Best NAS for Plex 2023

    The finest NAS for Plex ought to allow you to stream your media assortment to all related gadgets in your house. Plex is a terrific platform that allows you to handle your media library with ease, and the service has a ton of helpful extras in terms of video playback. The better part is that the Plex consumer is obtainable on nearly each platform, making it easy to stream your content material.So if you wish to arrange a Plex media server and are concerned with shopping for a NAS, these are one of the best servers at the moment accessible. What is one of the best Plex server?Why you’ll be able to belief Android Central

    Our knowledgeable reviewers spend hours testing and evaluating services and products so you’ll be able to select one of the best for you. Find out extra about how we check.There are loads of choices if you’d like one of the best NAS for residence use, and you’ll select between entry-level picks which have a single or two drive bays, and there are four-bay fashions which can be designed to final. But when you’re in one of the best Plex server, there are a number of further factors to contemplate. For one factor, Plex transcoding is a really CPU-intensive activity, so you will have to have a look at NAS enclosures which have a robust chipset. Thankfully, the largest NAS producers — Synology, QNAP, and ASUSTOR — ship fashions catered for Plex media streaming. Synology’s DiskStation DS220+ illustrates this level completely — the two-bay NAS server options the Ryzen R1600 and handles Plex native streaming with out breaking a sweat. It would not allow you to transcode although, so when you want that individual characteristic, you will have to get an older mannequin just like the DS220+. That server has the flexibility to transcode recordsdata in order that they are often performed on the right track gadgets that do not have the requisite codec. For occasion, when you’re enjoying a film on an iPad, however the pill lacks the codecs for that media file, Plex will transcode that file natively on the NAS and ship a model that may play on the iPad. If you need a bit of extra room, the DiskStation DS920+ has 4 bays that may maintain as much as 64TB of storage, and it has a barely quicker Intel Celeron J4125 that is excellent for Plex 4K transcodes. The ASUSTOR Lockerstor AS6604T can also be a good selection to contemplate, alongside options from TerraMaster and others. Now that you’ve got a greater concept of what is wanted in a Plex NAS, let’s check out one of the best NAS servers for Plex streaming. (Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology DiskStation DS723+Has the upgrades that matterReasons to purchase+You can lastly use M.2 slots for storage+Powerful AMD {hardware} is right for residence use+Works nice as a Plex server for direct play+Best set of software program options on this class+Memory may be prolonged to 32GBReasons to avoid-No built-in GPU-Only Gigabit LAN ports-You do not get the flexibility to transcodeSynology is doing issues otherwise with the DiskStation DS723+; the 2-bay NAS options AMD’s Ryzen R1600 as a substitute of the long-standing Intel Celeron sequence. There are inherent benefits to this transfer because the Ryzen {hardware} is considerably extra highly effective than Intel’s providing.That’s nice in every day use because the DS723+ is noticeably quicker than its predecessor — the DS720+ — and the likes of the DS220+. That mentioned, the Ryzen R1600 would not embody an built-in GPU, so that you miss out on Plex transcodes. This should not be a limitation to most customers as most fashionable gadgets have the requisite codec for video playback by way of Plex anyway, however when you’re sharing your Plex library with pals they usually’re utilizing an older iPad, they could run into bottlenecks. That mentioned, free Plex customers are restricted to software program transcodes, and you will want a paid Plex Pass account to get hardware-accelerated transcoding. I take advantage of Plex on a couple of dozen gadgets in my residence, and whereas I’ve Plex Pass, I have never had to make use of the transcode characteristic for a number of years. The DS723+ does an excellent job when utilizing Plex’s native direct play characteristic, and I did not run into any points when streaming a excessive bitrate 4K stream on my TVs. The NAS additionally enables you to use M.2 slots for storage, giving it a key edge over its predecessors.You may change to 10GbE networking by way of a $150 networking card, however out of the field, you will discover two Gigabit LAN ports. I might have favored to see at the least 2.5GbE connectivity right here as most different NAS servers on this class supply multi-Gigabit connectivity as normal, however that is not to be.That mentioned, the DS723+ has one of the best software program options of any NAS server, with DSM 7.1 providing native servers for audio and video playback, doc collaboration, Plex media streaming, backing up information from all of the gadgets in your house community, and an entire lot extra.