Best NAS for Plex 2020 – $500, $1000 and $2000

Choosing the Best Plex NAS Drive of 2020

One of the most popular reasons that home users will buy a network-attached storage NAS system for their home is to use it as a Plex media server. Although many people utilise third-party streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to watch multimedia, these paid subscription services limit the total amount of multimedia you can watch to whatever they choose to support month-on-month. Running a Plex Media Server on a NAS allows you to enjoy all of the media that you own, whilst still enjoying the slick and intuitive graphical user interface that is present on those third-party streaming platforms, such as media thumbnails, trailers, reviews, watchlists and recommendations. The majority of NAS drives support Plex Media Server as an application to install on the device and kick start your brand new Plex NAS home cinema experience. However, the extent to which you will be able to enjoy your multimedia, simultaneous viewers and output quality can differ depending on the NAS drive you choose to use. There are numerous factors that go into selecting the right NAS drive for Plex, ranging from budget and storage size to the proficiency and capabilities of the CPU inside. Below I have detailed the top 3 NAS for Plex to buy right now in 2020/2021. Each one is selected for a different reason, best Budget Plex NAS, best Value Plex NAS and the Most Powerful Plex NAS. All three support 1080p multimedia and 1080p Plex transcoding, but the more you spend the more types of media you can enjoy, with each tier bringing more resolution and quality support (4K etc) to the number of users who can access at once. Take a look below.

Best Plex NAS – What Qualifies?

Before you go any further, it is worth highlighting how the top 3 Plex NAS were chosen, as at least 70-80% of NAS released in recent years ‘support’ plex to one degree or another. In order for a NAS drive to qualify, it needs to confirm/adhere to the following:

  • The NAS server needs to have been released before October 31st 2020, so it has been officially available to buy and review
  • The NAS does NOT have to be released in 2020 (so 2019, 2018, etc) are fine, but it has to still be available to buy in 2020
  • Only Desktop/Tower systems are being considered, Rackmount servers are generally harder to compare and are more tailored to industry
  • Each solution must be a combined Hardware+Software solution
  • Must have at least 2 years manufacturers warranty
  • Must Be able to Transcode 1080p at the very least – 4K Optional depending on the depth
  • Must be at least a 4-Bay NAS, as you need to provision for storage AND redundancy in the event of a failed drive
  • Must feature enough hardware power to be used as BOTH a Plex media server AND other NAS software utilities at once sufficiently
  • Should be usable WITHOUT a Plex Pass Subscription, but having one might be beneficial

There you have it, those are the parameters for looking at a NAS drive to buy for Plex. Below are the Top 3 of the year I recommend for Price, Value and Power.

Best Low-Cost Plex NAS Drive – QNAP TS-451D2

0- 72TB, 4-Bays, CPU, 2-8GB DDR4 Memory, HDMI 2.0 & 1Gbe Ports, 2yr Warranty, $400+  

Hardware Review –

What We Said 02/1/20:

We have seen many new releases announced in 2020 from QNAP and now they are fleshing out their 2021 portfolio, there did seem to be ALOT of business and not enough pleasure! The TS-451D2 fixes this by giving you a great middle-ground for home and/or business users, finding an affordable hardware package that is genuinely tough to beat. The TS-451D2 NAS features everything you want in the latest generation of NAS, especially from an innovative brand like QNAP, but does it without commuting you to hardware that you may never use or feel doesn’t have a place in your budget.

Pros of the QNAP TS-451D2 Cons of the QNAP TS-451D2
Great Choice of CPU

HDMI 2.0 at an affordable level – always good

Supports pretty much the entire QNAP app catalogue

Very Compact and low noise

Arriving at a good price point for a standard Intel 4-Bay

Good as a first NAS if you want all the features

EXCELLENT home multimedia NAS at this price point

VERY Good Surveillance NAS for Home or Small Business

Expandable with TR-002 and TR-004 QNAP expansion devices to many, many more drives

Only 2 Years Warranty

CPU is a little weak for solid Virtual Machine Use

Only 1Gbe ports, not 2.5Gbe or LAG support

Lacks the PCIe Upgrade slot of the TS-251D


Best Value Plex NAS Drive – Synology DS920+

0- 72TB, 4-Bays, J4125 Intel Celeron 4-Core CPU, 4-8GB DDR4 Memory,1Gbe Ports, 3yr Warranty, $550  

Hardware Review –

What We Said 21/05/20:

The DS920+ NAS is something that Synology should be proud of. It is a great entry into their already impressive range of Diskstation NAS devices. If you are looking for a brand new NAS to consolidate your home media, to support your relative as the ‘IT whizz’ of the family, or move your business away from Google Drives and DropBox’ onto something safer, more scalable and dependable – then the DS920+ has alot to offer you. It gives you a great base to start using the DSM platform, as well as a good means to upgrade your storage internally at a later date (expansions in memory, expansions in storage, expansion in NVMe). If you are an existing DS918+ or DS916+ owner, this might not seem like the jump you were waiting for.

