The perfect community-hooked up storage

The best network-attached storage

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After three weeks of analysis, plus arms-on testing of a half-dozen finalists, we discovered that the QNAP TS-251 is the perfect community-hooked up storage system (NAS) for individuals who want one. It has a quicker processor and extra reminiscence than most NAS close to its worth, and it has versatile, highly effective software program that does every part most NAS customers want and extra.

Who’s this for?

The best network-attached storage

Left to proper: QNAP TS-251, Synology DiskStation DS214, Western Digital MyCloud Mirror, Asustor AS-5002T, Synology BeyondCloud Mirror.

A NAS gadget is a small pc with an Web connection, at the least one arduous drive bay, an working system that is optimized for community storage. It is one of the simplest ways so as to add terabytes of space for storing to each computing gadget you personal.

A NAS is nice for individuals with giant collections of flicks, pictures, and music: you possibly can retailer all of your media in a single place and stream them to computer systems, audio system, telephones and tablets, and your property theatre system. You can even use your NAS to backup your computer systems, or it might act as your personal private “cloud storage” with distant entry and smartphone apps.

Most NAS may even act as e-mail, database or VPN servers; BitTorrent packing containers; web site hosts; or as DVRs for surveillance cameras, whereas utilizing about the identical quantity of power as a few LED bulbs.

How we determined

The best network-attached storage

We examined learn and write efficiency by copying a 1.48GB file between every NAS and a Dell Latitude 3550 laptop computer, every related to the identical router by way of Ethernet.

Our ideally suited NAS has two exhausting drive bays. Twin-drive NAS units help drive mirroring—the contents of 1 drive are copied to the opposite, so your knowledge is protected even when a tough drive fails. It also needs to help scorching-swapping—altering exhausting drives with out turning off the NAS. It ought to have a number of USB ports, for backing up exterior drives to the NAS (and vice versa) in addition to connecting printers or Wi-Fi dongles. Setup ought to be easy, and it ought to include good cellular apps for media streaming and distant entry.

We targeted on NASes that value lower than $350 (diskless). Cheaper NASes have underpowered hardware, just one drive bay or working techniques which might be difficult or half-baked. Costlier NAS are overkill for many residence use.

Our decide

The best network-attached storage

The QNAP TS-251 is quick, highly effective, and power-environment friendly.

The QNAP TS-251 ($319 with out exhausting drives) is quick: it could possibly learn and write knowledge over the community at greater than 100MB per second. Drive mirroring and scorching swap work properly, it is easy to setup and use, and it helps a plethora of third-get together apps, like Plex and WordPress. Its working system, QTS, is novice-pleasant however has sufficient energy and detailed configurations for energy customers.

The TS-251 has a twin-core Intel Celeron processor and 1GB or 4GB of RAM (expandable as much as 8GB). It has two USB ports and two USB ports, and is likely one of the few NAS we examined that has an HDMI port, so you possibly can join it to your property theater system and play films and media on to your TV.

We do not like that the TS-251’s chassis and drive bays are a bit low cost-feeling and flimsy; it isn’t fairly highly effective sufficient for dependable on-the-fly video transcoding via Plex Media Server, the preferred media-streaming app.

You should purchase a TS-251 with arduous drives included, however it’s often cheaper to purchase drives individually. We like Western Digital Purple drives, that are designed for residence NAS use. Two 4TB drives will provide you with 4TB of complete storage (as a result of the drives are mirrored) and can value round $320 on prime of the price of the NAS.

The runner-up

The best network-attached storage

The Synology DS214 with out its entrance cowl. Its drive trays are extra strong than the QNAP’s, however this NAS has a much less highly effective CPU and no HDMI port.

If the TS-251 is unavailable, or too costly, we advocate the $290 Synology DS214. It is virtually as quick as our decide, although it has much less RAM and a much less highly effective CPU. The DS214 lacks expandable reminiscence and does not have an HDMI port. Synology’s working system is similar to QNAP’s and has primarily the identical options, however QNAP has a bit higher worth for the worth.

The essential, price range-pleasant NAS

The best network-attached storage

The Western Digital My Cloud Mirror could possibly be referred to as “a NAS for many who have by no means used a NAS.”

For those who do not want all of the superior options of a QNAP or Synology NAS, or need to save a couple of bucks, we advocate the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror. It does all the essential NAS stuff; it simply lacks the extra esoteric options like an e-mail or net server, and surveillance cam video recording. It is also considerably simpler to make use of, and cheaper than both of our major picks: a My Cloud Mirror with two 2TB drives is $285; one with two 4TB drives is $440.

In closing

The QNAP TS-251 is one of the best residence NAS for most individuals who want one. It is quick, it has highly effective hardware and software program, and you may join it on to your TV or media middle by way of HDMI for quick media playback. In contrast to most NAS, you’ll be able to add RAM later so it’s going to keep speedy for years.

This information might have been up to date by The Wirecutter. To see the present suggestion, please go right here.

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