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Best NAS 2022: For home, Plex, work, and budget

Looking for the best NAS? Here are my favourites.

Network-attached storage (NAS) is a server that can be used for storing data and running apps and services. You can think of them as small computers that allow you to run your very own media center, file storage platform, or even a surveillance system. It’s possible to spend very little on an affordable NAS or drop a few thousand on a leading enclosure. I’ve rounded up the best NAS from Synology, ASUSTOR, QNAP, and other brands.

  1. Best overall: ASUSTOR Lockerstor 2 Gen2 (AS6702T) — Intel CPU, 2 bays, 4GB RAM, 2.5Gb LAN.
  2. Runner-up: TerraMaster F4-423 — Intel CPU, 4 bays, 4GB RAM, 2.5Gb LAN.
  3. Best for beginners: Synology DiskStation DS220+ — Intel CPU, 2 bays, 2GB RAM, 1Gb LAN.
  4. Best for streaming: ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 4 (AS5304T) — Intel CPU, 4 bays, 4GB RAM, 2.5Gb LAN.
  5. Best for Plex: QNAP TVS-672XT — Intel CPU, 6 bays, 8GB RAM, 10Gb LAN.
  6. Best capacity: QNAP TVS-H1688X — Intel CPU, 16 bays, 8GB RAM, 10Gb LAN.
  7. Best budget: Synology DiskStation DS120j — ARM CPU, 1 bay, 512MB RAM, 1Gb LAN.
  8. Best value: TerraMaster F2-423 — Intel CPU, 2 bays, 4GB RAM, 2.5Gb LAN.
  9. Best performance: QNAP TVS-872XT-i5 — Intel CPU, 8 bays, 16GB RAM, 10Gb LAN.

What is the best NAS?

What makes the best NAS is driven by a few factors. The most important, as always with any product, is price and available budget. Enclosures can cost as little as $100, but can easily hit heights of $2,000 or more. This is due to the increase in the number of drive bays, as well as other more advanced features like M.2 SSD slots, and upgradeable memory.

If you’re wanting my top-pick NAS for most people, it would be the ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 2 Gen2 (AS6702T).

If you’re just starting out and need a NAS for file storage or running a small media server for your family, an enclosure with two to four bays would be sufficient. It’s not worth choosing a single-bay NAS (due to the lack of RAID) unless you only need one for storing unimportant files that you either don’t mind losing in the event of a drive failure or have it backed up elsewhere.

For manufacturers, there’s a strong choice available. Top-leading brands include Synology, QNAP, ASUSTOR, and TerraMaster, to name a few. If you’re wanting my top-pick NAS for most people, it would be the ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 2 Gen2 (AS6702T). It’s an excellent overall NAS with plenty of features to get you up and running in no time at all.

This NAS has an Intel processor, which is generally considered to be the vastly superior choice compared to ARM CPUs and is able to do much more, including transcoding media for Plex. The RAM is upgradable and you can even install up to four M.2 SSDs to act as a cache and improve disk performance or expand the storage pool.

If the AS6702T doesn’t quite tick all the right boxes, I’ve listed the excellent TerraMaster F4-423 as a runner-up choice. For those who want to set up a Plex Media Server (PMS), the QNAP TVS-672N-i3 is what you’ll need with an even better processor and more than enough drive bays.

As aforementioned, you don’t need to spend too much on an enclosure. The Synology DiskStation DS120j and TerraMaster F2-423 are fine examples of savings to be had without sacrificing too much on functionality, so long as you only plan on using these servers for file storage.

It’s important to think about what you want to do with a NAS enclosure. Will you be storing some data? Do you want to set up a Plex Media Server? How about a central hub for home surveillance? If it’s the former, you won’t need anything more than a single or dual-bay NAS. For everything else, you’ll need to consider paying out more.

The price is always an essential factor and a NAS enclosure is no exception. With NAS Master, my goal is to help you buy the perfect NAS for your needs without spending a single penny more than you should. An issue is the more features you want in your enclosure, the higher the price will be.

Like with other components in computers, the more you spend upfront will ensure your NAS will remain current even after a few years. Faster LAN ports, M.2 SSD slots, plenty of drive bays, and one of the best processors you can buy right now will see you enjoying your NAS for many years without needing to replace it.

