NAS newbie - Advice required please!

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by Steve Webb, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Just purchased a Samsung BD-F6500 blu ray player due for delivery later this week, and have seen a You Tube video of someone streaming their files from a PC to the same model Blu Ray player. What I particularly liked was the ability to see cover / poster artwork rather than just a file menu, I didn't realise this was possible - told you I was a newbie!

    I do not want to use a PC to stream from, so I think it's time I looked for a NAS?
    My current media is played/stored across 3 separate devices, which is a pain and confusing for the wife and kids. A used NAS would be my preference to keep costs down, by I'm really not sure what type of device I need.

    My objective is to use my new Samsung Blu Ray as a one stop shop player to view/play ALL my media and retire and sell the Popcorn Hr. This would also allow me to use the PS3 exclusively for games.
    The solution must support 1080p/24hz, HD audio codecs and FLAC files.
    Importantly I'm keen to view all my movies in one place with some form of basic poster cover art (not bothered about music) and it doesn't need to be as sophisticated as YAMJ.

    If it helps here's my current situation;
    I currently store my photos and home video files on an external 1tb USB HDD connected to my PS3 which I also use as my Blu Ray player.
    My MKV and blu ray files are backed up in full HD audio & video and are stored on my Popcorn Hr 210 via it's internal 1tb HDD and 2 x 1tb external USB HDD's
    I run YAMJ on the Popcorn Hr which works great in that it combines all 3 hard drives in 1 menu of movie cover artwork.
    Finally I store my Flac files on my Foxsat freesat HDR box and use it as a NAS to stream to my Onkyo Pre/Pro as it works much better than directly connecting an external USB HDD to my Onkyo.

    Given the above can anyone offer me any useful ideas and suggestions please or am I over complicating things?

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  2. next010

    next010
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    If they were doing cover art then they were likely running Plex on the Samsung. Check the app store on your Samsung device and see if Plex is listed. Plex does have a requirement, that your running the Plex media server somewhere on the network. Plex automatically scans media you do not have to hold it's hand and the media regardless of location is combined into one media library.

    For Plex on a NAS the cheapest and optimal choice is an Asustor AS2 series which are £178 on Amazon.co.uk for the two bay model. Why the AS2 well unlike almost all other consumer NAS in this price range the AS2 has an Intel dual core CPU at it's heart whereas the others have low performance Arm chips (not at all like the stuff in phones or tablets).

    This matters because Plex is a CPU intensive application and it affects the speed of how quickly the client is fed the coverart, secondly AS2 are extremely quiet compared to QNAP/Synology efforts in the same price range. Lastly the Intel chip allows media transcoding in Plex though this really wont be necessary as the Samsung has pretty good codec support.

    When you install internal HDD's into the AS2 it will format them so have data backed up. USB HDD's will not be formatted so you can plug your remainder into the AS2 via the USB ports.

    The Popcornhours also have a Plex client I believe though I dont know if it's available on the 210 series.

    If you've any more questions ask away, I run this exact set up.

    I would recommend installing Plex media server on your PC first with some media to test with then try accessing the Samsung Plex client to see if it works the way you want it to. No point buying a Plex NAS if you dont like Plex.
     
  3. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Excellent. That certainly helps.
    I'll have to check the BD player for the Plex app when it arrives, but a quick check on the tinternet suggests it is compatible. The idea of trying Plex on my PC first sounds ideal.

    Perhaps naively I was hoping to fit the NAS in my AV cabinet, but the Asustor looks to be a little too big.
    At the risk of sounding stupid, I'm assuming something like the Seagate Central wouldn't be fit for my purpose?
    Thanks for the advice. I'll probably take you up on your offer for more in a few days once I've had chance to digest and experiment.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  4. next010

    next010
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    For Plex your only options are a
    Windows PC, Mac, Linux PC
    Synology, Asustor, QNAP, Netgear, Drobo NAS.

    Drobo and QNAP both make slim line 2.5" HDD NAS but you will spend a lot of money getting those and equipping them with drives, max size 2.5" is 1TB. However they are Arm based, you can run Plex on them but it will be slow, loading data on the clients and it takes a while for it to scan media.

    The Seagate is an entry level NAS it doesn't support running things like Plex media server, it would be okay for media players that only use network shares or a basic DLNA client (like Samsung DLNA media player) but DLNA doesn't do coverart that well. Plex doubles as a DLNA server also so when you get the Samsung you can see for yourself the difference between the Plex app and the Samsung DLNA player.

