Best NAS for Plex – A Network Media Server

Plex Media server is undoubtedly one of the best ways to stream content around your home. It simplifies the sending of video, audio and pictures and provides the best quality streams. One of its great features is that it can be installed directly onto a NAS drive. If you keep all of your media files on a NAS then with the addition of Plex it can become your media server with no requirement for a desktop PC. Switch on your NAS and instantly receive on your client devices. In this Best NAS for Plex post will will take a look at some of the top NAS solutions that support Plex Media Server. [Read: Plex Media Server Review – Stream to Multiple Rooms & Devices]

Best NAS for Media Server Price Compare

The below comparison table shows all of the NAS devices reviewed in this post.

NAS DeviceHDD BaysDetails
WD My Cloud PR21002 BayIntel Pentium N3710 Quad-core CPU at 1.6GHz, 4GB DDR3L Memory.
TerraMaster F2-4202 BayIntel Based Quad-core at 2.0GHz. 4GB Memory.
ASUSTOR AS7004T4 BayIntel Core i3 3.5GHz Dual-Core CPU, 2GB DDR3 Memory.
Netgear ReadyNAS 526X6 BayIntel 2.2GHz Dual-core CPU, 4GB DDR4 Memory.
Synololgy DS9164 BayIntel Pentium N3710 Quad-core CPU 2GB or 8 GB DDR3 Memory.
QNAP TVS 4714 BayIntel Core i3 3.5GHz CPU 4GB DDR3 Memory.

Best NAS for Plex – A Network Media Server

There are many different NAS drives available but not all are suitable for Plex. Our best NAS drive for Plex recommendations are based on three things. Firstly, the NAS must be on the Plex supported NAS list. Secondly the device must have a decent CPU. Generally, streaming content using Plex is a CPU intensive process. Whilst some NAS devices will run Plex they do not necessarily provide a good user experience. Finally each best NAS for Plex recommended must support all stream types (up to 1080p) on the Plex NAS Compatibility list. In this post we are not covering 4K video streaming as this is yet to be added to the PNCL. [Read: Plex Media Server Install – Three Easy Steps]

The listed devices are “Best NAS for Media Server” options and they do not have to be used with Plex. There are other options available but if you have not used Plex Media Server before I recommend that you give it a try!

WD My Cloud Pro Series PR2100 2 Bay NAS

The first device in our best NAS for Plex list is the PR2100 by Western Digital. If we think of WD we think of storage devices and their range of quality disk related products. The WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 is a low priced NAS drive that ticks all of the boxes when it comes to Plex and its media server capabilities. Plex supports full 1080p on this device giving you a server capable of playing full HD. It also allows hardware-accelerated transcoding providing a more fluent media streaming experience. [Read: Enable Kodi DLNA – Create a Kodi Media Server]

WD My Cloud Pro PR2100 NAS Drive

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The PR2100 houses an Intel Pentium N3710 quad-core CPU at 1.6GHz. This combined with 4GB DDR3L memory gives a solid hardware foundation for a media server. Its optimised video transcoding capabilities easily make this one of the best NAS drives for Plex. It is a 2 bay NAS supporting up to 20TB if you are not looking for a resilient solution. In terms of resilience the PR2100 offers a number of ways to keep your data safe. It provides RAID 0, 1 and JBOD spanning capabilities to allow for disk failures. It also offers a range of backup solutions including to a local data store, the cloud or a separate My Cloud device. The WD My Cloud PR2100 is a great NAS device at a great price. This is the most affordable device on our best NAS drive for Plex list. [Read: Steam Link Review – Stream Games to Every Room]

TerraMaster F2-420 NAS Server 2 Bay

The second device in our Best NAS for Media Server list is the TerraMaster F2-420.  This is another low cost device and yet still offers a feature set and level of performance comparable to the more expensive solutions. First and foremost it will keep your data safe. It supports RAID 0, 1, and JBOD spanning configurations and on top of this the TerraMaster range are designed for synchronisation with Drop Box. Keep your critical files both locally on your NAS device and in the cloud all done on the fly. The F2-420 supports a whole host of applications. Use your NAS as a file server, web server, mail server and much more. [Read: How to use Handbrake to Compress Video – Handbrake Tutorial]

TerraMaster F2-420 NAS Drive

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What really makes the F2-420 NAS drive stand out against our other best NAS for Plex devices is its processing power for the price. The F2-420 has a slightly lower clock rate than its F2-220 brother at 2.0GHz but this is Intel based quad-core. It also comes with twice the memory at 4GB. All media types are supported by Plex for the TerraMaster F2-420 however with notes. The Plex compatibility list states; *This drive may struggle with some high bitrate 1080p media. Ensure that your digital media is properly encoded for best results with this NAS device. [Read: Best TV Box for Netflix and Online Streaming Services]