Ordering your NAS online is a good place to start as you’ll usually see the best deals on retailers like Amazon. You’ll see me recommending Amazon links above other stores for price and availability. If you want to receive your NAS quicker and enjoy other benefits across Amazon’s services, give Amazon Prime a go for free with the 30-day trial.

1. ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 2 Gen2 (AS6702T): Best overall NAS

ASUSTOR Lockerstor 2 Gen2 (AS6702T)
ASUSTOR Lockerstor 2 Gen2 (AS6702T). (Source: NAS Master)

Our thoughts: ASUSTOR has struck gold with the second-gen LOCKERSTOR 2. This is the NAS to get if you’re after the best value for a two-bay enclosure. It has it all, including great specs, a solid price, and a user-friendly OS.

CPU: Intel Celeron N5105 | Drive bays: 2 | RAM: 4GB DDR4 (max 32GB) | Features: 2x 2.5Gb LAN, 2x USB 3.0, upgradable RAM

  • Intel Celeron N5105 CPU
  • 4GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 2x drive bays (40TB max)
  • 2x 2.5Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • Limited RAID support

When it comes to choosing the best NAS, it all comes down to what you plan on using the enclosure for. If it’s to store some files and to test the waters with your very first NAS, the ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 2 Gen2 (AS6702T) may be just what you’re seeking. It’s my favorite two-bay NAS for 2022.

What makes this NAS particularly brilliant (and how it managed to replace the Synology DiskStation DS220+ as my top recommendation) is the specifications sheet and price tag. It’s not too much more, but ASUSTOR managed to cram a lot of tech inside this compact server.

Let’s start with the excellent Intel Celeron N5105 CPU. It comes with an integrated GPU that can easily handle 4K transcoding for running Plex Media Server. The preinstalled 4GB of DDR4 RAM is more than enough for most basic tasks too, and this can be expanded up to 32GB.

Then there’s the four (yes, four!) M.2 SSD slots that can be used for SSD caching or storage, something that other top NAS brands don’t offer. Two drive bays would normally be too limiting for those who plan to expand at a later date, but the AS6702T supports expansion units.

It’s possible to add two of these to bring the total drive bays up to 10. The two 2.5Gb networking ports make it easy to transfer data to and from the NAS, and the HDMI port allows you to connect a TV or other device to the NAS for direct media playback (say goodbye to transcoding!).

The ASUSTOR ADM NAS OS is also excellent and user-friendly, making it a great place to start if you’re an experienced NAS user or are purchasing your first enclosure. Overall, this is one seriously powerful NAS to beat.

ASUSTOR Lockerstor 2 Gen2 (AS6702T)
ASUSTOR Lockerstor 2 Gen2 (AS6702T). (Source: ASUSTOR)

ASUSTOR LOCKERSTOR 2 Gen2 (AS6702T)

ASUSTOR made an excellent two-bay NAS in the form of the LOCKERSTOR 2 Gen2. It has almost everything you need for a capable home or office NAS.


2. TerraMaster F4-423: Runner-up

TerraMaster F4-210
TerraMaster F4-423. (Source: NAS Master)

Our thoughts: Think TerraMaster NAS enclosures are only good for those on a tight budget? The company is trying to change your view with the impressive F4-423. It’s a four-bay NAS with incredible performance.

CPU: Intel Celeron N5105/5095 | Drive bays: 2 | RAM: 4GB DDR4 (max 32GB) | Features: 2x 2.5Gb LAN, 2x M.2, 2x USB 3.0

  • Intel Celeron N5105/5095 CPU
  • 4GB upgradable RAM
  • 4x drive bays (80TB max)
  • 2x 2.5Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • 2x M.2 SSD slots
  • OS is a little rough

TerraMaster is going big in 2022 with the release of the impressive TerraMaster F4-423 and F2-423. These two enclosures come with some seriously good specifications, especially if you’re looking to set up a Plex Media Server. For around $70 more than the DS220+, the F2-423 offers faster networking, M.2 slots for SSD caching, and better RAM capacity.

Throw in an additional $200 and you’ve got access to the F4-423. This is the same as the F2-423, but with the addition of two more drive bays. The four drive bays offer a maximum storage capacity of 80TB, which is perfect for running virtual machines, media hosting, and other services.

