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Help choosing a NAS

Wimp Slayer

Novice Member
Hi all, I have a load of films and tv shows that I want to stream mainly to Xbox one, sometimes to xbmc and sometimes to Xbox 360, i doubt ever at same time. Can anyone recommend a cheapish NAS server that will do this? I want to future proof for when the Plex app comes out on the xbone. I also want one that has a torrent client built in? I already have drives I can put in. Some of my films are MKV but I know that requires transcoding going to xbone and this can put the price up so would rather just convert those into MP4s to save money.. sound like an ok plan?
 

next010

Distinguished Member
For Plex you want
1) A NAS that supports Plex media server.
2) An x86 CPU (Arm/PPC based systems are too slow)

An Asustor AS2 series NAS is currently the cheapest off the shelf x86 Plex server you can buy. Synology also have the Play series which have the same kind of CPU, Asustors AS3 series are the equivalent. Thecus also have some x86 off the shelf NAS.

Some people also like to DIY small PC servers but these have CPU's not too different from the x86 off the shelf boxes but you can save a bit more money with this approach.

As long as your media is H.264 MP4/MKV that should be fine for the Xbox One Plex client assuming it at minimum supports H.264 MP4 video, the Plex server can swap container from MKV to MP4 without invoking a full transcode.

If your media wasn't in that format you might run into some issues and a self build PC DIY server with a Core i3 or Core i5 CPU would be more practical for full transcoding with Plex.
 
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Wimp Slayer

Novice Member
Ok thank you. I thought it didn't need to do any transcoding if in the correct format. Does what you've said above apply if using an app like bubble on android to select the video to play? How would something like this for example perform?
D-Link DNS-320L ShareCenter
 

next010

Distinguished Member
D-Link NAS is completely useless, no x86 CPU and no Plex. If you want Plex done right your going to have to pay for one of the better NAS, the cheapest being the Asustor AS2-202T for here at £176 or here for £177 with no HDD, you will have to buy your own HDD drive and install it.

You don't need transcoding if the Plex client supports the video natively but it's hard to predict what media the Xbox One will support because it's a very gray area, most Plex clients are only GUI interfaces to the native media player on the box so whatever formats MS has licensed are only going to playable natively. Adding extra codec support into the Xbox Plex client could be a legal mine field, you will have to wait and see what happens.

For the D-Link to work you would need to see something like VLC appear on the Xbox One.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
If you already have a Raspberry Pi then you can use any NAS you can afford, XBMC has no server side requirements.

To do Plex on the lowest budget possible look for any old second hand PC's or laptops (plenty on ebay) or if you have one spare, install Ubuntu the free linux OS on it and you can get Plex server via the app store of Ubuntu.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
PC's can be left on 24/7 but yes it would consume more power compared to a dedicated NAS.

Laptop might be a good idea to consume less power, already designed for a lower power draw and just set power management to save as much power as possible.
 

Wimp Slayer

Novice Member
Ok i think ive decided to go with a Zyxcel one as i have found people that have installed Plex on it and although not capable of transcoding I don't think i'll need that. Thanks for everyones help.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Without transcoding you will be at mercy of native playback, you better hope Xbox One client gets good media support.

Personally I'd save up my money for an x86 model which can at least do limited transcoding, it's not like the Xbox client is already available so your going to have to wait for that.

Also using an Arm CPU for Plex has other effects, most noticeably the speed at which the Plex server supplies all the visual data to the Plex client (backgrounds, artwork) it is much slower than x86 as Plex is a pig of an app that hogs the CPU. On a regular PC you wouldn't notice it on a very low end single core Arm CPU you will.
 

cjed

Well-known Member
The low cost Zyxel NAS units are a good introduction to how a NAS operates, so I don't think it'll be wasted money. Look on it as a learning exercise. At the very least you can eBay it if it's unsuitable and you won't lose too much.
 

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