Although there are other media server software options, many prefer Plex due to its user-friendly features. Not only does Plex offer free, legal streaming content, podcasts, and live over-the-air television, its server functionality is outstanding. Choosing the right Plex client is essential, and so is having the best NAS for plex. Please look at our list of the best NAS devices for Plex servers and NAS boxes.
What is Plex
When people think of Plex, it’s like a do-it-yourself version of Netflix or Spotify. The difference is that with streaming services such as Netflix, Vudu, and Hulu, you are accessing content on the platform, but when using a media server, you are providing TV shows, movies, and music files. Plex will arrange your library with metadata and artwork, and you can view your movies, shows, and songs on any device from virtually any location. Plex Media Server runs on different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Docker, macOS, and NAS. Furthermore, it has added multiple cord-cutting features, such as ad-supported free and lawful streaming movies and series, the ability to use an OTA antenna for live DVR and TV, plus web shows and podcasts, which makes it one of the top apps for cord-cutters.
Top Picks: Best NAS for Plex
- Synology 4 bay NAS DS920+
- QNAP TVS-872XT-i5
- QNAP TS-453D
- Asustor AS5304T
- Dell PowerEdge T40 Server
- Synology 2 bay NAS DS220+
Synology 4 bay NAS DS920+
For streaming Plex, the Synology DS920+ best NAS is ideal, with its four hard drives HDD for Synology bays and two M.2 2280 NVMe SSD slots allowing plentiful storage and cache acceleration. The Intel quad-core processor with AES-NI hardware encryption and 4GB of DDR4 RAM (expandable to 8GB) provide a powerful system. With the optional Synology DX517, it’s possible to scale the DS920+ to a huge nine disks. It’s the best Synology NAS for home 2015.
The Synology DS920+ is the best 4K NAS for Plex servers. It has a powerful Intel quad-core processor and works great with hardware transcoding, though it requires a workaround involving the deletion of a driver. Unfortunately, the DS920+ best NAS for Mac is a bit pricey and is limited to a pair of Gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) ports instead of faster 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) ports. Despite this, the DS920+ is perfect for 4K streaming and hardware transcoding. It’s the best NAS drives for media streaming.
- This NAS holds four 3.5″/2.5″ drives and two M.2 NVMe SSD drives.
- A Synology 5-bay DX517 expansion unit can support up to nine disks.
- This Intel Quad-Core CPU has a base frequency of 2.0 GHz and can reach a maximum frequency of 2.7 GHz when needed.
- This RAM can be upgraded to 8GB, beginning with 4GB DDR4 RAM.
- Four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- Two USB 3.0 ports are available.
- This hardware is ideal for 4K transcoding, offering hardware-based transcoding.
Regarding Plex 4K transcoding, the QNAP TVS-872XT is the best NAS drives for media streaming. It would be best if you opted for hardware with advanced CPU capabilities. Most budget and mid-range NAS devices can handle two or more concurrent 1080p transcodes and one or several simultaneous 4K transcodes. However, it is best to utilize a more powerful processor for optimal 4K transcoding. It houses a powerful Intel Core i5-8400T 1.7GHz Hexa-core CPU and 16GB RAM that can be upgraded to 32GB best NAS for streaming movies. It is equipped with four LAN ports, including a 10GbE port, two USB 3.1, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and Type-A hosts, as well as an impressive eight hard drive bays and HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60 Hz video output. This robust system ensures a smooth 4K experience, as well as the best raid configuration for home NAS.
The QNAP TVS-872XT is an impressive and pricey Plex NAS that is capable of dealing with various 4K transcodes with no problem. It is distinct from most dual-core, low-power CPU-driven best NAS for Mac units and offers a small-business grade home server. So the question is, what is the best NAS for home use?__You are able to enjoy quick, efficient storage with solid-state drive caching with PCIe expansion slots, as well as abundant storage capacity if you are looking for premium transcoding performance. It is an excellent home lab. If cost is an issue, the Intel Core i3-powered QNAP TVS-672X offers outstanding transcoding performance at a lower price point. However, if the highest-quality 4K streaming is desired, the TVS-872XT is the top choice for Plex users.
- This 6-core Intel Core i5-8400T Processor operates at a frequency of 1.7GHz.
- A maximum of 32GB of RAM can be installed, and 16GB is included.
- There are two PCIe expansion slots and an M.2 SATA connector for SSD caching.
- Two Thunderbolt 3 connections.
- 8-bay NAS
- One 10GbE connection.
- Plex is capable of extraordinary 4K transcoding performance.
- This device has an HDMI 2.0 output.
- Extremely Expensive
The QNAP TS-453 D NAS box is an economical selection for Plex that offers compatibility with 4K streaming. Featuring an Intel Celeron J4125 CPU, this device allows for the installation of 8GB of DDR4 RAM, the best NAS storage for mac, and two 2.5GbE ports. Additionally, it has a single PCIe gen-2 slot, the best wireless router for NAS, as well as three USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI output. It can accommodate a range of two, four, or six hard-drive bays. It’s the best NAS for small businesses.
The QNAP TS453D- NAS contains video output capabilities and an Intel Celeron J4125 CPU, making it a great choice for a budget-friendly home theatre PC. It’s the best NAS for the home with 4K hardware transcoding, and it allows Plex to play ultra HD videos. However, due to the best CPU for NAS, the number of simultaneous 4K transcodes achievable is limited. It’s the best budget NAS for plex. Therefore, for a decent price, it is the optimal Plex NAS for 4K transcoding.
