QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex Media Server Tests – 4K and 1080p

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4 How was the QNAP TS-453E NAS Tested in Plex?

How Well Does the QNAP TS-453E NAS Perform as a Plex Media Server?

The QNAP TS-453E NAS Drive serves as an interesting desktop release in the brand’s portfolio. Arriving with a hardware architecture that is similar to the slightly more expensive TS-464, but with the hardware inside geared less towards expandability and more towards day 1 power, the TS-453E is a NAS that many have been considering for use as a plex media server. This combined with an efficient internal graphics handling that covered both 4K and 1080p high end media, means that it’s suitably for plex streaming is pretty high!Β  The appeal of accessing all the movies, boxsets, music and home movies that you physically/digitally own in the style popularized by Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video (flashy GUI, summary, all the box art, trailers, cast details, reviews and more) is undeniable. The rise in popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix has also been accompanied by rising monthly subscription costs and rising concerns about never truly owning the media that you want o watch. Even when you buy movies and TV boxsets in digital download forms from Amazon Video etc, you are still at the mercy of 1) needing somewhere to store it if you do choose to download it and 2) potentially losing access to it if the site/platform you purchased from has lost the license to host it (a common complain of the increasingly digital world of PC/Console gaming, as games are pulled from eStores). Hosting your media in a subscription-free form, whilst it still being presented in the universally accessible and premium GUI form of Plex is one of the most compelling reasons for many home/prosumer users deciding to make the jump towards buying their own plex media server. However, NAS drives have grown incredibly diverse in terms of hardware design and therefore one NAS might not play media in plex as well/efficiently as another – and the QNAP TS-453E NAS is no exception to this. Today I want to detail my tests of the TS-453E as a Plex Media Server and I hope this will help you decide whether a QNAP NAS deserves your Multimedia in 2022/2023.

What is the Hardware of the QNAP TS-453E NAS Drive?

The QNAP TS-453E NAS drive is quite similar in architecture to most PCs or Laptops (in that it features a CPU+Memory+Storage), but differs in that it’s components are designed to be more efficient (as they will be in operation 24Γ—7) and have a larger degree of focus on storage-related applications (whereas the hardware in a PC/Laptop is designed more for the applications you run with storage service concerns/provisions being far more rudimentary). The TS-453E is made up of a popular mid-range server CPU, DDR4 memory and supports Hard Drive and SSDs in SATA. although most of the specifications of QNAP NAS drives are unrelated to Plex, below I have picked up the hardware specifications of the TS-453E that are relevant to Plex:

  • CPU:Β Intel J6412 4-Core 2.0-2.6Ghz CPU
  • Embedded Graphics:Β Yes, 350-750Mhz
  • Memory (Quantity & Maximum): 8GB (Max) DDR4, Soldied
  • Number of Storage Bays: 4x SATA 3.5/2.5β€³
  • M.2 NVMe Caching Bays: 2x NVMe 3Γ—2
  • Network Connectivity: 2x 2.5GbE

Next, let’s quickly touch on how we measure how good/bad the QNAP TS-453E NAS is for Plex Media Server.

Understanding the Plex Media Server Tests of the QNAP TS-453E NAS

Important Terms to Understand in Plex/NAS/Multimedia that will make the TS-453E NAS Plex Tests Easier to Understand.

  • SD, 160p, 240p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 4K :Β This is the resolution that the media is being displayed at. The higher the resolution, the larger number of pixels that are available and depending on the original recording quality of the media in question. High resolutions, such as 1080p and 4K require more work to be done by the NAS hardware in order to playback the file. More often than not, a NAS with weak embedded graphics or no embedded graphics at all will be unable to play 4K very well or indeed at all. It is important to remember that just because a NAS brand like QNAP says that their latest NAS can natively play back 1080p or 4K media (natively = played using their own NAS software, software client tools and/or DLNA), that does not mean that the TS-453E will play to the same standard in Plex, as Plex is a 3rd party tool
  • Transcoding, Encoding, Decoding : These are all different techniques/names for when a file needs to be changed in order to be better suited to the connected client device connection, strength or hardware. If you are accessing all your media on the local area network (i.e only accessing your plex media at home), then transcoding will rarely be something you will use (unless your media is largely H.265/HEVC based, see earlier). However, perhaps you are accessing your plex library on the train to work or from a sun bed whilst on holiday. Perhaps you have a smaller data bandwidth/allowed MB/GB, maybe a weaker internet connection, perhaps you are using a smaller phone device and you might not need to watch your 4K 50GB Blu-ray rip of the latest Marvel Movie – in these situations, you might well want to access the media on your QNAP TS-453E Plex NAS at a lesser quality than the original version, so transcoding/re-encoding on the fly (as in, at the same time it is being played) is what you would want to do. Remember, transcoding is by far the most heavy-weight thing you will need to do on a NAS. It is also worth remembering that in order for Plex o be able to use the FULL resources of a NAS CPU (such as embedded graphics) that you will need to enable β€˜Make My CPU Hurt’ in the Encoder Menu of the Plex NAS Settings menu – this also potentially requires a Plex Pass subscription, depending on the NAS in question

