How to Choose the Best NAS for Plex 4K Video Hardware Decoding?

How to Choose the Best NAS for Plex 4K Video Hardware Decoding?

Plex is a very popular set of media player and media server software that allows users to organize audiobooks, music, podcasts, pictures, and video files on the device for streaming to mobile devices, smart TVs, and electronic media players.

Plex can play almost any media file. For music, Plex supports files such as MP3, M4A, FLAC and WMA. Video files supported include MP4, MKV, HEVC, AVI, MOV and DIVX.

However, TVs, tablets, mobile phones or computers are not fully capable of processing intensive requests, and the server running plex needs to transcode the files to play them normally. To take full advantage of Plex's services, you need a solid server or NAS. While both can run Plex, NAS devices are generally more compact, user-friendly, and smaller.

Transcoding is essential to enjoy smooth media playback. It works by converting media files to the appropriate resolution and bitrate based on your device's capabilities and internet connection. The popularization and application of 4K ultra-high-definition video make hard decoding technology more and more important. Hardware accelerated transcoding uses the dedicated hardware functions of the supported CPU or GPU to perform transcoding/conversion. NAS that supports GPU can greatly benefit from Hardware accelerated transcoding.

After installing Plex Media Server on the NAS device and establishing a corresponding multimedia database for it, it will scan and index all media files in the NAS, so that all files in your Plex media library are beautiful, orderly and intuitive, and can be played anytime.

How to Choose the Best NAS

Transcoding requires massive computing power, and we need to consider several different factors when choosing the right NAS. Usually, we stream media from our own hardware, so everything from the Internet connection to the Plex client we stream to and the format of the media file affects the streaming experience. Server hardware plays a very vital role for Plex.

CPU: A powerful CPU can directly affect the number of concurrent streams, the file type of media encoded, and the quality of the stream (4K or 1080p).

Memory: If you're only using it for streaming, 4GB is more than enough, but more RAM will give better results.

The number of hard disk slots: the more disk slots, the larger the device capacity and the stronger the scalability.

HDMI output: With an HDMI interface, you can connect your Plex server to a TV or projector and watch video, while using the HDMI output to manage your NAS instead of logging in from a computer on the network.

If you are looking for the right server for media like Plex, then these two NAS below must be one of your options.

TerraMaster F2-223 and F4-223 are powered by the latest Intel Celeron N4505 dual-core processor, with main frequency of up to 2.0GHz and the maximum Turbo frequency of 2.9GHz. It is integrated with a GPU graphics card and AES NI hardware encryption. In addition, they are equipped with two 2.5G Ethernet ports that feature a read and write speed of up to 283MB/S, and a 4GB DDR4 dual-channel memory (expandable up to 32 GB). Moreover, these two NAS are internally installed with 2 x M.2 NVMe slots, which accelerates SSD caching and double the storage efficiency of disk arrays.

Meanwhile, the new version of TOS 5.1.33 software optimizes functions and fully uses GPU to deeply participate in hardware-accelerated transcoding, solving the pain point of high CPU usage caused by software-based transcoding mainly relying on NAS CPU, allowing NAS to use dedicated hardware transcoding and DLNA, UPnP transmission protocols support 4K high-definition video through automatic transcoding on streaming media clients such as Plex and Emby, ensuring smooth playback on different media players and devices. Of course, hardware-accelerated streaming on PLEX requires a Plex Pass account.

The hardware-accelerated transcoding capability of the TerraMaster F2-223 and F4-223 for HD video has been significantly increased: H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 60. Plex users can enjoy a smoother, more efficient, faster and higher-definition multimedia experience when processing 4K HD video.

The F2-223 and F4-223 provide plex with stable and powerful hardware, support a high-speed network environment, and have powerful 4K video hardware decoding capability. With Plex Media Server, it can stream video to various multimedia devices. Whether at home or at work, you can use TVs, desktops and any mobile devices to stream videos, music and photos stored in the NAS, and enjoy a higher-quality 4K video playback experience.

If you need a server with a higher hardware configuration, the latest model TerraMaster F4-423, T6-423 and other NAS series equipped with Intel N5095 Quad-Core CPU with integrated graphics are also good choices.