Build a Plex NAS computer or buy a prebuilt NAS ?

Zepher

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I personally have an older i7 4770 with 16GB ram for my Plex server with a few shucked 12TB WD Easystores for my media.

If your clients can direct play the media, you can use a Raspberry Pi as your Plex server.
 

Skott

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Its a personal preference thing really. Either is viable. Depends on how much effort you want to put into it. Some will tell you 'Hey this is HF build it yourself!'
 

kirbyrj

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I had a i5 8400 that only ran Plex server and then I migrated to a Synology DS1019+. I can't tell the difference between the two. The Synology is pretty simple to use really.
 

Epos7

Gawd
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Depends what you want to do with it. If you plan on doing any transcoding in Plex, you can probably build something cheaper than you can buy a prebuilt server. If you just want to direct-stream and other low-impact stuff, a prebuilt one would be easier.

I built a FreeNAS box running Plex, hosting a Minecraft server, providing network storage, and a few other things. Learning curve was steep but it's great now.
 

warhol76

Weaksauce
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I would agree with most of what has been said here. The simple answer is that it depends. Do you want/ need to transcode files? Do you have a system running around the house that could do the job? How much do you want to tinker with hit? These are all questions that you need to answer.
 

Spartacus09

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So my personal path for Plex the past decade or so was dual drive windows software raid 1 -> drobo 5 bay dual disk redundancy -> qnap 1635ax in raid 6 -> antec twelve hundred v3 tower using all 12 bays for hdd enclosures running unraid.
So the biggest question is how comfortable are you building your own computer/nas and maintaining it?
A prebuilt nas will be substantially easier to use and setup, however you're going to pay about 2x as much in cost and you will get about 1/3 of the capability.

I'm a bit proponent of unraid for running Plex storage as well as the server itself in a VM/docker container (or freenas).
You get essentially unlimited hard drive expansion capabilities (limited only by the amount of slots in the case you have which is normally 25-30 HDD at the very most ~ my case build will max out with 20 drives).
My entire system, which comprises of a 10c/20t xeon cpu, supermicro mobo, 128gb DDR4 ram, and case cost about $600 (excluding hard drives), to compare, the qnap 12+4 bay nas was $1250 and was an arm quad core CPU with 4gb of ram.

Don't get me wrong the QNAP worked great serving up the storage and extremely easy to setup/use, but it was extremely non-performant in comparison to my current system and at a higher price point.
If you have any linux knowledge whatsoever I highly recommend building your own nas system instead of buying a prebuilt, if on the lower end it may be cheaper to get a prebuilt, but in terms of performance per dollar self built is going to win out pretty much every time, on the medium to high end its going to be a no-brainer as it will be cheaper and faster.
 

Archer75

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I've done a lot of things with plex over the past decade. I've built a server with 12 drives. Then I need more drives and built a different server with 20 drives. Then I got a drobo and connected it to an imac. Then a PC, then a mac mini. Then got a 2nd drobo. Now I just got a synology 1821+ nas. I'm using 6x 14tb and 2x 8tb drives in it.
I do share plex to family and friends so the key with the synology is to eliminate transcoding. I had them set remote streaming quality to maximum and that stopped requiring plex to transcode for them. They get better quality and I get no transcoding so it's win win!
For my own internal network plex wasn't transcoding anyways.

So now plex and sonarr and transmission all run directly on the synology and it works just fine.
 

GnomeCop

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After years of messing around with my own prebuilt servers for fun, I just got a drobo 5n2 and a nvidia shield since my functionality needs were very basic.
Benefit of this setup, my power usage and dust accumulation went down a lot
 

Zepher

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I just assembled this as my Plex Server / NAS with 98TB of storage in 8 of the 10 bays.

IMG_1197.JPEG
 

harvestor

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Apr 21, 2009
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Really like that case, I have been planning a server upgrade for the new year as mine is getting very long in the tooth, that looks like a good option for my needs
 

Zepher

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What case and drive enclosures are those? and could you measure the exact size of the bay area total for me?
Case is a Yeong Yang YY-0221 that I bought in 2003 and they are no longer made. the Drive bays are ICY Dock FatCage and are 5 in 3, so each cage uses 3 5-1/4 bays and my case has 6 5-/14 bays.
This is the dimensions from the site,
‎7.91 x 5.79 x 4.96 inches

IMG_1196.JPEG


this is what I had in it back in the day,
8-drives-2.jpg
gtx285.jpg




 

Ripskin

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Jan 15, 2004
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If you have some parts laying around and like to tinker build away. I went premade (though I don't use plex) because I wanted nice form factor and low power usage yet still able to handle what I needed as well as decent software and updates. I stream off my Synology all of my video / music to my phone, multiple TV's, HTPC and such wherever I am. I definitely spent more, but I have virtually zero work to do on it other than swapping drives every now and then.

