Best NAS for Plex 4K transcoding? NAS with GPU (hardware transcoding) vs Xeon and software transcoding

All right – what I think I learned is that in the NAS/Plex hierarchy world – the king of the mountain is the Xeon processor because it can do 4K software transcoding without the need for a PCI GPU. This Xeon vs. “some other” chip would be because I want to do 4K transcoding without a graphics card?

So, if I wanted a Xeon I would then be looking at the 1288 – which I can get in the US for about $2,750+tax, which is a lot of $$ and has WAY more storage than I need.
I also believe, as you mentioned, that if this was a smaller 6 or 8 bay unit and a grand cheaper, it would have been a runaway winner!
I also believe something like this is probably in the works for some time in the near future – making buying a 1288 now a bit risky.
So, if I gave up on 4K for now – then I can perhaps drop to the TVS-673a and I could upgrade with a PCI GPU later if I wanted to add 4k, yes?
would this perform approximately as well as the 1288 for FHD 1080p?
this unit is about $1250 in the US – so that’s a BIG savings!
As far as ports and connections – I’ll make the best of whatever unit I get – they both have faster and slower connections – I decided not to sweat this either LOL
OK – so assuming I have a box picked – the 2nd tier decision is to go with ZFS – which is what I believe QNAP calls QuTS Hero?
I believe both of these units have this – so I will just have to learn how to use this 😉
I got 4 x 14TB drives – will these work in ZFS?
This then leaves only the choice of M.2 and the amount of RAM.
M.2 – I’m guessing I should get the fastest M.2 drive the box can support – and probably use this for the OS and maybe where the Plex Data File goes?
RAM – I hear mixed info on this – some people say that Plex is very light on RAM, other people say more is always better
RAM isn’t that expensive and 2x16gb sticks certainly won’t make the NAS worse LOL
Assuming I have all the above correct, then the only thing left is – does the 1288 so outclass the TVS-673e-8G that I should throw all this research aside, get the best and most powerful, and just be happy having the best?

My back-up point to this is if QNAP does come out with a smaller unit with a Xeon chip – and it’s around $1500 or so, then I could buy one and have 2 NAS enclosures for what I would have paid for the 1288 today 🤔 hahaha


Qnap 1288 comes with a unique CPU which also includes a transcoding engine (Intel® UHD Graphics P630). This means that anything up to 1080p will be handled by this chip. Anything above this will be transcoded using CPU power (software transcoding).
Before this Xeon people used to go for Intel core i7 which performs very similar (i5 is also a popular choice, but not all 4K could be transcoded in PLEX).
If you for 673A, it will handle 1080p easily using software transcoding (since there is no GPU).
Qnap will very unlikely release a 6 bay model with this CPU because they have already a weaker Xeon based model and an i5 based model out there,tvs-h1688x,tvs-672x&ref=product_overview

Performance rank for mentioned CPU are:
V1500B – 4194
Xeon D-1622 -6205
i5-8400T – 7356
Xeon W-1250 – 13912

People choose ZFS only if they run mission-critical operations like web servers, VMs etc. Usually, data centers use this file system.
In a home environment, you might see more disadvantages than benefits. You can not add additional drives without formatting drives and this OS also consumes way more hardware resources.

PLEX do use a lot of RAM, I would expect 3-4GB to be used in heavy use situations. NAS with 8GB + would be well equipped for such use.
More RAM does not mean better speeds unless it is needed for apps.

NVME, fastest does not always mean the best. If you use it for cache then durability is more important. But if you use it for storage then you can go with speed/IOPS number.

I would recommend Firecuda/ Iwonwolf / 980 pro NVME.
If you set them up as a storage pool. You can install OS and/or apps on this volume. It does speed things up.

If you see a cheaper GPU card deal (thanks bitcoin) you may consider 73A series

I hope this helps.


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