If you are not a techy, it can be intimidating to buy gadgets. Just the terms alone, such as servers and networks can easily push away those who aren’t familiar with them. However, if you didn’t take a small amount of time to learn these nifty gadgets, you might be missing out on some very useful advantages for your home or office.
What is a Network-Attached Storage?
You have probably seen the acronym NAS on the internet, but what is this device and why you might benefit from having one? NAS stands for network-attached storage. From the name itself, this gadget is simply a storage device that you connect to a network. Because of this, the users or clients that you allowed access can store and retrieve data from the central location. Sounds pretty simple right?
Think of NAS as a cloud; only it’s faster, cheaper, and more flexible because you have complete control over it, especially if you need additional storage. NAS works by using an engine for file services and a device for storing the data. If you have a small business, you can use NAS to manage your files securely and efficiently.
To give you an idea, this device can work for payroll, data logging, business analytics, or even for accounting databases. You no longer have to transfer these files manually because you and your coworkers can access them on any device.
And even if you don’t operate a business, NAS also works great for personal use, as seen in this buying guide. This is because you can use the storage to keep your personal media such as images, videos, movies, and music safely and orderly. Having them in one place makes your files readily accessible across your gadgets, whether it’s phone, tablet, or computer, without the need to copy them. You can use your computer, phone, or tablet on each device.
Importance of Using a Network-Attached Storage
As we have discussed earlier, businesses can benefit from NAS because it can store your data efficiently. If your company’s data is accessible in one place remotely, it will also be easy for your members to collaborate. But even if you’re not a business owner, you can also use this storage so you can access your media anytime and anywhere.
NAS is so easy to use that even though you don’t have IT expertise, you can operate it. And since NAS is accessible on different devices, you don’t have to worry about data backup, which in turn saves you space on your gadgets. Not to mention, all of these advantages come at a low cost because it doesn’t require other storage technologies.
What is Plex?
Plex, on the other hand, is a service that you can use with NAS. You have probably overlooked this service before because it’s unfamiliar and unpopular. However, Plex is another useful service that you can use if you want to manage your extensive multimedia collection more efficiently.
Plex is basically a server that acts as an organizer and player for your media files. Because it’s easy to browse your media and share them in another library using Plex, you’ll get multiple benefits. This includes having the ability to view your pictures, watch your videos, or even stream your music and movies using another device. And it doesn’t matter even if these files are stored in another computer.
You can install the Plex Media Server software on a computer running on Mac, Windows, or Linux. However, if you remembered how NAS works earlier, it’s also an excellent device to use alongside this service.
The Importance of NAS for Plex
To do a recap, NAS is simply a storage space that you and other authorized devices can access through the network, i.e., the internet. You can use Plex on NAS by installing the software to the storage space itself. However, be aware that the NAS should have a CPU powerful enough for your demands, which might include some transcoding.
It might seem like such a daunting task, but Plex comes in a form that is compatible with NAS drives anyway. To put it simply, you’ll need a NAS model with an appropriate processor to run Plex smoothly. These models might cost more, but their hardware is top-notch and can easily stream 4K media even if multiple devices are connecting simultaneously to the server.
What to Consider When Buying a NAS for Plex
Before you buy your own network-attached storage for running plex, you have to be knowledgeable about what hardware is ideal for your intended usage. But to give you a general idea, you’ll want at least 1 GB of ram for every 1TB of storage. You might be wondering if you really need that big of a storage for holding your media, and the answer to that is yes.
According to Prized Reviews, one TB is basically a requirement so that NAS will run smoothly for hosting. But if you are just sharing small files or low-resolution pictures and videos, a NAS for Plex having 512MB of RAM and 200GB of storage should suffice.
As for the CPU itself, opt for at least Intel Core i3 of the latest generation. This is good enough for home use, and you can choose Intel Core i7 if you think of using NAS for hosting business.
As you can see, the CPU and storage simply depend on your content. For home use, you don’t need an expensive and powerful NAS. Still, the storage will depend on what you will host, and of course, the CPU should be able to handle the size of the clients for hosting.
What about the processor? You will stumble upon x86 and ARM processors. The former is what you’ll typically see in laptop computers because it can run most kinds of computer software. However, the versions of this processor that’s included in NAS is slower if you compare it to your computer. Still, the x86 processors are more powerful than ARM processors. ARM is the processor that you’ll see in phones because it is energy-efficient and more affordable.
Speaking of which, you can still opt with a high-end ARM processor if you have no budget for Intel processors yet. However, do note that you won’t be able to do 4k transcoding if you don’t use an Intel Core i3 processor or higher.
What is transcoding? Sometimes, NAS won’t be able to stream media to a device because of the format. Because of this, the server will transcode the media into the format compatible with the device. For example, if the device you’re using can’t play the 4K movie you have, the CPU needs to be powerful enough to transcode the video for you.
Overall, the world of servers and network storage isn’t as complicated as it seems. With some research, you can get the gist on how to take advantage of the technology and how to find the appropriate NAS for your Plex server.