bones version!

Note 2 – Video Version of this Plex comparison can be viewed HERE on YouTube

Synology DS920+ NAS Synology DS1522+ NAS

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – Internal Hardware

The 4 and 5-Bay Diskstation releases from Synology have always been one of the most interesting tiers of the brand’s desktop solutions. The reason for this is that all too often this scale of system serves as a bridging point between Prosumer & SOHO systems and the small/medium business hardware in their portfolio. This is demonstrated first in the scale of the available RAID 5/6 storage, but then more so in the scalability and upgradability of these two volumes system, allowing one to two expansions, greater network connectivity (arriving with 2x or 4x LAN ports) and better internal hardware than the more domestic targetted solutions – often with the internal hardware differing considerably between each periodic 2-3yr refresh by the brand. Let’s first look at the internal hardware of these two NAS’ to see how much they differ. The DS920+ NAS first arrived on the scene with some great hardware advantages over the rest of the plus series 2020 systems (DS720+, DS420+, etc), arriving with a 4 Core Intel Celeron Processor that featured integrated graphics, 4GB of DDR4 2666Mhz memory and NVMe SSD upgrade slots. In the two years since its release though, Synology clearly decided to make some big changes in the base level architecture of the plus series and specifically in the DS1522+ to make it considerably more scalable and general business/file-ops focused. The newer DS1522+ features a dual-core AMD Ryzen embedded R1600 that, although arriving with half the cores of the Celeron in the DS920+, has a higher CPU frequency and total achievable frequency in turbo/burst when needed. That said, users will be surprised to learn that this CPU also does not feature embedded graphics, so therefore the DS1522+ will be less CPU efficient at handling multimedia or VM deployment than the DS920+.

Though both systems feature DDR4 memory, the DS920’s maximum 8GB of memory is beaten by the DS1522+ thanks to its use of much more impressive ECC (error code correction) memory to identify and repair any bit level write errors and can also be scaled to a considerably higher 32GB of memory (arriving with 8GB by default).

NAS Model DS920+

DS1522+

CPU Model Intel Celeron J4125 AMD Ryzen R1600
CPU Quantity 1 Embedded Ryzen
CPU Architecture 64-bit 64-bit
CPU Frequency 4-core 2.0 – 2.7 GHz 2-core 2.6 – 3.1 GHz
Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI) Yes Yes
Integrated Graphics Yes No
CPU Cache 4 MB cache 1 MB L2 cache, 4 MB L3 cache
Memory
System Memory 4GB DDR4 non-ECC SODIMM 8GB DDR4 ECC SODIMM
Memory Module Pre-installed (4GB On-board) 8 GB (8GB x 1)
TDP 10W 25W
Total Memory Slots 1 2
Maximum Memory Capacity 8GB 32 GB (16 GB x 2)
System Fan 92 mm x 92 mm x 2 pcs 92 mm x 92 mm x 2 pcs
Power Supply Unit / Adapter 100W External 120W External

You can find out more about the hardware-specific difference between the Synology DS920+ and DS1522+ NAS in the video below OR via the article HERE. This video/article coves everything from the storage capabilities, ports & connections and extent to which they run/perform in DSM 7.1. Although this article is specifically tailored to look at Plex Media Server performance, I would strongly recommend checking out more information on either of these NAS before you make any decision.

Let’s carry on talking about these two NAS and Plex. What difference des the TYPE of media tha you play make on how these two NAS perform in Plex?

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – Understanding MEDIA!

Important Terms to Understand in Plex/NAS/Multimedia that will make the DS1522+ or DS920+ NAS Plex Tests Easier to Understand.

  • SD, 160p, 240p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 4K : This is the resolution that the media is being displayed at. The higher the resolution, the larger number of pixels that are available and depending on the original recording quality of the media in question. High resolutions, such as 1080p and 4K require more work to be done by the NAS hardware in order to playback the file. More often than not, a NAS with weak embedded graphics or no embedded graphics at all will be unable to play 4K very well or indeed at all. It is important to remember that just because a NAS brand like Synology says that their latest NAS can natively play back 1080p or 4K media (natively = played using their own NAS software, software client tools and/or DLNA), that does not mean that the DS920+ or DS1522+ will play to the same standard in Plex, as Plex is a 3rd party tool
  • Transcoding, Encoding, Decoding : These are all different techniques/names for when a file needs to be changed in order to be better suited to the connected client device connection, strength or hardware. If you are accessing all your media on the local area network (i.e only accessing your plex media at home), then transcoding will rarely be something you will use (unless your media is largely H.265/HEVC based, see earlier). However, perhaps you are accessing your plex library on the train to work or from a sun bed whilst on holiday. Perhaps you have a smaller data bandwidth/allowed MB/GB, maybe a weaker internet connection, perhaps you are using a smaller phone device and you might not need to watch your 4K 50GB Blu-ray rip of the latest Marvel Movie – in these situations, you might well want to access the media on your Synology DS1522+ or DS920+ Plex NAS at a lesser quality than the original version, so transcoding/re-encoding on the fly (as in, at the same time it is being played) is what you would want to do. Remember, transcoding is by far the most heavy-weight thing you will need to do on a NAS. It is also worth remembering that in order for Plex o be able to use the FULL resources of a NAS CPU (such as embedded graphics) that you will need to enable ‘Make My CPU Hurt’ in the Encoder Menu of the Plex NAS Settings menu – this also potentially requires a Plex Pass subscription, depending on the NAS in question

 

  • H.264, HEVC, H.265 :  These are compression techniques that are designed to allow large-scale media presentations that were made for a cinema to be viewable from your sofa (with H.265 being the more effective/powerful compression level). H.264 can largely be played by ALL devices, but many devices do not have permission or a license to play H.265/HEVC (they are the same thing). This is because, where H.264 is an easy license and comparatively free to use, H.265/HEVC licencing and patents are spread across multiple providers and allowing a device license to use this compression technique can be complex, expensive or simply impossible. Therefore HEVC/H.265 media will sometimes AUTOMATICALLY need to be converted/transcoded into H.264 etc in order to be played – therefore eating up more system resources. The DS1522+, much like the rest of the Synology NAS range do not arrive with HEVC support by default
  • Bitrate : Bitrate is the amount of data encoded for a unit of time, and for streaming is usually referenced in megabits per second (Mbps) for video, and in kilobits per second (kbps) for audio. Higher quality and higher resolution media tends to be of a much higher bitrate

For more information on the most important terms to understand when discussing/researching a NAS as a Plex Media Server can be found in my video below:

Any further questions, you can use the free advice section at the bottom of the page and ask me and Eddie directly.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 720p h.264 3Mbps Video File

The first test was with a very low-end 720p media file:

Virtually no difference in performance and you can likely play a considerable number of these files before the system shows even a hint of difficulty.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 720p h.264 3Mbps Video File

Another 720p file for test two, similar bitrate to test 1:

Once again, both the DS920+ and DS1522+ NAS performed near identically in Plex and zero issues were seen.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 720p h.264 3Mbps Video File CONVERT to 480p

Test three was our first transcoding/encoding test. Here I wanted to see how well the systems would cope with having a fle format/playback altered on the fly. If you are watching media on smaller devices, over limited internet connections or using a legacy client device that does not support the file format, compression, codec or scale (size), then transocding is going to be very important. This was 720p down to 480p

Both played the file and transcoded it very easily. Despite the lack of embedded graphics on the R1600 CPU inside the Synology DS1522+ versus the Intel J4125 Celeron inside the DS920+, things were great on both in this test.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 720p h.264 3Mbps Video File CONVERT to 240p

Time for ANOTHER transcoding test, but this one was s much bigger and more extreme transcode/encode. I wanted to change a 720p file to a 240p file format. This is a pretty aggressive change and one that was mainly picked to simulate heavy Plex NAS use generally (not specific to this format of file/change).

This was the first (and not last) time that the clear advantage of an embedded graphics Intel Celeron CPU inside the DS920+ would prove much more effective in Plex versus the AMD embedded Ryzen R1600 CPU inside the DS1522+ NAS. Both NAS devices did the job, but the R1600 / DS1522+ had to work much, much hardware with software transcoding and raw power.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 1080p h.264 3Mbps Video File

On to 1080p Plex Tests on the DS920+ and DS1522+ NAS. This was a fairly domestic HD 1080p file test, played native.

Once again, like the early 720p tests, the DS920+ and DS1522+ performed perfectly well.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 1080p h.264 3Mbps

A slightly more dense 1080p file this time, using the Jellyfish test files.

Once again, very clear and even performance by both NAS systems in the 1080p 2nd test without any transcoding on the R1600 and J4125 CPU-powered devices. A clear draw.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 1080p h.264 3Mbps Video File CONVERT to 160p

Time for more transcoding! Transcoding/re-encoding the 1080p file in Plex to an incredibly lowly 160p. Again, I am aware that few users will actually watch 160p, but many will want this support for audio media equivalent workload and/or for large numbers of streams. Ultimately, we want to know the impact on the DS1522+ and DS920+ NAS in plex with these.

Once again, the onboard/embedded graphics that the Synology DS920+ (Intel Celeron J4125) has over the non-integrated graphics DS1522+ (AMD R1600) clearly resulted in the older 4-Bay NAS getting this job done with very little fuss. Whereas the Neewer 5-Bay NAS was unable to complete the task.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 1080p h.264 100Mbps

Switching things up to an incredibly DENSE 1080p file, I selected the 100Mbps file format (h.264) to see how the DS1522+ and DS920+ would play this natively.

Very similar results on both NAS playing the file natively, which was very positive. The DS1522+ used the tiniest bit more, but in the grand scheme of things, both of these NAS performed exceptionally well in Plex and this heavy-duty 1080P FILE.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 1080p h.265 – HEVC 10bit 10Mbps

Now we move towards a very different ball game. Although the next test was a 10Mbps bitrate 1080p file (remember, the previous test was 10x this density), this time we selected the H.265 / HEVC 10bit file. As mentioned earlier, HEVC (highly efficient video codec) requires licensing by the client hardware manufacturer and software provider (with many/most not including it, relying on the hardware to convert the file to H.264 by default). HEVC is much more space efficient than H.264 and alot more media in 2022+ is arriving in this format. However, converting it (aka Transcoding by another name technically) is a demanding task. Here is how the DS920+ and DS1522+ performed:

Once again, the Synology DS920+ and it’s Intel Celeron J4125 CPU got the job done with little-to-no fuss, whereas the AMD embedded Ryzen R1600 CPU inside the DS1522+ immediately hit 100% CPU Utilization and failed (taking longer to convert the file per second than an actual second!).

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 4K h.264 120Mbps

Next one, time for some 4K PLAYBACK! Now, it is worth highlighting that we ARE looking at quite high-end 4K media here, at 120Mbps – so the odds of you having much media in this format/scale is quite small. Still, 4K TVs and the affordability of 4K media is growing, so we need to test 4K, as well as scale it up for years to come. I wouldn’t normally recommend either of these NAS for 4K Plex use (recommending at least an Intel Pentium, i3 or higher generally), but here is how they performed:

Yep, both NAS devices failed. But again, remember that this is a 120Mbps file. Had we tested 4K at the bitrate of many of the 1080p files, it would have been better. We have some 4K dedicated Plex content coming soon on these NAS devices, so stay tuned!

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 4K h.265 – HEVC 120Mbps

Next we tested the same dense 120Mbps 4K files as before, but in the HEVC version. Again, due to the support of this compression level on each of these Synology NAS being limited, converting the file was needed by default. Here is how the DS920+ and DS1522+ NAS performed.

Yep, thanks to the introduction of converting the 4K file being needed, the embedded graphics of the DS920+ CPU saved the day hugely and the result was that although it played (after a small delay) on the Intel-powered DS920+, the DS1522+ and ADM Ryzen hit a wall very quickly.

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ Plex NAS Comparison – 4K h.265 – HEVC 200Mbps

Our final test was a 4K file in HEVC, much like the previous test. However this was a HENCH 200Mbps – a herculean task compared with all other tests in this article. Here is the DS920+ and DS1522+ tackled the task.

