4 bay NAS for home usage

bitsbytes

Senior Member
hello everyone.

I'm hoping to build a NAS setup for my home. it'll be mainly used as a media server and a backup to various files. media streaming will be used in 3 devices if that is important. info I have Zero experience with NAS so that'll complicate things a bit.

I'll be connecting the NAS directly to my AX86U router which has a 2.5GbE port, does this affect my buying choices in anyway ?
I've been watching a lot of videos on the topic, should I be bothered with SSD caching and RAM upgrades for my usage ?
do I really need NAS HDDs or are they a waste of money for my usage?
anything else I should consider ?
I'd love to stick to the most user friendly ecosystem.


my budget is within range of a Synology 920+ but if necessary I can stretch it a bit more.
 

GHammer

Senior Member
Synology is the brand you want.
The device you are looking at does not have a 2.5 connection. It will aggregate the two LAN ports into one connection if you have a compatible switch.
I'm told, but have not tried myself, that you can add a cheap 2.5 LAN dongle to get the better throughput to your router.
Were it me, I'd buy a 5 port 2.5 switch and use that and the dongle to connect the NAS and router. You may find you have a need for the 2.5 on other devices. If you are certain you won't need any other 2.5 devices, then skip the switch.

Get a NAS rated HDD. Skip the SSD cache and RAM upgrade until you try the stock configuration. Then if needed, buy them one at a time, RAM, cache.
 

eightiescalling

Regular Contributor
The router might have a 2.5GbE port but do you need that throughput bandwidth?

Unless you plan 4k streaming to multiple devices over wire connections and are sure the NAS can serve content that quickly (think higher number of disks for parallel reads along with impact of extra disks on your budget just for throughout rather than storage), I wouldn't worry about the 2.5GbE link or complexity of bonding 2 single gig connections.

I'd probably put anything above a single gig connection on the same back burner as SSD cache and memory.
 

bitsbytes

Senior Member
Synology is the brand you want.
The device you are looking at does not have a 2.5 connection. It will aggregate the two LAN ports into one connection if you have a compatible switch.
I'm told, but have not tried myself, that you can add a cheap 2.5 LAN dongle to get the better throughput to your router.
Were it me, I'd buy a 5 port 2.5 switch and use that and the dongle to connect the NAS and router. You may find you have a need for the 2.5 on other devices. If you are certain you won't need any other 2.5 devices, then skip the switch.

Get a NAS rated HDD. Skip the SSD cache and RAM upgrade until you try the stock configuration. Then if needed, buy them one at a time, RAM, cache.


I'm not looking to buy the 920+ specifically, I'm just saying my price range is within that margin. if there is another option that has a 2.5G port built in that would be a better option. I don't currently own any 2.5G switches and I don't know what a 2.5 LAN Dongle is :oops:. as for the HDDs I will buy NAS ones because you recommend them.



The router might have a 2.5GbE port but do you need that throughput bandwidth?

Unless you plan 4k streaming to multiple devices over wire connections and are sure the NAS can serve content that quickly (think higher number of disks for parallel reads along with impact of extra disks on your budget just for throughout rather than storage), I wouldn't worry about the 2.5GbE link or complexity of bonding 2 single gig connections.

I'd probably put anything above a single gig connection on the same back burner as SSD cache and memory.

I actually do not know if I need to use the 2.5G port. I asked if it the availably of the port should affect my buying decision :D I will be streaming 4k content but only one device at a time.
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
Have you looked at Asustor? They have 2.5 Gbps ports on most of their models, even their "basic" arm based models.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@bitsbytes

Do you have a PC sitting around that is powered on 24/7? If you do you can o this on the cheap with a https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KY73BNQ/?tag=snbforums-20 @ $150 it just connects using USB to a host and then you share from there.

If you want something more traditional then it gets expensive and you're better off building a PC and adding drives to it + a NIC that does 2.5 / 5 / 10gbps speeds

If it doesn't need to be new then grab a cheap system off ebay or the likes for $150 and move the guts over to a better case that will hold tons of storage like a Node 804 or Meshify 2. They both hold 8+ drives in them and run ~$150

NIC
2.5 - $30
5 - $80
10 - $100

Now, if you don't want to spend on switch you can make your DIY NAS into a switch using a 4-port NIC with 2.5 / 5gps card for $150-$200. If you just want a dumb switch with 2.5ge ports $120

The biggest cost is usually the drives themselves for anything substantial like 8TB drives will run about $150/ea // $600 for four of them.

How you manage the OS side of the NAS though is up to you but, Linux is more stable compared to Windows. There are also pre-made OS options designed for NAS functionality to keep it simple and provide interfaces similar to devices you would buy off the shelf.
 

bitsbytes

Senior Member
Have you looked at Asustor? They have 2.5 Gbps ports on most of their models, even their "basic" arm based models.

I didn't even know they existed....are those asus NAS ?? Great, now I have more choices to think about

@bitsbytes

Do you have a PC sitting around that is powered on 24/7? If you do you can o this on the cheap with a https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KY73BNQ/?tag=snbforums-20 @ $150 it just connects using USB to a host and then you share from there.

