Best NAS for Plex in 2022

The Ultimate NAS for Plex in 2022

July 21, 2022 0 By Madole Labs

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You are a home user with your own media content to stream and are wondering what is the ultimate NAS for Plex in 2022. Read on as we break down our top three faves at Madole Labs. If you are wondering if you even need a NAS, the answer is just YES! We have an article here that will convince you.

Online media services for streaming have become mainstream, but did you know you can run your own media right from your house? All you need is a network-attached storage (NAS) server and media in the form of a movie, tv show, home video, or music. Plex has become the industry benchmark for home media servers, and today I have compiled a top three list to save you the hassle of spending many hours selecting the right NAS.

  1. Best Overall: Synology DiskStation DS920+ – Intel Celeron CPU, 4 HDD drive bays, 4GB RAM, Dual 1GB LAN ports.
  2. Runner-Up: QNAP TVS-672XT-i3 – Intel Core i3 CPU, 6 HDD drive bays, 8GB RAM, 10GB LAN ports.
  3. Best Budget: TerraMaster F4-421 – Intel Celeron CPU, 4 HDD drive bays, 4GB RAM, Dual 1GB LAN ports.

Synology DiskStation DS920+: Best Overall

The Synology Diskstation DS920+ is the industry standard of what competing NAS technologies strive to match. This unit comes with four hard drive bays (hard drives are not included), a powerful Intel processor, two 1GB LAN ports (which can be bonded via software into one 2GB port), and may be upgraded to 8GB RAM. In addition, this unit is very versatile thanks to its award-winning DSM operating system. For these reasons, it is my top choice for a Plex Home Media Server.

ds920 plus
Best Overall: Best NAS for Plex in 2022

I am a big fan of the Synology line for NAS units. The industry has recognized Synology as producing some of the best models on the market. The only knock against them is they are typically not the most powerful. That distinction goes to QNAP, but the simplistic ease of managing and configuring the Synology, thanks to its DSM operating system, is enough to give the DS920+ the Best Overall title.

The Intel Celeron J4125 that this particular Synology comes equipped with has proven to be a solid processor. This CPU will easily handle a 4K transcode for Plex. However, the device may struggle if you have a few simultaneous connections trying to transcode in 4K. A 720 or 1080 transcode for a few concurrent users works well in comparison. The standard 4GB of RAM will be ok for media services, but you can purchase a 4GB DDR4 stick of RAM separately to upgrade the unit to its maximum capacity of 8GB.

With the four available hard drive bays, this unit can handle upwards of 64TB of storage space before considering RAID options. And for those concerned about read/write speeds, two M.2 SSD cache slots are available.

The only negative sentiment I can find on the inter-webs is that the DS920+ comes equipped with two 1GB LAN ports as opposed to two 2.5GB connections. This shouldn’t be an issue for most homes as your ISP modem and consumer switches are likely 1GB LAN capable anyway. This is my top choice for its spec and award-winning software as the ultimate NAS for Plex in 2022.

QNAP TVS-672XT-i3: Runner-Up

The QNAP TVS-672XT-i3 is a very close runner-up to the DS920+; for me, it simply came down to the operating system software. The QNAP offering surpasses Synology in processor power, the quantity of hard drive bays, RAM capacity, and LAN port throughput. The Intel Core i3-8100t boasts four cores and a clock speed of 3.1 GHz, more than enough to transcode 4K media thanks to an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 card.

Runner-Up: Best NAS for Plex in 2022

The unit comes standard with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and can recognize up to 32GB, should additional capacity be required. With six hard drive bays and two additional slots for M.2 SSDs, this QNAP allows for a storage pool of up to a staggering 96TB before taking RAID configurations into account for redundancy.

Other convenient features include two Thunderbolt 3 ports for connecting high-speed accessories. And don’t overlook the 10GB LAN port to allow for multiple concurrent connections for file transfers or streaming of 4K media.

When compared against the Synology DS920+, this particular QNAP does come in a bit more pricey. Even more so if you choose to fill all six hard drive bays. At the end of the day, it will come down to the quality of content you want to stream and how much of it is at once. If the answer is 4K, and lots of it, you should seriously consider this QNAP. The processor and memory alone will be needed to transcode multiple 4K streams – over the ease of use of the onboard software.

The final feature that may tip this over the Synology offering for a home user is the integrated HDMI 2.0 port on the rear. By plugging your TV directly into the NAS, you can bypass your home network and negate any need to transcode the media. Great for a single TV!

TerraMaster F4-421: Best Budget

At first glance, the TerraMaster F4-421 appears to be comparable in spec to the DS920+, but there are a few significant subtractions that allow for a lower budget-friendly price. For the home user not looking to stream outside of their four walls, this four-bay NAS makes an excellent entry point for a Plex Media Server.

terramasterf4 421
Best Budget: Best NAS for Plex in 2022

The F4-421 comes with an Intel Celeron J3455 processor with four hard drive bays. This processor is older than the Intel Celeron that comes with the Synology, but it’s important to note the J3455 is plenty powerful enough to transcode 4K media. TerraMaster can keep its price point lower than the previous two models reviewed above by selecting a slightly older processor.

You still come equipped with a standard 4GB of RAM out of the box, with the capability to maximize at 8GB. In addition, the four bays once again allow you to assemble up to 64TB of storage pre-RAID configuration.

As for the minor drawbacks, firstly, the TerraMaster F4-421 utilizes its own, less-refined operating system. It’s not horrible, but when you compare it to that of QNAP or the award-winning Synology, you will notice differences in its ease of use. Then there is the lack of M.2 slots for an SSD cache. I agree this is a more advanced feature and maybe not a deal breaker for a first-time home NAS user.

For a few dollars more, you will find yourself in one of the units above with many more features. This is a fantastic choice for those with a strict budget wanting at least a four-bay NAS.

Final Selection for the Best NAS for Plex in 2022

As you can see, some excellent choices for the ultimate NAS for Plex in 2022 are available. Choosing one with a suitable processor and the correct number of hard drive bays is really where your decision should land. If 4K transcoding is a deal breaker for you, then focus on the processor. Multiple 4K streams running in parallel will need the extra horsepower that a higher-end CPU can only provide.

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