New NAS vs NAS and separate server

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New NAS vs NAS and separate server

105
9
NAS
DS213J, DS918+
Operating system
  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
Currently own a DS918+ as my primary device (running cloud backup, DS photos, DS drive, and plex for family). I recently bought a DS223 which is a local onsite backup (and dedicated home assistant without internet connection), and I have an old DS213J that was my first NAS that is a remote backup of documents and family photos.

Recently I have been doing a bit more with regards to video and running Plex with 4k home videos from new camocorder, iPhone videos, and the 918+ doesn't love it. I did get a few arr apps up and running since they seemed pretty easy to re-name all my old TV shows and movies after going through the painstaking ripping process. It seems like anytime something is going on (transcode with hardware on plex, one of the arr renaming or moving files, or even trying something like YT-DLP) the CPU can't keep up. Even just running backups such as directly to another local USB hard drive I swap out once a month nearly shuts down the NAS for a day or 2.

I love synology GUI, and finally feel like I understand it, and ultimately want to upgrade. From my use case I think I would be better served with a more powerful processor (and for plex or jellyfin hardware transcoding need to have intel chip which isn't exactly an option now). Ideally would like to go to an 6-8 bay and use the 918 as backup, but only options I see are something like Ugreen, QNAP, or setting up my own unraid etc. Not particularly interested in this idea of DIY, as I like the synology simplicity and the thing does work.

It seems that synology is focusing more on small business/enterprise and not expecting new intel based home devices to come out anytime soon (ever?). I have idea of buying a 920+ that is already 4 years old just for plex transcoding. For those in similar situations please provide your experience or advice.

Would you recommend:
1) keeping the DS918+ and buying a minis forum i5 etc for everything and just use the DS918+ for DS drive/photos and NAS use
2) Upgrade to an 8 bay synology and give up on plex hardware transcoding (run everything on the synology, and if need dedicated plex transcoding getting a cheap low powered n100 device just for plex
3) Upgrade to another NAS (such as the i5 or i7 QNAP as an all in one device and use DS918+ for backup)

I'm leaning towards option #1 and trying to learn some linux, but I really with there was a intel i5 or i7 synology option for home, I would pay the premium for the GUI.

TIA.
 
As an example, Plex runs from a docker container on the mini-PC (Debian OS). Synology shared folders for various media (tv, movies... ) are mounted to the mini-PC (CIFS mounts). My docker-compose.yml contains:
Code:
volumes:
      - config:/config
      - /mnt/plex/media/movies:/movies:ro
      - /mnt/plex/media/tv_shows:/tvshows:ro
      - /mnt/plex/media/music:/music:ro
      - /mnt/plex/media/optimize:/transcode

volumes:
  config:
 
It seems that synology is focusing more on small business/enterprise and not expecting new intel based home devices to come out anytime soon (ever?
While most new models are indeed AMD driven and have no support for compatible Plex transcoding like Intel QuickSync does, there are some models that might still fit, like the DS423+. True, its not a 6-8 bay but its more modern and compatible in that scenario.

On top of this, are you a PlexPass subscriber? The reason I'm asking is that I have several x18 models that are Plex server (on top of some other use cases) and with Plex pass and multiple concurrent remote streams (some are indeed transcoded) it can keep up without much effort. Truth be told, those devices do not run any xxRR tasks in parallel that will ofc task both the volume and CPU, so separating the roles would definitely help in your case.

Looking at your options, if option no1 is your favorite, that would for sure work. Even leaving Plex on the nas with PlexPass active, and shifting the high IO tasks to another device (downloading/repacking/unpacking, etc) you could get a solid solution for not much money. Ofc that would also means that you won't have to invest into a new NAS that will for sure cost more in the end.
 
Last edited:
As an example, Plex runs from a docker container on the mini-PC (Debian OS). Synology shared folders for various media (tv, movies... ) are mounted to the mini-PC (CIFS mounts). My docker-compose.yml contains:
Code:
volumes:
      - config:/config
      - /mnt/plex/media/movies:/movies:ro
      - /mnt/plex/media/tv_shows:/tvshows:ro
      - /mnt/plex/media/music:/music:ro
      - /mnt/plex/media/optimize:/transcode

volumes:
  config:
How are speeds and network usage? If I go this route would have the NAS and mini PC on the same gigabit switch. Do you have a small SSD just for apps and run everything off the synology (like a 128 or 256 just for docker?), or do you have another 1-2TB storage pool on the mini PC say for the arr apps etc to do all their work and then have it copy over to the synology when done renaming.
-- post merged: --

While most new models are indeed AMD driven and have no support for compatible Plex transcoding like Intel QuickSync does, there are some models that might still fit, like the DS423+. True, its not a 6-8 bay but its more modern and compatible in that scenario.