If you want something more traditional then it gets expensive and you're better off building a PC and adding drives to it + a NIC that does 2.5 / 5 / 10gbps speeds

If it doesn't need to be new then grab a cheap system off ebay or the likes for $150 and move the guts over to a better case that will hold tons of storage like a Node 804 or Meshify 2. They both hold 8+ drives in them and run ~$150

NIC
2.5 - $30
5 - $80
10 - $100

Now, if you don't want to spend on switch you can make your DIY NAS into a switch using a 4-port NIC with 2.5 / 5gps card for $150-$200. If you just want a dumb switch with 2.5ge ports $120

The biggest cost is usually the drives themselves for anything substantial like 8TB drives will run about $150/ea // $600 for four of them.

How you manage the OS side of the NAS though is up to you but, Linux is more stable compared to Windows. There are also pre-made OS options designed for NAS functionality to keep it simple and provide interfaces similar to devices you would buy off the shelf.

Oh my....too much information. I'll have to read it a couple of times. I do have an old intel 7700k PC that I gamed on for a while. It's been occupied by my son, but I got him a laptop recently so the PC has been of no use lately. But honestly, currently I'd rather buy something that's won't take up much of my time or a lot of effort for it to work. I know DYI solutions are often much better than buying but they are not for everyone.
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
I didn't even know they existed....are those asus NAS ?? Great, now I have more choices to think about
Sort of, technically speaking, a bunch of Synology and QNAP people left some years ago and started Asustor as a sub-brand of Asus'.
The software is somewhat behind the competition, but seem to be getting better with each new version.
Hardware wise, they seem to be having a small lead lead over the competition and the pricing is often better too.
They've been around since 2011, so it's not a new player.

If you're brave, you can try these guys, but they're even further behind software wise imho.
Not sure where the core team there has in terms of background, but it's a Cooler Master sub-brand.

As for DIY being much better, well, yes and no.
You do get much better value for money hardware quite often, but there's no support except yourself when something goes wrong.
I have a DIY NAS running OpenMediaVault and it's not all been smooth sailing.
Yes, I have a 10 Gbps NIC in it and it's got a comparatively powerful CPU, loads of RAM and everything, but when something has messed up, it's hours of searching and asking in forums to try and find a solution.
At least with these ready made devices, you can send an email to support and most likely get an answer on how to deal with the problem.
 

eightiescalling

Regular Contributor
But honestly, currently I'd rather buy something that's won't take up much of my time or a lot of effort for it to work. I know DYI solutions are often much better than buying but they are not for everyone.

This, to me anyway, says an off the shelf NAS would probably better suit you.

I think the DIY approach can be great (I've been running a DIY home NAS for a long time now) but it's not for everyone and I'd say that unless (a) you have a specific requirement and (b) you're comfortable with the various levels of the technology (and risks in certain cases), then you're better off using an off the shelf product. One key question is probably how trusted/proven do you want any recovery scenario to be - learning as you go or following a few button clicks?

If you do go the DIY approach, for the usage you've described, the old 7700k PC would be over kill. I'm curious on performance for some of the 2.5GbE setups mentioned but, as a reference point, my home NAS is running on an old i7 (3770s) with an equally old mother board - a box that does double duty as a desktop. Not exactly powerful but comfortable serves 4k over a 1 gig wired network without stressing itself - 42 megabytes/second on something just now although that may have been bottle-necked by the Pi (USB3/SSD) that I pulled the file to.
 

bitsbytes

Senior Member
This, to me anyway, says an off the shelf NAS would probably better suit you.

I think the DIY approach can be great (I've been running a DIY home NAS for a long time now) but it's not for everyone and I'd say that unless (a) you have a specific requirement and (b) you're comfortable with the various levels of the technology (and risks in certain cases), then you're better off using an off the shelf product. One key question is probably how trusted/proven do you want any recovery scenario to be - learning as you go or following a few button clicks?

If you do go the DIY approach, for the usage you've described, the old 7700k PC would be over kill. I'm curious on performance for some of the 2.5GbE setups mentioned but, as a reference point, my home NAS is running on an old i7 (3770s) with an equally old mother board - a box that does double duty as a desktop. Not exactly powerful but comfortable serves 4k over a 1 gig wired network without stressing itself - 42 megabytes/second on something just now although that may have been bottle-necked by the Pi (USB3/SSD) that I pulled the file to.

I don't have any specific requirements at all. just what I mentioned in the OP. I consider myself tech savvy but my interest in tinkering with tech is dwindling and I don't have as much free time or patience as I used to. as for recovery, I think a raid 5 with an extra USB backup for the most important files would suffice. so a few button clicks it is :p

I'm still looking around and it seems like a replacement for the Synology 920+ is on the horizon. this or maybe something similar from QNAP. I'm to chicken to try anything out of the ordinary like the ones @TheLostSwede suggested.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The QNAP TS-453D 4-Bay NAS w/4GB RAM is what I would suggest if your budget allows it.

The RAM can be easily upgraded to 8GB (and yes, I would do it).

It has dual 2.5GbE connections.

WD Red Plus Drives are recommended (for any NAS you end up buying), 12TB and up are the best buys (when on sale) today.

