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Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Arnav Sharma

The conversation around home storage solutions has significantly evolved, with Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices leading the charge. These devices, designed to offer a centralized storage solution, have become indispensable in homes for a myriad of reasons, including media streaming, data backup, and personal cloud creation. This guide aims to navigate you through the myriad of options available, helping you choose the best NAS for your home.

Best NAS Devices for 2024

In 2024, the range of NAS devices available caters to both the home and office environments, with specific models excelling in particular roles. For home use, two key categories stand out:

Synology DiskStation DS923+

The Synology DiskStation DS923+ is a powerful and versatile 4-bay NAS (Network Attached Storage) device designed for home offices and small businesses. It offers robust file storage, sharing, data protection, media management, and surveillance capabilities.

Pros

  • Improved Performance: Powered by an AMD Ryzen R1600 dual-core processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM (expandable to 32GB), the DS923+ delivers significantly improved performance over its predecessor. This makes it a great choice for demanding workloads like media streaming and running virtual machines.
  • Flexible Storage Options: Four drive bays provide ample storage potential, and the DS923+ supports hot-swapping, making it easy to add or replace drives. It is compatible with Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), plus standard RAID configurations (0, 1, 5, 6, 10) for the right balance of redundancy and performance.
  • Expansion Possibilities: With an optional DX517 expansion unit, you can scale the DS923+ up to 9 drive bays, increasing your total storage capacity. Additionally, an available PCIe slot lets you add a 10GbE network card for ultra-fast file transfers if needed.
  • NVMe SSD Cache: Two built-in M.2 NVMe SSD slots allow you to create an SSD cache, boosting random read/write performance and making it responsive for frequently accessed files and applications.
  • Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM): The heart of the DS923+ is Synology’s award-winning operating system, DSM. DSM provides a user-friendly, web-based interface packed with features, including an extensive package center, making it a comprehensive all-in-one solution for file management, backup, media serving, and more.
  • Surveillance Station: The DS923+ can act as a comprehensive surveillance solution, supporting multiple IP cameras and offering features like video recording, motion detection, and smart event analysis.

Cons

  • Price: The DS923+ comes at a premium price point, especially when you factor in hard drives. This might put it outside the budget of some home users.
  • Limited Built-in Network Connectivity: With only two 1GbE ports, multi-gig network speeds are only achievable with the optional 10GbE network card and a compatible network setup.
  • Potential Fan Noise: Some users may find the fans of the DS923+ to be noticeable, depending on the environment it’s placed in.

Should you buy the Synology DS923+?

The Synology DiskStation DS923+ is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a powerful and reliable NAS for your home or small business. Here’s who it’s best for:

  • Users needing high performance: If you frequently handle large file transfers, run demanding applications, or stream media to multiple devices, the DS923+ will deliver the necessary speed.
  • Those seeking expandability: The option to add additional drive bays and boost network speeds makes the DS923+ a future-proof solution as your storage and connectivity needs grow.
  • Power users who value DSM: Synology’s DiskStation Manager offers a wealth of features and customization, making it an excellent choice for experienced users who want granular control.
Synology

Asustor Drivestor 2 AS1102T – 2 Bay NAS

The Asustor Drivestor 2 AS1102T is a 2-bay NAS that’s positioned as an affordable and easy-to-use choice for home users and smaller offices. It offers a solid set of features for file storage, backup, media streaming, and basic surveillance.

Pros

  • Affordability: One of the key selling points of the Drivestor 2 AS1102T is its competitive price, making it an accessible NAS solution for budget-conscious users.
  • 2.5GbE Connectivity: The inclusion of a 2.5GbE network port offers significantly faster potential transfer speeds compared to traditional Gigabit Ethernet, especially if you have a compatible network setup.
  • Easy Setup and Use: Asustor’s ADM (Asustor Data Master) operating system is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, making it easier for beginners and less technically-inclined users to get up and running quickly.
  • App Central: Like Synology’s Package Center, Asustor’s App Central offers a range of apps for various functionalities, extending the NAS’s capabilities for multimedia, backup, and more.
  • Compact Design: The Drivestor 2’s smaller form factor makes it a good fit for homes and offices where space is limited.

