Need advice NAS acquisition advice for NazHay: home, £250 GBP

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Need advice NAS acquisition advice for NazHay: home, £250 GBP

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NAS
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Operating system
  1. macOS
  2. Windows
Mobile operating system
  1. Android
  2. iOS
Usage type: home

Preferred form factor any

Number of bays: not sure how many bays

Do you have any existing drives that you plan on using? /

Prefered RAID array setup for this NAS: /

This NAS will be used for: backup, multimedia

Max budget for this setup: £250 GBP

Number of users that will utilize this NAS: 2

Any preferred network connectivity? /

Where will this NAS be used: LAN only

Any special network requirements: /

Special cloud provider connectivity: /

Additional information:
I am a music listening enthusiast, who has loads of MP3 music files (average size of each MP3 is 30mb) stored across an apple iMac desktop, an apple ipad, 2 windows 10 desktop pc's & a windows 10 laptop. I don't use any music streaming services (Spotify, Tidal, etc). I do have videos & other files, but my videos & pictures aren't really high definition files as such. It is a nightmare trying to find the relevant music file & which pc device it's on, as all the files are stored locally on each hard disk respectively. I do use cloud storage services like google drive and ms-onedrive to store & access my favourite MP3 files, but this requires me to pay a monthly subscription fee & I intend to move away from them eventually, as I don't trust their longevity in the future. I would rather store my precious files locally. Having everything across different devices also makes it a pain to find & remove duplicate files. I would like to centralise all my files on one device/NAS, which can be accessed from any local device connected to my home network (LAN). I would only like to have only 1 backup of each file, as well as the original. I do not do any video editing work, am quite computer savvy & technically minded, but have zero knowledge & experience of NAS's.

My budget is very tight, which makes it hard to choose the right NAS for now & future needs. I am considering the SYNOLOGY DISKSTATION DS120J, but it only has 1 drive bay & would mean performing drive backups manually using an external drive connected to it, which I could probably do, but don't know if it's a good idea. Please could you help & advise. Many thanks.
 
Hi.

Let's start with the last piece that your wrote:
I am considering the SYNOLOGY DISKSTATION DS120J, but it only has 1 drive bay & would mean performing drive backups manually using an external drive connected to it, which I could probably do, but don't know if it's a good idea.
If the NAS is going to be holding your working (or only copy of) data then you really should have a backup too. So whichever NAS you get, you should also be planning to back it up. Within Synology DSM there's Hyper Backup which makes backing up easy, and you can use a USB drive for that.

When you use RAID in NAS the data is protected from drive failure (unless you use JBOD) but the data isn't protected from deletion.

I would only like to have only 1 backup of each file, as well as the original.
So where would be the original and where is the backup? Would you be keeping the files on the PCs as a fallback/backup?



I think maybe you should first consider how you access the media files and think if you could utilise one of the desktop Mac/PC as a media server. If you installed Plex Media Server, Emby, or similar on one of these and purchased additional storage so that you have a consolidated media library, and maybe even a second storage for backup? Even with buying a Plex Lifetime Pass (if you feel you need it... gives you access to the mobile apps for free... and some other features but not needed to test it) then you'd likely be within your budget and the CPU and RAM of the Mac/PC would be better than a low-end NAS.

How much storage were you considering? i.e. how big disks?
 
I agree with @fredbert completely on this one. Would like to point out that for this budget I think DS220J would be an option. Considering it’s a J model any potential local media servers would best be installed on another device, but also for music streaming J model would do just fine.

Plexamp as part of Plex Pass comes to mind, just my 2c
 
I did look at the five cheapest DSM NAS, and Synology don't make this easy: look at the CPU and RAM (arranged going up in price L-R):

The DS120j is more or less the spec of my DS215j (dual 800MHz CPU and 512MB RAM). Mine can run Plex and just about streams 1080p MKV (MP4) transcode audio to stereo, but that was a short test that a friend's DS218 would be ok in normal operation. When I decided to use Video Station that was when I got the DS218+ (the equivalent of today's DS220+) plus it handled photo management better.

So the dilemma, moving up the models, is DS220j vs DS118 at around the same price: less or more RAM vs 2 or 1 drive bays, respectively. I'd lean towards more RAM, but a 1-bay? Unless you are using the NAS as pure storage and running media servers on a Mac/PC then the RAM is less important ... but the latest DSM 7 (the DSM OS) really recommends 1 GB RAM.

Then I started to think: what could I do with a Raspberry Pi 4 B kit? That gets you a quad core 1.5 GHz CPU and 4 to 8 GB RAM in a box and follow one of the many guides to installing Plex ... just add USB storage. The UK price for the 8GB kit is a little more than the DS120j.
 

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