Network-Attached Storage (NAS) in its most basic form is a very small PC running an OS just like Windows with the main function to store and manage access to files. Depending on the NAS, it's possible to achieve a whole host of things, including the ability to not only store data but also hook up external services like Plex, which would allow you to transform your NAS into a connected media server.
Companies like Synology and QNAP have some killer NAS products available for homeowners to create their own servers without much effort. All that's required is a NAS server, some NAS-specific hard drives and you're good to go, but this can cost a fair amount when adding everything to your shopping cart. Thankfully, right now is Amazon Prime Day, which means big savings on NAS servers, hard drives, and more, making this the perfect time to set up your own.
Save big on your first (or next) NAS
Right now on Amazon, you can grab the budget-friendly Synology DS218j for just $119 (opens in new tab). This is an absolute steal for your first NAS, since it houses two drive bays — ideal for installing two hard drives for data redundancy — and you gain full access to the company's excellent DSM operating system. DSM makes it a breeze to get set up and running in a matter of moments.
Here's all you'll need:
The DS218j from Synology is the ideal NAS to start and learn more about home servers. You can configure this NAS to hold all your personal data, stream and enjoy media, and more.
If you'd rather go a little further down Synology's NAS list, there's the four-bay DS918+, which can hold up to four hard drives and comes equipped with a far more powerful CPU and more RAM than the DS218j. This is a better option for busier households or even a small office and can even be hooked up to surveillance cameras and other peripherals. The DS918+ is on sale right now for $468 (opens in new tab), a substantial drop from $550. This may seem like quite a lot of money to spend on a disk-less server, but it's worth every penny.
QNAP also has the TS-453Be (opens in new tab) discounted right now for $433 (from $459), which offers similar specifications and bays as the DS918+. And when you're ready to buy some hard drives, the Western Digital 4TB HDD (opens in new tab) specifically built for NAS deployment is on sale right now too. If you don't need 4TB, you can save a little more and pick up 2TB drives for $70 (opens in new tab).
Hard drives designed for NAS
Western Digital has a strong collection of drives that are specifically designed for use inside NAS. The higher capacity drives even have faster motors. This 4TB drive is perfect for a home NAS, though you will want to use at least two drives for data redundancy.
Why you should buy a NAS now
Aside from the long-term savings, setting up and using a NAS unlocks a whole host of benefits, which include the ability to connect to external services like Plex, configure backups for your Windows 10 PCs and other devices, as well as keep all your personal and sensitive data secure on a machine you have physical access to.
Here's a quick run-through of some advantages of buying a NAS today:
- A NAS is relatively easy to set up.
- A NAS offers peace of mind.
- A NAS offers increased storage space.
- A NAS makes file sharing easy.
- A NAS isn't throttled by ISP transfer speeds.
- A NAS has no ISP outages.
- A NAS will save you money in the long run (compared to cloud storage).
There's also the matter of Amazon Prime Day, which has made setting up your own NAS that much more affordable. In order to take advantage of the promotions we've covered here, you'll need to have an active Prime membership. There's a free 30-day trial (opens in new tab) you can sign up to if you do not already have access.
Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
God, I wish you'd stop flogging Amazon Prime in every dang article. This entire website is basically a front for them.
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