1-Bay or 2-Bay NAS for PLEX under 600

I have a new 4K Oled TV from LG, which doesn’t recognize well my old WD Booklive NAS (I can’t fast forward or choose the timeframe for a movie anymore). So it’s time for me to buy a new NAS (budget 400-600 €). If compatible with the price, I would prefer one that can act as a Plex server too. The main and almost only use of the NAS will be for watching movies, with a preference for 1080p and 4K HDR.

WD 1-bay network drives are extremely slow, they are made just for local file sharing. Plex is power demanding App, therefore you need to look at something with at least a Celeron processor. Both Qnap and Synology have multiple models available with these type of CPU and better.

Here are some questions :

1) Is it possible to use one single hard drive in a 2 bays NAS? (I want 1 8TB disk storage, but I don’t want to pay for now 2x8TB)

Yes, you can have just 1 hard drive in a 2-bay or any other NAS. Sometimes there are even requests to get one drive in a 4-bay solution because they are more powerful and offer better value for a money with a RAID5 setup.

2) If the answer is no, can I use 2 x 4TB in Raid 0? (So I will have 8TB storage capacity in total)

You can also set up any NAS to work in RAID0 environment. Sometimes it is cheaper to get two smaller drives rather than one in a bigger capacity. With RAID0 I would recommend having a backup solution in a place because there is a risk of losing data if one drive gets broken.

3) I’ve read with interest your article “The Top 5 2-Bay NAS of 2017”, and the WD PR2100 seems really good for a Plex server. Is it still the best in 2018 in this target price?

The WD PR2100 comes with an Intel Pentium N3710 1.6 GHz (Burst speed up to 2.56 GHz) processor with is powerful enough to cope with any video file. Alternative to this is old Synology DiskStation NAS DS916+ which has the same processor. The best seller of 2018 will be DS218+ and DS718+. They work very well with any type of multimedia.

4) Is there an equivalent to the WD PR2100 but with only one bay? (or is there an another one Bay NAS that can act as a Plex Server ?

The only 1 bay you can install PLEX on is DS116. But I would not expect 4K playback or any type of transcoding neither.

5) Can all these NAS use Plex Server with 4K video?

WD PR series and Synology Plus series will let you stream all content including 4K. If you want to push your NAS further and enable transcoding function for file size resizing for streaming over slow network or internet than stick with WD PR series.


Final Decision

For streaming up to a 4K format video files WD PR will do the job as well as Synology plus series. If you thing you will ever need transcoding than only option will be WD PR model.


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