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology DiskStation DS220+ Still a terrific NAS for PlexCauses to purchase+Can deal with 4K streaming/transcoding+Two Gigabit Ethernet ports+Up to 32TB of storage+Extensible software program+Robust inside hardwareReasons to avoid-No eSATA port-No SSD cachingThe DiskStation DS220+ continues to be top-of-the-line NAS servers you should buy for Plex streaming. It has two drive bays, all of the wired connectivity you want, and in my utilization, it dealt with Plex streaming and transcodes with out breaking a sweat. The NAS is powered by an Intel Celeron J4025 chipset and comes with 2GB of RAM — with the flexibility so as to add one other 4GB — and two drive bays can maintain 16TB of storage every, taking whole storage to 32TB. The DS220+ has two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the again with Link Aggregation, and you’ll simply bridge these ports and double information transfers. There are two USB 3.0 ports as effectively, and total, the DS220+ is one of the best NAS for residence use, notably if you’d like a strong media server.The DS220+ works notably effectively as a Plex media server. It takes only a few minutes to put in and configure the service, and it does a improbable job streaming your regionally saved media library to all related gadgets on your property community. Any NAS — together with low cost NAS enclosures — has the flexibility to play Plex recordsdata natively, but when you want to transcode media, that is the place the DS220+ involves the fore. The DS220+ handles 1080p transcodes with none points and might transcode 4K content material if you really want to take action, and it’s the excellent choice for Plex. Synology’s software program is one of the best within the business, and you are able to do a lot greater than stream your Plex library. The DS220+ mechanically backs up information with ease, and you’ll run your personal e-mail, audio, video, and even VPN server straight from the NAS. I like to recommend choosing up 4TB Seagate IronWolf drives with the NAS to start out, and when you want extra storage, you may get the 6TB mannequin or the 8TB choice.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology DiskStation DS920+ The excellent four-bay Plex media serverReasons to purchase+4K Plex streaming/4K transcode+Up to 64TB of extensible storage+M.2 slots for SSD caching+Exhaustive software program options+Two Gigabit Ethernet portsReasons to avoid-No 10GbE (10 Gigabit Ethernet) ports-Fewer DRAM slots than predecessor-CostlyThe DiskStation DS920+ has the identical basis because the DS220+, however with a number of key upgrades. This NAS is the best selection when you share your Plex library and wish further bandwidth, otherwise you need to transcode 4K media. You get a quicker Intel Celeron J4125 chipset, 4GB of RAM out of the field, M.2 slots for SSD caching, and 4 drive bays that may maintain as much as 64TB of storage. You get the identical dual-Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and there is additionally an eSATA port on the again.The DiskStation DS920+ is a perfect Plex media server if you wish to stream 4K content material in your gadgets. The DS920+ handles 1080p and 4K transcodes simply effective, so when you’re utilizing an older TV or a tool that does not have the most recent video codecs and containers, the NAS will decode the file and play it on the TV. Furthermore, in terms of enjoying 4K recordsdata on your property community, you will want to contemplate the community bandwidth — 4K recordsdata have a bitrate of over 100Mbit — and storage. That’s the place the 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the DS920+ come in useful, and the 4 drive bays that may maintain a complete of 64TB of storage needs to be greater than enough for many customers. If you suppose that the 64TB of storage might not be sufficient, Synology has a DX517 enlargement unit that provides 5 drive bays to your DS920+ — that is one other 80TB of storage. If you are searching for drives to refill the DS920+, the 8TB IronWolf NAS arduous drive is the best choice.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T The excellent NAS for content material creatorsReasons to purchase+4K Plex streaming/4K transcode+HDMI port for connecting to TV+Dual 2.5Gbps ports with Link Aggregation+Decent set of software program options+Powerful hardwareReasons to avoid-No PCIe slot for upgrades-No tool-less HDD set upAsustor’s Lockerstor AS6604T is a improbable selection if you’d like multi-Gigabit networking. The NAS has highly effective {hardware} that is ideally suited to Plex, however it’s the twin 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the again that make it stand out. There’s additionally an HDMI port that allows you to plug within the NAS on to a TV or monitor, and the Intel Celeron J4125 can deal with Plex 1080p and 4K transcodes with none points in any respect. You get 4GB of RAM out of the field, and the 4 drive bays can maintain 80TB of storage in whole — greater than sufficient for even demanding customers. Plex is obtainable natively on the NAS, and Asustor has a set of instruments that allow you to stream content material on to Twitch or YouTube, making the AS6604T a good choice for content material creators as effectively.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology DiskStation DS220j The finest finances Plex media serverReasons to purchase+4K Plex streaming+Incredible worth+Gigabit Ethernet connectivity+Runs quiet+Up to 32TB of storageReasons to avoid-Limited RAM-Doesn’t transcodeWhat when you do not care about 1080p/4K transcoding and simply need an reasonably priced NAS that streams recordsdata from Plex to your gadgets? Then the DiskStation DS220j is the best choice for you. The NAS has two drive bays and options the Realtek RTD1296 together with 512MB of RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and two USB 3.0 ports.It might not be the quickest NAS round, but it surely runs Plex effective and streams content material to your gadgets with none points. You miss out on transcoding, however for direct streaming, this can be a nice choice. The worth on supply right here makes the DS220j a very nice selection, and the truth that it presents the identical strong software program options as Synology’s costlier fashions means you are not lacking out on a lot. If you are searching for a finances Plex media server, the DS220j is tough to beat proper now. Pair the NAS with a number of 4TB IronWolf arduous drives, and you will have a strong media server that may stream Plex to all related gadgets in your house.