Best for Plex
If I need to pick the one which is the best for Plex it will probably be PR4100. Plex and WD have a special agreement enabling hardware transcoding on WD NAS for free. Normally you need to be paying Plex user to be able to enable this functionality. Hardware transcoding will allow you to transcode a video on the fly to a smaller format – based on receiving device. All of that will be done in the background using dedicated graphics module. The overall performance of the NAS will not be affected much (around 20%). Normally software transcoding might even use 50-70% of CPU resources. If multitasking is important, and you don’t want to pay for Plex, other NAS models will perform very similarly.
Best for 4K video
The 4K media can be very demanding especially when the file size of one movie is around 50GB. Transcoding is very useful to protect the network from overload but the fact that you watch 4K is for reason. You want to watch a movie at its best possible quality. You can do so easily as long as you have a NAS and TV connected to your router or switch with a LAN cable. Wifi might sometimes struggle with a 4K stream. Qnap HDMI ports will let you stream 4K movies over HDMI cable. This is very useful if there are many devices connected to your network and you would not stand occasional buffering during the movie. The only limit with Qnap 4K is 30Hz. If you need 60Hz for latest 4K movies, you might want to consider Asustor with is HDMI 2.0 connectivity.
Functionality wise the winner is Synology. Its own Video streaming app will allow you to transcode even latest h265 4K video files. It also comes with dozens of modern apps. It has great Dropbox alternative with versioning control. Photo organizer, with Geo-tagging and face/object recognition. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Qnap will also stand out with its configurability. Similarly like Android or Windows devices – it can be configured specifically on the case to case bases.
Most future proofing
Qnap comes with PCIe slot which can be used for cache cad or 10GbE card or many other available cards. This will be very useful if you decide to upgrade it 5 years later. Using this slot upgrades you can easily transform this NAS into a web server or database server or very opposite- multimedia server.
Best for multiuser environment
Synology comes with built-in NVMe SSD slots which will improve its IOPS. This is very useful if you want to use it as a web server, database server or for virtual machines. It will also perform better in multi-user environments. Most often used data will be cached and delivered in a faster way. Its dual LAN parts are automatically set up to balance all transfers to achieve the best transfer speed. This load balancing will work any swith or touter without a need to buy a smart/ managed switch for this task.
|CPU||Intel Celeron J3455 Quad-Core 1.5 GHz (brust up 2.3GHz)||Pentium N3710 1.6 GHz (Burst speed up to 2.56 GHz)|
|RAM||8GB||4-8 GB||2-8 GB||4GB|
|HDMI||HDMI 2.0||2 x HDMI v1.4b, up to 3840 x 2160, 30 Hz||None||None|
|Graphics||Intel® HD Graphics 500 (250 – 750 MHz)||Intel® HD Graphics 405 (Braswell, 400 – 700 MHz)|
|USB||USB 3.0 x 4 (Type A x3, Type C x1)||USB 3.0 x 5 (Type A x3, Type C x1)||USB 3.0 x 3|
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