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considering NAS to replace external USB3 drives

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so at the moment i have an Windows 10 Pro system that is essentially running as a server.
it has 1 x 4TB and 1 x 3TB USB3 external drives connected as the primary file storage (M.2 SSD as boot/OS), server connected via gigabit ethernet.

both drives are now each below 1TB free and i'm in the thinking stage of what to do next.
i could just stick another USB3 drive on, but that becomes messy with mutiple external drives all needing their own power etc etc
i could replace one of the drive with a bigger capacity USB3 drive, possible but is just a "sticking plaster" solution.

what i've been thinking about is a NAS, maybe a 3 or 4 drive version in RAID so that i've got some recovery options should a drive go bang (currently i don't).

the synology range looks good.
i don't want to spend stupid money.
the NAS would need to be very quiet as it's location is in a main room.
the only issue i can see with a NAS is that would be much slower than a USB3 connection with best case scenario from a NAS being around 120-130Mbps

any thoughts?

Personally I have never considered a NAS as anything other than a backup device, or possibly an archive device for stuff accessed very infrequently. I presume your main PC is a laptop or similar. This is where a tower system comes in as although USB3 is not bad for access internal drives connected via SATA are the fastest and in a tower multiple drives can usually be fitted, I have 6 drives in my tower with extra space if I need it, I dont currently have anything as a RAID array but obviously could if required. If the NAS is to be used for stuff to be served by the server it will slow it down. Just my thoughts on this.


I have looked into NAS in the past, my main issue has been that the devices themselves simply put seem very bad value for money.  I think a 2 bay NAS is way too restrictive.  4 bay would be the absolute minimum I would consider, also my personal choice it would need to be compatible with FreeNAS to use the best consumer filesystem ZFS.

I actually think it can be cheaper to just build a low powered cheap PC and put FreeNAS on it, the main downside been it will need more space to put somewhere.

But even smaller cases like this can have 6 bays

Can get a 40 cpu, sub 100 board with 6 sata ports, the problem been the ripoff DDR3/4 pricing which will sky rocket the cost.  But I would still rather do this then buy a branded NAS unit.  With ZFS you would ideally want 8 gig of ram as a starting point, but if you had to would be able to get by with 4 gig.


Like Stuart most of my storage is in my main PC it has 8 drive bays and I have 5 HDD's in my PC at the moment.

to explain the use case here.

we have no desktop PCs in the house at all. it's either laptops or mobile devices.
the only "desktop" system is the windows 10 pro "server" which is in Intel NUC running in headless mode. it runs Plex, Radarr, Sonarr, Sabnzbd, Transmission, Jackett, and numerous other services. as it's a NUC there is zero internal space, and i like it that way.
the primary purpose of the server is to serve media content to the various plex clients.

building another PC is not an option i'd want to go down. it would either be NAS or more USB external drives.
also, FreeNAS is not something i'd ever want to use. i'm sure it's pretty good and once you know it inside out it works a treat, but i've also heard (and seen) some horror stories with it too - not my bag and not something i want to get involved in.

You could find horror stories for just about everything to be honest if you look.  Going with a vendor lock in solution is a bad idea tho, if the vendor unit fails you risk losing your data unless you buy something else from the same vendor.

You probably need to wait for someone else to reply, since I cannot find myself to recommend any NAS units.

I did find a sub 100 one on amazon with 4 bays, but there has to be catch at that price, just no idea what it is.


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