    Not all DLNA servers are equal either and capable of doing coverart, you'd be looking at Serviio, Plex and possibly Mezzmo that do the media scanning and only Serviio/Plex run on NAS. For Serviio you can use it with the lower end Arm NAS but again Serviio is not something you can (easily) install on entry level NAS like the Seagate or Western Digital lines.
     
  5. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    I'm a little miffed to say the least!
    Received my Samsung blu ray player today and had a play.
    The damn thing doesn't support HD audio codecs from any source other than a Blu-ray Disc!!
    I tried to play some mkv and Mts files from an external USB HDD that play fine on my Popcorn and discovered the Samsung can only play the core DTS element of DTS Master and doesn't even recognise Dolby True HD!

    I should add that I called Samsung and they confirmed the player doesn't support HD codecs from External sources!

    Need to have rethink now as the PS3 doesn't appear to be particularly compatible with Plex.

    What media player do you use?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  6. Lancia34

    Lancia34
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    I used a PS3 (and still do in my bedroom setup) for streaming from my NAS - worked pretty well except for no support for MKVs without transcoding (which my QNAP cannot do).
    Just got a Mede8er MED600x3d which streams most codecs and does all HD audio I believe. Small box, although doesn't have a BD player but I do now have it setup with TV & movies and it looks rpetty much like Netflix - very happy so far :)

    Attempted to find a decent all in one solution without building an HTPC but gave up so use the MED600x3d and then my PS4 for bluray playback.
     
  7. Chrisfxz

    Chrisfxz
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    Sorry to hijack thread, does anyone know if plex will transcode mkvs so they will play on ps3
     
  8. next010

    next010
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    @ Steve Webb I suspected that outcome, the big name players have improved greatly over the years but they don't go all the way with 24Hz, HD audio.

    There is a Panasonic Plex client in the works but I doubt their BD players would be any different.

    As to Plex players that will do HD audio and probably 24Hz
    1) PC running Plex
    2) Popcornhour A400 series
    3) Android box with Plex but suitable ones arent really available yet but some are in the works.
    4) XBMC Plex plugin, there are some nice PC derived set top boxes in the works that may prove suitable.

    (wildcard) AppleTV v4 is rumoured to be coming very soon with an app store so Plex will definitely be on that but what limits Apple impose is another matter.

    @Chrisfxz Plex will transcode mkv to work on PS3 but you need x86 PC/NAS to do it, the Arm based NAS either dont support transcoding or are too slow to do it.

    It's not transcoding but most DLNA servers do real time remuxing swapping the mkv container to ts that is compatible with the PS3, the stock DLNA server on Synology and Asustor NAS does this.
     
  9. Chrisfxz

    Chrisfxz
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    Thanks for that mate. Now to go Google my nas. Lol. It's a qnap. Ts 412
     
  10. next010

    next010
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    The TS412 should do it with the QNAP media server if you have the latest firmware, QNAP replaced Twonky (which doesn't do it) with their own in-house DLNA media server.

    If for some reason you cant get it to work, download TVMobili for QNAP and install the app, TVMobili media server will remux/transcode.
     
  11. Chrisfxz

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    Excellent. Will give that a bash later. Was using twonkey which as you say doesn't do it.

    Have tried to add my library to plex twice but it keeps crashing out after hours without adding any data. Hopefully tv mobile will work and I can bin plex rather than persevere

    Cheers for your help
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  12. next010

    next010
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    TVMobili is designed for low end Arm NAS so it doesnt run as slow as Plex does.

    The QNAP DLNA server is only present if you update to QT4.x OS if running anything lower you will have to use TVMobili or Serviio which is another option but Serviio also requires installing Java runtime (theres a guide on the Serviio forums).
     
  13. Steve Webb

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    Well, I went ahead and purchased an Asustor AS-202TE and fitted a 3tb WD red drive too.
    I've been playing with it for a week or so now and I'm having some issues to be honest.

    XBMC
    1 - tried connecting up to my AV pre/pro via HDMI using the XBMC app. SD video and audio work fine. However, HD video with HD DTS is down converted to DTS core whilst HD video with Dolby TrueHD stutters so badly it virtually stops.
    It seems to me that the Asustor is not sending the audio as bitstream and there doesn't seem to be an option to select this anywhere.
    asustors website references compatibility with Dolby and DTS HD codecs so I assume this includes the 2 series??
    Does your knowledge extend to the XMBC app on this device?