Yep, once again, that Intel J4125 Celeron CPU and it’s integrated graphics was able to get the converting/encoding done on the fly and win here. The AMD embedded Ryzen R1600 COULD have off-line transcoded for sure, but when it came on on-the-fly conversions, it just lacked the right tools on board. Want to watch more tests on either of these NAS drives IN PLEX? You can visit the links below to view the individual Plex Media Server tests for each of the DS920+ and DS1522+ NAS. These videos and articles include several more tests and go into more detail on the difference between H.264 and H.265/HEVC media, as well as further 1080p and 4K testing:

Written Plex Test Articles YouTube Plex NAS Test Videos

Synology DS920+ vs DS1522+ NAS – Conclusion and Verdict

Comparing the DS920+ from 2020 and DS1522+ from 2022 did seem a little unfair at first, as ALOT can happen in two years (technology moves FAST!). However, in terms of supporting multimedia, if you are looking at these two NAS drives SPECIFICALLY for Plex Media Server and Multimedia use, the older generation device with its Intel embedded graphics CPU just wins the day over the Embedded Ryzen R1600 from AMD. But either of these NAS devices presents a decent-sized financial investment and I think most users need to think about using them for MORE than just multimedia. Synology has clearly done a lot of thinking in the two years between the release of the DS920+ and DS1522+, deciding to change the latter into something more ‘business-y’. When the DS920+ first arrived, it did so to almost universal praise (barring a few concerns at the time about 1GbE) and it has pretty much always been in the top 3 NAS since its launch for most users. Although the details regarding a DS922+ or DS923+ are still not available at the time of writing, many wonder if it would emulate the change in direction that the brand has taken on the DS1522+ and whether the DS920+ is now even more attractive. Synology has clearly taken a rather different tactic in the release of their newest 5-Bay system, making changes to the expected hardware configuration and architecture that set it on a very different path than its predecessor. Those with longer memories will know that the Diskstation 5 Drive portfolio used to be very much this kind of design (i.e a file transfer focused CPU, more memory scaling, optional 10GbE, etc) and rather than building off the design of the 4-Bay (as the DS1520+ did against the DS920+), the DS1522+ seems to scale itself against the DS1621+ in it’s shape and abilities. If you were already looking at Synology NAS systems that being a heavy emphasis on scaling their architecture notably down the line in efforts to remain future proof, the DS1522+ is going to tick ALOT of boxes for you. Whereas if you were looking at a Synology NAS for home use, a Plex Media server, low client/user use and generally as more of a setup-and-forget solution, then the DS920+ will likely suit your needs better and will have the added benefit of a more palatable price point in 2022. How far Synology will extend the build logic of the DS1522+ towards other solutions in the diskstation/rackstation portfolio still remains to be seen. Most business users will want to opt for the DS1522+ though. Cheers for reading!

NAS MODEL ID

Synology DS920+ NAS

Synology DS1522+ NAS

Where to Buy:

 

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.

📧 LET ME KNOW ABOUT NEW POSTS 🔔

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,278 other subscribers

Get an alert every time something gets added to this specific article!


Want to follow specific category? 📧 Subscribe

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]     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.  

Hier — 5 octobre 2022Flux principal

Synology DS1621+ Power Consumption Test – How Much Does it Cost in Electricity?

5 octobre 2022 à 18:00

How Much Electricity Does A Synology DS1621+ NAS Use and How Much Does it Cost to run 24×7?

“The Bigger the NAS, the BIGGER the electricity bill!” – THAT was what a fellow visitor of a trade show I attended back in 2019 said to me as I waxed lyrical about the hardware of a new Xeon Powered Synology solution that was being previewed at the time. I have never really forgotten about that. Not only because (at least, at the time) I thought that it was rather cynical, but also because, sadly, he was absolutely correct. As different NAS servers arrive, with bigger and better CPUs, greater and great bay numbers and larger and larger chassis – the more power they will end up consuming when in operation 24×7. Even in Standby/Idle, they are still acting away at your mains powers and ultimately adding small 0.0001s to your energy bill. Right now, in this energy-aware climate, it can be appreciated that a NAS drive (a 24×7 appliance) seemingly has its cost to the end user in terms of electricity as something of a vague number. With so many kinds of NAS available in the market, featuring a mix of CPUs, PSUs, Bays and utilities, PLUS the wide range of HDD/SSD drives in the market to choose from – there are just so many variables when trying to work out how much power your NAS drive is using and how much that is translating to in your monthly energy bill! So, today’s article is about working out how much electricity the popular Synology DS1621+ NAS and four WD Ultrastar 10TB HDDs will consume, as well as how much that equals to you in £, $ or € per day, month and year! We tested the popular 2020 generation desktop 6-Bay NAS system, connected them to an energy monitor and worked out how much power they used in full active use and in idle. Let’s begin.

The Synology DS1621+ NAS
Current Price/Availability on Amazon –$999+
The WD Ultrastar 10TB HDD (x5)
Current Price/Availability on Amazon –$259
AMD Ryzen V1500B CPU, 4-Core 2.2hz Celeron CPU
4GB 2400Mhz ECC Memory, 1GbE
10 Terabyte Capacity – SATA 3.5″ Form Factor
7200RPM – 256MB Cache – 6x Platters

NAS Power Use Test Setup

Choosing the appropriate NAS drive for these tests was always going to be tough. I DO intend on repeating these tests with several different NAS drives after this in some follow-up articles (the larger article that I will be adding to can be found HERE), but wanted these first few tests to be focused on one of the most POPULAR NAS setups (and the DS1621+ is still one of the most popular Synology NAS the brand has ever produced and the WD Ultrastar 10TB HDD has been popular for around a 4 years), as well as identifying the difference between using newer gen CPUs and Larger drives vs using older generation devices and smaller capacity media. This will involve 2x tests on each NAS+Media configuration. Here is a breakdown of the hardware configurations and test architectures:

  • Synology DS1621+ NAS, AMD CPU+4GB Memory Setup over 1GbE
  • 5x WD Ultrastar 10TB (RAID5)
  • During ‘ACTIVE’ 24hr Tests, the NAS was prevented from going into standby/idle. 1 VM running, 1-Core and 1GB Memory, 2x IP Cameras recording non-stop, drive S.M.A.R.T tests scheduled to be hourly
  • During IDLE 24hr Tests, the VM was deleted, VM and Surveillance Software disabled, ALL S.M.A.R.T tests disabled and network cable (1GbE) disconnected.
  • The first day of operation (which includes initialization and RAID creation) not counted (but visible at the start of the graph).
  • Power was monitored with a GOSUND SMART KIT Smart Plug, Mini 13A – Find HERE

The initial 24 hours (used for system initialization and RAID configuration) were NOT included in the power usage monitoring, as although they appear on the graph they are one-off single-event scenarios. Each test (Active vs Idle) was conducted for 24hrs and the overall electricity usage was displayed in kw (kilowatt). But what is the difference between Active and Idle activity? Why does it matter?

What is the Difference Between a NAS Drive ‘Active’ and in ‘IDLE / Standby’?

Although a NAS is designed to be in operation 24×7 and is consuming electricity when running, the actual reality of this and the extent to which it is consuming it is actually alot more nuanced. Most home users who have a NAS system will use the NAS directly for a significant;y smaller portion of time per day than it is actually powered on for. Perhaps to stream a movie or a couple of TV episodes, run a daily backup, have a couple of cameras in/outside their home that are sending recordings (or more likely just alerts and associated captures) to the NAS and that is about it. They will periodically do more than these, maybe a VM, more sophisticated backup or use some of the other services ad hoc, but the result is that in most domestic/bog standard home scenarios, a NAS will be switched internally to Idle/Standby after no pro-active use quite quickly and spend 80-90% of the time in low power modes. Business users might well be using the system 24×7 for sync’d tasks and on-going camera recording, but even then, this will be a lower %  of system resources in use. So, in order to find a comparable and relative means to study the electricity use of a NAS and it’s cost, I have conducted two tests per NAS+HDD configuration. The first, a 24 Hour Active test, with the system using a decent % of it’s CPU+Memory, a swell as the HDDs not being given the chance to switch to Idle/Standy (by constantly writing AND performing S.M.A.R.T tests hourly). The idle tests involve all of those apps, services and scheduled operations being cancelled and the network cable being disconnected from the NAS (for another 24hrs). From here we can work out the cost of an hour of power usage by either setup in high activity and near-zero activity. But how can we work out the COST of the electricity used by the NAS in that time period?

How Energy Costs in these NAS Tests were Calculated?

The results of the energy usage are then cross-referenced by ‘sust-it.net’ and calculations of the cost of the used electricity per day, month and year was calculated for the UK, U.S, Germany, Australia and Canada. Now, using a select energy tariff is much harder, as there are quite literally thousands of different energy providers globally, each with their own pricing on the cost of energy per ‘kWh’. So, I used the national average calculations that were provided by ‘sust-it’ for each of those areas. Some are clearly more up-to-date than others (i.e the United Kingdom Avg Energy cost tariff is dated October 2022, whereas the Canada’s average energy cost is from way back in March 2020), however, these will still provide a good basis for understanding what a NAS drive is going to cost you in electricity when it is in operation. The national tariff averages used in this article for each region are as follows:

UK: Energy Price (October 2022) electricity rate of 34.00 pence per kWh.

USA: Average (Feb 2022) electricity rate of 14.80 cents per kWh.

Germany: Average (June 2021) electricity rate of 31.93 Eurocents per kWh.

Australia: Average (March 2022) electricity rate of 23.59 cents per kWh.

Canada: Average (2020) electricity rate of 8.50 cents per kWh.

Source – https://www.sust-it.net

There are the rates that we will be using to calculate the running costs of the Synology NAS system (and more importantly its Drive setup and CPU usage).

Test – Synology DS1621+ NAS and 5x WD Ultrastar 10TB Drives

I set the Synology DS1621+ NAS and WD Ultrastar 4TB Hard drives up in the following configuration for the Active tests:

  • Synology DS1621+ NAS PSU = 100W External PSU, Intel Celeron J4125 Quad Core 2.0-2.7Ghz, 4GB DDR4 2666Mhz Memory
  • WD Ultrastar 10TB HDD, SHR
  • Surveillance Station 9 and 2x Reolink Dome IP Cameras (24hrs Active)
  • Synology Virtual Machine Manager, 1x Windows VM, 1 Core, 1GB Memory (24hrs Active)
  • Synology Storage Manager (DSM 7.1) and S.M.A.R.T Tests per Hour (24hr Active)
  • Reported Average power requirements of a WD Ultrastar 10TB (Single):
    • 9.2W Active
    • 8.0W Idle

Then, 24hrs later, I disabled all these processes, disconnected the RJ45 LAN and let the NAS fall into idle/standby mode. The results were as follows:

The 0.80kW that was used in the initialization of both the NAS and the drives in the RAID was NOT included in the respective Actie/Idle tests.

Synology DS1621+ and WD Ultrastar 10TB HDD Test Results:

0.0479kW use per hour active and 0.0266kW use per hour idle = 

1hr Active Use (KW) UK Power Use £ U.S Power Use $ Germany Power Use € Australia AU$ Canada CA$
Per Hour 0.016 0.007 0.015 0.011 0.004
           
1hr Idle Use (KW) UK Power Use U.S Power Use Germany Power Use Australia Canada
Per Hour £0.01 0.003 0.008 0.006 0.002

1.15KW over 24 hours Active = 

24hr Active Use (KW) UK Power Use £ U.S Power Use $ Germany Power Use € Australia AU$ Canada CA$
Cost Per Day £0.38 0.168 0.36 0.264 0.096
Cost per Month 11.68 5.11 10.95 8.03 2.92
Cost Per Year 140.16 61.32 131.4 96.36 35.04

0.64KW over 24 hours idle = 

24hr Idle Use (KW) UK Power Use £ U.S Power Use $ Germany Power Use € Australia AU$ Canada CA$
Cost Per Day £0.22 0.072 0.192 0.144 0.048
Cost per Month 6.57 2.19 5.84 4.38 1.46
Cost Per Year 78.84 26.28 70.08 52.56 17.52

So, what about if you were to only use the NAS at active use for around 25% of the day (i.e 6hrs of active with backups, multimedia, etc) and 75% of the day as idle (i.e 18hrs unused):

25%/75% Active/Idle Use:

6hr Active Use / 18hr Idle UK Power Use £ U.S Power Use $ Germany Power Use € Australia AU$ Canada CA$
Cost Per Day £0.26 0.096 0.234 0.174 0.06
Cost per Month 7.8475 2.92 7.1175 5.2925 1.825
Cost Per Year 94.17 35.04 85.41 63.51 21.9

Now it is worth keeping in mind that the costs for each region have a notably different price per kW rate, so even after factoring in currency conversions between different units (eg Pounds vs Dollars), there is a significant degree of difference in the costs per day, month and year of the exact same NAS+HDD setup above. Stay tuned, check below to see if other NAS power tests have been published and recommended to you, or watch the video version of these tests (which goes into more detail on the current predicaments in the energy crisis facing many of us in 2022, 2023 and beyond.