Cons

  • Limited Performance: With its dual-core Realtek processor and 1GB of RAM, the Drivestor 2 AS1102T isn’t built for highly demanding workloads. It might struggle with intensive tasks like transcoding high-resolution videos or running multiple resource-heavy apps simultaneously.
  • Non-Upgradable RAM: The 1GB of RAM is fixed and cannot be upgraded, which may limit performance over time.
  • Potential Noise: Some users have reported the Drivestor 2 AS1102T being a bit noisy under load due to the design of its drive mounting.
  • No Hardware Transcoding: The lack of hardware transcoding support might become an issue if you plan to stream high-resolution media to devices that don’t natively support certain video formats.

Should you buy the Asustor Drivestor 2 AS1102T?

Here’s who might be a good fit for this NAS:

  • Cost-conscious buyers: If your priority is finding a NAS with 2.5GbE networking at a budget-friendly price, the Drivestor 2 AS1102T makes a compelling option.
  • Casual users: For basic file storage, backup solutions, and light media streaming, this NAS provides enough power.
  • Beginners: The user-friendly ADM operating system and simple setup make it approachable for those new to NAS.
asustor

Synology DiskStation DS223 2-Bay

The Synology DiskStation DS223 is an updated version of the popular entry-level 2-bay NAS designed primarily for home users and small offices. It offers essential file sharing, backup, and media serving capabilities alongside Synology’s renowned DiskStation Manager (DSM) software.

Pros

  • Affordability: The DS223 maintains a budget-friendly price point, making it a strong choice for cost-conscious users looking to get into the world of NAS.
  • Ease of Use: Synology’s DSM is known for its intuitive interface and wealth of guides, making it accessible to users of varying technical levels.
  • Essential Features: The DS223 covers the basics – file sharing, backup solutions (both for your computer and your NAS), multimedia streaming, basic photo management, and light surveillance functionality.
  • DSM and App Ecosystem: As with all Synology NAS devices, you have access to the vast DSM software ecosystem, including its comprehensive Package Center. This gives you significant flexibility to extend the functionality of your NAS over time.
  • Quiet Operation: The DS223 is designed to be relatively quiet, which is a plus for home settings.

Cons

  • Modest Performance: The DS223 might feel less responsive under heavy multitasking or demanding use cases like intensive file transfers or Plex transcoding.
  • Limited Connectivity: With only a single 1GbE network port, you won’t achieve multi-gig speeds without external adapters and a compatible network.
  • Non-Upgradeable RAM: The DS223 comes equipped with 2GB of RAM, which cannot be upgraded in the future.
  • Lack of NVMe SSD Caching Slots: The absence of M.2 slots for SSD caching means you won’t benefit from that performance boost frequently accessed data can get.

Should You Buy the Synology DiskStation DS223?

The DS223 is a great pick if:

  • You’re a first-time NAS buyer: It’s an excellent gateway into the world of NAS with a user-friendly setup and interface.
  • You have basic needs: If you’re mainly looking for reliable file storage, centralized backups, and simple media serving, the DS223 is more than capable.
  • You value DSM: You want access to Synology’s extensive software package ecosystem to expand your NAS capabilities as your needs change.
Synology

Synology DiskStation DS423+ 4-Bay

The Synology DiskStation DS423+ is a versatile 4-bay NAS positioned for prosumers, home offices, and small businesses. It’s a step up from the budget-friendly DS223 and emphasizes performance and expandability.

