Is TerraMaster F2-221 a good NAS for Plex?
TerraMaster F2-221 meets Plex server requirements
The TerraMaster F2-221 is designed to compete against the Synology DS218+, sporting the same Intel Celeron J3355 processor, 2GB RAM, transcoding support for various formats, and two drive bays. The most important specification for Plex Media Server is the CPU, and the J3355 from Intel is more than capable of handling media streaming.
What you won't be able to do much of with this NAS is 4K transcoding, since the CPU will suffer under the intense workload. While it can prove tiresome to ensure all your content is compatible with receiving devices, you'd be better off doing so to avoid any playback issues. The F2-221 can transcode at 4K, but performance is a hit or miss.
In order to transcode at 4K, there are options, but you're going to need a much bigger budget. The QNAP TVS-882, for example, has different configurations available for varying levels of performance, but it'll cost you over $1,500.
Do more with Plex Pass
One thing to note is the fact hardware transcoding support is only included with the Plex Pass. If you're rocking a free account, you'll need to rely on software transcoding, which makes things even more restricted. You may encounter some buffering or other related issues if relying on this method.
Paying out for Plex Pass will ensure you're taking advantage of the hardware you have available. Pricing isn't too expensive either. You have the choice of three plans: $5 per month, $40 annually, or $150 for lifetime access. One-off payment of $150 would save you a lot in the long run, especially if you have everything set up as you like.
TerraMaster takes on Synology's best-seller
The relatively small brand within the NAS sphere is looking to capture more of the market from its rivals, and the F2-221 does more things right than wrong. It is an excellent, value-driven NAS that allows you to set up your own home media server.
You can do everything and so much more
If you have a budget that could cover the expense of the QNAP TVS-882 and need a server that can handle larger 4K movies, look no further than this NAS. It has an Intel Core i3-6100 processor, but QNAP does have models available with i5 and i7 CPUs if you need even more performance.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.