NAS setup / multimedia/files access

On the quest for my first NAS and home entertainment setup, I am left with open questions I cannot decide on.
Ultimate goal: I want a filing/media system which is accessible from anywhere I have internet access – I want to be able to watch my movies/work on my documents on a camping trip in the fields (with enough internet signal) as easily as in my office at home. I want all my files to sit in one place, so I can access the different types of files through the device I will be using it on, without storing them on those devices – documents, movies, pictures (essentially all files) on MacBook Pro late 2017; pictures, movies, music, etc on iPhones and iPads; movies, pictures on Apple TV 4k; Plex on all devices; sound on my wifi accessible home audio speakers.

This is the beauty of a NAS system. You can have all these amazing functions provided by a single box. Synology offers free data replication services which allow your data to be synchronized across many devices instantaneously. Gets even better, you can roll back several versions of your document if you realized that something is deleted, or mistake made. Synology also has created software/hardware symbiotic relationship regards to video transcoding. It can transcode  4K using a fraction of available hardware resources. That lets other users receive uninterrupted service on whatever they do. Synology is also perfect for multiple operating systems, either Apple, Windows or Linux. Synology has also created relationships with smart speakers letting you access music from your NAS just one voice command away.

2. This setup should hold up 5-7 years, so I want to make sure the specs to match the desired range of time. My MacBook Pro only has Thunderbolt 3 slots, so would you advise on buying a TB3-equipped NAS (i.e. QNAP’s TS-453TB3)? Or is it rather redundant since it is essentially a network-attached storage?

TS-453TB3 is Thunderbolt DAS/NAS solution for video editors. It will provide Thunderbolt connection, but that is only usable if you need fast data transfers from a NAS to PC or another way around. Network storage has no limits what device can connect to it, either MAC, Windows or other.

3. I want to be able to stream 4K movies – is it realistic to expect them to be transcoded on the fly? If so, what do I need to put into a NAS to make it happen? I am getting 1Gbit/s symmetrical fiber wired into my home this spring.

If you have home devices connected to a wired network or 5Ghz superfast WiFi, you should be able to stream 4K Media. Some very heavy 4K files (very unpopular) might need some faster channel to stream. Having 10GbE network would definitely be fast enough to stream even 8K media if there was any. But having 10GbE ethernet would cost around 500-1000 to have. Synology transcoding engines buy us some time until 10GbE will be very affordable. Transcoding will change video size based on the device streaming to. Therefore you don’t need a fast network to stream heavier video files, and you can even stream outside the home over the internet.

4. Also, how important is a 10GbE access? Should there be at least one slot or should I go for 2 or more?

Once you decide to have 10Gbe 1 port is enough unless you are planning to have many simultaneous streams of 4K video. For multi-user streaming heavy 4K files you could consider 2 ports. But that is unlike scenario. You can have a second port for load balancing so that data will be sent out using two ports. That would make processor life a little easier.

5. What do I need to shoot for regarding processors and RAM, other specs?

Video transcoding function will be the most power consuming task, so you will need to look at Intel Celeron with hardware transcoding engine or Xeon, i5 or i7 for crazy power.
6. Would you recommend to go for 6 TB WD Red HDDs for home use?

I would recommend WD Red 6TB or another capacity. These are NAS drive specifically made for NAS environment. They will save some energy when NAS is not in a use and perform faster than usual if extra performance is required.


What I would recommend you is :


DS918+ – four drive option with transcoding engine. It will easily transcode 4K or stream 4K media and do any other tasks you wish.

DS3018xs – six drive option with powerfull CPU, good for Plex , little overkill for streaming and transcoding using Synology Apps

DS3617xs – 12 drive option for multi transcoding streams on Plex. This is for people who need power and lots of it.




Qnap Alternative to Synology NAS

Qnap is good alternative if you prefer connecting using HDMI port instead. These models have HDMI ports and powerful enough CPU to trans-code locally or on Plex.






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