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)TerraMaster F2-221 The excellent worth choiceReasons to purchase+4K Plex streaming/1080p transcode+Great total worth+Two Gigabit Ethernet ports+Holds as much as 32TB of storage+Decent softwareTerraMaster is a well known producer centered on the worth section, and the F2-221 is a stable selection if you’d like a value-focused NAS enclosure for Plex. The NAS is powered by the Intel Celeron J3355 chipset, and has 2GB of RAM out of the field. Plus you’ll be able to match a complete of 32TB of storage within the two drive bays.The F2-221 additionally has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports. You additionally get a good set of software program options, however the standout level is that the F2-221 can stream 4K recordsdata with none trouble, and transcode 1080p content material simply. There’s no 4K transcode right here, however that is not likely a significant omission, as I outlined above.If you do not want a number of the extra productivity-focused options and are out there for worth, the F2-221 is a improbable total selection. Just decide up a number of 4TB IronWolf arduous drives with the NAS, and you’ll arrange a terrific Plex server.(Image credit score: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Synology DiskStation DS1520+ A really excellent NASReasons to purchase+4K Plex streaming/4K transcode+Four Gigabit Ethernet ports+Two eSATA ports+Outstanding efficiency+M.2 slots for SSD cachingThe DiskStation DS1520+ is a superb selection when you’re searching for a bigger NAS enclosure for Plex. The {hardware} on supply is greater than enough for Plex 4K transcodes, you’ll be able to retailer plenty of storage within the 5 drive bays, and it’ll keep related for lots longer due to the added options. The 5-bay NAS options the Intel Celeron J4125 and comes with 8GB of RAM out of the field, and you’ll add as much as 80TB of storage natively.A differentiating characteristic is the 2 eSATA ports, via which you’ll add as much as 10 further drives. The extensibility makes the DS1520+ an thrilling selection, and it delivers glorious efficiency for Plex. I did not see any points transcoding 4K content material on the fly, and there are 4 Gigabit ports on the again.You’ll additionally discover M.2 slots for SSD caching, and the NAS as an entire is a improbable total selection when you’re concerned with a high-end enclosure for Plex streaming.As a high-level overview, Plex is a free media server utility that catalogs your media assortment and makes it accessible for streaming on all the related gadgets in your house. It is commonly thought of to be one of the best media server round, and there are a number of causes for that. First up is the truth that it is accessible on nearly any ecosystem: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Android TV, all streaming dongles, and most good TVs. Basically, you’ll be able to set up Plex on all of the gadgets you personal. Plex additionally does a terrific job with media group. It kinds your music, films, and TV exhibits into related classes, and provides high-resolution album artwork, covers, trailers, and metadata mechanically. Also, because the content material is streamed regionally inside your property community, it would not depend towards your web bandwidth prices.What is Plex transcode, and the way does it work?The largest cause for Plex’s dominance has to do with the truth that it will possibly play any file on any gadget. Plex has a robust transcoding service baked in, and when you’ve got the paid Plex Pass plan, you’ll be able to unlock {hardware} acceleration — that makes an enormous distinction for transcoding 4K recordsdata.Even when you’re utilizing an iPhone, iPad, Amazon pill, an older good TV, or an Android cellphone, you’ll be able to confidently play your media library on any gadget with none points. Plex handles transcodes mechanically, so there is no intervention wanted out of your facet — and that makes it a improbable media streaming service. Plex streaming usually falls into three classes:Direct Play: This is when the Plex consumer (your TV or streaming field) natively handles the video container and simply streams the file as-is with none points. This makes use of minimal assets. Direct Stream: In this state of affairs, the consumer gadget you are utilizing can play the video and audio streams, however doesn’t work with the container (like .mkv or .m4a), so Plex will copy these streams to a suitable container and ship it to your gadget. This mode makes use of a number of assets, but it surely is not demanding on the server. Transcode: This is the place issues get attention-grabbing. Plex will transcode recordsdata when a consumer gadget is unable to play the video or audio streams in any respect. This is as a result of lack of audio or video codecs (like H.265, HEVC, H.264) on the consumer gadget, and on this scenario Plex converts the video to a file that may be performed on the gadget. This is probably the most CPU-intensive choice and wishes a robust NAS. What do you have to search for in a Plex NAS?