I’ve been running a QNAP TS-251+ with upgraded memory and 2 WD Red 4TB drives for about 2 years now. I purchased this as my first NAS and now I’m trying to decide what to do next. Space is getting a bit tight and I’m trying to decide whether to go with the expansion bay or just buy a new 4 drive bay NAS. (my current disk config is jbod). I love the features of the QNAP so I definitely want to stay in that family. My concern lies around the expansion bay. I’ve heard the connection is only USB and performance suffers which is why I’m even considering just replacing the whole thing with a 4 drive NAS.
The USB expansion port at the back of the TS-251+ is USB3.0 which can handle up to 5gbps (640MBps)—over ten times as fast as the 2.0 maximum. The LAN speed your NAS is connected and use to transfer the files is Gigabit per second (that’s around 120MB/s). So there is no issue with an expansion unit. The problem I see with expansion solutions is power. Yor setup power consumption will double because now you need to run 2 boxes at the same time.
If I would need to make a decision between expansion and replacing with a new NAS, I would choose New NAS. The NAS would be TS-453b or ts-453Be which comes with a PCIe slot for a 10GbE card or M.2 cache card or other cards. Filled with SSD drives I get much better performance than with older NAS models.
It is also better value for money to get a 4 bay and fill it with just 3 drives (for RAID5 protections) and add more later as data grow.
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What can I connect to a NAS?
Wireless Speaker Sonos
The great thing about Sonos is that you don't need to pay for music subscription service. With the cheapest NAS at home like DS115j or any other, you can have your backups done for all of your devices and still use your network drive as a Sonos music library. Sonos will connect to your NAS via your network and let access your provided music library. If you have little more of IT knowledge, you can even set up your Alexa or Sonos with Alexa built in to play music on your voice commands ("Alexa! Ask DS Audio to Play Music!").
Nowadays it is so cheap to upgrade your old TV and make it smart. All you need is Google Chrome or EZcast alternative plugged into your HDMI port at the back of your TV. Now you have great functionality added to your TV to send a video file directly from your NAS to a TV. No need for wires and chargers and other mess. You can use your phone as a remote to go to your movies or family videos and cast that content on your TV during family or friend gatherings.
Amazon Fire TV
You may not have a smartphone, or you just simply prefer to control your content with a remote in that case Amazon Fire TV will be a great addon to get to your TV. It also plugs into your HDMI port and will play content from your NAS to a TV. No wires no mess.
nVidia Shield TV
It gets even better! If you want some more entertainment and all previously mentioned functions - nVidia TV is a great thing to get. You can use it for playing games and watching movies from your NAS. The greatest thing is - shield TV does video transcoding. So even if you have a cheap NAS with a weak CPU, in a combination of shield TV you can now automatically on the fly change video file size and format for a destination device. It is a great way to reduce network load and let older devices to play video content which normally was not supported on the device.