The popularity of network attached storage in the last few years has truly been game-changing in its speed. NAS has become one of those things that no-one needed and now most people cannot imagine living without. We create so much data, in both our personal and work lives, and this data has to live somewhere that is both safe, yet easy and accessible. Although third-party cloud platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox are still popular, they work out considerably more expensive over time and the best long-term choice has always been your own personal NAS server in the home or office.
But one issue that more sensitive uses are concerned with is the noise a NAS can make when it is left in operation for days, weeks and months at a time. Although most NAS devices are designed to create only a small impact on your hardware environment, they can make as much noise as a normal desktop PC and therefore it is understandable that some users are concerned with the clicks, the ticks and whirring of hard drives and the rotation of cooling fans when they try to relax. So today I want to talk about the quietest NAS devices of 2018 and hopefully assist you in choosing the right now NAS that is either silent or as close as it can get for you.
Silent NAS and Noisy Hard Drives – Important
Before we discuss the quietest NAS of 2018, it is important to highlight that even a silent NAS will have to factor in the noise of the hard drive or SSD Media you install inside. It is a relatively reliable fact that the bigger the hard drive capacity, the more noise it is going to make. This is because larger capacity hard drives feature more internal platters to store the data. These platters spin constantly and the reading arm inside the drive is constantly moving between them. Although this noise is very, very low, once you install several drives at once, this noise can multiply and therefore make the ‘silent’ qualities of a NAS a tad redundant. Therefore it is worth mentioning that if you want a truly silent NAS, then you will need to consider SSD Media in your network attached storage device. Though it is still currently three to five times more expensive than traditional hard drive Media per terabyte, if Silence is what matters to you then you will need to purchase SSD drives.
The Most Silent NAS of 2018
Below are my top 5 Quiet/Silent NAS of the year. All of the NAS devices below will take all SATA based hard drives and SSDs, as well as every NAS Server arriving with a comprehensive operating system, hundreds of apps for media, backups and surveillance support, included in the price.
5. Lowest Priced Low Noise – Synology DS119j 1 Bay NAS
Originally announced in June of this year, the DS119j is the latest one bay from Synology NAS. Although this NAS has a max storage capacity that is a little less than other NAS devices, it still supports up to 12TB and 14TB drives. Additionally, because the chassis is plastic in design and does not feature a hot-swappable bay, noise levels are very low indeed. It has a low capacity PSU that is external to the case and has only a small rear-mounted fan, thereby huge limiting vibrations. Add to this the fact that this device features a dual-core 64-bit ARM CPU, means that this CPU is designed to use as little power as possible thereby reducing heat generation and lowering the need for high fan RPM – a big noise generator in other devices. As this device has an incredibly attractive low price tag, it also presents the opportunity to spread that saving into your media and invest in a solid SSD too – the quietest media for ANY NAS. What stops it being at the top spot is just the fact that it has been designed to be a regular NAS and not geared precisely towards silence – so it is still the highest db(A) of any of any NAS server here. A great NAS at a bargain price.
Synology DS119J 1-Bay NAS
Dual Core 64bit CPU + 256MB of RAM
Low Cost, Small, Great Software
Modest internal hardware, Only 1 HDD/SSD Bay
4. Best Value and Low Noise – Synology DS416slim 4 Bay NAS
Another Synology NAS and another NAS that, although it is not advertised as a silent NAS, is definitely one of them quietest NAS drives I’ve ever used. The DS416slim was released very late in 2015 and early 2016 in some regions and also it arrives some of the lowest internal hardware specifications of any NAS in this list. It is by far the smallest NAS I have ever seen and if you are looking for a device for backups DLNA media streaming and light surveillance, you would be hard pushed to find a NAS device and it’s price point.
Arriving with a modest 1Ghzdual-core CPU and 512MB of RAM, this incredibly compact 4 Bay NAS will not exactly blow your socks off. Additionally, it is designed for 2.5″ in media I’m great so it is designed for laptop form Factor size 2 hard drives and SSD. there is no denying that this media limitation means that your total capacity will be less than that of every other NAS on this list, but with hard drive and SSD Media in this form factor available in up to four terabytes commercially, this still leaves you with a good 16 terabyte maximum capacity. In terms of noise, as the device is so compact and the media required less complex, it is an extremely quiet device. It does also feature dual RJ45 LAN ports, which open up the potential for link aggregation. This is a quiet NAS and the only reason that it is in 4th place is that the DS416slim internal hardware is still rather underwhelming.