  • H.264, HEVC, H.265 :Β  These are compression techniques that are designed to allow large-scale media presentations that were made for a cinema to be viewable from your sofa (with H.265 being the more effective/powerful compression level). H.264 can largely be played by ALL devices, but many devices do not have permission or a license to play H.265/HEVC (they are the same thing). This is because, where H.264 is an easy license and comparatively free to use, H.265/HEVC licencing and patents are spread across multiple providers and allowing a device license to use this compression technique can be complex, expensive or simply impossible. Therefore HEVC/H.265 media will sometimes AUTOMATICALLY need to be converted/transcoded into H.264 etc in order to be played – therefore eating up more system resources. The TS-453E, much like the rest of thte QNAP NAS range do not arrive with HEVC support by default
  • Bitrate : Bitrate is the amount of data encoded for a unit of time, and for streaming is usually referenced in megabits per second (Mbps) for video, and in kilobits per second (kbps) for audio. Higher quality and higher resolution media tends to be of a much higher bitrate

For more information on the most important terms to understand when discussing/researching a NAS as a Plex Media Server can be found in my video below:

Any further questions, you can use the free advice section at the bottom of the page and ask me and Eddie directly.

How was the QNAP TS-453E NAS Tested in Plex?

The setup for testing the TS-453E NAS for Plex was as follows:

  • The QNAP TS-453E NAS was accessed over a 1GbE network, however in order to test how the NAS would cope with transcoding/encoding, I would force the Plex Player client to transcode the file manually
  • The TS-453E NAS was used in the default CPU+Memory state that the base model arrives in (no upgraded memory or upgraded caching media)
  • Tests were performed one after the other with a short break between each test, so you might see the tail end of the previous test on a CPU graph, but I have pointed at the are of the % utilization that is important as per each test.

Regarding test results, CLEAR PASS means that the file successfully played and there were sufficient resources for the NAS to continue to do other things comfortably, PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU % means that the file played, but it utilized a significant amount of system resources in order to do so in a heavier use situation (i.e other NAS users connected) it might not play and FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY means that the file either did not play or the time taken to play back the files was outpaced by the natural playback of the file – i.e. the file would stop-and-start constantly in order to try and catch up. If you want to watch the FULL video recording of all the Plex tests that I performed on the QNAP TS-453E NAS, you can watch the video below. Be warned, it is quite long! Alternatively, you can scroll past and see each of the test results, one-by-one, detailing which ones worked and which ones didn’t:

What % System Resources did the QNAP TS-453E NAS Use in Plex when Idle?

Running the Plex Media Server application, even when no multimedia is being played on the TS-453E is still going to require a % of system resources to be occupied, in order to ensure that PLEX can play media from the QNAP NAS as soon as it is requested remotely. Additionally, although Plex runs at its best with at least 2 Cores of CPU power and 2GB of Memory, many NAS also reserve areas of CPU/RAM for the system itself. So, therefore, knowing how much system resources are being consumed by the QNAP TS-453EΒ  NAS when Plex is idle is going to be useful to know how much system power is available when playback actually starts. Here is a screenshot of the TS-453E when Plex is running, but no media is being played/accessed:

Plex Test 1 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 720p h.264 0.7Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 720p h.264 0.7Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 2 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 720p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 0.3Mbps Transcode 1.5Mbps 480p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 720p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 0.3Mbps Transcode 1.5Mbps 480p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 3 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 720p HEVC Performance Tests – 720p h.264 0.3Mbps Transcode 0.3Mbps 240p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 720p HEVC Performance Tests – 720p h.264 0.3Mbps Transcode 0.3Mbps 240p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 4 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 720p HEVC Performance Tests – 720p h.264 0.3Mbps Transcode 0.2Mbps 160p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 720p HEVC Performance Tests – 720p h.264 0.3Mbps Transcode 0.2Mbps 160p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 5 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 6 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 4Mbps 720p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 4Mbps 720p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 7 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 1.5Mbps 480p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 1.5Mbps 480p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 8 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 0.7Mbps 328p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 0.7Mbps 328p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 9 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 0.3Mbps 240p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 0.3Mbps 240p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 10 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 0.2Mbps 160p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps Transcode to 0.2Mbps 160p File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 11 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 1.9Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 12 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 3Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 3Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASSΒ 

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 13 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 10Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 10Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASSΒ 

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 14 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 30Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 30Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 15 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 100Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.264 100Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 16 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 3Mbps Convert – Transcode

