Server Build vs NAS Help!

Discussion in 'Storage & Backup' started by Smegenstein, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Smegenstein

    Smegenstein Member

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    Hey Guys!

    Currently at home I have an old i3 system that has more or less been bashed together over the years. I use this machine as my server and media center in one. Has all my video media on it, running windows and plex. There are a couple of users with access to my plex so it does sometimes have a couple of streams going at once.

    I am looking into my options at upgrading to something that looks a bit nicer and runs a bit nicer than the current frankenstein machine. I seem to be getting a lot of conflicting information about the best route to go from here, many places recommend a NAS, often a Synology NAS - the issue I see here is that they are no cheaper than a scratch built full server machine, they are not as powerful as a custom built machine and may struggle with transcoding when its needed, and I would also have to buy a media player of some sort.

    I did a quick costing out on PCCG, can get a Ryzen 5 2600, 16GB of corsair DDR RAM, ASUS Prime B450M-A Mobo, Silverstone Sugo SG11 case, 650w corsair power supply for $641 - so about the same price a synology 4 bay NAS sans drives.

    Is there a good reason to pick a NAS over a full server? and if so - ELI5 please because I clearly dont get it...
     
  2. mesaoz

    mesaoz Member

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  3. hairy

    hairy Member

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    my setup is similar to you're one except im running an i7 870.
    I have often asked the same question.
    I like building rigs more and having something I can upgrade easily if a part dies.
    when my htpc rig dies I will be going amd.
     
  4. terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    Advantages, super easy and reliable OS with after sales support. Also power efficient.
    Cons, cost.
     
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  5. chip

    chip Member

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    This might not be as much of a problem as it used to be. Generally speaking, newer ones have hardware transcode for pretty much everything up to 4k HEVC Main10, but you'd want to check the specs carefully first.
     
  6. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'd add "lack of true flexibility" to cons. Same as any software: the "simpler" something is, the fewer options you have to truly customise it the way you want.

    I keep looking at NAS options for home, and without fail give up on them compared to a Linux box that lets me do what I want (for the trade off of needing to play sysadmin at home).
     
  7. chook

    chook Member

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    I run an ESXi host for my needs at home with a Solaris box on it. Fine because I can maintain and manage it.

    My sister and brother-on-law wanted to get their stuff off a desktop so I recommended a NAS to them. They are not stupid but there is no way they are going to maintain something that normal humans would consider IT infrastructure. They can follow along with the NAS menus, read the manual, put the model number into Google and search for their problem. It has a built in DLNA server so media magically arrive on their TV. To me that is the core issue you need to debate.

    Oh and never forget that the most important technical specification of any device is the wife acceptance factor. How much shit are you in when it stops working and you are not there?
     
  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    This. So much this.
     
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  9. TaXy DriVar

    TaXy DriVar Member

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    UNRAID. Nuff Said.

    https://unraid.net/

    Make the most of your hardware as a NAS, as a Plex Media Server ... and any other dockerised container ... VM Server, which can do direct passthrough of your hardware if you also want to use it as a Windows Machine.
     
  10. HobartTas

    HobartTas Member

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    Prebuilt NAS is good if you want all the bells and whistles available immediately and to activate a feature all you need do is click something to "on" and admittedly most of those options are also available on a home built NAS if you're running something like Freenas.

    If all you just want is "XX TB free" and are quite happy just to map a network drive to it and store stuff on it and access it then a home built unit is all you need.

    Home built is much cheaper if you're going to have 8-12 drive bays because in theory the NAS should cost pretty much the same because all the real extra it should cost for those additional drive bays is perhaps the addition of a SAS card for the extra SATA ports and also a bit more for a full tower case equivalent but then you look at the prices they want and you really have to wonder where all the extra cost goes as it looks like about an extra $100 per drive bay tax, secondly a NAS is almost always bought brand new and a home built one can be either new or used, thirdly if used you can be better off buying server grade parts off Ebay that can have Xeons and ECC memory and in most cases are even cheaper if they are slightly older than current technology.

    Most of the PC hardware these days is pretty power efficient when idle and this applies to CPU's and even GPU's so I'm quite happy to have something like an old gaming card like a GTX660Ti that I've kept on the shelf as a video card for a NAS rather than forking out money and purchasing a real low end video card for it (assuming the MB has no on-board video).

    Say the successor for the Intel Core i9 9900K 3.6GHz 8 Core gets released and its a Core i9 10900K 10 Core so perhaps you might think "I'll rip out the existing 3770K, MB and RAM and make a home built NAS out of that with a new case and basic power supply and I'll upgrade my PC at the same time", sure it will cost a bit more but wouldn't it be more worthwhile to spend pretty much all of your money on your new upgraded PC and reuse your old existing parts for free?
     
  11. Zee

    Zee Member

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    I do Synology NAS because it's easy - set and forget, and for anyone else in the house, it acts like a drive on their PC.

    I'll leave the building and tweaking for my gamers. I have two gaming machines, and that's as much tinkering and tweaking as I need. Playing sysadmin is not my idea of fun...

    Z...
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Smegenstein

    Smegenstein Member

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    Wow lots of good content in here cheers guys.
    Fair few things to consider it seems - the wife acceptance factor, if it breaks while I am not there she wont be able to fix either option, she would likely just watch netflix and youtube were this to happen though.
    I guess I am still wary about serving up multiple plex streams straight from a NAS, however I also suppose I could use existing hardware to do the plex transcoding if needed - although this kind of defeats the purpose if I am running 2 machines might as well just go the full sever build hmmmmmm
     
  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Pros and cons. Unraid (both the file system and the server OS) have notable limitations, but offer simplicity over a BtrFS/ZFS setup.

    I repeat what I said above: there's always a trade off when selecting "simple but limited" versus "complex but unlimited".
     
  14. chook

    chook Member

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    With the NAS you can probably talk her through it over the phone or even have a bit of a lesson when you set it up so she feels confident in fixing it. With either option you can possibly configure remote access so you could log in and fix it.
     
  15. StratosFear

    StratosFear Member

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    I ended up with a DS918+ after being very pro DIY/HTPC build. After having it for a couple of years I don't think I'd ever go back.

    I run plex on it serving up to 3 different people at once. To be fair most of my stuff is direct stream but it doesn't seem to ever break a sweat with transcoding.

    It runs about 18 docker containers and does all my NZB/Torrenting as well as home assistant, sql server, reverse proxy, camera recording and monitoring.

    I have 16GB of ram in mine.

    Any trade off in flexibility is easily made up with stability and ease of use. But honestly it does what I need it to do perfectly. The only reason I'd consider going down the path of a server build would be for extra grunt when it comes to hosting VM's etc.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Smegenstein

    Smegenstein Member

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    Oh, what kind of memory do the Synology NAS take?
     
  17. StratosFear

    StratosFear Member

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    The DS918+ is DDR3L so-dimm. Has 2 slots. Officially only supports 8GB but has no issue with 16GB
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Smegenstein

    Smegenstein Member

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    Well that is good to know, I kind of assumed the NAS were stuck with the amount they were sold with.
     
  19. mesaoz

    mesaoz Member

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    just as an alternative, the way I do my home media server is a raspberry pi running dietpi and an external HDD, then an NVIDIA shield running kodi to play the media files over the network. Works great, even with 4k HDR movies

    Raspberry pi & sd card - $25
    Dietpi - free
    External HDD - $60
    nvidia shield - $200
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
  20. OP
    OP
    Smegenstein

    Smegenstein Member

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    A singular External drive wont cut the mustard for me.
     

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