I was going to build my own but only had big cases or big CPU's and just really wanted small and easy. Currently have 32 TB of storage but can easily double that when HDD prices are not so stupid.
 

Spartacus09

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Currently have 32 TB of storage but can easily double that when HDD prices are not so stupid.
Good news they just released some really 'affordable' 20TB drives for only 630$, replace your whole NAS with 3 drives :)
 

Ripskin

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Good news they just released some really 'affordable' 20TB drives for only 630$, replace your whole NAS with 3 drives :)
Lol :eek: I have my main array on all 12 TB's now, waiting for pricing to come down so I can fold my second array into that and flip them from 3 tb's to 12's. Then I can have 5 storage 3 redundancy. I would love 20 but the cost right now /cry
 

Spartacus09

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Lol :eek: I have my main array on all 12 TB's now, waiting for pricing to come down so I can fold my second array into that and flip them from 3 tb's to 12's. Then I can have 5 storage 3 redundancy. I would love 20 but the cost right now /cry
Personally I'm just building out mine with 8TB drives until I can spend a stupid amount of money on giant sata SSD, for the media storage only really need a tiny amount of endurance, but want to shove like 100TB in a SFF.
 

TheSlySyl

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I do share plex to family and friends so the key with the synology is to eliminate transcoding. I had them set remote streaming quality to maximum and that stopped requiring plex to transcode for them. They get better quality and I get no transcoding so it's win win!
I wish I could get my friends and family to do this, but they appear to want to watch plex on the shittiest connections and smallest screens possible so the amount of transcoding that happens on my server is immense. I guess my preference for acquiring 4k hdr remux and hdr rips also plays into that, i use plex so i have personal access to the highest quality video possible. Remote access is more of a bonus.
 

Zepher

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I wish I could get my friends and family to do this, but they appear to want to watch plex on the shittiest connections and smallest screens possible so the amount of transcoding that happens on my server is immense. I guess my preference for acquiring 4k hdr remux and hdr rips also plays into that, i use plex so i have personal access to the highest quality video possible. Remote access is more of a bonus.
Are you using one of those Quadro cards or hacked GeForce cards for transcoding or just letting the CPU do all the work?
 

TheSlySyl

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The 1080ti can handle a bit, but CPU does handle most of it. If it ends up being too much for my system, friends can deal without it for an evening is my motto. 😂

When playing on my local network I direct play everything.
 

Archer75

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I wish I could get my friends and family to do this, but they appear to want to watch plex on the shittiest connections and smallest screens possible so the amount of transcoding that happens on my server is immense. I guess my preference for acquiring 4k hdr remux and hdr rips also plays into that, i use plex so i have personal access to the highest quality video possible. Remote access is more of a bonus.
I tell them what they need to do and then I set the server to no transcoding. So then it's on them to set it up correctly if they want to watch something.
I keep my 4k in a different folder and I don't share with anyone who doesn't have hardware that supports it. Though even a crappy 4k fire stick works fine with my 4k.
 

Pillars

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I don't need a crazy amount of drives so I run two Node 304s. I really like the ITX form factor.

One is for hosting game servers with a 9700, 64GB ram and just a single PCIe SSD. Cooled by a Fuma 2 this runs really well. I have this in the same case as my NAS so it 'matches'

The second Node 304 holds a 10700, 32GB Ram and a TV Tuner card. Two 14TB HDDs for storage (I hook up the second to back up the primary every so often) and two 4TB drives for DVR duty. This one also uses a FUMA 2 for cooling. Plex is run on this PC and it has performed incredibly well.

If you only need 4-6 drives I definitely recommend the 304. Just be sure to get a high SP rear fan to keep air circulation strong.
 

staknhalo

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I ran HTPCs/WMC servers for years (2006-2018) that functioned also as a Plex server (2014-2018)

In 2018 when I ditched WMC completely for Plex DVR - I was sick of the "always something, no matter how small, no matter what, there's always something" of a DIY HTPC/SERVER/NAS so I went Synology because of its 'set it and forget it' rep, glad I did - rep holds up - for me and my use case at least

They have Xpenology you can install on your own DIY system, it's intrigued me how close it can get, but then I remember I'm flirting with "always something" again...

https://xpenology.org/
 
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