I’m going to buy my first ever NAS. I want to go budget, but at the same time don’t want it to be very slow. I’ll be using it for Surveillance Station (in future probably maximum of 4-6 cameras), iTunes Music Server and Plex Media Server (without transcoding). In my home, there are 3 smart TVs, 3 smartphones, and 3 computers.
Probably highest load would be something like watching a movie from Plex on one TV, in the same time listening to music on another TV from Plex and probably watching IP camera stream on smartphone and listening to iTunes music on a computer.
I was thinking about Synology DS218j, but will 512MB of RAM be enough for these 5 cameras, Plex Media Server and so on? My budget is around 230-290 USD but if it is not enough for my needs, I’ll wait and get some more money. Let me know.
DS218j might struggle to do it all, but with the correct task, scheduling could be doable. I would actually recommend getting older model NAS. If budget is tight I would even recommend DS116 which is quite powerful 2 bay NAS. Just make sure proper backup is in place so that you recover very quickly in case of damage. Unfortunately, DS118 is not yet supported for Plex. But the older model will do all these tasks with no problem. Our tests proved it can do multiple streams simultaneously while doing other tasks.
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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.