Pros

  • Excellent Performance: Equipped with an Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core processor and 2GB of DDR4 RAM (expandable to 32GB), the DS423+ delivers smooth performance for most home and small business use cases. It can comfortably handle file transfers, media streaming, light virtualization, and more.
  • Scalable Storage: Four drive bays provide ample storage potential, and the DS423+ supports hot-swapping, allowing you to easily add or replace drives. It’s compatible with Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), plus standard RAID configurations (0, 1, 5, 6, 10) to balance redundancy and performance.
  • Expandable Connectivity: If you need faster network speeds, an optional 10GbE network card can be added through the PCIe slot, allowing for ultra-fast file transfers in compatible setups.
  • NVMe SSD Cache Support: Two built-in M.2 NVMe SSD slots allow you to create an SSD cache, boosting random read/write performance and making it responsive for frequently accessed files and applications.
  • Versatile DSM Software: The core of the DS423+ is Synology’s award-winning operating system, DSM. It provides a user-friendly, web-based interface packed with features. Its extensive package center turns the NAS into a comprehensive all-in-one solution for file management, multimedia, backup, and more.
  • Surveillance Station Support: The DS423+ can act as a comprehensive surveillance solution, supporting multiple IP cameras and offering features like video recording, motion detection, and smart event analysis.

Cons

  • Higher Price Point: The DS423+ comes at a premium price compared to entry-level models, especially when you factor in hard drives.
  • Limited Built-in Network Ports: Only two 1GbE ports come standard. Multi-gig network speeds are only achievable with an optional 10GbE upgrade and compatible network setup.
  • Potential Fan Noise: Depending on the environment, the fans of the DS423+ may be noticeable to some users.

Should you buy the Synology DS423+?

The Synology DiskStation DS423+ is a great choice if:

  • You value performance: If you plan to use your NAS for tasks like media streaming, virtualization, or those involving frequent large file transfers, the DS423+ has the processing power to deliver.
Synology

Synology DiskStation DS224+ 2 Bay

The Synology DiskStation DS224+ was a popular 2-bay NAS designed for home users and small offices that value reliability and performance in an affordable package. While it’s been superseded by newer models, it offered core NAS features with a focus on media streaming capabilities.

Pros

  • Solid Performance (For Its Time): The DS224+ featured an Intel Atom dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. While not as powerful as newer models, it was perfectly capable of handling everyday file storage, backup, and media streaming for most home users of its era.
  • Compact and Budget-Friendly: It maintained a small form factor and its price was typically more approachable than larger, more powerful models in Synology’s lineup.
  • Hardware Transcoding: The DS224+ included hardware transcoding, making it a good choice for Plex Media Server and streaming videos to various devices.
  • Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM): Like all Synology NAS, the DS224+ used the highly regarded DSM operating system. DSM’s intuitive interface, extensive package support, and robust features provide a versatile experience.

Cons

  • Outdated Model: Being an older model, the DS224+ is likely no longer officially sold or supported, making it harder to find and potentially affecting security and software updates.
  • Performance Limitations: Its older hardware will limit its performance for modern, demanding workloads compared to newer Synology NAS devices.
  • No Expandability: The two drive bays are its limit; you can’t add more storage capacity with expansion units.
  • No NVMe Cache Option: The DS224+ lacks M.2 NVMe SSD slots, meaning you can’t take advantage of SSD caching to boost performance.

Should You Buy the Synology DiskStation DS224+

Unless you find a significantly discounted DS224+ in excellent condition, it’s generally recommended to opt for newer models like the DS223 or even the DS220+ (if you can find it) for the following reasons:

  • Modern Performance: Newer models have significantly better processors and more RAM, ensuring better performance and responsiveness for current and future applications.
  • Security & Support: Older models have a higher risk of discontinued software support and may potentially have unpatched security vulnerabilities.
  • Potential Features: Newer models may have features like M.2 SSD cache slots, USB 3.0 ports, or improved power efficiency unavailable in the DS224+.
Synology

QNAP TS-473A-8G-US 4 Bay High-Speed Desktop NAS

The QNAP TS-473A-8G-US is a versatile NAS targeting small businesses and tech-savvy home users. It offers excellent performance, a robust feature set, and ample expandability.