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 3Mbps Convert – Transcode File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 17 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 10bit 3Mbps Convert – Transcode

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 10bit 3Mbps Convert – Transcode File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 18 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 10Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 10Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 19 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 30Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 30Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


 

Plex Test 20 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 100Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 1080p h.265 HEVC 100Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 21 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.264 120Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.264 120Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 22 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.264 200Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.264 200Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 23 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K 120Mbps h.264 CONVERT ENCODE to 1080p 20Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K 120Mbps h.264 CONVERT ENCODE to 1080p 20Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: CLEAR PASS

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 24 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.265 HEVC 10bit 120Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.265 HEVC 10bit 120Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 25 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.265 HEVC 10bit 200Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K h.265 HEVC 10bit 200Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 26 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K UHD h.265 HEVC 10bit 400Mbps

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K UHD h.265 HEVC 10bit 400Mbps File Performed:

RESULT: FAIL AND-OR DID NOT PLAY

Extra Notes: None


Plex Test 27 – QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K UHD h.265 HEVC 10bit 400Mbps Convert Transcode to 8Mbps 1080p

Here is how the QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex 4K & 1080p HEVC Performance Tests – 4K UHD h.265 HEVC 10bit 400Mbps Convert Transcode to 8Mbps 1080p File Performed:

RESULT: PLAYED BUT HIGH CPU %

Extra Notes: None


 

Is the QNAP TS-453E NAS Any Good outside of Plex and Where Can I buy It?

If you are interested in learning more about the QNAP TS-453E NAS Drive, I am pleased to confirm that the review here on NASCompares is already live and you can find out more about this device below.

Quick Verdict of the QNAP TS-453E NAS – What We Said in the TS-453E Review:

The QNAP TS-453E NAS is a device that really grew on me! With these home/business server companies releasing refreshes of their ranges every 2-2.5yrs or so, it is easy to see them fall into repetitive patterns when it comes to how the hardware is picked at each tier/price-point. The TS-453E NAS on the other hand manages to carve a new tier into the brand’s portfolio right now in 2022, managing to give you some really solid internal/external hardware that most would have assumed would be half of what it is at this level of QNAP’s 4-bay portfolio (i.e Quad-Core, 8GB, NVMe M.2s, 2.5GbE, 10G USB, 3yr warranty, etc) and it will certainly make some buyers wonder about whether the current Prosumer/flagship TS-464 is as necessary to their home or office as they once thought. The fixed memory, even at 8GB default, is rather annoying and a lack of PCIe slot means that 10GbE will remain out of reach – but look at this NAS sandwiched between the TS-451D2 & TS-464 and it makes alot of sense. This is for those not really looking at expandability years from now and although that plastic case still looks a little dated/cheap, this is not a device designed to be noticed day-to-day. For those looking to make their first tentative entry into the world of NAS a decent one or looking to upgrade cautiously from an ARM system, the QNAP TS-453E is an excellent shout!

Read the Rest of the Review HERE. Alternatively, you can find out the Pros and Cons below, as a few retailers that sell the QNAP TS-453E NAS. Thanks for reading and if you need any further help choosing the right NAS for your Plex Media Server, use the free advice section linked below. Have a great week.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 10/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
πŸ‘πŸ»Exceptional CPU choice for the Scale/Tier
πŸ‘πŸ»8GB of DDR4 Memory
πŸ‘πŸ»2.5GbE (x2) Ports on Day 1
πŸ‘πŸ»Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gb/s) Ports!
πŸ‘πŸ»2x M.2 NVMe Slots alongside those 4x SATA Bays for Storage (Caching, Tiered Storage or standalone Pools)
πŸ‘πŸ»Includes VM, Surveillance (8 licenses and upto 32 Cams), Backup, Sync, Multimedia, SaaS sync/migration and office tools (some with added AI services)
πŸ‘πŸ»3-Year Warranty (Can be extended)
πŸ‘πŸ»VERY Compact, low-impact design
πŸ‘πŸ»Supports 1-2x Expansions
πŸ‘πŸ»20TB and 22TB Confirmed Compatibility
CONS
πŸ‘ŽπŸ»Memory Cannot be Upgraded
πŸ‘ŽπŸ»M.2 NVMe SSD Slots are Gen 3 x2
πŸ‘ŽπŸ»Chassis is still a little dated looking




 

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    4 thoughts on “QNAP TS-453E NAS Plex Media Server Tests – 4K and 1080p

    1. I do have large high bitrate 4K files. My 653D transcodes them well while changing devices within a day. Watching on the big TV, moving to a small one while cooking, eating in the garden hut at a middle size one with a mediocre wireless connection. But for the last case, my phone, I began to do a lot of offline transcoding…simply to use the download-function of plex wihtin reasonable time after a spontaneous morning decision. And yes…of course I will need more, and bigger hard drives….and…..I’m a hoarder…. πŸ˜‰
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE