AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 63 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Looking for suggestions on a NAS for my soon-to-be-completed dedicated home theater.
I've always used my desktop PC in connection with Kodi or Plex to stream my local movies and TV shows and has served me well.
Wanting to finally get a NAS to always have access 24/7 and not have to worry about my PC being on.

Never owned a NAS before and know very little about them.
I currently have a Seagate 16TB HDD where I store all my movies and TV shows and would like to use it in my NAS, if possible.
Do I need to buy another HDD for the NAS or is the one drive fine?

I would appreciate suggestions on a NAS for my setup. TIA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,262 Posts
You can use one drive if you want to, getting a 2nd drive offers some protection from a drive failure. If you have all your movies and shows on disc or backed up somewhere then you may decide it's not worth it. Synology and QNAP are both pretty popular NAS vendors.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
274 Posts
Looking for suggestions on a NAS for my soon-to-be-completed dedicated home theater.
I've always used my desktop PC in connection with Kodi or Plex to stream my local movies and TV shows and has served me well.
Wanting to finally get a NAS to always have access 24/7 and not have to worry about my PC being on.

Never owned a NAS before and know very little about them.
I currently have a Seagate 16TB HDD where I store all my movies and TV shows and would like to use it in my NAS, if possible.
Do I need to buy another HDD for the NAS or is the one drive fine?

I would appreciate suggestions on a NAS for my setup. TIA
I am new to NAS too, but I just bought the Synology DS920+. It is in the plus-line, which is higher-end than their value lines, but not quite up to industry use. The Value and J lines are cheaper but don't have all the features of the Plus line.

The DS920+ I chose has four HDD slots (3.5" or 2.5") but can be expanded to five more (total of nine) with an extension unit (which costs about the same amount as the original unit). It also allows for an upgrade of RAM from 4 to 8 and the addition of two M2 SSD cards for cache purposes. I am starting out with two Toshiba NAS 8TB drives.

For the extra $, I felt the four drive option (with the ability to expand) was best. Two drives didn't seem like enough, but anything bigger than four (at least initially) seemed to me to be overkill. The DS920+ was only around $40 more than the DS420+ which is also four bays but can't be expanded. The DS1520+ is several hundred more, adds a fifth bay, and can be used with two expansion units (for a total of 15 drives).

Here is a rundown of all the Synology options:


Synology and QNAP were the two brands I read most about.

Here is an article I found helpful:


As said above, you can just start out with one drive. Two drives will allow for RAID to duplicate the data in case one drive fails. I am setting up the two drives to be duplicates and then will use Backblaze's B2 cloud service to back up my wife's photography (which if lost, will ensure my early demise).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Talons55 and RVD26

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,056 Posts
If you are handy (at all) you might look at something like the ODROID N2+. You can run straight Ubuntu or several NAS based varieties. Plug in x number of USB drives for streaming and if you value your data once in a while plug in a backup drive and fire off rsync. Outside of your drives you'll have less than $100 invested and more power than NAS devices costing hundreds more. You can easily run Plex Media Servier, Pi-Hole along with an endless number of other generic apps using well under 10 watts 24/7.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RVD26

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,707 Posts
The Western Digital line of My Cloud NAS products are a bit pricey but plug-and-play. They are not expandable and do not run any applications but again are plug-and-play. I've recommended to a few friends and relatives that are not at all tech savvy and just need network storage for photo and videos.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tokerblue and RVD26

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Why not build a NAS? It is pretty simple task. Basically a NAS is just a lot of hard drives RAID together. Ideally you want to do something like RAID 5 or RAID 10. It can be done relatively cheap and have both redundancy and far more storage space. A simple micro-ATX or ITX motherboard, processor, RAM, RAID card, hard drives (buy RAID drives such as WD Red) and a Linux distro - DONE.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,707 Posts
Why not build a NAS? It is pretty simple task. Basically a NAS is just a lot of hard drives RAID together. Ideally you want to do something like RAID 5 or RAID 10. It can be done relatively cheap and have both redundancy and far more storage space. A simple micro-ATX or ITX motherboard, processor, RAM, RAID card, hard drives (buy RAID drives such as WD Red) and a Linux distro - DONE.
If you go the build it yourself route definitely look into EasyNAS or FreeNAS as the O/S. They are customized Linux distributions intended for self-built NAS solutions. EasyNAS is a better solution for the home builder but FreeNAS is higher performance and more customizable.

It appears the FreeNAS has been renamed to TrueNAS
 
  • Like
Reactions: RVD26

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
You can use one drive if you want to, getting a 2nd drive offers some protection from a drive failure. If you have all your movies and shows on disc or backed up somewhere then you may decide it's not worth it. Synology and QNAP are both pretty popular NAS vendors.
Yes, I am familiar with both brands. Thanks. Any particular models I should look at?
I do have an external WD drive that I currently use as a backup to my PC. Do you think it could function as both a PC backup and a NAS backup?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I am new to NAS too, but I just bought the Synology DS920+. It is in the plus-line, which is higher-end than their value lines, but not quite up to industry use. The Value and J lines are cheaper but don't have all the features of the Plus line.

The DS920+ I chose has four HDD slots (3.5" or 2.5") but can be expanded to five more (total of nine) with an extension unit (which costs about the same amount as the original unit). It also allows for an upgrade of RAM from 4 to 8 and the addition of two M2 SSD cards for cache purposes. I am starting out with two Toshiba NAS 8TB drives.

For the extra $, I felt the four drive option (with the ability to expand) was best. Two drives didn't seem like enough, but anything bigger than four (at least initially) seemed to me to be overkill. The DS920+ was only around $40 more than the DS420+ which is also four bays but can't be expanded. The DS1520+ is several hundred more, adds a fifth bay, and can be used with two expansion units (for a total of 15 drives).

Here is a rundown of all the Synology options:


Synology and QNAP were the two brands I read most about.

Here is an article I found helpful:


As said above, you can just start out with one drive. Two drives will allow for RAID to duplicate the data in case one drive fails. I am setting up the two drives to be duplicates and then will use Backblaze's B2 cloud service to back up my wife's photography (which if lost, will ensure my early demise).
Thanks for the info. 4 drives seems like it may be too much for me especially since I currently store everything on one drive.
I also figure a 2 drive will be cheaper. Will my type of HDD work well with a NAS? I see that there are drives specifically designed for a NAS. Should I get those instead?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
If you are handy (at all) you might look at something like the ODROID N2+. You can run straight Ubuntu or several NAS based varieties. Plug in x number of USB drives for streaming and if you value your data once in a while plug in a backup drive and fire off rsync. Outside of your drives you'll have less than $100 invested and more power than NAS devices costing hundreds more. You can easily run Plex Media Servier, Pi-Hole along with an endless number of other generic apps using well under 10 watts 24/7.
While I'm not handy with tools so much, I do have some ability to set up devices. Do you have a guide on how to get this done? Visual (YouTube) guide if possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Why not build a NAS? It is pretty simple task. Basically a NAS is just a lot of hard drives RAID together. Ideally you want to do something like RAID 5 or RAID 10. It can be done relatively cheap and have both redundancy and far more storage space. A simple micro-ATX or ITX motherboard, processor, RAM, RAID card, hard drives (buy RAID drives such as WD Red) and a Linux distro - DONE.
If you have a guide on how to accomplish this and the exact parts needed (I have a Micro Center in my area) I can definitely look into this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,056 Posts
While I'm not handy with tools so much, I do have some ability to set up devices. Do you have a guide on how to get this done?
Rather old however this thread will give you a good overview. It has links to various forums and whatnot and the process itself hasn't changed much. I'm guessing without any Linux background a good weekend would be required to get up and running. If you are "experienced" within a couple of hours the hardware and software would be online. If you do decide to go that route post any questions in the linked thread and I'm sure someone will offer help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RVD26

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
I love to be contrary. And I try to take safe, redundant approaches. So...

Networks, especially if you use WiFi, like USB, are somewhat unreliable, and sometimes mess up. And sometimes drives crash, when an operating system gets confused, or at end of life, and you lose everything, especially if you use something like NTFS format, which has file permissions. Despite what people say about the advantages of "journaled file systems", exFAT is less likely to have a catastrophic loss, in my experience, though you can still lose small amounts, and sometimes you need to run a disk check after a crash. I wouldn't be surprised if ext4 is fairly good too - though it has permissions, and is journaled, which might mess you up if a system dies, but at least it isn't NTFS, and with a little effort, I think you can overcome the nasty permissions problem on ext4, unlike modern Windows NTFS.

But - why use a networked drive at all?

I like a tray that takes swappable SATA hard disk drives (some claim to be hot-swappable, though I choose to turn systems off and unplug them before swapping drives, to be safe). They are much more reliable than USB drives. Ideally, you want two swappable drives, for redundancy, one that an be in the system permanently. Just in case a virus or worm happens - most of the time the second drive shouldn't be in the system. (BTW, an SSHD - solid state hybrid drive - is part SSD, part HD, so is not really more reliable than a HD. For that matter SSDs are more reliable mechanically, but for long term archiving, HDs are more reliable, so say many sources. But neither is likely to last you much longer than 10 years, which is why you want two copies.) Having two independent copies on alternate media gives you a way out if one copy goes bad. I don't know anything about RAID drives - maybe they eliminate the reliability problem? But not the potential virus/worm problem, or the power surge drive killer problem.

