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. And if you're quarantined at home, a NAS will also work wonders for file storage.
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. What if you simply wish to purchase a product, plug everything in, and get going? Here are the best NAS options for running 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.
Reliable storage for all your Plex media
Western Digital Red is a family of hard drives marketed explicitly for NAS deployment. There's a three-year limited warranty included, and the drives themselves are rated for continuous operation.
The series offers capacities of 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, and 14TB. If you're not going to be storing much at all, it's possible to pick up the 1TB drive for just $56. 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.
Reliable storage for all your Plex media
Seagate IronWolf is similar to Red hard drives in numerous ways, including technology with AgileArray, which helps improve performance and reliability over traditional desktop drives.
Similarly to the Red series, IronWolf drives come in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 7TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, and 14TB versions and sport a three-year warranty. The most affordable choice is the 1TB drive, which will cost you $61. 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.
You can use the same drives as you would in a desktop PC, but it's not recommended. These disks aren't designed for continuous use for months, if not years.
Go for speed
Ideally, you'll want to look for a drive with a 7,200RPM motor and 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. Capacity only really matters if you plan on storing plenty of files.
Plex will run just fine with a slower hard drive, but you may encounter some stuttering and buffering while loading larger 4K movies.
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