On top of this, are you a PlexPass subscriber? The reason I'm asking is that I have several x18 models that are Plex server (on top of some other use cases) and with Plex pass and multiple concurrent remote streams (some are indeed transcoded) it can keep up without much effort. Truth be told, those devices do not run any xxRR tasks in parallel that will ofc task both the volume and CPU, so separating the roles would definitely help in your case.

Looking at your options, if option no1 is your favorite, that would for sure work. Even leaving Plex on the nas with PlexPass active, and shifting the high IO tasks to another device (downloading/repacking/unpacking, etc) you could get a solid solution for not much money. Ofc that would also means that you won't have to invest into a new NAS that will for sure cost more in the end.
I am a plex pass member, and the transcoding has been doing ok up until recently. With 4K content and HDR tone mapping it just can't handle it well. This isn't the biggest deal since locally my family videos direct play on Apple TV 4K, but when my parents remotely play the home movies (aka kids sports etc) it struggles a bit. What becomes an issue is anytime there is a backup going on or another task Plex will actually have trouble loading up at main screen to even direct play. Just seems that I am taxing the device too much.

In retrospect I probably should have got another 423+ rather than the 223, and used it for dedicated plex and backup....but o well.

I think I'm going to do some due diligence and look into a mini PC and try a setup like Telos. I'm sure I'll end up with linux and have a lot to learn again to get it up and going, but the Xpenology might be something I will mess with to just for familiarity sake.
 
How are speeds and network usage? If I go this route would have the NAS and mini PC on the same gigabit switch. Do you have a small SSD just for apps and run everything off the synology (like a 128 or 256 just for docker?), or do you have another 1-2TB storage pool on the mini PC say for the arr apps etc to do all their work and then have it copy over to the synology when done renaming.
Both are wired. The mini is on a switch, and the NAS is on a router LAN port. I have a 1 TB NVMe on the mini. This is serious overkill, but it was bought for future flexibility. Presently I am using about 70 GB (including OS) The arr containers run on the mini, however downloads and transfers from the download directory to the media directory (by sonarr for example) all occur on the NAS. Let me know if you have other questions.
 
For 4k UHD playback, they only device I know of (other than a PC) that can handle playback without buffering/stuttering is the Nvidia Shield on a 1GBE network. I prefer KODI over Plex because it is free and I don't need transcoding.
 
For 4k UHD playback, they only device I know of (other than a PC) that can handle playback without buffering/stuttering is the Nvidia Shield on a 1GBE network. I prefer KODI over Plex because it is free and I don't need transcoding.
The Apple TV 4K does it fine on infuse locally, no issues at all. It's more of an issue with the transcoding with HDR tone mapping for remote play. I'm not re-encoding all home family movies for remote play and storing, so want to be able to do the tone mapping natively which is where it falls down.
-- post merged: --

I run 90% of my docker containers from a mini-PC. The i5 is quite capable, though you may find the N100 mini-PCs worth considering.
Considering something like the minisforum ms01 1260 (the n100 reviews says it may struggle with the HDR to SDR tone mapping).

Thoughts on the minis forum MS01 as an option?

And what is the most beginner friendly thing I can install on the mini pic to get into a docker friendly GUI like pertainer that would be easy to migrate my docker from synology to?
 
The Apple TV 4K does it fine on infuse locally, no issues at all. It's more of an issue with the transcoding with HDR tone mapping for remote play. I'm not re-encoding all home family movies for remote play and storing, so want to be able to do the tone mapping natively which is where it falls down.
-- post merged: --


Considering something like the minisforum ms01 1260 (the n100 reviews says it may struggle with the HDR to SDR tone mapping).

Thoughts on the minis forum MS01 as an option?

And what is the most beginner friendly thing I can install on the mini pic to get into a docker friendly GUI like pertainer that would be easy to migrate my docker from synology to?
4k UHD vs compressed 4k playback are two different things. Compressed 4k has a much lower bitrate.
 
4k UHD vs compressed 4k playback are two different things. Compressed 4k has a much lower bitrate.
These are all remux of Blu-ray 4K that I own. Also the camcorder is obviously high bit rate.

But as an aside, I got a Beelink mini PC with a N100 for $160 just to try before going with a NUC or minisforum with higher level processor, and pretty shocked at how good this little device is. No issues with high bit rate 4K transcode with HDR time mapping. Setup proxmox with Plex on an lxc and then using synology mounted as NFS and works well. Still need to setup and move all my docker containers but pretty happy with the $160 setup. Will probably extend the life of my 918+ for years now that I offloaded processing to another device.
 

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