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Hardware questions for a new user


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Hi All,


I have been looking to get a nas server going in my new home and have been browsing the forums for quite some time now. Here are a few of my questions that hopefully you can help me on.

I will either pick up a used PC or build my own from scratch. 


i would most probably run 2 HDDs in mirror aswell


My needs are;


- Media storage for 2 pc's; Home movies, Pictures etc.

- Stream videos from my Samsung smart tv over the network (will be using this on almost weekly purpose

- Possibly running plex to streamline the streaming.

- Keeping costs somewhat low 200-300$ range


My questions are;


1- Does having separate video card help performance for my needs?

2- What sort of hardware; Ram and CPU would be recommended.


Any input is appreciated!


Edited by marca4
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1 - A video card/monitor is only needed for your initial setup of bios/grub and boot devices. Once done the system is 'headless'. No point is adding an extra card.

2 - if you plan to use Plex/transcode etc then get the fastest processor you can afford, and maybe 8GB ram.


There is a native Synology streaming package (Media Server) thats DLNA compliant, I'd suggest you try that before you install Plex it will probably stream 1080p/24 fine to your TV (I use it for just that) and its a lot simpler than Plex, unless you want metadata, logos, cover art etc 

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A discrete video card can be used by Plex for transcoding but there are significant limitations and at this point I would say don't do this. Otherwise, as sbv3000 said, NASes run headless so a video card is only useful to edit BIOS settings and to perhaps make sure that initial boot succeeds so that find.synology.com works. Late gen intel CPUs have a built in GPU which should be sufficient (unless you want to optimize for Plex hardware transcoding).


RAM is cheap, no reason to not follow sbv3000's advice there. You could go less but you want to take advantage of your CPU/mobo's architecture there. Tri-channel you'd probably do 3x2GB. CPU-wise an i5 is probably sufficient, keep in mind Synology NASes use generally weak CPUs. You can go to Synology's "what cpu does my NAS have" page and see what they use, and get something better, to try to future-proof yourself. 


You might check out your library or school which routinely liquidates hardware, eBay or craigslist. Plenty of folks on this forum use server-class hardware, and buying used a few generations old would probably meet your needs.

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Thanks a lot @aol and @sbv3000. 


The ram wasn't much of an issue, I was planning to run 2x 4gb in a 4 slot mother board.If I found it to be slow I would add another 2x 4gb.

My primary concern was more for the processor. 


As for the Plex, I found to be a little more "user friendly" for the wife. Although I think I would most probably end up running the native streaming service. 


The search continues.. :smile: 

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