Synology DS1618+

Plex is a fantastic platform for streaming all your media from a central location to connected devices. Instead of paying out for Spotify and potentially losing access to certain tracks if the service no longer offers them, you can use all your locally-stored media from CDs or downloaded from stores like iTunes and Amazon to build a catalog of content. There's also the bonus of being able to stream photos and movies, as well as music.

How to pick the best NAS for Plex

Plex requires a solid server to get the most out of the service, though a capable network-attached storage (NAS) solution will suffice. It's possible to build your own, which is the desired method for those with the know-how, but what if you simply wish to purchase a product, plug everything in, and get going? Here are the best NAS options for running Plex.

How to pick the right NAS for Plex

After purchasing a Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit or setting up a small PC yourself, you will need some hard drives to store everything on. Just like we do with general NAS usage, it's strongly recommended you upgrade from desktop-class hard drives to specific NAS versions. Here are a few excellent examples you should consider.

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Team Red

Western Digital Red

Reliable storage for all your Plex media

Western Digital Red is a family of hard drives specifically marketed for NAS deployment. There's a three-year limited warranty included and the drives themselves are rated for continuous operation. Western Digital is also renown for its top-quality storage solutions, and you'll be sure to get years worth of use out of these drives. The Red series isn't the fastest on the market and competitor options can have a slight edge, though in Plex terms this isn't a big issue.

The series offers capacities of 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB. If you're not going to be storing much at all, it's possible to pick up the 1TB drive for just $58. That's more money than you'd pay for a desktop-class drive, but you're paying for enhanced reliability and additional features — each drive comes with the company's NASware 3.0. A drawback is an omission of mounting brackets or screws.

Team Green

Seagate IronWolf

Reliable storage for all your Plex media

To take on Western Digital and its Red series of drives, Seagate has IronWolf. The lineup is similar to Red hard drives in numerous ways, including technology with AgileArray, which helps improve performance and reliability over traditional desktop drives. And if you need to install more than eight of them in a single NAS unit, IronWolf Pro drives are available but cost a little more.

Similarly to the Red series, IronWolf drives come in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 7TB, 8TB, and 10TB versions and sport a three-year warranty. The most affordable choice is the 1TB drive, which will cost you $60. Your Plex will last for a long time with a million hours mean time between failure (MTBF).

Store all the things

Dedicated NAS drives are a middle ground between desktop and enterprise drives. They're durable enough for shared storage deployment and usually come optimized for NAS use. Increased performance and better power efficiency can also be found in NAS drives compared to their desktop counterparts. Lastly, we have drives specifically designed for surveillance systems. These aren't recommended for a NAS simply because they offer lower random access performance but are a secondary option.

You will want to aim for a 7,200RPM drive with 64MB of cache. The drives we rounded up will perform similarly between brands, but you'll want to pay attention to reviews, as well as features and specifications, to pick a drive that will handle everything you throw at it.

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