(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)There are some things you will want to concentrate to when you’re concerned with a Plex NAS. CPUThis is a key consideration when selecting a Plex NAS, as you will want a robust CPU for transcodes. Most servers over $400 meet this standards, however as a normal rule, you will want a current Intel chipset — Celeron fashions are good for residence use, however when you’re sharing your Plex server with family and friends and wish extra bandwidth, you will want to have a look at servers that includes Intel Core {hardware}.While AMD is making some inroads into the NAS class with fashions just like the DS1621+, Intel continues to be king right here. If you need the flexibility to transcode 4K content material in Plex, you will want to purchase a NAS server with a recent-gen Intel Celeron or Core CPU.MemoryBasically, you will want a good quantity of RAM to ensure there aren’t any bottlenecks. Plex is not memory-intensive, however when you’ve got plenty of different companies working on the NAS, it may turn into a problem. Generally, 2GB of RAM is the naked minimal on this class, and when you’re seeking to run plenty of companies, I’d recommend getting an 8GB reminiscence module and slotting it in. Most NAS servers allow you to improve the RAM with ease, so you should not have any points slotting in 8GB or extra reminiscence inside the server do you have to want it. ConnectivityMost NAS servers have two Gigabit ports as normal, and that needs to be enough for residence use. But when you’re sharing your Plex occasion and wish further bandwidth, you must have a look at a server with 2.5GbE and even 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. That mentioned, when you change to a NAS with multi-Gigabit connectivity, you will must concurrently improve your change and router to take full benefit of the extra bandwidth on supply. It is not as pricey because it was once to modify to a 10GbE residence community, however you will must take these further prices into consideration. For now, Gigabit Ethernet is greater than enough for dealing with a number of Plex 4K streams with none points. Some NAS fashions characteristic an HDMI port that allows you to join the server to a TV or monitor. This is helpful as you’ll be able to then play the media saved on the NAS instantly with out having to stream it wirelessly on your property community. Which Plex NAS do you have to purchase?(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Right now, when you’re seeking to decide up a NAS for Plex streaming, the best choice is the DiskStation DS723+. The upgraded inside {hardware} makes it an attractive mannequin on this class, and with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and strong software program options, the NAS has all of the fundamentals lined.Plex’s media server is obtainable natively on the DS723+, and you’ll set up the Plex consumer (for streaming movies) on nearly each platform on the market. The DS723+ does a improbable job with streaming Plex recordsdata in 4K, and when you will need to have the flexibility to transcode, the older DS220+ continues to be a good selection. If you want a bit extra energy or extra drive bays, the DS920+ continues to be a stellar selection, and the DS1520+ will get my vote due to its extensibility and 5 drive bays. Both the DS920+ and DS1520+ excel at Plex 4K transcodes, and the variety of software program options you will discover on both NAS server is greater than enough for many residence customers. And when you’re concerned with multi-gigabit networking, Asustor’s Lockerstor AS6604T ticks all the precise containers. It has two 2.5GbE ports, and you’ll hook it as much as a TV or monitor instantly by way of HDMI. Our testing methodology for one of the best Plex serverThere are some things I contemplate when deciding what NAS servers to advocate for Plex streaming. First up is the CPU; I run a number of artificial assessments to find out its efficiency potential, single and multi-core scores. Then I arrange a local Plex set up on the NAS and run multimedia streaming assessments to see useful resource utilization in real-world situations when streaming 720p, 1080p, and 4K recordsdata on the native community. I additionally consider transcoding potential by streaming a 4K file to a tool that does not deal with the native container — this can be a nice approach to decide if the NAS can deal with on-the-fly transcodes for 4K recordsdata with excessive bitrates. Finally, I have a look at sequential learn/write potential by transferring a picture library containing over 5,000 recordsdata (all underneath 1MB), and a dozen media recordsdata over 1GB in dimension. Ultimately, one of the best Plex server wants to have the ability to stream your native media library to all gadgets on your property community (and over the web), and it ought to have the ability to take action persistently for a number of years. All of the NAS fashions highlighted on this publish can just do that, so when you’re seeking to get your palms on a Plex NAS server, you’ll be able to go forward and decide up any fashions within the checklist under with confidence. Round up of at the moment’s finest offers

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