ASUSTOR AS7004T 4 Bay NAS

If you are looking for the best NAS for media server then look no further than the ASUSTOR AS7004T. A NAS at this level has similar performance to that of a desktop PC. The drive hosts an Intel Core i3 3.5GHz Dual-Core processor offering a significantly higher clock rate to the previously discussed devices. Out of the box it comes with 2GB DDR3 memory but as with a desktop PC this is expandable and can be taken up to a huge 16GB! [Read: 30 Best Kodi Skins – The Complete List]

 

ASUSTOR AS7004T 4 Bay NAS

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This is the first 4 bay devices in our Best NAS for Plex list and as a result offers more RAID configurations for resilience. This device permits the use of RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 and also features 2 Gigabit LAN connections for fail-over and link aggregation. Plex has no compatibility issues with the ASUSTOR AS7004T and all different streaming resolutions are fully supported. [Read: How to Add Subtitles to Kodi & The Subtitle Settings]

Netgear ReadyNAS 526X 6 Bay NAS

The Netgear ReadyNAS 526X is the best NAS for Plex for those who want a top streaming experience and plenty of capacity for huge media libraries. The ReadyNAS 526X is the first and only 6-bay NAS device in our list and this provides a maximum storage capacity of 60TB. Maybe you have been purchasing digital media for a number of years or you are starting to look at 4K media files. Either way the ReadyNAS 526X will cater for your storage needs and offers a range of methods for keeping your data safe. [Read: Best CPU for Emulation – Computers, Consoles & Arcades]

Netgear ReadyNAS 526X 6 Bay

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Under the hood you get an Intel 2.2GHz dual-core processor and 4GB DDR4 memory. Being a 6-bay NAS you are presented with a number of RAID options and also connectivity to a number of top online storage providers for further resilience. The Netgear ReadyNAS 526X is aimed at the small business market but if you want the best when it comes to your network media server it can certainly offer that. Netgear produce a cheaper 4-bay option in the 524X. This NAS however is not currently listed on the Plex NAS compatibility list. It does feature the same CPU & memory setup and so should run Plex exactly the same. The 526X is the best NAS for media server for those who want large amounts of storage but for a lower cost option try the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 524X. [Read: Top 5 Emulator Frontends for your HTPC Media Center]

Synology DS916 4 Bay NAS

I have always found that Synology make some top network storage devices and if you are looking for their best NAS drive for Plex then take a look at the DS916+ 4-Bay. The solid cube style design with a covering plate over your disks looks great. It hosts an Intel Pentium N3710 Quad-core CPU providing more than enough power to deliver your movie streams. The DS916+ comes with two memory options; 2GB DDR3 or 8GB DDR3. [Read: How to Download Plex Log File for Fault Diagnostics]

Synology DS916+ NAS Drive

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The tool set of any Synology NAS device is always extensive and the DS916+ is no exception. The Synology smartphone remote gives you control at your fingertips.  Choose from a range of RAID configurations to protect your data and use cloud synchronisation to synch with other devices (PCs or other Synology NAS devices). In terms of Plex use full 1080p streaming is supported with this device but the Plex compatibility sheet does contain notes for this NAS. *May struggle with some high bitrate HD media. Correctly encoded media files will help you to avoid this. It also features built in Single H.264 4K or triple Full HD online transcoding to push your 4K videos out to client devices.  This makes this device a best NAS for media server solutions with 4K streaming needs. [Read: How to Check Log Files on Kodi & the Kodi Log file Location]

QNAP TVS 471 4 Bay NAS

The QNAP TVS 471 is another top NAS drive with Intel based architecture. It comes with the Intel Core i3 3.5GHz CPU which is a processor used in many desktop / laptop solutions. It is the device with the highest CPU clock rate on our best NAS drive for Plex list. This is a superb processor suitable for many applications and of course Plex. This combined with 4GB DDR3 memory (upgradeable to 16GB) makes this a great choice for serving media files. [Read: Top Mini ITX Cases for the Smallest HTPC Build]

QNAP TVS 471 NAS Drive

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The QNAP TVS 471 4 Bay NAS Drive will provide a large network storage area that will keep your data safe. It offers all of the standard RAID configurations for a 4-bay device. The TVS 471 is designed to be a storage unit for virtual servers and Citrix platforms. You can therefore expect a system that performs.  The TVS 471 provides a lot of hardware in such a small box and is without doubt a best NAS for media server use! [Read: Best Blu-ray Player Software]

Best NAS Drive for Plex – Final Thoughts

When buying a NAS drive it is important to consider what your needs are before making your purchase. Decide on how much storage you need for your media libraries and the tasks you intend your device to deliver. A best NAS for Plex should have a decent CPU. Transcoding digital media is a processor intensive task and all devices in this list come with a decent amount of grunt under the hood. This list features a best NAS drive for Plex from each of the main network storage vendors. If you choose to go with a different NAS drive and want to setup a Plex media server be sure to check the Plex NAS Compatibility List.

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