VIDEO

📧 LET ME KNOW ABOUT NEW POSTS 🔔

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,278 other subscribers

Get an alert every time something gets added to this specific article!


Want to follow specific category? 📧 Subscribe

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]     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.  

 

À partir d’avant-hierFlux principal

Synology RS422+ Rackmount NAS Plex Media Server NAS 4K & 1080p Tests – H.264 & HEVC

3 octobre 2022 à 18:00

How Well Does the Synology RS422+ NAS Perform as a Plex Media Server?

The rise in popularity of rackmount NAS servers being used as Plex Media Servers by home users has been surprisingly swift, largely thanks to more and more NAS brands releasing affordable (yet powerful and efficient) rack solutions. The Synology RS422+ Rackstation solution is once such solution, comparable in price to many desktop solutions, but arriving in a compact rackstation form. Combine that with the availability of mini rack cabinets or deploying servers in attics/garages/basements means that many users look at NAS such as the RS422+ as an ideal scale Plex server solution. But why Plex? The appeal of accessing all the movies, boxsets, music and home movies that you physically/digitally own in the style popularized by Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video (flashy GUI, summary, all the box art, trailers, cast details, reviews and more) is undeniable. The rise in popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix has also been accompanied by rising monthly subscription costs and rising concerns about never truly owning the media that you want o watch. Even when you buy movies and TV boxsets in digital download forms from Amazon Video etc, you are still at the mercy of 1) needing somewhere to store it if you do choose to download it and 2) potentially losing access to it if the site/platform you purchased from has lost the license to host it (a common complain of the increasingly digital world of PC/Console gaming, as games are pulled from eStores). Hosting your media in a subscription-free form, whilst it still being presented in the universally accessible and premium GUI form of Plex is one of the most compelling reasons for many home/prosumer users deciding to make the jump towards buying their own plex media server. However, NAS drives have grown incredibly diverse in terms of hardware design and therefore one NAS might not play media in plex as well/efficiently as another – and the Synology RS422+ NAS is no exception to this. Today I want to detail my tests of the RS422+ as a Plex Media Server and I hope this will help you decide whether a Synology NAS deserves your Multimedia in 2022/2023.

What is the Hardware of the Synology RS422+ NAS Drive?

The Synology RS422+ NAS drive is quite similar in architecture to most PCs or Laptops (in that it features a CPU+Memory+Storage), but differs in that it’s components are designed to be more efficient (as they will be in operation 24×7) and have a larger degree of focus on storage-related applications (whereas the hardware in a PC/Laptop is designed more for the applications you run with storage service concerns/provisions being far more rudimentary). The RS422+ is made up of a popular mid-range server CPU, DDR4 memory and supports Hard Drive and SSDs in SATA. although most of the specifications of Synology NAS drives are unrelated to Plex, below I have picked up the hardware specifications of the RS422+ that are relevant to Plex:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen R1600, Dual Core, 2.6-3.1Ghz
  • Embedded Graphics: No
  • Memory (Quantity & Maximum): 2GB (Max)
  • Number of Storage Bays: 4 SATA Bays
  • M.2 NVMe Caching Bays: No
  • Network Connectivity: 2x 1GbE (Optional 10GbE adapter)

Next, let’s quickly touch on how we measure how good/bad the Synology RS422+ NAS is for Plex Media Server.

Understanding the Plex Media Server Tests of the Synology RS422+ NAS

Important Terms to Understand in Plex/NAS/Multimedia that will make the RS422+ NAS Plex Tests Easier to Understand.

  • SD, 160p, 240p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 4K : This is the resolution that the media is being displayed at. The higher the resolution, the larger number of pixels that are available and depending on the original recording quality of the media in question. High resolutions, such as 1080p and 4K require more work to be done by the NAS hardware in order to playback the file. More often than not, a NAS with weak embedded graphics or no embedded graphics at all will be unable to play 4K very well or indeed at all. It is important to remember that just because a NAS brand like Synology says that their latest NAS can natively play back 1080p or 4K media (natively = played using their own NAS software, software client tools and/or DLNA), that does not mean that the RS422+ will play to the same standard in Plex, as Plex is a 3rd party tool
  • Transcoding, Encoding, Decoding : These are all different techniques/names for when a file needs to be changed in order to be better suited to the connected client device connection, strength or hardware. If you are accessing all your media on the local area network (i.e only accessing your plex media at home), then transcoding will rarely be something you will use (unless your media is largely H.265/HEVC based, see earlier). However, perhaps you are accessing your plex library on the train to work or from a sun bed whilst on holiday. Perhaps you have a smaller data bandwidth/allowed MB/GB, maybe a weaker internet connection, perhaps you are using a smaller phone device and you might not need to watch your 4K 50GB Blu-ray rip of the latest Marvel Movie – in these situations, you might well want to access the media on your Synology RS422+ Plex NAS at a lesser quality than the original version, so transcoding/re-encoding on the fly (as in, at the same time it is being played) is what you would want to do. Remember, transcoding is by far the most heavy-weight thing you will need to do on a NAS. It is also worth remembering that in order for Plex o be able to use the FULL resources of a NAS CPU (such as embedded graphics) that you will need to enable ‘Make My CPU Hurt’ in the Encoder Menu of the Plex NAS Settings menu – this also potentially requires a Plex Pass subscription, depending on the NAS in question

  • H.264, HEVC, H.265 :  These are compression techniques that are designed to allow large-scale media presentations that were made for a cinema to be viewable from your sofa (with H.265 being the more effective/powerful compression level). H.264 can largely be played by ALL devices, but many devices do not have permission or a license to play H.265/HEVC (they are the same thing). This is because, where H.264 is an easy license and comparatively free to use, H.265/HEVC licencing and patents are spread across multiple providers and allowing a device license to use this compression technique can be complex, expensive or simply impossible. Therefore HEVC/H.265 media will sometimes AUTOMATICALLY need to be converted/transcoded into H.264 etc in order to be played – therefore eating up more system resources. The RS422+, much like the rest of thte Synology NAS range do not arrive with HEVC support by default
  • Bitrate : Bitrate is the amount of data encoded for a unit of time, and for streaming is usually referenced in megabits per second (Mbps) for video, and in kilobits per second (kbps) for audio. Higher quality and higher resolution media tends to be of a much higher bitrate

For more information on the most important terms to understand when discussing/researching a NAS as a Plex Media Server can be found in my video below:

Any further questions, you can use the free advice section at the bottom of the page and ask me and Eddie directly.

How was the Synology RS422+ NAS Tested in Plex?

The setup for testing the RS422+ NAS for Plex was as follows:

  • The Synology RS422+ NAS was accessed over a 1GbE network, however in order to test how the NAS would cope with transcoding/encoding, I would force the Plex Player client to transcode the file manually
  • The RS422+ NAS was used in the default CPU+Memory state that the base model arrives in (no upgraded memory or upgraded caching media)
  • Tests were performed one after the other with a short break between each test, so you might see the tail end of the previous test on a CPU graph, but I have pointed at the are of the % utilization that is important as per each test.

Regarding test results, CLEAR PASS means that the file successfully played and there were sufficient resources for the NAS to continue to do other things comfortably, PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU % means that the file played, but it utilized a significant amount of system resources in order to do so in a heavier use situation (i.e other NAS users connected) it might not play and FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY means that the file either did not play or the time taken to play back the files was outpaced by the natural playback of the file – i.e. the file would stop-and-start constantly in order to try and catch up. If you want to watch the FULL video recording of all the Plex tests that I performed on the Synology RS422+ NAS, you can watch the video below. Be warned, it is quite long! Alternatively, you can scroll past and see each of the test results, one-by-one, detailing which ones worked and which ones didn’t:

What % System Resources did the Synology RS422+ NAS Use in Plex when Idle?

Running the Plex Media Server application, even when no multimedia is being played on the RS422+ is still going to require a % of system resources to be occupied, in order to ensure that PLEX can play media from the Synology NAS as soon as it is requested remotely. Additionally, although Plex runs at its best with at least 2 Cores of CPU power and 2GB of Memory, many NAS also reserve areas of CPU/RAM for the system itself. So, therefore, knowing how much system resources are being consumed by the Synology RS422+  NAS when Plex is idle is going to be useful to know how much system power is available when playback actually starts. Here is a screenshot of the RS422+ when Plex is running, but no media is being played/accessed:

Plex Test 1 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Matrix 720p 0.7Mbps h.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Matrix 720p 0.7Mbps h.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS 

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 2 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Matrix 720p 0.7Mbps h.264 transcode to 480p 1.5Mbps

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Matrix 720p 0.7Mbps h.264 transcode to 480p 1.5Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 3 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Matrix 720p 0.7Mbps h.264 transcode to 240p 0.3Mbps

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Matrix 720p 0.7Mbps h.264 transcode to 240p 0.3Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 4 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – LSOH 1080p 1.9Mbps h.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – LSOH 1080p 1.9Mbps h.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 5 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – LSOH 1080p 1.9Mbps h.264 Transcode to 480p 1.5Mbps

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – LSOH 1080p 1.9Mbps h.264 Transcode to 480p 1.5Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 6 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – LSOH 1080p 1.9Mbps h.264 Transcode to 160p 0.2Mbps

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – LSOH 1080p 1.9Mbps h.264 Transcode to 160p 0.2Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 7 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 3Mbps H.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 3Mbps H.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 8 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 3Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 3Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264 File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 9 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 10Mbps H.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 10Mbps H.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 10 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 10Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 10Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264 File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 11 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 30Mbps H.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 30Mbps H.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 12 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 30Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 30Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264 File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 13 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 100Mbps H.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 100Mbps H.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 14 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 100Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 1080p 100Mbps H.265 – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264 File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 15 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 120Mbps H.264 Original Playback

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 120Mbps H.264 Original Playback File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 16 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 120Mbps H.264 Convert to 1080p 120Mbps

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 120Mbps H.264 Convert to 1080p 120Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 17 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 200Mbps H.264

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 200Mbps H.264 File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 18 – Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 400Mbps H.265 10bit – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264

Here is how the Synology RS422+ Plex NAS – Jellyfish 4K 400Mbps H.265 10bit – HEVC CONVERTED TO H.264 File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


 

Is the Synology RS422+ NAS Any Good outside of Plex and Where Can I buy It?

If you are interested in learning more about the Synology RS422+ NAS Drive, I am pleased to confirm that the review here on NASCompares is already live and you can find out more about this device below.

