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Some advise on choosing a NAS

Hello Rob,

Thank you for facilitating independent advise in this overwhelming vastness of NAS solutions. Years ago, I did work in iT for some time, so i understand the basics. My attitude is to dive in, learn as much as possible in a short period of time and make a decision for years to come. The pressure! Haha.

I would love to hear your advise on the following scenario, we have in mind for our place. My wife is a freelance graphic- and web designer. She’s not doing any heavy duty video editing, but 3d design might be on the horizon. The websites she designs, are hosted elsewhere. Also, she needs to safeguard the data she works with as a grantwriter for a non profit. I use the computer mostly for music (electronic drumkit), and administration. We do like the idea of streaming with Plex server. For that reason, and to minimize wifi, i did wire our house with CAT6 ethernet to every room. So, it’s just the two of us in a small office, home environment. Our current internet speed is about 300mb/s.

We currently have a MacPro (2 TB ), and 2 macbook pro’s, both with 1 TB drives each. In the near future, after we take the NAS hurdle, we’re planning on an additional desktop. Aside from this we use Apple Tv (4 gen), an iPad and an iPhone each.

After diving in, and doing the research, i came up with some questions:
My stereo amplifier has a usb input to use with a media player. Can you tell me if I would be able to hook that up directly to the nas, if it was close enough, and be able to use an iPhone or tablet to control Plex and play music?

The same question would apply to using hdmi and hook up our 4k tv to the nas directly to take some pressure off the network? If I understand correctly, it would be best to add PCIe nvme m.2 ssd for caching and boosting performance to 4k resolution? Personally, I would not want to go beyond 4k ever. I actually preferred 1080 because it’s easier on the eyes.

Would I be assuming correctly that RAID5 is commonly used in these situations? This would imply a 3+ bay NAS. Would 16TB be enough? I think I’d want to expand with two PCIe nvme m.2 ssd, but which one to choose and how big? What PCIe card would i need?

I believe this sums it up for the moment. I really do appreciate your patience and enthousiasm on these matters. I can relate to the fascination for technology.

I am looking very much forward to read your thoughts,

Kind regards,

Frederic San Giorgi

Thank you for your support, this really keeps us going.
NAS system is meant to be connected via LAN/WiFi. USB input on your amplifier is for external hard drives. Most popular amplifiers nowadays come with a LAN port. This allows you to connect to your network where NAS can be found.
If you get Qnap or Asustor NAS that features HDMI port, you could connect to your amplifier directly. Or use the port to connect to the TV.
But, I would not worry too much about network bottlenecks. Even heavy 4K file would only use 61.5 Mbps. This is tiny compared to 1000Mbit bandwidth you get via 1GbE LAN.
TS-464 is a popular NAS from Qnap. It features HDMI and NVme SSD slots. It also comes with PCI slot for 10gbe upgrade.
For home use NVMe is not very useful. But so many people choose to install QTS OS and apps on NVMe volume in order to reduce noise and power consumption.
Once you install Plex server on your NAS and TV and mobile devices, you can control it from your app.
You can start with 2 or 3 drives and leave few bays empty. This will allow you to add more hard drives when you need more storage space.
Qnap allows migration form Bssic -> RAID1 -> RAID5.

When choosing NVMe for caching you need to look at reliability ratings such as DWPD/MTBF. Here are a few on the list
Caching means a lot of read and write operations, unlike regular storage situation.
You would need to look at models with 0.5DWPD and above

970 pro – 0.66DWPD

Synology SNV3400 – 0.68DWPD

Seagate FireCuda 510 – 0.7 DWPD
Seagate IronWolf 525 – 0.7 DWPD
Seagate Firecuda 530 – 0.7 DWPD
Seagate PS5 Game drive – 0.7 DWPD

Seagate FireCuda 520 -0.9 DWPD
WD Red SN700 – 1.0DWPD

I hope this helps.

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