- This hardware is suitable for 4K transcoding.
- Up to 8GB of DDR4 RAM can be utilized.
- 2 x 2.5GbE ports
- 3 x USB 2.0 ports
- HDMI Output
- The Intel Celeron J4125 is not the most powerful processor.
- Not able to process a large number of 4K transcodes.
Though some people lean towards getting a headless media server, an HDMI-equipped Network Attached Storage (NAS) can provide many more uses. Transferring files and their management can be done on the device itself instead of another computer, and the machine can also be used as a Home Theater PC (HTPC). It’s the best NAS for home, office as well as small businesses in 2020. The Asustor AS5304T offers some of the most comprehensive I/O available on any household server—including an HDMI 2.0 output, four hard drive bays, and 4GB RAM.
An Intel Celeron J4005 processor powers it; the best NAS for time machine 2021 can easily handle 4K Plex streaming and transcoding. Moreover, It’s the best NAS for plex 4K 2021. Asustor’s NAS devices, such as the As5304T and AS5202T, are excellent choices for those wanting to stream video to Twitch or YouTube and for homelabbers alike, albeit at a slightly higher price than other network-attached storage devices. Unfortunately, they lack any eSATA ports or NVMe drives for caching, although the As5304T is the top Plex NAS with an HDMI port.
- Excellent for 4k transcoding plex
- 4GB of RAM upgrade to 8GB
- HDMI output 2.0
- 3 x USB 3.2 connections
- 2 x 2.5GbE ports
- It does not possess the more advanced features such as eSATA and NVMe ports.
Dell PowerEdge T40 Server
The Dell PowerEdge T40 is a great choice for a Plex server because it has an Intel quad-core Xeon E-2224G CPU and 8GB of RAM. Its PassMark score of 7490 is quite high and can support four simultaneous 1080p transcodes. This server is also upgradeable, allowing you to add extra RAM and up to four 3.5″ hard drives. If you need extra power for 4K transcoding, a GPU could be installed for GPU-accelerated transcoding. Plus, it’s energy-efficient, making it a great option for home use.
The PowerEdge T40, which comes in the form factor of the best desktop case for NAS, offers a DVD drive so you can conveniently transfer DVDs to your hard drive. Unfortunately, it may not be as space-saving as the pre-built best NAS for Mac 2015. However, you can experience it with your own Plex streaming server that runs on a similar-sized Lenovo TS140, which you position beside your router and modem in the corner of the room. Further, the PowerEdge T30 is a great Plex media server solution due to its high processing capabilities and low power consumption. However, the T40 is a DIY set-up, which allows for more flexibility but can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the set-up.
- Great expandability
- DVD drives available
- Flexible environment
- HDMI output
- Minimal energy usage
- Excellent Hardware
- Large footprint
- DIY setup
Synology 2 bay NAS DS220+
The Synology DS220+ is a reliable and cost-efficient best NAS for plex media servers 2019. It has a dual-core processor and AES-NI encryption support. The device can stream two simultaneous H.265 or H.264 4K videos converted into 1080p resolution. It includes 2GB of RAM, which is expandable to 6GB, and the two best Hard drive bays for Synology NAS can store up to 32TB if dual 16TB drives are installed with a certain type of RAID setup.
The Intel Celeron J4025 Dual-core CPU is great for 1080p transcoding and even 4K transcoding capability; however, having only 2GB of RAM may be a downside for more demanding users. It is not equipped with SSD caching, nor does it have an eSATA port. Nevertheless, it has the expandability of a 1GbE LAN port and three USB 3.0 ports. In addition, it provides an outstanding user experience. The Synology DiskStation DS220+ provides amazing value for its cost, with a user-friendly setup and great support for Plex. Its low cost makes it an ideal choice for those looking to set up a media or file server with minimal fuss, as the software provided by Synology greatly simplifies the process.
- This system can transcode two H.265/H.264 4K streams to 1080p simultaneously.
- Excellent app compatibility
- This device offers excellent connection capabilities, with a 1GbE LAN port and three USB 3.0 hosts.
- The capacity of the hard drive can reach up to 24TB.
- 2GB RAM upgrade to 6GB
- HDMI output not included
- The Intel Celeron J3355 Dual-core 2.0 GHz CPU is not the most potent processor available.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Plex Media Server an effective option?
Plex Media Server is the ideal solution for many with its top-notch media server features, cutting-the-cord options, frequent updates, and superb device compatibility.
What is the amount of RAM necessary for a Plex server?
A Plex server requires a minimum of 2GB RAM; however, it is recommended to have 4GB or greater.
What NAS is the most effective for use with Plex?
The Synology DS920+ and QNAP TVS-672XT are considered the premier NAS devices for Plex.
Is a graphics card necessary for using Plex?
You don’t need to get a GPU to use Plex, though having a graphics card can benefit hardware-based transcoding.
To get the ideal Plex experience, what type of content you’re streaming will dictate the processing power and storage you’ll need for your Plex server. The Raspberry Pi is a good option for a low-cost Plex server. Consider buying a pre-built NAS device from ASUSTOR QNAP or Synology for more flexibility. An old laptop or desktop computer could be used as a Plex media server with the right hardware.