It's cheaper to avoid USB drives too - which might pay for the second redundant drive. But the second redundant drive drives can be a (solid state) flash drive, maybe even a USB, but doesn't have to be an expensive SSD. (Top honest size for USB flash drives, AFAIK: 256 GB. You may need more than one. AFAIK, drives with more don't really have more - they over-write one file with another, and you lose stuff.) In which case the hard drive doesn't need to be in a swappable tray, which is easy to move from system to system, is more quiet, and is not damaged by bumpy rides in cars.

You can pay for cloud storage of large files substantially cheaper than your own storage - but you have to trust the remote cloud system, and you have to hope the web storage server doesn't decide any of your stuff is isn't licensed (how would they know?), and also doesn't replace any of your content with something else with somewhat similar content. (The second problem is one many, many professional musicians have found - e.g., their own carefully crafted performance of a piece is replaced by another performer's rendition, without warning, because the cloud system - or Microsoft Windows - thinks they are the same.) Nonetheless, if you had to transport your recording onto something that didn't have a USB port - e.g., some Apple smartphones - cloud storage of part of your collection - maybe just onto Google Drive - is an option.

If you can avoid it, don't run Windows on your main system. It crashes too often, and every once in a while, formats change, and suddenly other computers, or restored versions of Windows, can't read your files. Also, the recycle bin eventually becomes "corrupt", and, AFAIK, that condition cannot be cleared, no matter what you do, and you cannot undelete files, and maybe can't recover deleted file space. I've had this happen multiple times (especially with NTFS), and have almost given up on it for this sort of thing. In my experience, the most common cause of full Windows crashes is Windows Update, because Microsoft sometimes makes mistakes, but sometimes HD and SSD drives fail too. (HDs at about 10 year intervals with heavy use; SSD's and SSHDs supposedly at about 5 or 6, depending on size and type, though I haven't enough experience with the latter to speak from personal knowledge.) Since I started using computers in the 1970's I haven't personally had a virus or worm subversion, so with proper care they must be less common, but I know people, somewhat less careful, who have had them too, and I have had power surge drive deaths, despite UPS and surge protectors, so redundancy is a good idea. And like I said, there is the Windows alternate version file replacement problem. (In many ways I love the user friendliness of Windows - but it has gotten worse and worse over the years, and become less and less reliable and harder to manage. Though I'm sure some here would disagree.)

I don't have extensive experience with any Apple OS's, so cannot say if they have any similar problems.

Keep your system in a separate partition, ideally a different disk, from your data, and use Clonezilla to back it up. Again, just in case of a virus or worm, power surge, or something goes wrong. All you have to replace is a new copy of Linux, or whatever, and it's free. Make sure your swap and boot partitions are large enough for future growth. I like the the swap partition to be be way oversized - say 32 GB. And I think you want at least 16 GB RAM, though 8 GB is probably enough for reliable Linux. Again, for future growth.

BTW, a massively oversized UPS/surge protector for at least the main PC itself is a great idea. It won't protect against everything, and with the brand I've used, APC, they didn't make good on the 3rd party component warranty that failed during a storm, despite over a year of correspondence and a lot of paperwork, but it is still a good idea. Storms happen. Test the battery once in a while - they go bad too.

All That said, if you need rapid sharing between two networked computers, e.g., if you have TVs in multiple rooms that you want to share stuff without moving the redundant USB drive, drive sharing may make sense, despite me.

Anyway, think hard before going to a network drive, and before using a USB drive for your principle storage. There may be better options.

I have wondered whether a reasonably high end ($60-$70, supporting higher resolution TVs than you have) Android TV box, with external drive storage, would be better than a PC. You just move the entire Android TV box from TV to TV, as needed, or move the external drive to a laptop or tablet if needed. (I would still want redundant extra drive backup.) Sure, some IPTV websites won't run on Android TV, but that is becoming less and less common. If you need a TV tuner, get one with a TV tuner; if you need one with a satellite tuner, get one with that - though I haven't used Android TV with any tuner, but people say it works. Android TVs are cheaper than PCs. Maybe they are good enough?

BTW, PC's, with full keyboards and trackballs or mice, will always be easier to use than Android TV. It supports both too, but sometimes you have to click on something on the screen instead of using the keyboard, and the Android TV versions of Firefox and Chrome are less full featured than the PC version in general, but I might be able to live with that. Also, Android 10 has some screen/audio capture programs which let you record stuff that the remote servers don't make it easy to record. I'm going to give it a try.

But I don't know for now if Android TVs do everything I want.
 