Quick Verdict of the Synology RS422+ NAS – What We Said in the RS422+ Review:

What Synology has produced in the RS422+ Rackstation NAS is an intriguing middle ground between their more cost-effective ARM-based rackmount solutions and their more expensive scalable and upgradable servers. On the face of it, you are getting a tremendously compact but capable 1U 4-Bay rackmount server that, as soon as you factor in the included DSM software and services, is very good value for businesses that want to move their data out of 3rd party cloud and into something they have full control over. Additionally, that CPU (though a fraction divisive when compared previously vs Intel chips in the desktop DS1522+) makes more sense here in this more affordable Rackstation solution. The lack of NVMe M.2 SSD slots, fixed 2GB memory and lack off rails I am less keen on here (and I am still a little on the fence about the way they have pursued 10GbE upgrades in this system) but you are still getting a very well built and small scale NAS solution here and Synology have found a good price point here for this complete solution. Additionally, the fact that Synology has not been so restrictive on HDD use in this system than in more enterprise solutions in 2022 is welcoming too, though they are still taking an odd stance on some drives nonetheless. Ultimately, I can recommend the Synology RS422+ Rackstation NAS to smaller business users, though looking for a compact and very easy-to-deploy NAS solution for surveillance, central business storage, additional backup layers and for DSM as a whole. Though multimedia users might want to give it a miss.

Read the Rest of the Review HERE. Alternatively, you can find out the Pros and Cons below, as a few retailers that sell the Synology RS422+ NAS. Thanks for reading and if you need any further help choosing the right NAS for your Plex Media Server, use the free advice section linked below. Have a great week.

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


8.2
PROS
👍🏻Remarkably compact rackmount server with a 10GbE Option
👍🏻Very quiet for a rackmount server
👍🏻Default ECC Memory will be hugely reassuring
👍🏻DSM 7.1 is still hands-down the best NAS software out there
👍🏻Storage services such as BTRFS/EXT4 Option, Synology Hybrid RAID Support and Fast RAID Rebuild
👍🏻Very high build quality and slick design
CONS
👎🏻Lack of M.2 NVMe slots
👎🏻No Expansion Support
👎🏻Odd brand position on HDDs and SSDs
👎🏻CPU Choice is divisive
👎🏻Default 2GB of memory cannot up upgraded


Where to Buy a Product
VISIT RETAILER ➤ 
VISIT RETAILER ➤

 

📧 LET ME KNOW ABOUT NEW POSTS 🔔

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,278 other subscribers

Get an alert every time something gets added to this specific article!


Want to follow specific category? 📧 Subscribe

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]     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.  

How Much Does it Cost to Run a NAS? DS920+ WD 4TB Red Test

28 septembre 2022 à 18:00

How Much Electricity Does A NAS Use and How Much Does it Cost to run 24×7?

Energy AIN’T Cheap! If you have been keeping an eye on your electricity bill recently, you will have noticed that the amount you are paying per kilowatt has steadily increased month after month for several years now.  Because of any one of about a hundred different global factors (local conflict, slow renewable energy uptake, monopolizing energy companies with powerful lobbying – take your pick!) most of us in 2022/2023 have seen increases in energy costs. In this energy-aware climate, it can be appreciated that a NAS drive (a 24×7 appliance) seemingly has its cost to the end user in terms of electricity as something of a vague number. With so many kinds of NAS available in the market, featuring a mix of CPUs, PSUs, Bays and utilities, PLUS the wide range of HDD/SSD drives in the market to choose from – there are just so many variables when trying to work out how much power your NAS drive is using and how much that is translating to in your monthly energy bill! So, today’s article is about working out how much electricity the popular Synology DS920+ NAS and four WD Red Plus 4TB HDDs will consume, as well as how much that equals to you in £, $ or € per day, month and year! We tested the popular 2020 generation desktop 4-Bay NAS system, connected them to an energy monitor and worked out how much power they used in full active use and in idle. Let’s begin.

The Synology DS920+ NAS
Current Price/Availability on Amazon –$550+
The WD Red Plus 4TB HDD (x4)
Current Price/Availability on Amazon –$79
Intel J4125 CPU, 4-Core 2.0-2.7Ghz Celeron CPU
4GB 2666Mhz non-ECC Memory, 1GbE
4 Terabyte Capacity – SATA 3.5″ Form Factor
5400RPM – 128MB Cache – 4x 1TB Platters

NAS Power Use Test Setup

Choosing the appropriate NAS drive for these tests was always going to be tough. I DO intend on repeating these tests with several different NAS drives after this in some follow-up articles (the larger article that I will be adding to can be found HERE), but wanted these first few tests to be focused on one of the most POPULAR NAS setups (and the DS920+ is still one of the most popular Synology NAS the brand has ever produced and the WD Red 4TB HDD has been popular for around a DECADE), as well as identifying the difference between using newer gen CPUs and Larger drives vs using older generation devices and smaller capacity media. This will involve 2x tests on each NAS+Media configuration. Here is a breakdown of the hardware configurations and test architectures:

  • Synology DS920+ NAS, Default Celeron+4GB Memory Setup over 1GbE
  • 4x WD Red WD40EFZX 4TB (Synology Test in SHR – 1st party fluid equivalent to RAID5)
  • During ‘ACTIVE’ 24hr Tests, the NAS was prevented from going into standby/idle. 1 VM running, 1-Core and 1GB Memory, 2x IP Cameras recording non-stop, drive S.M.A.R.T tests scheduled to be hourly
  • During IDLE 24hr Tests, the VM was deleted, VM and Surveillance Software disabled, ALL S.M.A.R.T tests disabled and network cable (1GbE) disconnected.
  • The first day of operation (which includes initialization and RAID creation) not counted (but visible at the start of the graph).
  • Power was monitored with a GOSUND SMART KIT Smart Plug, Mini 13A – Find HERE

The initial 24 hours (used for system initialization and RAID configuration) were NOT included in the power usage monitoring, as although they appear on the graph they are one-off single-event scenarios. Each test (Active vs Idle) was conducted for 24hrs and the overall electricity usage was displayed in kw (kilowatt). But what is the difference between Active and Idle activity? Why does it matter?

What is the Difference Between a NAS Drive ‘Active’ and in ‘IDLE / Standby’?

Although a NAS is designed to be in operation 24×7 and is consuming electricity when running, the actual reality of this and the extent to which it is consuming it is actually alot more nuanced. Most home users who have a NAS system will use the NAS directly for a significant;y smaller portion of time per day than it is actually powered on for. Perhaps to stream a movie or a couple of TV episodes, run a daily backup, have a couple of cameras in/outside their home that are sending recordings (or more likely just alerts and associated captures) to the NAS and that is about it. They will periodically do more than these, maybe a VM, more sophisticated backup or use some of the other services ad hoc, but the result is that in most domestic/bog standard home scenarios, a NAS will be switched internally to Idle/Standby after no pro-active use quite quickly and spend 80-90% of the time in low power modes. Business users might well be using the system 24×7 for sync’d tasks and on-going camera recording, but even then, this will be a lower %  of system resources in use. So, in order to find a comparable and relative means to study the electricity use of a NAS and it’s cost, I have conducted two tests per NAS+HDD configuration. The first, a 24 Hour Active test, with the system using a decent % of it’s CPU+Memory, a swell as the HDDs not being given the chance to switch to Idle/Standy (by constantly writing AND performing S.M.A.R.T tests hourly). The idle tests involve all of those apps, services and scheduled operations being cancelled and the network cable being disconnected from the NAS (for another 24hrs). From here we can work out the cost of an hour of power usage by either setup in high activity and near-zero activity. But how can we work out the COST of the electricity used by the NAS in that time period?

How Energy Costs in these NAS Tests were Calculated?

The results of the energy usage are then cross-referenced by ‘sust-it.net’ and calculations of the cost of the used electricity per day, month and year was calculated for the UK, U.S, Germany, Australia and Canada. Now, using a select energy tariff is much harder, as there are quite literally thousands of different energy providers globally, each with their own pricing on the cost of energy per ‘kWh’. So, I used the national average calculations that were provided by ‘sust-it’ for each of those areas. Some are clearly more up-to-date than others (i.e the United Kingdom Avg Energy cost tariff is dated October 2022, whereas the Canada’s average energy cost is from way back in March 2020), however, these will still provide a good basis for understanding what a NAS drive is going to cost you in electricity when it is in operation. The national tariff averages used in this article for each region are as follows:

UK: Energy Price (October 2022) electricity rate of 34.00 pence per kWh.

USA: Average (Feb 2022) electricity rate of 14.80 cents per kWh.

Germany: Average (June 2021) electricity rate of 31.93 Eurocents per kWh.

Australia: Average (March 2022) electricity rate of 23.59 cents per kWh.

Canada: Average (2020) electricity rate of 8.50 cents per kWh.

Source – https://www.sust-it.net

There are the rates that we will be using to calculate the running costs of the Synology NAS system (and more importantly its WD Drive setup and CPU usage).

Test – Synology DS920+ NAS and 4X 4TB WD Red Drives

I set the Synology DS920+ NAS and WD Red 4TB Hard drives up in the following configuration for the Active tests:

  • Synology DS920+ NAS PSU = 100W External PSU, Intel Celeron J4125 Quad Core 2.0-2.7Ghz, 4GB DDR4 2666Mhz Memory
  • WD Red Plus 4TB HDD, SHR
  • Surveillance Station 9 and 2x Reolink Dome IP Cameras (24hrs Active)
  • Synology Virtual Machine Manager, 1x Windows VM, 1 Core, 1GB Memory (24hrs Active)
  • Synology Storage Manager (DSM 7.1) and S.M.A.R.T Tests per Hour (24hr Active)
  • Reported Average power requirements of a WD Red Plus 4TB (Single):
    • Read/Write: 4.7
    • Idle: 3.1
    • Standby Sleep: 0.3

Then, 24hrs later, I disabled all these processes, disconnected the RJ45 LAN and let the NAS fall into idle/standby mode. The results were as follows:

The 0.42kW that was used in the initialization of both the NAS and the drives in the RAID was NOT included in the respective Actie/Idle tests. The 24 hours of Active use energy consumption was 0.51KW

Synology DS920+ and WD Red Plus 4TB HDD Test Results:

0.51KW divided by 24 (hours) = 0.02125kW use per Hour

24hr Active Use (0.51KW) UK Power Use U.S Power Use Germany Power Use Australia Canada
Cost Per Day £0.1734 $0.0755 €0.1628 AU$0.1203 CA$0.0433
Cost per Month £5.27 $2.29 €4.95 AU$3.65 CA$1.31
Cost Per Year £63.29 $27.55 €59.42 AU$43.90 CA$15.80

0.18KW divided by 24 (hours) = 0.0075kW use per Hour

24hr Idle Use (0.18KW) UK Power Use U.S Power Use Germany Power Use Australia Canada
Cost Per Day £0.0612 $0.0266 €0.0575 AU$0.0425 CA$0.0153
Cost per Month £1.86 $0.80 €1.74 AU$1.29 CA$0.46
Cost Per Year £22.33 $9.70 €20.98 AU$15.51 CA$5.58

So, what about if you were to only use the NAS at active use for around 25% of the day (i.e 6hrs of active with backups, multimedia, etc) and 75% of the day as idle (i.e 18hrs unused):

25%/75% Active/Idle Use:

6hr Active Use / 18hr Idle UK Power Use U.S Power Use Germany Power Use Australia Canada
Cost Per Day £0.08925 $0.0387 €0.0838 AU$0.0618 CA$0.0222
Cost per Month £2.7146 $1.1786 €2.5496 AU$1.882 CA$0.6775
Cost Per Year £32.57 $14.14 €30.59 AU$22.58 CA$8.13

Now it is worth keeping in mind that the costs for each region have a notably different price per kW rate, so even after factoring in currency conversions between different units (eg Pounds vs Dollars), there is a significant degree of difference in the costs per day, month and year of the exact same NAS+HDD setup above. The idle power use was just 35.29% of the power use of the active testing in the same 24hr time block. I will be conducting more tests with more NAS configurations in the coming months and either adding them to this article, or creating their own articles. Stay tuned, check below to see if other NAS power tests have been published and recommended to you, or watch the video version of these tests (which goes into more detail on the current predicaments in the energy crisis facing many of us in 2022, 2023 and beyond.

 

📧 LET ME KNOW ABOUT NEW POSTS 🔔

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,273 other subscribers

Get an alert every time something gets added to this specific article!


Want to follow specific category? 📧 Subscribe

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]     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.  