Modest internal hardware, Only Supports small HDD and lacks throughput for SSD
3. Powerful Media SIlent NAS – QNAP HS-251+ 2 Bay NAS
The final three devices on our quiet NAS list of the year are all pretty powerful devices. The QNAP HS-251+ is called the “Silent NAS” by QNAP and most users who use the device. However, the overall volume of this silent NAS will be dictated by the media you install. This device supports 3.5″ media hard drives and 2.5 inch SSD inside, it has a quad-core Intel based CPU and two gigabytes of DDR3 memory. On the rear, we find HDMI ports, dual LAN, audio in/out, multiple USB and it even arrives with a remote control. the QNAP HS-251+ is made for those that want a home media NAS that will keep quiet when watching those pivotal movies and TV shows natively, or using applications such as Plex or Kodi. So, of course, it can support multiple backups, file distribution and all the popular applications in NAS this year. It’s only problem is that it has not found the line between quiet and cool
The recurring problem for any brand trying to develop a quiet or silent NAS has always been controlling temperature and active cooling. The QNAP HS-251 is one of only two NAS that do not feature rotating fans at the rear – this keeps noise exceptionally low, but unfortunately when pushed, temperatures high. If you don’t tend to push this NAS, and/or on a regular basis then you will notice internal temperatures climb quite high, which may degrade performance. Instead of an active rear fan, the QNAP HS-251 uses a large metal panel on the top of the device that acts as an enormous heatsink and dissipates heat exernally out of the top. This is a cool idea, but once you really push this device with multiple users actioning, it gets pretty hot! Still, it is probably one of the best NAS on this list for multimedia over the network and directly over HDMI. Just know that once you push this device beyond multimedia use and into business use, the internal temperature will rise!
VERY slim, IR Remote included, Great Software, nice design, metal
Expensive Can get hot, tough to install SSD
2. Storage, Power and Quiet – Synology DS619slim 6 Bay NAS
The third Synology on this list and the best of the three if the DS 619 Slim. Synology took everything they learnt from the 406 slim released around 2 years before and managed to create something insanely better. the internal hardware matches that of their latest devices, with a quad-core Intel based CPU j3455, and four gigabytes of DDR3 memory. it features dual LAN on the rear so link aggregation is possible and also supports up to 6 SSD or hard drive Media – though like its predecessor it only supports 2.5 inch or laptop based Media. what makes the DS 619 slim so impressive is that it manages to have almost identical hardware specifications as the ds918 plus yet arrived at almost a quarter of the size and with 2 extra bays. of course this device does cost a fraction more than he told her predecessor that with an infinitely more powerful CPU, more memory, two extra bays and support for popular applications such as Synology virtual machine manager active backup sync Plex media server and more, this is a beast of a NAS in such a small package. my only complaint is the lack of 10gbe connectivity. I approached Synology on this matter and asked why a device that seems so obviously designed for SSD would not feature 10gbe as a connection, as standard 1gbe found on all NAS presents a bottleneck to SSD Media read and write speeds. I was told they designed this device with hard drive Media in mind, which is a bit disappointing and my only real complaint about this device.
Synology DS619Slim 6-Bay NAS
Quad Core J3455 CPU, 2/8GB of RAM
USB, 2xLAN, SSD or 2.5″ HDD only
Low Cost, tiny, Great Software, Dual LAN for LAG, VM Support, Plex Support
Does not support 15mm height drives, Only Supports small HDD and lacks throughput for SSD
1st The REALLY silent NAS – QNAP HS-453DX
In first place is the brand new silent NAS for 2018, The HS-453DX. You name it this device has it and still manages to maintain the Silent NAS badge of honour. It has a brand new quad-core CPU from Intel that is far more efficient than all the chips we have seen this year in NAS. The QNAP HS-453DX will let you install 2 hard drives or SSD (2.5″ and 3.5″) and two M2 SSD. It arrives with audio in/out ports, multiple USB and HDMI 2.0 (true 4K output at 60 frames per second). All of this would be enough to get it on the podium of silent NAS of the year. What makes the HS-453DX such an impressive NAS is that unlike Synology and their DS619slim, QNAP has included 10gbe connectivity. With this device. that means that this silent NAS features incredible home multimedia support AND fantastic business file access support, While still providing the functionality for photo and video editors to edit Media directly on the NAS via 10gbe. this is a truly unique NAS.
This is further improved by the fact it arrives with a metal top panel and white chassis. Like its predecessor, the HS-453DX device does not a rear fan but features the large passive heatsink and heat dissipation system featured previously. It even won a Design Award earlier this year, which means that this is one of the most powerful yet quiet NAS available, that is also pretty easy on the eye! It is definitely my recommendation for quietest NAS of the year and recommend it thoroughly. Just be aware that temperatures may get high.
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