  • Dual NVMe M.2 cache
  • Great RAID Options
  • Excellent choice of Apps
  • Snapshot Replication
  • BTRFS and SHR
  • Support Plex
  • Virtualization
  • 4K Video transcoding
  • Full Plex Transcoding
  • Hot-Swap trays
  • DLNA Compliant
  • Expandable
  • No Copy button
  • Only 1Gbe Ethernet ports
  • No PCIe slots
  • Only a single accessible Memory Bay


Best & Most Powerful Plex NAS Drive – QNAP TVS-872XT

0- 144TB, 8-Bays, Intel i5 6-Core 8th GenCPU, 16-32GB DDR4 Memory, 10Gbe, 1Gbe, NVMe SSD Bays for Caching and/or RAW Storage, Thunderbolt 3 x2 Ports HDMI 2.0, PCIe Slots, 2yr Warranty, $1900+  

Hardware Review –

What We Said 21/12/18:

The QNAP TVS-872XT is a NAS drive that has taken the elite and overpowered attitudes that were previously the hallmarks of the Thunderbolt 3 NAS range and turn it into something a great deal more mature and accessible to mid-range users. Till now, if you wanted access to the full features and functionality of a fully equipped thunderbolt and 10Gbe enabled 4K NAS, you were forced to either compromise too much with the TS-453BT3 or break the bank with the TVS-1282T3. Thanks to this new QNAP TVS-872XT NAS however, you no longer need to compromise and have access to a much more balanced and well equipped NAS platform for photo and video editing post-production in 2019.

This 8 bay thunderbolt equipped NAS is about quality, not quantity and although may lack the wider coverage of users that the TVS-1283T3 has, it makes up for it with a much, much better and higher dedicated performance to those fewer connected users. What the XT series brings to the NAS industry is to fill a much-needed gap in the thunderbolt NAS portfolio and gives users an important choice between the existing product family. It is worth mentioning that you lose out on the 3rd tier of storage offered by the 82T series, as well as the long-term future-proofing it offers for PCIe upgrades to the GPU and adding high-speed users later – but unless you think this is a necessary possibility in the next 3-4 years, you should save your money and go for the QNAP TVS-872XT. Easily in my top 3 NAS of 2018 and going forward into 2019 (ed – and now 2020!)

What the QNAP TVS-872XT can do (PROS):

  • High Virtualisation Use
  • Two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Ports which can allow 2 devices access at once
  • SSD Optimized with NVMe Support
  • Business Use
  • SMB Storage
  • Optimized for Post Production and Broadcasting
  • Embedded  10GBe Port
  • Thunderbolt-to-10Gbe Adapter possible
  • DLNA Support
  • Apple Time Machine Support
  • Surveillance including multiple camera licences – 8 Licences FREE
  • iTunes Server
  • email server
  • Download server (FTP, HTTP, BT,NZB)
  • CMS and CRM systems
  • Office applications
  • Media Center support

What the QNAP TVS-872XT cannot do (CONS):

  • Only 2 TB3 Ports – so only 2 Editors at once
  • No Remote Control
  • no Intel i7 8th Gen option
  • Only 1 10Gbe Port
  • PCIe Slot that is available not compatible with 40Gbe cards



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      10 thoughts on “Best NAS for Plex 2020 – $500, $1000 and $2000

      1. I am still not able to install Plex on Synology NAS getting massage no soup for you and drive not detected in Plex even when permission changed as when promoted during installation

      2. There’s a lot of talk about transcoding. Why on earth would you need to transcode, losing original quality, when you’re streaming to a player/tv/projector which will presumably handle the video?

      3. I have a quick question. Does it matter what NAS you use if you are loading Plex on a computer or using Zappiti as your device. What would be best practice is link aggregation important or is single 2.5 gigabit good enough. Thank you

      Comments are closed.