    PLEX
    1 - Samsung BD player plays all video fine, but can't play back HD audio codecs. It plays the DTS core for DTS HD, but there is no sound with Dolby True HD.
    2 - Popcorn hour A-210 plays all SD video and audio fine and plays back video with DTS HD audio codecs fine too. However it really really struggles with any video containing Dolby TrueHD and again stutters so badly it virtually stops.

    I have Direct Play selected in the Plex app so my understanding is that the Asustor is not transcoding?

    The Audio options seem limited / non existent in the Plex app version for the Asustor so am I restricted to using this app as I notice there are several versions of Plex and read somewhere that it's possible to install Plex software from the Plex website. I downloaded the Asustor NAS 32bit version to my PC but I'm not sure how or if I can install it!

    I wonder if the Plex audio issues I'm having with the Popcorn Hour A-210 would be addressed if I had an A-400? If so I'll buy one.
    You mention that you have a similar set up so I'd appreciate some insight on how you manage to play HD audio codecs without issue.

    Any help/advice you can offer would be much appreciated.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  14. frog61

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    Hardly an expert myself, but thought would share my setup which works reasonably well. Always happy to hear advice tho!
    I bought a Synology 412+, 4 bay NAS, currently filled with 16TB worth of movies. I like my 1080p stuff so majority of movies are between 8-30GB a file!. (tried the QNAP mentioned and didnt like it)

    I have a 2011 Samsung 'smart' tv which does sometimes struggle with HD content, anything above 20GB and it will stutter. as such I bought a WDTV Live which really does play everything I throw at it.
    Not at the stage of having a proper AV, so I cant say much about the sound.

    Everything conencted via Cat6.

    only problem I do have is streaming to my ipad and desktop on the 3rd floor. I have a Belkin powerline to distribute some networking across the house, but this doesnt work 100% for large files on the desktop.
     
  15. next010

    next010
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    The version of XBMC supplied by Asustor comes from a separate group not the XBMC team. I dont have the unit with XBMC as an output so can't give any more detailed help on it.

    My guess is HD audio bit-streaming simply isn't enabled on the variant, perhaps the hardware supports it but the software doesn't ?, the Asustor forums have an XBMC section you might get someone more knowledgeable of this there.

    Is PCM an output option in the XBMC pass-through settings you could try that de-selecting all other Dolby/DTS/TrueHD/DTS-MA and see what happens.

    Only specific platforms running XBMC can do full HD audio bit-streaming the cheapest of which is the Intel NUC (celeron kind). A nicer alternative is also the CuBox-i which can also do HD bit-streaming but it's not yet ready for prime time.


    As to Plex first up Plex is a lot like DLNA it's not really a good idea to feed it BDMV folders, you should rip movie using MakeMKV along with standard DTS/Dolby and TrueHD/DTS-MA tracks were present.

    This may be down to the Samsung media player, as I mentioned earlier in this thread not all BD players support bit-streaming HD audio via their internal players (see comment here too from dev). The ones I know of that do for sure are Oppo BD players but these do not have a Plex client only plain DLNA. You could try asking in the Plex Samsung forum is there any Sammy BD model at all that does HD audio bit-streaming via Plex but it may simply be a limit of the platform itself.

    If ripping with MakeMKV the Dolby audio track should get first preference that should at least give Dolby 5.1 even if TrueHD track is present as track 2 or something, MKVmerge can also re-order the audio tracks.

    I assume your using the Plex client present in the Popcornhour app market, if so you can find the support thread here, this is probably a client side issue but could also be if you ripped with BDMV instead of MakeMKV. I'm sorry I cant be of much more help but it sounds like something specific to the A210, you could test the theory out if you installed Plex server on your PC and test the same kind of media with the A210 to see what happens.

    Also test with MakeMKV rips instead of BDMV for both cases.

    Advanced audio options for Plex are buried deep within XML config files it's not something normally exposed or easy to mess around with. The Plex client you get through the Asustor app portal is the correct version and the same as whats posted on the Plex website there is no need to manually install it.

    Hold off buying anything, I dont think the Samsung issue can be addressed thats just an unfortunate limitation but the guys on the Popcornhour forums might be able to address your issues with the A-210 Plex client. They develop their own Plex client it's not made by the Plex team.

    As to HD bit-streaming audio with Plex a Windows based HTPC or Popcornhour A4xx are the platforms that support it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  16. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    This is the problem, there are no bitstream or PCM options in this version of XBMC and no reference to audio codecs anywhere.