Pros

  • Powerful Processor: With an AMD Ryzen R-Series quad-core processor, the TS-473A-8G-US delivers impressive performance for its class. It effortlessly handles demanding tasks, like virtualization, media transcoding, and intensive file transfers.
  • Generous RAM: This model comes with 8GB of DDR4 memory (expandable up to 64GB), ensuring smooth multitasking and responsiveness even under heavy loads.
  • NVME SSD Caching: Two built-in M.2 NVMe SSD slots allow you to create an SSD cache for a considerable performance boost for frequently accessed files and applications.
  • High-Speed Connectivity: It features two 2.5GbE network ports as standard, providing the potential for very fast file transfers in compatible setups.
  • PCIe Expansion: Two PCIe slots let you enhance the device with 10GbE network cards, wireless adapters, or even a QM2 card for additional M.2 SSD slots.
  • QTS Operating System: QNAP’s QTS operating system provides a user-friendly interface and extensive features. While QTS may take a bit more time to get acquainted with compared to Synology’s DSM, it’s still powerful and offers plenty of app options.

Cons

  • Price: The QNAP TS-473A-8G-US comes at a higher price than some of the entry-level and mid-range NAS options. This is a trade-off for the higher performance.
  • Potential Complexity: The extensive features and expansion options of the TS-473A-8G-US may be slightly overwhelming for less tech-savvy users.
  • Potential Fan Noise: Some users may find the fans of the TS-473A-8G-US noticeable, especially under heavy load.

Who is the TS-473A-8G-US best suited to?

  • Power Users/ Prosumers: If you plan on running multiple demanding applications simultaneously, transcoding high-resolution videos, or using the NAS for virtualization, the TS-473A-8G-US will deliver the necessary horsepower.
  • Users Needing Expansion: The PCIe slots, generous RAM capacity, and M.2 NVMe slots make the TS-473A-8G-US versatile and ready to adapt to future needs.
  • Those Familiar with QTS: If you’re already comfortable with QNAP’s operating system or willing to learn, you’ll benefit from its range of features and customization options.
QNAP

Comparison Table:

Feature Synology DS923+ Asustor Drivestor 2 AS1102T Synology DS223 Synology DS423+ QNAP TS-473A-8G-US
# of Bays 4 2 2 4 4
Processor AMD Ryzen R1600 dual-core Realtek dual-core Intel Celeron J4025 dual-core Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core AMD Ryzen R-Series quad-core
RAM 4GB (up to 32GB) 1GB (non-upgradable) 2GB (non-upgradable) 2GB (up to 32GB) 8GB (up to 64GB)
Network Ports 2 x 1GbE 1 x 2.5GbE 1 x 1GbE 2 x 1GbE 2 x 2.5GbE
PCIe Expansion Yes No No Yes Yes (2 slots)
M.2 NVMe SSD Cache Yes (2 slots) No No Yes (2 slots) Yes (2 slots)
Max Storage (with Expansion Unit) 9 bays 9 bays
Operating System Synology DSM Asustor ADM Synology DSM Synology DSM QNAP QTS
Hardware Transcoding Yes No Limited Yes Yes

Understanding NAS Drive and Network-Attached Storage

A NAS device, or Network-Attached Storage, is essentially a storage drive connected to a network. This setup allows multiple devices in your home, from laptops to smartphones, to access and share files seamlessly. Unlike traditional external storage solutions that connect directly to your computer, NAS systems offer the convenience of accessing your data from anywhere in your home or even remotely via the internet. This feature is particularly advantageous for homes with multiple users or devices, ensuring that everyone can access the storage space they need without the hassle of physical connections.

Why Choose NAS for Home Use?

For home users, the appeal of NAS systems lies in their versatility and efficiency. A NAS can serve as a personal cloud storage service, providing the convenience of cloud storage with the privacy and security of local storage. Whether you’re looking to store your vast collection of digital photos, secure important documents, or set up a media center for streaming videos and music throughout your home, a NAS system can do it all. Furthermore, with the advent of devices designed specifically for NAS use, such as powerful NAS units with media player capabilities or NAS enclosures designed to hold multiple storage drives, there’s a NAS out there for every need and budget.

How to Choose the Right NAS

Choosing the right NAS for your home involves considering several factors, including:

  • Storage Needs: Evaluate how much storage space you currently need and anticipate future needs. If you find your storage space in your PCs or existing external hard drives is no longer sufficient, a NAS can offer the additional storage required.
  • Use Case: Determine what you primarily need the NAS for. Is it for media streaming across devices in your home, backing up multiple PCs, or maybe a mix of several functions? Certain NAS devices are better suited for specific tasks, like media streaming or home office use.
  • Expansion Options: Consider whether the NAS offers expansion options. A model that supports adding more drives or connecting additional NAS units can provide flexibility as your storage needs grow.
  • Ease of Use: Look for a NAS that offers an intuitive interface and straightforward setup, especially if you’re new to network storage solutions.

