I want a NAS with which I can store my data securely (securely in the meaning of not losing data), that is why I am focusing on 4-bay NAS with Raid 5 (or RAID 10). Then I also want to connect a lot of things to my NAS (domotic stuff). Also I want to host a website on the NAS (yeah not a typical usage of a NAS but the NAS do a lot more than just store data nowadays). And finally, I want to have a Media-Server as well.
Here are the NAS I looked into:
– ReadyNAS 524X
– DS916+ (difference with DS918+?)
– WD EX4100
Once you mention website hosting the choice is easy. You will need something with SSD cache for improved IOPS – input/output operations. The DS916+ is a predecessor of DS918+. It has no cache slots available and also CPU is weaker (only one 4K stream). You can use a bay or two for an SSD cache, but DS918+ feature NVME SSD cache which is almost ten times faster. WD and ReadyNAS 524X NAS will be very limited with functions it can do compared with Synology range. And DS418j will be simply too weak to do anything serious. It is made for backups and network accessibility. Dual LAN on DS918+ will automatically enable load balancing with any switch. DS918+ is definitely a winner.
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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.
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