The Intel Celeron N5105/5095 CPU is great for transcoding and performing other intensive tasks. TerraMaster didn’t stop there as the company upgraded the RAM to DDR4, starting at 4GB and can be upgraded to a whopping 32GB. Then you’ve got two 2.5Gb LAN ports for speedy data transfers. The OS is a little weaker than the competition but TOS is getting better with each major update.

TerraMaster F4-423
TerraMaster F4-423. (Source: TerraMaster)

TerraMaster F4-423

TerraMaster’s newer NAS enclosures for 2022 come with some serious specifications, including a beefy Intel CPU, upgradable RAM, 2.5Gb LAN, and M.2 slots.

3. Synology DiskStation DS220+: Best NAS for beginners

Synology DiskStation DS220+
Synology DiskStation DS220+. (Source: NAS Master)

My thoughts: Synology has almost perfected its mid-range two-bay NAS enclosure with the DiskStation DS220+. It has a very potent Intel processor, more than enough RAM, and an excellent OS.

CPU: Intel Celeron J4025 | Drive bays: 2 | RAM: 2GB DDR4 (max 6GB) | Features: 2x 1Gb LAN, 2x USB 3.0, upgradable RAM

  • Intel Celeron J4025 CPU
  • 2GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 2x drive bays (32TB max)
  • 2x 1Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Limited RAID support

It’s difficult to make the wrong decision when shopping around for a NAS since most of the enclosures available would make for a great server. Where this becomes a little tricky is when you want to make the best purchase for your needs, without having to spend more than necessary. This is why I wholeheartedly recommend the Synology DiskStation DS220+ for beginners.

This NAS enclosure strikes a good balance between price and performance. It’s a powerful server with an Intel Celeron J4025 processor with 2GB of DDR4 RAM. The memory can be upgraded to 6GB, in case you run into scenarios where more RAM is needed. The CPU will easily handle some 4K transcoding through Plex.

While some may view the two drive bays as a little restrictive, it makes it easy to throw a few drives into the enclosure and enjoy up to 32TB of storage capacity. Because I recommend using RAID, you’ll more likely see 16TB with a configuration enabled (and I recommend doing so for data redundancy). With two 1Gb LAN ports, you can connect both to your router or switch which will then allow the connection to be doubled up for enhanced bandwidth.

Its hot-swappable drive tray design allows for easy installation and maintenance, destroying the requirement for a screwdriver to remove or install a hard drive. Simply pull out, swap, re-insert, and you’re good to go. There are even a few USB 3.0 ports for good measure.

Synology DiskStation DS20+
Synology DiskStation DS20+. (Source: Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS220+

The Synology DiskStation DS220+ is the company’s mid-range enclosure and is perfect if you’re just starting out with your first NAS.

4. ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 4 (AS5304T): Best for streaming

ASUSTOR AS5304T
ASUSTOR AS5304T. (Source: NAS Master)

My thoughts: I believe the NIMBUSTOR 4 from ASUSTOR looks better than the usual black slabs we’re used to with NAS enclosures, but it also packs a punch where it matters most.

CPU: Intel Celeron J4105 | Drive bays: 4 | RAM: 4GB DDR4 (max 8GB) | Features: 2x 2.5Gb LAN, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 2.0a

  • Intel Celeron J4105 CPU
  • 4GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 4x drive bays (64TB max)
  • 2x 2.5Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Flimsy drive bay trays

If you want to do some streaming on the side and save video footage, I’d recommend you take a gander at the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 4 (AS5304T). This is a very powerful NAS enclosure with an Intel Celeron J4105 CPU and upgradeable 4GB of DDR4 RAM.

This is ideal for Plex Media Server and some other scenarios where a beefy CPU and speedy RAM are required for optimal performance. This configuration is more than enough for stable 4K transcoding. The OS is brilliant and supports numerous apps and services.

For transferring data to and from the NAS, you’ve got plenty of bandwidth with the dual-2.5Gb LAN setup, eliminating any network possible bottlenecks, so long as your LAN infrastructure can keep up. This is especially important if you’re a streamer and are looking for something that can handle the bandwidth that comes with offloading recorded media.