QNAP and Synology are the only NAS solutions to consider at your experience level today. QNAP gives much better hardware, IME. Buy a good/great example of a NAS today. Know you (or someone else) will still be using it in 2030+. ;)
 

bitsbytes

Senior Member
The QNAP TS-453D 4-Bay NAS w/4GB RAM is what I would suggest if your budget allows it.

The RAM can be easily upgraded to 8GB (and yes, I would do it).

It has dual 2.5GbE connections.

WD Red Plus Drives are recommended (for any NAS you end up buying), 12TB and up are the best buys (when on sale) today.

QNAP and Synology are the only NAS solutions to consider at your experience level today. QNAP gives much better hardware, IME. Buy a good/great example of a NAS today. Know you (or someone else) will still be using it in 2030+. ;)
If I had to pick I would second the qnap as I've had one in the past and use their network cards for other things. They've always been rock solid and durable.

what about the TS-464 ? seems like it is a newer release with better specs and more future proof. it a bit more expensive but not by much.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Specs are overrated with these and cheap is the goal along with port speed. 4 disks in a raid 10 pushes nearly 5gbps at 400MB/s. With raid 5 you won't be seeing huge speeds as the goal is capacity with a recovery drive doing parity. The parity will use more CPU but, it's not a huge deal. Is you're transcoding video you're better off using the old system as a NAS.
 

Clark Griswald

Very Senior Member
The QNAP TS-453D 4-Bay NAS w/4GB RAM is what I would suggest if your budget allows it.

The RAM can be easily upgraded to 8GB (and yes, I would do it).

It has dual 2.5GbE connections.

WD Red Plus Drives are recommended (for any NAS you end up buying), 12TB and up are the best buys (when on sale) today.

QNAP and Synology are the only NAS solutions to consider at your experience level today. QNAP gives much better hardware, IME. Buy a good/great example of a NAS today. Know you (or someone else) will still be using it in 2030+. ;)
I knew you would show up with your QNAP recommendation and the better hardware ;)
My 3 year old DS-918+ is doing well, and was my first "real" NAS.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
My 3 year old DS-918+ is doing well, and was my first "real" NAS.
My 3 D-Link DNS-323 NAS boxes have been running since 2007 (?) when it was released. :)

WD Red drives are an option, and what I have in those units (2TB), but my newer qnap Nas boxes have Seagate ironwolf (10TB) and Seagate exos (18TB) drives. There are a number of choices, but definitely go NAS-rated. But, in most cases you don't need the "plus" or "pro" versions, as they don't offer any real benefit.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The TS-464 does look like a nice upgrade from the TS-453D, but only if you'll be pushing either system at maximum effort (it has double the 'official' RAM capacity at 16GB, 2x PCIe 3 M.2 slots (but note they're only running at x1 speeds!), and a faster 33% faster CPU. Depending on that price difference (or if you can wait for it to go on sale), it may or may not be worth it for someone with your basic usage requirements).

The DNS-323s are not NAS. I had a few of those too. Slow, slow, slow. ;)

You definitely want the (larger capacity) Red Plus drives (less heat, faster, more efficient, and more lasting). The Pro can be skipped (in any drive manufacturer's lineup), not only are they more expensive, but they may be actually worse.
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
I don't have any specific requirements at all. just what I mentioned in the OP. I consider myself tech savvy but my interest in tinkering with tech is dwindling and I don't have as much free time or patience as I used to. as for recovery, I think a raid 5 with an extra USB backup for the most important files would suffice. so a few button clicks it is :p

I'm still looking around and it seems like a replacement for the Synology 920+ is on the horizon. this or maybe something similar from QNAP. I'm to chicken to try anything out of the ordinary like the ones @TheLostSwede suggested.
Nothing wrong with Asustor. You can compare their software to Synology and QNAP, as all three companies have demo sites.

The TS-464 looks alright, at least they've moved away from the horribly slow USB based DOMs they used before to 4 GB of eMMC, so getting started shouldn't take so long.
Be aware of the hardware limitations of the CPU though, as both the M.2 slots and the PCIe slot are gimped.
 

eightiescalling

Regular Contributor
I consider myself tech savvy but my interest in tinkering with tech is dwindling and I don't have as much free time or patience as I used to. as for recovery, I think a raid 5 with an extra USB backup for the most important files would suffice. so a few button clicks it is :p
I hear you on free time and patience - my setup was in place pre wife and kids! I suspect that starting from scratch today I'd go down the off the shelf route and thoughts of things avoiding vendor lock-in would be way down the list!

One thought on the RAID mechanism you use... I'm not sure on the experience of the professionals on this thread (rather than the tinkerers like me!) but for a while now there has been a theory that with the large disks of today, RAID5 recovery could trigger a second (and catastrophic) failure mid-recovery. The theory being that during recovery you are forcing a high quantity of writes to the existing drives and pushing them further through their lifespan - where as RAID1 (or RAID10) only involves writes to the new drive. RAID6 does go someway to mitigating this (2 redundant drives rather than 1) but if you're on a 4 drive array you may as well go RAID10 as you'll get the better performance and lower risk for the same cost and storage.
 

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