Best Hard Drives for Plex Windows Central 2021

As well as purchasing Network Attached Storage (NAS) 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. We've rounded up a few options you should consider trying.

How to pick the best NAS for Plex

Synology DS1019+Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

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.

How to pick the right NAS for Plex

Team Red

Western Digital Red

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 $60. 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 and supporting only up to 8 bays.

If you want a little more from Western Digital's Red series, the Pro family of drives start from $100 and support NAS servers with up to 24 bays.

Team Green

Seagate IronWolf

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 $60. Your Plex will last for a long time with a million hours mean time between failure (MTBF). Just don't expect to install more than eight of them in a NAS as this isn't supported.

The IronWolf Pro range is for those wanting a little more from their NAS storage drives. Starting from $101, these advanced drives can be installed in NAS servers with up to 24 bays.

Faster Storage

Seagate IronWolf 110 SSD

When you want even quicker drives

Seagate has an SSD version of the IronWolf NAS drive series. These solid-state drives offer better transfer speeds without all the moving motors and other parts.

SSDs remain relatively expensive compared to mechanical drives, but more affordable options are coming to NAS owners. Seagate's IronWolf 110 series come in 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities, so not quite as much as what you'd find in mechanical drives, but these drives are rapid. Starting from $80, they're not cheap but offer data rates of up to 560MB/s.

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 with multiple people streaming content.

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