 

WD Red Pro 22TB and QNAP NAS 10GbE Tests – RAID 0 vs RAID 5 vs RAID 6

26 septembre 2022 à 18:00

QNAP TS-464 NAS 10GbE RAID 0/5/6 Testing with the WD Red Pro 22TB HDDs

When you buy a new NAS and drives, one of the most important long-term decisions that you will make is choosing your RAID level. A RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is the process of combining multiple media drives together into a single area of storage (a Storage Pool). Different RAID configurations provide different benefits and although it is not impossible to switch/change your RAID level years down the line it is not particularly straightforward, is quite limited in the range of RAID change options and often just makes you wish you had picked better the first time around! That is one of the main purposes of today’s article, to understand the performance differences between the big three RAID configurations that people choose for their first NAS system – RAID 0, RAID 5 and RAID 6. In order to achieve this, I have opted to use the 2022 released QNAP TS-464 4-Bay NAS, combined with a 10GbE upgrade and alongside this I have fully populated the device with FOUR of the new massive capacity 22TB WD Red Pro series Hard drives. What we have here is a fully-featured, Prosumer NAS system with an external 1,000MB/s external throughput and a potential 88 Terabytes to play with! This will be a great way to test the performance potential of RAID 0 vs RAID 5 vs RAID 6 for users who are considering a modest scale 4-Bay NAS and want to make sure they pick the right RAID configuration for their needs right – FIRST TIME!

Skip Ahead? Use the links here to skip ahead to the Appropriate Test:

RAID 0, 10GbE Testing, QNAP TS-464 and WD Red Pro 22TB HDDs

RAID 5, 10GbE Testing, QNAP TS-464 and WD Red Pro 22TB HDDs

RAID 6, 10GbE Testing, QNAP TS-464 and WD Red Pro 22TB HDDs

Before we get started, if you are interested in emulating these tests for yourself, or are keen to achieve these results in your own setup and want to know the devices I used in these tests, you can use the links below to find each item on Amazon in your local region. Using these links will result in amazon sending a small % back to us here at NASCompares that goes directly back into our site and services, allowing us to continue making these articles, videos and more – Thanks in advance!

Hardware Used in today’s Tests

Note – If you would rather WATCH these tests in video form, you can watch the WD Red 22TB and QNAP TS-464 NAS Performance Tests here on the NASCompares YouTube Channel. Alternatively, you can watch my review of either the QNAP TS-464 NAS or WD Red Pro 22TB NAS Hard Drive below:

 QNAP TS-464 NAS Review WD Red Pro 22TB Review

QNAP TS-464 NAS & WD Red Pro 22TBs – The Test Setup and Hardware Used

These tests were conducted in a Windows 10 client machine environment over 3 days (factoring RAID rebuild times and cool downs) and all three RAID configurations (RAID 0, 5, 6) were conducted with four WD Red Pro series 22TB hard disks. The benchmark software used for these tests was Atto Disk Benchmark, as it provides a very wide range of test setups – as well as working much more smoothly with iSCSI targets/LUNs in windows and providing clearly information to display to the layman for this article. Additionally, given that just one of the WD 22TB hard drives can achieve more than 250MB/s throughput, I went ahead with a 10GbE, point-to-point connection between my PC and the NAS, using a QNAP 1st party 1 Port 10GbE card and the Sonnet Solo 10GbE Thunderbolt to 10GbE adapter. Here is a breakdown of the specific test setup components:

  • QNAP TS-464 4-Bay NAS with QTS 5

  • WD Red Pro 22TB NAS Hard Drives x4, RAID 0 or RAID 5 Configuration (dependingClick to view slideshow.
  • 20TB iSCSI LUN via the Default iSCSI Manager Target, connected to the Windows PC with the iSCSI initiator as a local appearing drive for Atto Disk Benchmark
Click to view slideshow.
  • Local PC Network Adapter using the Thunderbolt-to-10GbE adapter
Click to view slideshow.
  • Windows 10 Pro PC, Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8750H CPU @ 2.20GHz 2.20 GHz, 32GB DDR4 2666Mhz Memory, Internal Samsung 970 Pro 1TB SSD

  • MTU / Jumbo Frames set to 9K on both the NAS and the Network Adapter, Direct Connection (LAN-to-LAN), no network switch
Click to view slideshow.

Before we go further though, we need something to measure against. Here is the default performance of a SINGLE WD Red Pro 22TB NAS Hard Drive, using the QNAP QTS Storage Manager Benchmark Tool:

As you can see, even on it’s own, a single WD Red Pro 22TB HDD can largely saturate even a single external 2.5GbE connection. So, at the very least, you are going to get 240-260MB/s with just the one drive. So, let’s get down to business! I performed a wide scope of tests, so let’s go through those results!

QNAP TS-464 NAS, RAID 0 10GbE Performance Tests

The first RAID we are testing in our WD Red Pro 22TB and QNAP TS-464 NAS setup is RAID 0. In a RAID 0 configuration, ALL of the available capacity of the drives you select is available BUT you have no redundancy (i.e no safety net if a drive fails) and in the event of one of your HDDs going bust, you almost certainly lose ALL of your data (this can be very marginally negated if you spend some time deciding on a spanning or stripe style RAID protocol). So, why do people choose RAID 0 if it has such a high cost in the event of drive failure? Well, there are the massive storage benefits of course, but there is the other big bonus that the NAS will be reading and writing ALL the drives at once, hugely increasing the maximum performance that can be achieved. Also, as RAID 0 has no redundancy and no CPU resources are being used to calculate parity (a blueprint of data that is used for data restoration) which further increases performance AND lowers overall system hardware use. Therefore I expect the performance of the WD Red Pro 22TB HDDs to be very good in a RAID 0 configuration over 10GbE.

ATTO DiskBenchmark 64MB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 803MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 837MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 256MB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 803MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 835MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 1GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 814MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 835MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 4GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 806MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 730MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 16GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 803MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 805MB/s


QNAP TS-464 NAS, RAID 5 10GbE Performance Tests

Next, I wanted to test the most popular RAID configuration for 4-Bay NAS drives like the QNAP TS-464 – RAID 5. In this configuration, it pools the four 22TB WD Red Pro hard disks together, but thanks to a system of data being striped across the disks during writing (i.e. data is written across the disks in a 1, 2, 3, etc pattern continuously AND one disk on each stripe having parity data (a blueprint of the data written on the other disks in that particular stripe), it means that in the event of a drive dying, you can rebuild the data that was on the broken drive from the remaining data on the other disks and the availability parity data. This also means that in order to maintain a balance of combined storage and ensure space for parity data, a RAID 5 will result in 1 drive’s worth of data capacity being educated from the overall total. So, in the case of the TS-464 and four 22TB Hard Drives, you would get 66TB of available data (as 22TB of that is used for parity data provisioning). Additionally, although you are still reading AND writing from multiple disks at once, the calculation, creation and maintenance of parity data in a RAID 5 has a negative impact on the total performance, as the system is using more resources (CPU+Memory) in order to keep things running smoothly in your storage pool. Modern NAS systems have done an excellent job of choosing very capable CPUs and RAID 5 configurations in recent years have been substantially better in performance. However, a RAID 5 will still have a lower degree of performance to a comparable RAID 0 hardware setup. Here is how the RAID 5 on the WD Red Pro 22TBs and the QNAP TS-464 NAS performed:

ATTO DiskBenchmark 64MB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 800MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 779MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 256MB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 517MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 781MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 1GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 535MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 781MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 4GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 520MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 687MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 16GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 525MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 724MB/s


QNAP TS-464 NAS, RAID 6 10GbE Performance Tests

Our final test of the QNAP TS-464 NAS was a configuration setup up of a RAID 6 on the four WD Red Pro 22TBs. Now, a RAID 6 is highly comparable to a RAID 5 (discussed above), but instead of 1 drive of failure protection (the redundancy/safety net), you have TWO drives of safety. You need at least four drives in order to setup a RAID 6, but most users who consider RAID 6 are using much, much larger bay configurations and you generally find RAID 6 in homes/businesses where the data on the drives is mission critical, priceless or utterly impossible to recreate (from company accounts to photos of your children growing up!). Now, alongside the expected drop in capacity being 2 drives lower (so in the case of this configuration of 4x 22TB HDDs, you have 44TB available to storage data), the system’s overhead in creating parity/blueprints of the current data in efforts to maintain that two disk redundancy/safety net is twice as much, so performance will decrease further. So, let’s see how the QNAP TS-464 and the WD Red Pro 22TBs faired in performance over 10GbE in a RAID 6 set up:

ATTO DiskBenchmark 64MB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 809MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 780MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 256MB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 399MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 781MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 1GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 430MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 781MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 4GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 444MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 625MB/s


ATTO DiskBenchmark 16GB File Test, 512B-to-64MB I/O Size

Peak Write Performance – 422MB/s  /  Peak Read Performance – 623MB/s


QNAP TS-464 NAS + WD Red 22TB RAID 6 Tests – Verdict & Conclusion

Overall, the performance that the QNAP TS-464 NAS and those 22TB WD Red Pro HDDs provided in each RAID configuration was pretty much what I would have expected. The Celeron CPU inside this NAS is a much more middle-of-the-road processor compared to more ‘file system’ and ‘general throughput-focused’ alternatives in the AMD-embedded Ryzen, Xeon or Atom that are found on other bulkier NAS systems, so it was always unlikely to saturate a full 10GbE connection with just four drives, even in a RAID 0 with an Intel Celeron processor. However, the RAID 5 configuration regularly hit the 600-700MB/s mark in this 4 disk RAID 5 configuration which, considering we are still talking about mechanical HDDs (even at 22TB and 265MB/s per drive) is pretty impressive! The RAID 6 performance clearly took the wind out of the sales of this 4-Bay though and unless you were using a larger 6-8 Bay configuration (such as the TS-664 or higher), this NAS hardware configuration struggled at the double parity level. Overall, the WD Red Pro 22TB hard drives perform exceptionally well and were consistent in their operation and the QNAP TS-464 NAS did exactly what it promised! If you are looking for a huge amount of capacity in a compact package, this potential 88TB 4-Bay desktop NAS combo is pretty incredible!

 

📧 LET ME KNOW ABOUT NEW POSTS 🔔

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,273 other subscribers

Get an alert every time something gets added to this specific article!


Want to follow specific category? 📧 Subscribe

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]     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.  

Which Backup Method is Best? NAS vs Cloud vs Tape vs USB

23 septembre 2022 à 18:00

What is the Best Way to Backup Your Data Every Day?

I know it is not going to be shocking news when I say that Data is really, really important. That should not come as a staggering fact. If you found this article thanks to a rather perceptive google search, then clearly you think data is very important too. It is all too easy to rely on your data living on multiple machines in your office or home. Centralized backup is a very unappealing idea. For a start, it is expensive. You will spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on storage, then you find out that you need to have it in ANOTHER location too (as otherwise, it isn’t truly a backup) and then worse still it isn’t even being spent on making more space, but actually to duplicate your old data and not be used. You are spending all this money on what can be described as a remarkably large insurance policy. Worse still if you have all the machines in your home or office backing up to a device in that same location, almost all data safety and storage experts will scream to high heaven that this is still not enough. Sadly this is true, because not only do you put yourself at risk of complete critical loss in the event of fire or flooding, but also in the case of theft you end up having all your eggs in one basket and making the thieves lives much easier. So ultimate you have to stop thinking about this only in terms of how much this storage is going to cost. If you think like that, you will never move past stage one. No, you have to think about how much will this data cost you to LOSE. Your personal media (family, events, memories), your client’s data or perhaps your surveillance data. Take a moment and think how much it would cost your business right now if you lost your data – hundreds? Thousands? Close the business? The ideal backup solution should always be based on the cost of loss, not gain! Although a little trite, it is still a reliable rule of thumb to have a 3-2-1 backup solution operation that looks like this:

  1. Primary Data (Where data is initially created/collected, the PCs, the Macs, the Phones, etc)
  2. On-site Backup solution (where multiple devices are backup’ed up to internally, also more commonly referred to as the bare-metal backup)
  3. Off-site/different location Backup (where the copy of the on-site backup lives that is separate network and/or physical location. This can range from another NAS, to a cloud provider and even a USB drive)

Stages 2 and 3 should be encrypted in case they are stolen/entered, as well as feature login credentials and an admin system in the event of them being occupied/accessed illegally. Today I want to focus on the 2nd and 3rd stages of your backup routine and help you decide the best ways to spend your budget on the most effective safety net and recovery system for your needs.