You may find the price to be a little offputting, which is understandable. It’s above other four-bay NAS models, but this has a few advantages, including the faster CPU and LAN ports. If your budget can stretch to cover the AS5304T, it’ll perform admirably in your gaming, streaming, or home media server setup.

ASUSTOR AS5304T
ASUSTOR AS5304T. (Source: ASUSTOR)

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 4 (AS5304T)

The ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 4 (AS5304T) is a brilliant runner-up NAS pick. It also has an Intel processor, enough RAM, and a great OS.


5. QNAP TVS-672XT-i3: Best for Plex

QNAP TVS-672XT
QNAP TVS-672XT. (Source: QNAP)

My thoughts: Plex requires some serious processing power if you’re wanting to carry out 4K transcoding. The QNAP TVS-672XT-i3 is a solid NAS enclosure with plenty of expansion.

CPU: Intel Core i3-8100T | Drive bays: 6 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 (max 32GB) | Features: 1x 10Gb LAN, 2x 1Gb LAN, 2x USB-A 3.1 Gen 2, 2x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, 2x Thunderbolt 3

  • Intel Core i3-8100T CPU
  • 8GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 6x drive bays (64TB max)
  • 1x 10Gb LAN
  • Excellent OS
  • Pricey
  • High power draw

Okay, this is the big one for Plex fans. The QNAP TVS-672XT is one of the best NAS for Plex. Period. It’s not overly expensive, but still pricier than other four and six-bay NAS, but it’s well worth the initial investment. The Intel Core i3-8100T isn’t the most powerful CPU around, but we’re used to Intel Celeron, Pentium, Atom, as well as some ARM CPUs, so it’s exceptionally good.

The integrated graphics and four physical cores are more than a match for 4K transcoding, which is required if you want to stream a 4K movie to a TV or other receiving device that doesn’t support the file format. This processor is joined by 8GB of DDR4 RAM, which can be upgraded to 32GB, and six drive bays for storing all your media.

In case you thought you wouldn’t be able to stream multiple movies at once, think again since this NAS has a rapid 10Gb LAN port as well as two additional 1Gb connections. Then you have two USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports and a further single USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port. This NAS is well-equipped.

QNAP TVS-672XT
QNAP TVS-672XT. (Source: QNAP)

QNAP TVS-672XT-i3

Whether it’s the Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of upgradable RAM, or the excellent OS, the TVS-672XT is a brilliant choice for Plex fans.


6. QNAP TVS-H1688X: Best capacity

QNAP TVS-H1688X
QNAP TVS-H1688X. (Source: QNAP)

My thoughts: This thing is MASSIVE. The QNAP TVS-H1688X is the NAS to buy if you need to store a LOT of data. It’s huge, requires plenty of power while up and running, and has a capacity beyond 192TB when fully equipped with hard drives and SSDs.

CPU: Intel Xeon W-1250 | Drive bays: 16 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 (UDIMM max 64GB, RDIMM max 128GB) | Features: 4x 2.5Gb LAN, 2x 10Gb LAN, 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 4x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 2x M.2 slots

  • Intel Xeon W-1250 CPU
  • 8GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 16x drive bays (192TB+ max)
  • 2x 10Gb, 4x 2.5Gb LAN
  • Excellent OS
  • Expensive
  • High power draw

When only the highest capacity will suffice, you’ll want to consider the excellent QNAP TVS-H1688X. It’s a monstrous NAS enclosure that can hold an insane amount of data. There are 12 drive bays to start with, followed by four SSD bays and a further two M.2 SSD slots.

To ensure the NAS can keep up with all this data, QNAP decided to install an Intel Xeon W-1250 CPU. This processor is also a monster, much like other server-grade Xeon processors enthusiasts love to use. It’s vastly superior to Celeron and Pentium offerings found in NAS enclosures. It’ll handle 4K movie transcoding and then some.

This NAS is best suited for file storage in a busy household or bustling office. The massive capacity is joined by four 2.5Gb LAN ports and two 10Gb LAN ports. For USB, QNAP has you covered with a total of two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports and four USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports. The price is a little high for most NAS owners, and the power draw will make anyone looking to save on their energy bills look the other way.