    I have a number of BDMV folders ripped but the issues I'm experiencing with both XBMC and Plex are indeed with rips I made with Make MKV. It's clear the the versions of XBMC and Plex on the Asustor can't handle HD audio codecs as they both work fine with core audio codecs - given I've invested in what most would consider to be a high end audio set up, core audio codecs ain't good enough I'm afraid.

    My reference to the Samsung BD player is actually mute as it is incapable of playing HD audio codecs via any other source than BD discs. My understanding is that none of their players are any different, but I'd like to be proved otherwise. I owned an OPPO BD player and whilst they can indeed support HD codecs streamed and via USB drives, the only way I could run it with some kind of wall art was with MutliAVCHD which is not ideal and very limited and a pain to keep updating.

    I know the Asustor can handle these codecs as I've mapped the internal and external USB drives as shared drives on my Popcorn Hour. Using YAMJ I have around 50 BDs ripped with HD audio codecs and all play flawlessly.

    Whilst I like the YAMJ setup, I had hoped I could use Plex instead so that I could incorporate all my home vids and photos.

    I do like the Asustor though. It's whisper quiet and barely gets warm even in my enclosed AV cupboard!
    I need to explore the vast array of apps available to see if there are any additional toys I could be enjoying!

    Thanks for all your help and advice, I appreciate the insight of someone that clearly knows their stuff.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  17. next010

    next010
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    Probably doesn't support it then, just in case on the remote chance XBMC changed the way it displays settings. You must cycle it from the standard settings mode to expert to see pass-through options. You can see the settings level as soon as your in settings if you dont see anything at all then this version is older or has it disabled altogether.

    I'd contact Asustor directly via support and ask them what the deal is with their XBMC client and the HD audio claims on the website.

    The Plex server with the right client should be delivering what you want, if you have a spare windows PC even a laptop that supports HD audio (HDMI properties in Windows audio control panel will say) give it a try with the windows Plex client Plex Home Theatre. I'm more inclined to think the PCH A-210 Plex client is at fault than the Plex server as the PMS on Asustor comes direct from Plex team there is no third party.

    Yeah BD players dont really do a very good job, the DLNA player is completely separate features wise from the disc player in most cases.

    The Xbox One is getting a Plex client and the latest firmware update just released added a pretty capable media player to it which is also getting DLNA support down the road, I would keep an eye on this one as it may deliver the combined BD disc player and Plex client your after.

    If you wish to combine Plex server and XBMC for HD audio bit-streaming
    1) Buy an Intel NUC it does not matter which model the cheapest Celeron one will suffice which is HD audio bit-streaming capable.
    2) To go with the NUC buy RAM, mSATA SSD and HDMI-CEC adapter if you have CEC capable TV if not buy MCE remote with USB IR adapter.
    3) Install Openelec on the NUC.
    4) Install Plexbmc add-on this turns XBMC into a Plex client. Switch to Amber skin which has support for Plexbmc.

    That should give you a client which can do it all and you can flick between XBMC or Plex.

    Oh and if you do go Plexbmc route be sure to follow this sequence
    1) Go to XBMC settings->addons and Install Plexbmc addon via zip
    2) get addons go to Plexbmc repository
    3) Go into video addons and select Plexbmc
    4) Go to back to addon top level and select xbmc repository then skins and install amber, switch to the skin then reboot system.
    5) Once backup in XBMC again you will see Plexbmc settings as sub menu under XBMC settings go into this and it should find Asustor PMS and set as master server. Hit go Plexbmc to switch to Plex interface.

    Do not install the Plexbmc helper before the plexbmc service, the helper is optional.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  18. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Now that is interesting. A perfect excuse to bin my PS3 - I'm so surprised the PS4 is so inadequate as a media player.

    Your additional suggestions also sound very interesting too. I'll have to have a read up this weekend.

    Thanks again
     
  19. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Looks like the Xbox one isn't an option at the moment at least as I've read it can't bitstream HD audio codecs. Even the the most basic entry level BD players offer this facility, so why on earth couldn't Microsoft include this - unbelievable?!
    I appreciate it can decode and pass on PCM but I didn't pay over £2k on an pre/pro for it not to do the decoding.
    Not sure if this is something that can be addressed in a software update or if it's hardware related, but until it's sorted the Xbox One won't be on my Christmas list!

    The Intel NUC looks like a good option though. I need to do have a proper look but it definitely seems tick all the initial boxes.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  20. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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  21. next010

    next010
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    Just picks if you weren't sure what was needed.