Backup and Redundancy – DO NOT GET THEM MIXED UP!

Way, WAY too many NAS (network-attached storage) or DAS (direct-attached storage) owners think their data actually have a backup layer in place when they refer to their RAID configuration, their versioning or their snapshots. These are NOT backup methods and are actually designed primarily as a means of recovering your data in the event of an HDD/SSD dying, an accidentally deleted file or rolling a file back to a previous revision. Think of RAID/Snapshots/Versioning as ‘safety nets’, The only work from INSIDE the infrastructure NOT outside of it. If the NAS server or RAID enabled DAS box does, then there is a very high chance that your data cannot be recovered via these methods (not impossible, just touch and certainly not foolproof). Below is a video that breaks down a number of different Backup and Redundancy methods inside a single NAS system:

How Expensive is a 2-Stage Backup and Do I need it?

The cost of a 2-stage backup (i.e having 2 backups of your data) operation can be measured by the amount of data you/your company produces on a daily basis. Additionally, depending on your commitment to holding onto your data (so, for business, you might have a 6 year or 12-month retention policy) there are ways to make economies in between the stages. However, whether you are a home user of a business user, there are few instances where a double-layered backup is not ideal. Let’s look at this from a business and home user point of view:

Why Business and Enterprise users need an Extensive Data Backup Plan

Example. Your company has 10 employees. Each has their own workstation and they contact clients on a daily basis to drum up new sales, fulfil existing quotes and maintain a customer relationship manager (CRM). You have both #1 AND #2 stage backups (so local PCs and A NAS in-house maybe) covered. Plus you have business insurance in case of a fire or flood. One morning you arrive to find your office has been flooded/burnt/burgled/struck by lightning and everything is fried. At first, you think, lucky we have insurance. They will pay up for whole new office equipment, PCs and your server. However, what about all that customer data? Not only can the insurance company not replace it but they will not pay its consequential value (with VERY few insurance policies covering data recovery services). So now you have to start from square 1. Plus now you also have a bundle of rather angry customers from the previous days and weeks whose requirements go unfulfilled. This coupled with starting your business network from scratch, employees salaries continuing as normal and several IT guys (or 1 guy working for days) setting everything up from scratch again (this WILL be the case from fire, flood or theft) could easily KILL a company. Now, in that context, isn’t a few thousand put towards an off-site #3 Backup so bad? Thought not.

Why Home and Private users need an Extensive Data Backup Plan Too

Ok, so a home user has a smaller ecosystem to maintain and now the mission-critical data and the life or death nature of your information is less so. Or is it? Example #2. What about all those important house documents you’ve scanned? Those TV shows and movies you bought on a one time download? What about your wedding picture or those of your children growing up? Those videos of your friends and relatives that are no longer with us? Not to be bleak, but it is often the case that although much of a person’s data is not of huge financial value, it is still utterly and completely irreplaceable in the literal sense.

Likewise, if your many devices (phones, computers, hard drives) get corrupted, hacked with malware/ransomware or simply broken, don’t you want the peace of mind of knowing that there is always a backup of EVERYTHING? If you are copying the data of all your devices to a large hard drive enclosure in your home, this is NOT a perfect backup. It just protects you from the loss of one or more of your mobile/individual devices. Additionally, the minute you start deleting files on your phone/laptop to ‘make some space because it is already backed up on the NAS‘, your NAS is not a backup, it is the single repository for that data!  So, as you can see, the need for a reliable true backup is paramount regardless of whether you are a home user or business user. However accepting that you need a backup is not enough, you need to know what to consider when choosing the right backup. Home users and their data volume/frequency can always consider USB backups of course, which can be good but only upto the time that the last backup took place AND on the assumption that the USB drive is stored offsite periodically.

What are the factors I need to take into account when considering my Backup Solution?

Choosing the best full backup for your data can be a little difficult. With so many variables ranging from cost to size to speed and more, it can be easy to go around in circles and still end up choosing nothing. In almost all cases, the deciding factor is cost. However, this is closely followed by speed. Having a backup is all well and good, but if it takes too long to finish, it can often be slower than the speed at which you create data and create a bottleneck. Likewise, if you choose an unsuitable connection of choice between your primary backup storage and/or off-site 2nd backup storage, then they may communicate inefficiently. Below are the main overheads to consider when choosing your backup.

Distance & Speed – How far is the 2nd backup going to be from the primary backup and/or primary data source? Unless you are considering fibre cabling between different physical sites, you are going to be limited by your upload/download speed and if your network is busy with multiple users, then you will need to provision priority of service to these backup connections, or else risk it affecting day to day operation (particularly VoIP connections – a growing necessity in 2022 with shifting patterns in the way we are working during/ost pandemic). The local connections between your client devices in-house and the primary backup may well only be using an internet network/LAN to communicate, but that can still become oversaturated. So be sure to provision switches where appropriate too (we will touch on 10GbE later)

Power (Watts etc) – The power of the hardware inside the primary (bare-metal) data storage device, secondary backup target and (depending on your setup) even the power of your client hardware in house is also an important factor to take into consideration when scaling and provisioning an appropriate backup strategy. Critical power failure (i.e a power cut) in one or more of these locations can not only result in some data not being backed up, but more importantly can compromise the backups themselves, with some systems suffering critical hardware failure and SSD/HDD damage in the process. It is HIGHLY recommended for users who are considering a private server for their data have it connected to the mains power via a USB device, in order to allow the system to still operate in the event of power failure AND shut itself down safely.

Physical Media – The server of choice for your primary backup is only half of the battle. The media that you are storing the data too can make a huge impact too. Many have their own maximum speed or capacity, so even with a super-fast enclosure and/or connection, you will be bottlenecked by the drives themselves. All media types e.g. HDD, SSD or Tape have their own maximum performance and some are lower than the connection maximum and some are faster and therefore end up creating a limited speed inadvertently. This can be negated in a number of ways. These range from the use of RAID (redundant array of independent disks) that combines media into single storage pools that benefit from redundancy (i.e a safety net if one drive dies) and/or increases in performance. Additionally, you can look at SSD caching, a service that is particularly popular in private NAS servers released after around 2018 and continues to be included in most systems. SSD caching allows the system to have one of more SSDs installed and then utilize the increased performance they offer to benefit write actions (i.e you write data onto the SSDs first and then the NAS moves it over to the slower HDDs afterwards) and/or read actions (where the most frequently accessed files are cloned onto the SSDs and it speeds up their access to client devices) though this is less useful for backups, it is still a useful option.

The Media connection internally – As mentioned, the SATA port on most commercial HDD/SSD has a maximum of 6 gigabits (Gbs) in SATA III – SAS at 12 Gigabits. All of these are internal and are maximum bandwidths available to each media drive installed in each bay. However, realistically, most typical Hard Drives max out at 272MB/s at the very top end (and even then, this is using enterprise-grade HDDs) and most conventional 2.5″ SSDs (with the exception of U.2 and U.3) max out at about 550MB/s). So you are going to need several of these drives inside your primary backup system in a decent RAID configuration to facilitate performance AND redundancy (like a RAID 5 or RAID 5). For your external/2nd backup target, a lot of enterprise users take advance of cold storage such as tape drive media. Designed to be used for data that needs to be held for insurance/archive for years and years, the current highest generation of tape architecture is is LTO-9 = 400MB/s in uncompressed/RAW form and 1000MB/s in compressed, with storage capacities per tape hitting 45 Terabytes! However, a full backup would take (at best, so with everything at full!) over 12 hours to transfer. Additionally, tape backup is fantastically expensive and therefore largely enterprise only as an option.

The external connection – Lastly and possibly the most overlooked part, is the communication between your primary client devices to send data, the primary backup data and the secondary backup. Not just the speed, but the resilience and future-proofing. You need to consider what connection you are going to use today, tomorrow and years from now. The last thing you want is to saddle yourself with a connection now and later when you upgrade your primary hardware on individual clients or locations, end up with a device you cannot access or use with an unchangeable bottleneck. Then your data just becomes a chore to access at best and potentially days or weeks or time to restore. Popular connections and their speed between host and client devices are:

Network Backups (backups that share a LAN or vLANs in a greater network)

  • 1GBe LAN/Ethernet = 1Gbit/s, or 100-109MB/s
  • 2.5GbE LAN/Ethernet = 2.5Gbit/s, or 250-270MB/s
  • 5GbE LAN/Ethernet = 5Gbit/s, or 500-545MB/s
  • 10GbE LAN/Ethernet = 10Gbit/s, or 1000-1024MB/s

USB and local Backups directly connected and stored offsite

  • USB 3.0 (3.2 Gen 1) = 5 Gbit/s
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2= 10 Gbit/s
  • USB 3.2×2 = 20 Gbit/s
  • Thunderbolt 3 & Thunderbolt 4 = 40 Gbit/s

Fast Local Backups or Direct Connections over large distances

  • Fibrechannel / FC – 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 128 gigabit per second rates depending to start
  • Tape Based backups, such as LTO 7,8,9 – 300/360/400MB/s uncompressed and 750/900/1000MB/s compressed
  • Cloud storage – dependant on connection. Additionally, factors such as upload and download speeds, fair usage policies and more affect the performance. If you are fortunate to have a 1 Gigabit internet connection, that means around 100MB/s for download speeds and a fraction of that for upload speeds

So, as you can see, there are many choices out there for a means of sending backup between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd parts of your backup environment.

What is the Difference in Speed and Cost between different Backup Solutions?

And so to the meat of the subject. Different solutions cost money and in the interests of SPEED, below i have detailed numerous solutions that will provide a backup solution of upto 10TB of storage. All Costs and speeds are based on a solution that is an acceptable distance away for maximum efficiency. Perfect speed results were provided with http://www.calctool.org/ , however, it is worth noting that these are ‘perfect situation’ based and it would be tough to see this maximum threshold. you will comfortably see around 10-20% below this, but that is fine. Finally, it is always worth remembering that the speeds mentioned below are based on an initial 10 Terabyte backup. After that, there is the likely possibility that future backups will be much more granular (this can also be referred to as differential backups, where only the changed files are backed up each time afterwards). But some users may wish to take advantage of time managed backups, where a full backup per day is kept, for X number of days (when eventually the newest backup will overwrite the oldest on rotation).

ALSO IMPORTANT – In all examples where a 4TB SSD (which average around £350-400 over SATA) is mentioned, you can use a 4TB HDDs at around £75-100 (brand depending) to save a considerable sum – but you will effective quadruple or more the time the initial backups will take. Likewise, future incremental backups will be significantly reduced also.  In examples where the SSD would have been substantially bottlenecked by a connection, I have used HDD as you will not need to spend the extra.

The Best Value 1/2.5GbE based Backup Solution for 10TB of data

For a solid LAN based backup (with optional internet access as needed for off-site work) I would recommend the Synology DS220+ 2 Bay Pentium NAS at around £250. Alongside this, you will need a smart Switch (to take advantage of LAG and 2GbE, 2x 10TB HDD at £230 each as you will not see any speed difference on a network connection with SSD (RAID 1). This will cost around just under £800. Alternatively, there have been other improvements in the base level ethernet connectivity in 2-4 Bay NAS solutions in the last few years, with 2.5GbE or even 5GbE available on the likes of the QNAP TS-x53D, TS-x73A or Asustor Lockerstor 2/4 series. These solutions arrive at only a fraction more and although they can possibly add another £100-200 to the price tag, this can be offset by time saved in the backup operations AND by purchasing a 4-Bay NAS over a 2-Bay and leveraging the price vs the redundancy vs the capacity (eg instead of 2x 10TB in RAID 1, purchasing 4x 3TB and getting better performance and an extra 2TB in RAID 5).