QNAP TVS-H1688X
QNAP TVS-H1688X. (Source: QNAP)

QNAP TVS-H1688X

You probably don’t need the TVS-H1688X, but it would be brilliant to have one. It’s huge and has everything you need to store the entire internet.


7. Synology DiskStation DS120j: Best budget

Synology DiskStation DS220j
Synology DiskStation DS220j. (Source: NAS Master)

My thoughts: Did you know Synology makes more affordable NAS enclosures? Here’s the DiskStation DS120j, which doesn’t cost much, but allows you to safely store all your files for easy access.

CPU: Marvell Armada 3700 88F3720 | Drive bays: 1 | RAM: 512MB DDR3L (max 512MB) | Features: 1x 1Gb LAN, 2x USB 2.0

  • Almost silent
  • Affordable
  • 64-bit ARM CPU
  • Low power draw
  • Excellent OS
  • No M.2 SSD slots
  • No 2.5Gb LAN ports
  • Sluggish CPU performance
  • Single drive bay

If all you require is a device for you and perhaps a few family members to store and access data, the Synology DiskStation DS120j is your affordable friend. Instead of using an Intel CPU, we’re looking at the Marvell Armada 3700 88F3720. It’s an ARM processor, which is perfectly fine for efficient NAS operation but may struggle when you want to do more demanding tasks.

You won’t be running Plex Media Server on this NAS and expect to stream movies and whatnot. It’s designed and built for file storage. The DS120j only has 512MB of DDR3L RAM and one drive bay, but you do get a server enclosure that can be connected online and provide a single location for file storage.

If you simply need to store a few files and don’t need to do anything with your NAS, like run a media server, a surveillance system, or other demanding tasks, the DS120j will be enough. Also, should you desire to test the waters with the wonderful world of NAS, you’ll feel more comfortable spending less on something like this device.

Synology DiskStation DS120j
Synology DiskStation DS120j. (Source: Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS120j

The DiskStation DS120j is one of Synology’s most affordable NAS enclosures, but it’s still more than capable as a file storage hub.


8. TerraMaster F2-423: Best value

TerraMaster F2-423
TerraMaster F2-423. (Source: TerraMaster)

My thoughts: TerraMaster makes affordable NAS than the competition, but the F2-423 is something truly special. This NAS has a potent Intel processor, upgradable RAM (to 32GB!), and dual 2.5Gb LAN ports.

CPU: Intel Celeron N5105/5095 | Drive bays: 2 | RAM: 4GB DDR4 (max 32GB) | Features: 2x 2.5Gb LAN, 2x M.2, 2x USB 3.0

  • Intel Celeron N5105/5095 CPU
  • 4GB upgradable RAM
  • 2x drive bays (40TB max)
  • 2x 2.5Gb LAN (with aggregation)
  • 2x M.2 SSD slots
  • OS a little rough

TerraMaster makes plenty of more affordable NAS enclosures compared to the competition. You’d think it wouldn’t have as good internals, but it’s not far behind thanks to the Intel Celeron N5105/5095 quad-core CPU. If you’re after a budget-friendly NAS that gets you more bang for your buck, this is it.

But it’s not just the CPU as this NAS comes rocking two 2.5Gb LAN ports, as well as 4GB DDR4 RAM (which can be expanded up to 32GB). Then there are two USB 3.0 ports. You’re getting a lot for your money here. Unfortunately, like other TerraMaster NAS, the F2-221 is let down by the OS, which just isn’t as good as QNAP, ASUSTOR, and Synology.

It’s not awful, but you can tell from the get-go it doesn’t have as much polish. You’ll still be able to install all your favourite services like Plex Media Server, but just don’t expect to have the best time doing everything.

TerraMaster F2-423
TerraMaster F2-423. (Source: TerraMaster)

TerraMaster F2-423

The TerraMaster F2-423 may not be the most powerful mid-range NAS here, but it offers impressive value with two bays, dual 2.5Gb ports, M.2 slots, and upgradable RAM.


9. QNAP TVS-872XT-i5: Best performance

QNAP TVS-872XT
QNAP TVS-872XT. (Source: QNAP)

My thoughts: There’s only one part of the QNAP TVS-872XT-i5 that I don’t like and that’s the price. The reason it’s so expensive is due to the internal components, including an Intel Core i5 processor, 10Gb LAN ports, and more.

