Plex transcoding video card- is it faster then built in GPU chip on a NAS (e.g. TVS-672XT i5 & TVS-h1288X Xeon)

TS-873A Plex Transcoding Video Card

I currently has a Synology DS918+, I use it solely for Plex, Music, TV Shows and Movies. My library of 4K media including content HDR and Dolby Vision is growing. It plays very nicely on my 2019 Nvidia Shield Pro. However I need to upgrade to something with greater Transcoding Horsepower. I was looking hard at TVS-872X i5 model and even the crazier TVS-h1288X-W1250-16G… I want something that will transcode 4k HDR (HEVC I believe) content to at least 480 and 720 p. You Mentioned as an option TS-873A and adding a video card. I have scoured the internet trying to see how that is done and I have seen people have done it, but I wonder if a video card like a Nvidia 1650 or whatever you recommend would compare to in performance to something like the TVS-872x in transcoding performance. I know you are a busy guy and have a passion for these things, but I would think it would be awesome to see how one could add a video card to a NAS like these and if it is better than a CPU with a built in graphics chip??? So my main question is, is the performance better with a video card added to something like the 873 or something that has integrated graphics. Its been driving me crazy and I have been spending hours and hours watching video trying to answer these questions. Obviously if I can get great performance for a low cost, that would be great, but I’m prepared to spend more. I have watched your videos showing the transcoding performance of the TVS-872x and it worries me that they couldn’t transcode 4K HEVC content. Like they would give up, I saw that in several of your videos. I can understand the large insane video which really isn’t a real world case but I’m more concerned with real world. Can you help me? Thanks!!!


Transcoding chips built-in Celeron, Xeon as well as Core i3/5/7 are exactly the same. It can handle 4k using first-party apps such as DS Video or Video station. But when it comes to Plex, it can only transcode from 720p and some 1080p videos. Local streaming do not require transcoding at all, but you will need this for remote streaming.
Once your transcoding chip capabilities are exhausted, the system will use CPU power to convert those videos. This is why Celeron based models can not transcode 4k in Plex. Having Xeon or Core i based models will have enough power to transcode. The side-effect will be high CPU usage during the transcoding process. This will affect other app performance on the NAS. This is why people install GPU cards such as GTX1050 or 1650.
You can install these cards in Qnap 72XT series, 88X series and 73A series. This will mean that no CPU power is used for transcoding.

I hope this helps.

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