What do CalcTool.org have to say about 1GBe

CalcTool.org

Over 1 Gigabit per second, in a perfect scenario – just over 20 hours. Realistically closer to 25 or 30 hours. SO the first few backups should be conducted over the weekend but all future ‘difference only’ backups should be fin at 12-hour intervals without harming the bandwidth too much, Likewise, you can scale this down as you utilize link aggregation (also known as port trunking, when ports are combined) and/or 2.5GbE/5GbE to reduce this figure down to 8 hours or just 4 hours respectively.

The Best Value 10GBe Network-Based Solution for 10TB of Data

In order to create the perfect cost-effective yet powerful 10GBe Network-based backup solution (so 10x faster than normal LAN) I would recommend the QNAP TS-431X3 with 10GBe  (at around £450) with SFP+ Connection and  SFP+ Cables with transceivers attached (Cable price dependant on length and transceivers). Additionally, you will need a 10GBe switch (at least £150 realistically), and for MAXIMUM speed 4x 4TB Seagate Ironwolf 125 SSD (at £450 per drive) in a RAID 5 which slows things a pinch but gives you the safety of 1 drive worth of redundancy. Of course, you can downgrade to Seagate Ironwolf 4TB Hard drives (at £85 per drive) and save over £1500, but you will see a noticeable dip in performance of around 200-400MB/s (NAS dependant). So the choice is yours. Lastly, you will need a 10GBe interface on the machine(s) you are backing up from in order to maintain the 10GBe throughput (or alternatively just have the NAS on a 10GbE connection and the clients all on 1GbE with bandwidth being shared as appropriate). In total this will cost around £2400+ for the SSD based solution and just £900-1000 for the HDD solution. None of this is set in stone, of course, you can scale things in a number of ways, using bigger NAS solutions (i.e. more bays) or using multiple 10GbE connections in LAG/Trunked connections.

What do CalcTool.org have to say about 10GBe

CalcTool.org

The performance will largely be dictated by the distance of the backups, choice of HDD or SSD and types of files. However, over 10 Gigabit per second, in a perfect scenario – just over 2 hours. However this is a little optimistic and in practice, it will realistically weigh in closer to 3+ hours, as the complexity of the files (thousand so smaller emails and documents or fewer BIG media files, everyone is different). This of course is for the first few backups of a FULL 10 Terabytes of data. Later with incremental and ‘difference only’ backups, you will see times slashed heavily for the better.

The Cost of Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3 Backup Solutions for 10TB of data

Fast becoming a connection of choice for photo and video editors in both the Mac and Windows community, Thunderbolt is the no-fuss connection that promises speed, without the technical nonsense. Much like before you can choose to go with SSD drives for supreme speed (at a hefty price tag) or HDD if you want to make economies. Below are the options best suited for a Thunderbolt 1 (although still legacy, still is in use), Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 Backups:

  • TB 1 DAS, 4-Bay, Cable, 4x 4TB SSD, RAID 5 enabled = £3000+ —- 2Hours + Backup time with SSD population / 3.5+ Hour for HDD Population
  • TB 2 DAS, 4-Bay, Cable, 4x 4TB SSD, RAID 5 enabled = £3500+ —-  1 Hour + Backup time with SSD population / 2-3+ Hour for HDD Population
  • TB 3 DAS, 4-Bay, Cable, 4x 4TB SSD, RAID 5 enabled = £4500+ —- 30-45min + Backup time with SSD population / 1.5 Hour for HDD Population

What do CalcTool.org have to say about Thunderbolt 1, 2 and 3

CalcTool.orgThunderbolt does not lose speed over distance, however, most conventional cables you can buy max out around 5 metres and the ones included with the above enclosures arrive at 1-1.8m. In a real-world scenario you can realistically double this length of time listed above in the initial backups. However, it will MASSIVELY improve with subsequent backups. With the exception of a few, most Thunderbolt backups arrive with only Thunderbolt ports, so in order to maintain the speed levels of this backup, you need to either ensure that it is connected to your centralised depositary via Thunderbolt, or if it’s backing up multiple devices, that they are using a good networking device, as Thunderbolt Direct attached storage only allows a single connected device at any one time.

The Price, Speed & Suitability LTO-7, LTO-8 and LTO-9 Tape Backup 10TB Solutions

In the case of LTO / tapes, this kind of storage for 10TB can be incredibly inefficient for an extra layer of storage. You can purchase much smaller 1 and 2 tape frames/storage devices, but for what you are paying and the overall accessibility for all machines involved, it isn’t great. If you were regularly backing up 5x or 10x this amount of storage, it would be a different story. Internal operations can be upto 1000MB/s with compressed data and 400MB for raw uncompressed data. SO unless you are synchronizing between two LTO tape loading machines, you will almost certainly use uncompressed. However these are internal operations and as we are discussing backing up from existing systems to a storage device, we have to focus on the external connection. Most likely 10GBe network or 12GB/s SAS will be the means of backing up to your tape device. But Cost is hard to pin – easily £2000-3000 and upwards, over at least two tapes (capacity differed at each LTO generation) etc. Most likely around over  1-3 hours transfer time, but hugely impractical at this scale and most likely much higher in practice. Definite a good option for those at the enterprise tier, but anything less will be squandering their budgets significant with a weak ROI.

The Best Value USB 3.2 Gen 2 Backup Solution for 10TB of data

The latest available version of USB, also known as USB 3.1 Gen 2, is easily the cheapest way to store a 10TB backup at a very respectable 10 Gb/s (comparable to Thunderbolt 1) speed. You will need to ensure that the connected device(s) that you are backing up too/from use the newer USB 3.1 Gen 2 port to ensure you do not get bottlenecked at 5 Gb/s, but this Highpoint 6124V RAID 5 enabled USB 2 Gen 2 DAS enclosure arrives at £350+ and if populated with either 4x 4TB SSD or 4x HDD (same price difference as before), RAID 5 enabled = £2100+ for an SSD Based solution and just £700+ for a HDD based version

What do CalcTool.org have to say about USB 3.1 Gen 2?

CalcTool.orgWith the best drives available you will have this 10TB localized backup over USB 3.1 Gen 2 finished in just over 2 hours. However taking system overheads into consideration, as well as the RAID 5 into account (something you could counter with a RAID 10 and 4x 6TB HDD perhaps) you are looking at between 2.5 and 3.5 hours completion. Additionally, a number of NAS Drive vendors have started implementing USB 3.2 Gen 2 in their systems, which means that a 10Gb/s USB DAS solution can be used as a means of creating a secondary backup by connecting it with your primary backup and running one of the many free backup/sync tools that NAS systems include with your purchase. Just remember that in order for this to be a truly safe 2nd tier backup, it cannot constantly reside in the same location as the primary backup.

Is Cloud Suitable as a 10TB Backup solution?

You may wonder why I have not suggested the cloud as a regular backup yet. It is certainly appealing. No parts are needed, just a healthy internet connection. You already have all the hardware you will need to establish this kind of synchronised backup – this should be by far the cheapest and easiest backup, right? Well yes and no. It IS cheap – in the short-term. Even if you take into account that your Business internet connection costs, from as little as £10 to £50 a month, reaching much higher once you consider fiber channelling, it is still pretty attractive. However you have to consider the time this backup will take and how it will affect the bandwidth throughout your business – otherwise, you will need to be conducted them overnight due to limit consumption. Some brands, such as Synology with their C2 platform, have rolled in an additional cloud service alongside their bare-metal solution. This is intended to be used as an alternative means of accessing an existing storage area that is synchronized with your NAS/local solution remotely (as well as benefiting from significantly easier remote access to data). NAS+Cloud can serve as a great 2-3/double backup option, as well as ensuring that your backups are in very different physical locations. Lastly, with intelligent caching and background synchronization between the NAS-THE CLOUD-CLIENT HARDWARE happening, a lot of the actual backing up can be hugely incremental and lessen the impact on the end-user, whether they are local to the NAS or remotely communicating with the C2 cloud (or 3rd party clouds such as Google Drive and Dropbox that are synced with the NAS). But what about the cloud on its own, not used in tandem with a NAS/Private server?

The first thing to factor in is the data being sent TO the cloud. Remember we are talking about Uploads, not downloads (downloads and a backup should only be considered during recovery, not day to day operations). Most internet services advertise incredible download speeds, but backups are almost exclusively upload based and upload speeds are normally a 10th or less than advertised download speeds. lastly, we can talk about costs. As although the initial costs are much less, let’s go for £50 a month for a dedicated high upload speed connection privately (closer to £500 for a business line) for your off-site backup. That is £600 a year. In 5 years, that is £3,000 (a cost that is the same or higher than most of the solutions discussed previously). The real kicker is that after those 5 years, you either have to continue paying to maintain this backup OR buy a suitable local storage drive to download it too – something you could have had ALREADY by going for the other solutions and thereby saving you thousands of pounds more.

I took the trouble of using the awesome tool at http://www.thecloudcalculator.com/ and if you have a 30Mbps upload speed (fairly respectable and the entry point outside of central city hubs). backing up 10TB initially would take  33 Days, 22 Hours, and 27 Minutes, 11 Seconds

That is horrendously long and you cannot just assume this is a one-off and negotiable with incremental backups and difference-only changes. You need a reliable and adaptive backup solution – not one that will do the job as long as you work within its limits. If you want to entertain the idea of a cloud-based backup of 10TB on a regular basis, we have to look into fiber and at least 2Gbps (so 2000 Megabits) to get to 12 hours for an overnight full backup (non-incremental). This is going to cost a small fortune and unless you intend to take advantage of this speed during the day-time, is a huge outlay for something that is not hugely accessible or reliable.

So, those are your options. Remember you are not limited to just ONE option and each of these solutions can be used in combinations, depending on your budget, physical environment, internet speeds or volume of client devices. In summary:

NAS BACKUPS USB DAS BACKUPS THUNDERBOLT BACKUPS TAPE BACKUPS CLOUD BACKUPS
Price (more ★ = Higher Price) ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Value (more ★ = more for your money) ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★
Scalability (more ★ = can grow more) ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Complexity (more ★ = more complex) ★★★★★ ★★★★
Speed (more ★ = faster) ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★
User/Usage Type Home & Business Home and Local Home and Local Enterprise Remote
What to Buy

Thanks for reading! Need any more help? Why not take advantage of the free advice section below. It is genuinely free, supported by voluntary donations and ad revenue. Nothing is done with your email address and all questions are answered by two humans – Me (Robbie) and Eddie the Web Guy!

📧 LET ME KNOW ABOUT NEW POSTS 🔔

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,273 other subscribers

Get an alert every time something gets added to this specific article!


Want to follow specific category? 📧 Subscribe

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]     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.  

Thunderbolt RAID 1/5/6/10 Enclosures in 2022/2023 – A Buyers Buide

19 septembre 2022 à 18:00

Choosing the RIGHT Thunderbolt RAID Enclosure – First Time

If you have been looking for a thunderbolt storage solution with on-board RAID functionality in 2022/2023, then chances are that you might have noticed a bit of a problem! You see, unlike older USB enclosures, thunderbolt 3/4 with on-board RAID (otherwise known as Hardware-RAID or SoC RAID) are surprisingly thin on the ground and in particular, if you are looking for a RAID 5 Thunderbolt enclosure, the options are INCREDIBLY LIMITED! If you are looking for a 1-2 Bay solution (using a Mirror/RAID1 configuration) you are spoilt for choice, with hundreds of recognized and unknown brands throwing thousands of solutions at you! But at soon as you look at 4, 5, 8 bay (or larger solutions), you suddenly hit a brick wall and your options change from ‘thousands’ to just a handful. Now, this is made even more complicated when you find out that SOME of these solutions are RAID-Supported but do NOT actually have inbuilt RAID functionality (typically listed as ‘JBOD’ solutions – Just a Bunch Of Drive, relying on your connected Mac/PC system to create and support the RAID – something that diminishes performance in many cases and leads to concerns of accidental disconnection (wire pull, power cut, system software failure, etc). THEN you find out that some solutions are not available without HDDs or SSDs pre-installed (more often than not with preset drives from the same brand that cannot be changed or swapped easily). So if you have been looking to buy an empty/unpopulated Thunderbolt enclosure with in-built RAID 5/6/10 support, but want to use some drives you already own or were on offer during amazon prime day – you seriously only have around 10 solutions available in the market right now! Buying a Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 RAID-enabled solution can be incredibly difficult and incredibly tiring to browse through – and I haven’t even mentioned NOISE when these systems are in operation! Today I want to discuss the subject of Thunderbolt RAID boxes for data storage, why it is so difficult and why Thunderbolt 4 enclosures are hard to find right now! Then at the end, I will make some recommendations on RAID-enabled Thunderbolt Boxes to suit every kind of user that you can find in 2022 and 2023.