CPU: Intel Core i5-8400T | Drive bays: 8 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 (max 32GB) | Features: 1x 10Gb LAN, 2x 1Gb LAN, 2x Thunderbolt 3, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2x M.2 slots

  • Intel Core i5-8400T CPU
  • 16GB upgradable DDR4 RAM
  • 8x drive bays (128TB+ max)
  • 1x 10Gb LAN
  • Excellent OS
  • Expensive
  • High power draw

When you’re prepared to dive into the deep end with NAS enclosures, you’ll want to consider something like the QNAP TVS-872XT-i5. While it’s a little old now, the Intel Core i5-8400T processor is vastly more powerful than Celeron and other processors you’d usually find inside NAS servers.

This level of performance is perfect for services like Plex Media Server. You won’t have any issues transcoding multiple 4K files. But it doesn’t end there. There are two Gigabit ports and a single 10Gb port. 16GB of DDR4 RAM can be upgraded to 32GB if you really need that much.

The eight drive bays with secondary expansion slots ensure you can install more drives that you’ll require. This all makes the QNAP TVS-872XT-i5 a fine choice for a file storage box for video editing workstations or a Plex Media Server streaming hub.

It’s a powerful enclosure with a solid collection of I/O, allowing you to hook up plenty of hardware and accessories. If you can somehow afford this NAS, it’s well worth it for busy and tech-savvy households.

QNAP TVS-872XT
QNAP TVS-872XT. (Source: QNAP)

QNAP TVS-872XT-i5

When you need raw power, you need something like the QNAP TVS-872XT-i5. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, plenty of RAM and drive bays.


How to buy the best NAS

There are so many NAS enclosures out there. Not only do you have numerous manufacturers to choose from, but also countless models. Some have one or two bays, others have ten or more. It all depends on what you plan on doing with the NAS. If it’s simply for file storage, you won’t need to spend much.

The price can quickly skyrocket when you include features like 2.5Gb LAN ports, Intel processors, upgradable DDR4 RAM, M.2 SSD slots, and more. If you want to do some advanced tasks like set up security cameras, you’re going to need to look at more pricey options. At the end of the day, a NAS enclosure is simply a PC for storage.

The most important feature on any NAS server is the number of drive bays present for installing 2.5-inch and 3.5inch drives. The enclosures I’ve rounded up in this collection start from just a single bay with the highest capacity enclosure sporting a full 16. It’s easy to determine the maximum capacity of a NAS by multiplying the bay number by 20.

Most NAS enclosures will work fine with NAS drives up to 20TB, allowing you to install a massive 320TB worth of storage in that 16-bay server. I don’t usually recommend a NAS with just one bay unless you’re just starting out or want something to simply store backups or a few files.

What makes for a good Plex NAS

I’ve provided a few examples of a NAS that can handle Plex transcoding and then some in this very collection, but not all NAS are created equally. I’ve rounded up some of the best NAS for Plex, in my humble experienced opinion, in another collection if all you plan to do is stream media content.

Picking the best NAS for running Plex Media Server involves choosing the best processor you can afford. An Intel Core CPU would be the absolute best choice for a busy household watching different media streams, but you can get away with an Intel Celeron processor for transcoding 4K content.

It also depends on what type of content you plan to stream. If it’s simply music, you may only want an affordable enclosure since music files typically don’t require much storage space and the CPU would be barely utilized through streaming.

Which drives to use with NAS

Choosing the right drives for a NAS is incredibly important since most enclosures are diskless — sold without drives preinstalled. These are what you’ll be storing all your important data on so they need to be designed with continuous operation in mind.

So long as the NAS enclosure you choose to buy supports 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives, you can use pretty much any hard-disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD). I’ve rounded up the best NAS drives that are designed specifically for servers.

NAS HDDs are cheaper and support higher capacities (going up to 20TB!), but they’re slower and have spinning motors inside. NAS SSDs are faster, but are considerably more expensive and aren’t able to write as much data as HDDs before you encounter issues.

Generally, drives built for NAS (and general server use) are much more robust, have better internal components, and should be able to handle heavier workloads. Desktop-class drives you’d install inside a desktop or laptop PC likely won’t last as long, requiring you to replace them sooner — and potentially lose data.

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