·
Registered
Dedicated movie room with front projection and 7.1 surround.
Joined
·
223 Posts
If you have a guide on how to accomplish this and the exact parts needed (I have a Micro Center in my area) I can definitely look into this.
Have you ever built a PC before? If not, I'm not sure that building a NAS is going to be your best bet. While you'll definitely have the most flexibility with all aspects of your NAS, building and configuration will be an involved process (depending on your skill and comfort level with the tech).

Also, as others have mentioned, something like a Synology DS920+ 4-bay NAS for around $550 (before drives) makes for a good, relatively easy solution. I'd recommend going to Synology's RAID calculator to see what kinds of capacities you can get with various drive sizes and RAID types. And yes, I would definitely get NAS-specific drives. I've been using Western Digital's Red (Plus) line of drives for years, and am very happy with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Have you ever built a PC before? If not, I'm not sure that building a NAS is going to be your best bet. While you'll definitely have the most flexibility with all aspects of your NAS, building and configuration will be an involved process (depending on your skill and comfort level with the tech).

Also, as others have mentioned, something like a Synology DS920+ 4-bay NAS for around $550 (before drives) makes for a good, relatively easy solution. I'd recommend going to Synology's RAID calculator to see what kinds of capacities you can get with various drive sizes and RAID types. And yes, I would definitely get NAS-specific drives. I've been using Western Digital's Red (Plus) line of drives for years, and am very happy with them.
I have actually built my last three PCs. I do have some tech knowledge. I'm a visual learner though and do well if I can watch a video.

I'd like to keep my current hard drive if possible since it was expensive. Any NAS that work with 1 or 2 drives?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I have actually built my last three PCs. I do have some tech knowledge. I'm a visual learner though and do well if I can watch a video.

I'd like to keep my current hard drive if possible since it was expensive. Any NAS that work with 1 or 2 drives?
If you buy a 4 bay NAS, you don't necessarily have to fill it up all at once. You can use it with 1 or 2 drives at first and then add additional ones as you go. One thing I would be careful with is after you buy your NAS, don't just stick your existing drive in if you want to preserve your existing data on the drive. The NAS might initialize the drive and render all existing data on the drive unreadable. Back up your data somewhere else first, install the drive, and then move everything over. You can also of course buy a second drive and install that as the first drive in the NAS, copy data over from your existing drive, and then install your old drive into a RAID1 configuration. When you add additional drives later, you can migrate to either RAID5 or 6 without data loss.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
452 Posts
I have used PCs, built a handful of homebrew NAS in various flavors. Honestly, the best thing I ever did was just go out and buy a couple of Synology NAS products. I have a DS218+ and a DS918+. Less maintenance, less headache, very reliable. Purchase a Synology or QNAP NAS and call it a day. Synology has migration tools for when your current product becomes outdated. I'm certain QNAP does too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,726 Posts
I have actually built my last three PCs. I do have some tech knowledge. I'm a visual learner though and do well if I can watch a video.

I'd like to keep my current hard drive if possible since it was expensive. Any NAS that work with 1 or 2 drives?
Most will work with 1/2 drives even if 4 bays. I think about it this way, get the 4 Bay for future growth, that way you do t have to ditch your small bay solution. When you need to expand, just add a hard drive.
 

·
Registered
Dedicated movie room with front projection and 7.1 surround.
Joined
·
223 Posts
...One thing I would be careful with is after you buy your NAS, don't just stick your existing drive in if you want to preserve your existing data on the drive. The NAS might initialize the drive and render all existing data on the drive unreadable...
Good point, it most certainly will.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
274 Posts
Thanks for the info. 4 drives seems like it may be too much for me especially since I currently store everything on one drive.
I also figure a 2 drive will be cheaper. Will my type of HDD work well with a NAS? I see that there are drives specifically designed for a NAS. Should I get those instead?
Again, I am no expert with NAS drives. I do believe any drive can work, but NAS drives are the best option, as they are less likely to fail. I know Synology lists the drives they have confirmed are reliable with their NAS systems. However, I am sure many other drives will work. If you already have a drive, try it out. If you buy additional drives, maybe try and get NAS ones.

I originally bought two Seagate Barracuda 8TB drives that were on sale, but I learned that the drives are SMR, which apparently is not ideal for NAS systems. I returned those drives and bought two Toshiba drives that are CMR and also 7200 rpm, but they cost around $50 more for each one.

Yes, a two bay will be cheaper. I decided to get four after seeing the price difference and just wanting to be future proof. Keep in mind that if you use RAID for duplication, than a two-bay is actually only one-bay. Four bays with RAID is actually two bays.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RVD26
1 - 20 of 63 Posts
Top