WHERE are the Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 RAID Enclosures?

If you have an editing suite that is already working with 1080P raw, has begun processing 4K and you want to future proof for 8K down the line, then it makes sense that you might be looking for Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) and USB 4 RAID 5/6/10 enabled enclosures. Despite Thunderbolt4 not increasing the maximum possible bandwidth compared with TB3, it DOES provide numerous handling, power and efficiency benefits – as well as the cross-over with USB4 and all USB-C. However, there is a little to no RAID solutions (outside of RAID1 / Mirror 2-Bays and single drives) in the market right now. Now, rewind to a few years ago when Thunderbolt4 and USB4 was first revealed and commercial release was discussed. At that point that heavily indicated that 2022/2023 was the point when TB4 would largely overtake TB3 (as both were adopted by MoBo manufacturers, hardware vendors, Mac releases and USB-C continued to dominate). HOWEVER, then the pandemic happened. The pandemic had a huge impact on practically ALL areas of hardware production, such as changes in buying patterns forcing production lines to constantly change what they produced inconsistently, changes in working conditions heavily reducing output and transit/logistics being reduced to under 10% of pre-pandemic levels resulting in goods not moving! THEN you had continued and increased semi-conductor shortages resulting in low/zero production of key components that are needed in Thunderbolt hardware (as well as a large % of Intel products). THEN you have the continued U.S-China trade war affecting the movement and availability of goods globally AND the Russia-Ukraine conflict affecting the availability of Neon (another key chip/component resource that is hugely needed) and further harm on production/logisitcs globally. The result is that although TB4/USB4 was supposed to be hugely available/ubiquitous BUT it is taking considerably longer to arrive commercially and therefore most people have decided to invest in Thunderbolt 3 RAID solutions. That isn’t to say that TB3 RAID Products are not affected by the factors hitting TB4/USB4, but Thunderbolt3 solutions have been in the market for 4-5 years at this point and therefore there is ALOT more available in stock and the components needed are more readily available.

Buying a RAID-Enabled Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure – WHY is it SO Difficult?

As mentioned, in spite of Thunderbolt 3 RAID HDD and SSD  enclosures being available in huge varieties and scale, when it comes to choosing a solution that is affordable, flexible and scalable – the range of options are actually tremendously SMALL! Now, if you require a pre-populated, turn-key (i.e works right out of the retail box) RAID enclosure with Thunderbolt, there are ALOT of solutions (with LaCie and SanDisk largely dominating the market). But the simple fact is that there are considerably MORE smaller-scale users, such as those that are:

  • Self-employed Photographers and Videographers (Weddings, Events, Marketing, etc)
  • Small teams of video editors who are freelance or take on 1-2 projects at a time
  • Content creators on public streaming platforms (YouTube, Twitch, etc
  • Brand/Marketing agencies that have small pockets of team members working from home/remotely

For users/small-businesses like these, there is a very HIGH DEMAND for RAID storage for editors of a particular preference. These are:

  • 1080p/4K, as well as Editors/Producers who are thinking of migrating to a 4K editing suite in the near future
  • 50-60TB Storage Threshold
  • RAID 5/6 enabled, but (crucially) small scale, for reasons of Noise and Physical space
  • Flexibility of storage media, as many users want quieter drives or faster SSDs, or half/partially populate their system and allow adding more drives later
  • Reasonable Price Point, another big reason for users opting for unpopulated/empty solutions

Now, that largely equates to 5-8 Bay Thunderbolt 3/4 storage systems with RAID on board and no fixed HDD/SSD media. However, as of September 2022, there is practically NONE in the market providing this kid of solution – ONLY Terramaster, OWC, HighPoint, Netstor and Areca being the predominant brands available globally that actually provide this! Now, I should highlight that there ARE solutions available in 2-Bay, 1-Bay, JBOD and NVMe from many other brands. But when it comes to RAID 5/6/10 Ready solutions with in-built RAID management, the options are incredibly thing. Otherwise, you need to opt for a JBOD solution and purchase a suitable RAID Card (Atto, MSI, Area, etc) or create, run and support the RAID remotely via your OSX/Windows storage software in your Operating System – NOT ideal!

Which Brands Provide Thunderbolt RAID Enclosures in 2022 and 2023?

Right now, there is a consistent batch of about 8-10 brands that provide Thunderbolt RAID solutions in one shape or form globally in 2022/2023. This is not ALL the brands currently solutions, BUT I am not including ‘unbranded’ solutions or solutions from the east that are the same RAID box under countless manufacturers (see Netstor/Highpoint/etc) So, here are the brands from Thunderbolt external RAID storage the end users choose right now:

Terramaster Thunderbolt 3 RAID Enclosures

+ Very Affordable and Regularly on Offer

+ Latest Generation of 6/9/12/16 Bay Solutions are high build quality

+ Available Unpopulated, so more cost-effective + flexible

+ Portable Chassis

– Smaller 2/4/5 Bay Chassis are Plastic/Metal

– Slightly Noisier Operation due to Chassis Build Materials

Terramaster have been a provider of both NAS and DAS RAID systems for quite a few years now and when it comes to Thunderbolt equipped systems, they are just in the process of rolling out their 2nd generation of solutions. Right now they are the most affordable brand to choose right now in this field, are regularly on offer online and their portfolio contains storage solutions that arrive unpopulated. They are also the only name on this list of TB RAID providers that have an unpopulated 2-bay RAID 0/1 box, a 16-Bay RAID 5/6/10 Box and although the smaller devices arrive in hybrid metal/plastic solutions, the 8 bay and higher solutions are all most completely metal chassis that have a huge amount of passive and active cooling in place. This does result in the system having a slightly higher avg noise level when in operation, but once you are talking about this kind of storage volume (comfortably cracking 350TB using the most recently released WD Red pro 22TB HDDs). The newer releases are powered with an INTEL JHL7440 + Marvell 88SE9485 internal RAID controller, so the larger boxes have a good level of internal hardware management to maximize performance.

Terramaster D5 – 5-Bay, RAID 5/6, Unpopulated

Terramaster D16-331 – 16-Bay, RAID 5/6/10 Unpopulated

Terramaster D8-332 – 8-Bay, RAID 5/6/10, Unpopulated

$699.99

$3499.99

$699.99


OWC Thunderbolt 3 RAID Enclosures

+ Very Affordable

+ Very ‘Black Magic’ esc design

+ Available Unpopulated, so more cost-effective + flexible

+ Portable Chassis

– PCIe Option only available on 8-Bay

– Slightly Noisier Operation due to Chassis Build Materials

OWC are a hugely well know brand in the world of Mac and thunderbolt 3/4, so therefore it is unsurprisingly that they have an extensive range of Thunderbolt RAID solutions in their portfolio. Although they have a range of compact 2.5″ and NVMe SSD enclosures for those looking at faster storage for live editing 4K etc, their range of Thunderbay enclosures (currently TB3, but no doubt TB4 is just around the corner) are designed for those that need a huge about of capacity, but also wish to remain flexible about its deployment. All of these arrive unpopulated, so you can be very choosy about the HDD/SSDs you want to install, but the real jewel in the crown is the Thunderbolt Flex – an 8-Bay inclosure that ALSO features a docking station type front panel that includes USB, SD and daisy-chained TB devices AND the enclosure has a PCIe slot to install a Graphics/Sound/storage card that will be accessible to the host system over TB3. These chassis are all metal enclosures and therefore once again you need to factor in the noise during operation, but if yo uare a Mac user and want an affordable solution, but also something with some series scalability, then the OWC range of TB3 solutions might well be your best choice.

OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini RAID 5 Edition 4-Bay, RAID 5, Unpopulated

OWC ThunderBay 8 RAID 5 Edition 8-Bay, RAID 5/6, Unpopulated

OWC Thunderbay Flex 8 Thunderbolt 3 HDD Storage Docking Station w/PCIe, RAID 5/6/10

$349.99

$879.99

$1279.99


LaCie / Seagate Pre-Populated RAID Enclosures

+ Very Appealing Design and High-Quality Build

+ All using Enterprise/Pro Class HDDs and SSDs at each tier

+ No Quibble Warranty

+ Significantly Easier Setup/PnP deployment

– Expensive

– Lack of flexibility in storage media (all Terabyte tiers have fixed HDD/SSDs)

Of al the names in this list of recommended Thunderbolt RAID solutions, LaCie is the one that the majority of Photo/Video editors will likely be familiar with – thanks to their incredibly popular Orange external drives. However, they do have a small but exceedingly high capacity range of RAID enabled Thunderbolt3 solutions too. The 2-bay solution, the ‘2big’, is a combined RAID solution and docking station, but when you start looking at the 6big and 12big, you REALLY start to see the brand stretch it’s muscles a bit. LaCie is a ‘Seagate’ company and unsurprisingly that means that they all arrive pre-populated with Seagate storage media. You CAN select the individual capacities (starting at 8TB and scaling up to 100s of Terabytes), but they also means that the initial price tag of these solutions when compared to unpopulated solutions from Terramaster and OWC, is CONSIDERABLY higher. It is worth highlighting that LaCie Thunderbolt RAID solutions DO run quieter than those more affordable solutions and the HDDs inside the larger enclosures are cheaper re-popualted that buying the same drives individually from an eSite, so you can see that the LaCie ‘big’ range is largely focused on bigger and more higher production buyers.

LaCie 2big 2-Bay, RAID 0/1, Pre-Populated

LaCie 6big 6-Bay, RAID 5/6, Pre-Populated

LaCie 12bit 12-Bay, RAID 5/6/10, Pre-Populated

8TB – $604

32TB – $1499

24TB – $2499

108TB – $6999

72TB – $5999

216TB – $15899


Sandisk / G-Technology / WD Pre-Populated RAID Enclosures

+ The best-looking chassis design of the bunch

+ All using Enterprise/Pro Class HDDs and SSDs at each tier

+ Despite Pre-populated Sale, they have a VERY wide range of storage options (capacity/media)

+ Quieter Ambient noise when in operation than most

+ Significantly Easier Setup/PnP deployment

– VERY Expensive

– Arrives Pre-Populated (all Terabyte tiers have fixed HDD/SSDs)

Western Digital has juggled its identity several times in the last decade or so when it comes to thunderbolt storage, releasing solutions under their own WD external drive name, the G-Technology brand and using their acquired SanDisk brand too. In 2022/2023, when it comes to Thunderbolt RAID 5/6 storage, they have largely consolidated all this under a single name – Sansdisk Professional G-RAID, with several system revisions inside that for different scales of user. Much like LaCie, their enclosures arrive pre-populated BUT the range of Hard Drives and SSDs that you can choose the system arrives populated with is considerably broader than LaCie. The larger 4/8-Bay enclosures are designed for portability (a big factor for video production/on-the-fly post production/remote shoots) and are incredibly rugged in their enclosure construction. They also somehow do this and still arrive as the lowest ambient noise-producing RAID box of all the ones listed today and are quite easy on the eye too. The larger bay pre-populated RAID  enclosures however DO use enterprise/pro class drive media (Western Digital Ultrastar / WD Red Pro) and although that means fantastic performance, it also means a noticeably higher price tag and even the larger G-RAID Shuttle ambient noise control cannot really cover the high sound level of these drives. Nonetheless, the Sandisk Professional G-RAID series is the most enterprise choice of the bunch and although expensive, is the option for the highest tier of video edtors.