FAQ: NAS Server for Home

Q: How do I choose the best NAS drive for my home network?

A: To choose the best NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive for your home network, consider what you primarily need it for. If it’s for media streaming, a 2-bay NAS could suffice, but for high-capacity storage, you might look at a four-bay NAS. The best NAS for home use should work seamlessly via your local network, have enough storage for your needs, and possibly offer extra storage space. The best overall NAS combines performance, capacity, and value, making it a great addition to your home network for accessing files, backing up data, and streaming videos to devices within your home.

Q: What features make a NAS server stand out for home users?

A: A NAS server for home users stands out due to its ease of integration into your home network, capacity for internal storage expansion, and versatility in serving various needs, from file sharing to media streaming. The best NAS drives offer user-friendly interfaces, allowing seamless access to stored media over your home network, including streaming to multiple devices. For home entertainment, look for a NAS designed for media streaming, like a NAS for Plex, which can serve movies and music to your devices efficiently. A good home NAS is also designed with enough storage to accommodate the vast majority of current needs, with options for expansion.

Q: Why should you consider buying a NAS (Network Attached Storage) for home or office use?

A: Buying a NAS for home or office use is a smart decision if you need more storage space or want to centralize your data for easy access and management. A NAS connects to your local network, allowing multiple users to access and share files from anywhere within the network. This makes it perfect for home entertainment purposes or for small businesses needing to store documents, client files, and other data securely. NAS devices come in various sizes, from single-bay units for basic storage needs to multi-bay units for extensive file storage and redundancy, offering a range of options to meet different requirements.

Q: What considerations should you keep in mind when looking for the best value NAS storage device?

A: When searching for the best value NAS storage device, consider the device’s storage capacity, scalability, and the features it offers relative to its price. The best value NAS will offer a good balance of storage space for your investment and might include additional features like media streaming capabilities, easy setup, and user management. It’s also important to consider the NAS’s compatibility with your existing devices and whether it supports the file-sharing protocols you need. Additionally, looking at reviews and recommendations from NAS makers and other users can help you find a NAS that offers the best combination of features, performance, and price for your specific needs.

Q: What is a 2-bay NAS and how does it work for media streaming?

A two-bay NAS is a network-attached storage device with two slots for hard drives, making it great for home media streaming. These devices allow you to store and stream videos over your home network, even to multiple devices like two tablets simultaneously. Designed specifically for NAS use, they offer a practical solution for network storage needs.

Q: Which NAS is considered the best overall for a home network?

One of the best NAS devices for a home network is typically a two-bay NAS. These are enough for most home uses and are great for streaming media. The vast majority of current NAS devices on the market are designed with home users in mind, providing an optimal balance between storage capacity and network performance.

Q: What should I consider when looking for a NAS box to work best for my home?

When looking for a NAS box to work best for your home, consider devices designed for NAS use with features that suit your specific needs. Many NAS units come with varying capacities, but for home use, a single-bay or two-bay NAS is often enough. It’s important to find the best device that fits your home network’s storage and media streaming requirements.

Q: Why do many NAS devices come recommended for both personal and business use?

Many NAS devices come recommended for both personal and business use due to their versatility and range of features. From single-bay NAS for personal home-office setups to more complex business NAS units with additional bays and enhanced security features, there’s a NAS for every need. The best external hard drives are also often designed for NAS use, ensuring compatibility and reliability.

Q: Are NAS devices designed to be hard disk-neutral, and why is this important?

Yes, the current NAS devices are hard disk-neutral, meaning they can work with various hard drive brands and types. This flexibility is important because it allows users to choose drives that best meet their capacity, speed, and budget requirements, ensuring their network-attached storage device is tailored to their specific needs.

nas comes

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