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91 posts

Master Geek

#271806 27-May-2020 13:21
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I currently have a 3TB Seagate 'Personal Cloud' storage drive on my home network. It's connected to my router via Ethernet, and contains a collection of music, movies, TV shows, my photos, and backups of documents from home PC and laptop.


I run Plex Media Server on my desktop PC, with all of the media stored on the Personal Cloud. This has worked really well over the last few years, with Plex Clients on Smart TVs, Chromecasts, Phones etc. In recent months however, the Personal Cloud has been running so slow as to be often unusable (taking minutes to move/delete files that should only take seconds). It is also needing to be rebooted occasionally. I fear it's reaching the end of its life, which is a bit concerning as I obviously don't want to simply lose all my data. I'm also generally in need of more storage (struggling to keep 12%-15% free room on the Personal Cloud and I think this is impacting it's speed too).


So... I'm looking at investing in a "proper" (but reasonably budget) NAS setup. Primarily to replace the Personal Cloud for storage, but also to incorporate a better 'backup' mechanism if a drive fails. In a perfect world I'd have the Plex Media Server running from the NAS, however I think this requirement might be a bit unrealistic (expensive) given my media occasionally needs to be transcoded for my Clients, so happy enough to keep my desktop as the actual PMS.


I would be wanting a minimum of 5TB actual storage, which I assume I'd have to double for proper automated backups...


The whole NAS thing is pretty new to me, so I'd love if someone more knowledgable could give me a good idea of exactly what components would be a good combination. I'm guessing something like a Synology DiskStation DS220, plus a couple of appropriate storage drives...


I was hoping to keep the NAS Server + Storage to under $1k total cost (even then it will be a tough sell to my financial controller, although I'm sure she will appreciate the better backup system given we recently lost everything on her laptop prior to it being backed up properly!). Any input appreciated thanks.

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3220 posts

Uber Geek


  #2492765 27-May-2020 13:38
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I'm looking to upgrade from my Synology DS 214j which hasn't missed a beat in 7 years, but is becoming slow and I'm pushing its storage limit.


My understanding is that the DS220 has yet to be released and expected later this year, but some specs have leaked online.


I'm keen to explore running Plex when I upgrade (I don't use it at all at moment) so will keep a keen eye on replies to this thread.

2149 posts

Uber Geek

  #2492830 27-May-2020 14:19
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The NAS's data also needs to be backed up. So factor in the cost of a few USB HD's big enough for that , or a backup to cloud function
Automated Backup from NAS to USB HD is usually built into the NAS (easy to set that up)


NAS's can fail, you cant rely on a mirrored drive as a ~backup~




1283 posts

Uber Geek


  #2492868 27-May-2020 15:11
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Can definitely recommend a Synology device as a "it just works" NAS for home. In addition to regular file storage, I have the PhotoStation package running for sharing photos with family and use the Drive package to sync files from family laptops/PCs to the NAS. I am also running the Plex package. Backups to an external USB drive.


I have a DS418 available for sale as I replaced it with a later model. PM me if if you are interested. Generally speaking you will need a Synology model with an Intel processor in order to run Plex, but there are a several models (like the DS418) with Realtek processors for which it will run. Hardware transcoding is not supported on the 418 though.

483 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2492874 27-May-2020 15:16
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A few years ago I decided to put a spare internal HDD into an enclosure and connect it via the USB port on by modem, for use as a network server.  I believe this to be similar to the approach taken with 'personal backup' devices.  This works but relies on client software on a remote device (such as a desktop or phone) to drive the USB-connected hardware by sending to or retrieving data from it.  I had reliability issues with this approach with the HDD not being visible from time to time.  I am also a novice at networking but wanted some form of backup storage that works without an internet connection.


I bit the bullet and bought a  Synology NAS 216SE, with the same HDD put into it.  This truly revolutionised my home backup.  The NAS is another network device with its own IP address and OS (driven by a browser-based GUI).  This device operates flawlessly unless there is a general network-wide issue.  Data is accessed from my Windows devices as well as my Samsung TV.  The OS has built-in software to backup and restore data using cloud storage along with many other features.  I use it now as a media player and local data backup device.  My only regret is buying a 2-bay model - a 4-bay model would allow me to experiment with various forms of RAID storage along with more storage space.



91 posts

Master Geek

  #2493522 28-May-2020 11:21
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Thanks for the replies. Hmmm, starting to think this could be a bit more expensive that I had hoped.


If someone knowledgable had a few minutes, would you mind please picking out a suitable model of NAS and 2 x drives of ~5TB each from a place like PB Tech or Computer Lounge website (assuming that's allowed here)? Hopefully as close to that $1k mark as possible. I'm just not really sure where to start, especially with compatible and appropriate storage drives these days... Thanks.

9394 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2493541 28-May-2020 11:43
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What I normally do is check


This drive is a white label WD Red:


These are the drives I personally use in my home NAS. I simply "shuck" them by removing the drives from the case to use in my NAS. Currently the drives are a very good deal as you can get 2 of them for around $500NZD delivered. This leaves you around $500 for a 2 bay Synology NAS which is pretty easy to do :)


For a comparison - the WD 8tb Red retails for $529 from PB currently.


Only thing to note is it may be a little harder to claim warranty on such drives. One of my drives is 3 years old and not showing any sign of aging so I don't think it is an issue. Just an important thing to do is power them up first in the external case just to check to ensure they work before shucking them.


Here's also a video of somebody shucking these drives:


80 posts

Master Geek

  #2494414 29-May-2020 15:53
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If your desktop is always going to be running, why not just add some drives to that? Leaves all the money for drives then. I use my NAS for multiple things, and don't leave my PC on 24/7. I run a 4 drive QNAP NAS and have cameras on it as well as running Plex, with no transcoding, so that is just what works for me. If my PC was never going to be turned off i'd just add more drives to it and setup RAID on there. If you do turn the PC off though, then that won't work, but you do mention running Plex off your PC. If you did away with the transcoding requirement, then you can do what you like within your budget. As a basic level NAS will do that job, of just being storage on the network. I'd aim to buy a 4 bay unit, as it gives you room to expand. 


1130 posts

Uber Geek

  #2495798 31-May-2020 17:05
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I simply "shuck" them by removing the drives from the case to use in my NAS.



Newer WD elements have a Pin 3 modification on the SATA connector pinout to make the use of shucked drives harder.

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9394 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2495819 31-May-2020 17:39
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Newer WD elements have a Pin 3 modification on the SATA connector pinout to make the use of shucked drives harder.


Easy to get around but also I've noted Synology also have no problems with this too and these drives work without modification.

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