    The Celeron NUC has confirmed DTS-MA/TrueHD bit-streaming support under Openelec/xbmc and it also supports dynamic switching to 1080p at 24hz.

    There actually is a Plex version of Openelec in development but not sure how well that works. I couldn't get it to boot for some reason, could have been my USB stick you may have better luck if interested. According to this fellow the Plex fork has HD audio bit-streaming working as well.

    For xbmc/Openelec download stable x86_64 4.0.7 which is current stable release, use the included utility to copy files to USB stick as seen here in wiki, then boot from NUC using stick and install to mSATA drive, you can actually run from USB stick too but mSATA is better.
     
  22. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Ok.
    There appears to be 2 similar entry level NUCs available;
    DCCP847DYE
    DN2820FYK

    Which of these would you go for if you were me and why?
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  23. next010

    next010
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    The XBMC wiki outlines all the different NUC's.

    The DYE model takes mSATA SSD drives these are very small drives like the size of a wireless NIC in a laptop.

    The FYK model takes standard 2.5" SSD or HDD drives, it also has a newer generation Celeron CPU.

    Both do HD audio bit-streaming though the FYK model has a bug in Windows that prevents it but it is fine under Openelec.
     
  24. bubblegum57

    bubblegum57
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    The other thing which might be relevant DN2820FYKH has an internal ir port, which if I get one, will be able to use with a logitech.
    Also, it has a newer celeron cpu, but beware some older stock might ship with the N2820, but newer stock will ship with the N2830, although both say N2820

    Intel Bay Trail NUC Kit DN2820FYKH Gets N2830 CPU with Quick Sync Video - Legit Reviews
     
  25. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Thanks both for your input.
    I had read these differences and the issues that appears to plague the older N2820 CPU.
    I like the inclusion of the IR port and the fact the N2820 is the later model with a faster 2.41 ghz CPU, it seems to be aimed squarely as a HTCP, but it also appears to cut corners on SSD and RAM options over the 847 model - I can't see that I'll ever need anymore than 4 to 8 gig of RAM for my needs, but I don't fully understand the advantages of mSATA.
    I've also read a few people advising that they have had issues installing Openelec on the N2820?!

    I'm struggling to decide between them, so need a push either way please?

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  26. bubblegum57

    bubblegum57
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    I don't know of the pros & cons of msata v ssd.

    If you have the money, get an i3 nuc, although from reading these forums, i3 might be overkill just to run xbmc.

    D34010WYKH this has IR & takes ssd, but is double the price of the Celeron.

    Another thing, you don't need msata or ssd, you can install openelec onto a usb.
     
  27. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Well I've gone ahead and bought the N2820 and added a 1.35v 4gb RAM and a 120gb Samsung Evo SSD (probably a bit more than I need, but looked good value).

    I may be back for a little help/advice once received, but in the meantime thanks again for all the help guys, much appreciated.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  28. Sloppy Bob

    Sloppy Bob
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    I've just bought one and used 2GB ram and a 16GB Fast USB 3.0 stick and to be honest I can't see the need for more ram or the SSD for OpenELEC as it flies compared to The Little Black Box and Boxee I had.
     
  29. Steve Webb

    Steve Webb
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    Ok, some help needed please?
    Installed openelec, no problem.
    In XBMC I went to video > files > add video > browse > windows network (SMB) (this my Asustor NAS) > then added folders.
    All worked fine.
    However, having shut down the NUC via my pronto remote, on reboot it can't find the video files.
    When I go back into browsing for the windows network (SMB) server occasionally it will reconnect, but more often than not it can't and just comes back with 'connection timed out'!
    Am I missing something here?
    The popcorn hour connected to the share drives 100% every time so not sure what the issue is.

    Any advice?
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  30. next010

    next010
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    If your using the idle feature of the NAS, this makes it go into a lower power mode. Usually this shouldn't cause any problems XBMC should wake the NAS when attempting to access files and there is a brief delay of 10 seconds or so as the NAS spins up the HDD's.

    (MY Asusor and NUC work exactly in this manner, if this is the problem it may be something else on the network, router issue or one other long shot is make sure the bios firmware on the NUC is up to date)

    Workarounds;
    Try going into the ADM settings then into energy saver and select customize. Set internal HDD spindown to never. Now repeat the same scenario and see if that changes anything.

    Alternatively go into ADM\services\windows file service and tick the box for local master browser, again test and see if that makes any difference.

    You can also use Max OSX and NFS as alternates to SMB, (NFS can be tricky) but for OSX you can browse OSX shares under zeroconf browser.
     

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