I’ve been using QNAP for the last 9 years and I’ve been quite satisfied! QNAP devices truly are quality products, which often is reflected in the price… However, I do recommend that you are open minded regarding making your own NAS which I did some months ago I was thinking about getting QNAP TS-253B which is an expensive NAS, and when I started to list my requirements I found out that I just needed a linux device with great hard drive capacity. So, I bought two Tinkerboards and I’ve been running Armbian on them for some months now. It’s stable and I’m more free to do as I want as you can choose the OS etc. It doesn’t require as much competence either since there are thousands of guides out there for ARM devices as RPI.
My advice is that you buy a single-board computer like Tinkerboard, ODROID, KVIM, RPI etc which is extremely cheap and connect external hard drives to them. Here is my setup on one of them:
Armbian - Debian Stretch OS
RTorrent/RuTorrent with Irssi etc
OpenVPN with tunneling
Plex Media Server (Direct play to my S905X devices. 300 Mbit clip confirmed with Gbit adapter)
NFS for Linux devices
SMB for Windows devices
Resilio Sync for backup of photos, videos etc with family and friends
Spin down on external drives when inactive to extend the life span
How many HDD’s do you want to maintain?
I tried a WD My Cloud, single bay, because it was a good price for the 6tb HDD in it which I needed.
Quickly sold the enclosure+mainboard. There’s a crippled busybox running on it. Not much room for customization here. An alternative os for it would leave me with just 60 mb/s network transfer speed via smb
If you want to maintain just one HDD I can recommend Odroids HC2.
Put Armbian on there and install OMV via armbian-config commandline app. This way you get a improved OMV install. Voila, gigabit transfer speeds + room for other server apps.
Only thing is, using smb to transfer stuff or using the sbc to unpack stuff lets the temp go up quite a bit (cpu temp to 75 °C, HDD temp to 51 °C) but that’s also a config thing. Cpu has big and little cores, you can clock down big cores a but, etc…
Overall I’m verry happy with this sbc.
If you want to hook up more than one HDD and you can wait a bit, I’d try Odroids new upcomming sbc, the Odroid N1.
@RobertFlambour, it’s allot easier to find out which NAS or SBC you should buy if you list your requirements. In my case, I was in the beginning going to buy a RPI, yet since all currently PIs don’t have 1 Gbit interface, I discarded the PIs.
If you have a high requirement of USB3 (30+ MB/s in read/write) the selection get even smaller. Then you probably should consider ODROID-XU4 which have 2 USB3 ports etc.
If he operates in a gigabit network and wants gigbit transfer speeds an Odroid xu4 won’t do that.
The HC2 has the same old but powerfull SoC as xu4 but there’s a Sata interface connected to that.
With armbian and customized OMV I get 100 mb/s transfer speed.
@trohn_javolta, Mbit or MBytes? Cause 100 Mbit/s is quite low if you ask me. I guess you are using SMB? I’m getting around 330 Mbit/s with my Tinkerboard and the HDD is connected to a USB2 interface. So a XU4 connected to a USB 3 HDD should be allot faster than my case unless the CPU is the bottleneck…
Thanks for the awesome suggestions fellas!
The homebrew style boxes sound very interesting. I’m looking to have a few networked drives for backups and some streaming. Gigabit would be awesome, I think the weakest link will be the r/w HDD speed, the routers are 86U, quite decent.
Well, if ‘a few’ is more than 2 you’d probably be better off with a full blown NAS I guess. One with strong cpu or hw transcoding ability.
For 2 HDDs, the Odroid N1 looks good to me. The Rockchip RK3399 seems like a very promising SoC for that.
Of course you could also stack up multiple Odroid HC2’s but I think it’s gonna be more expensive.
There is also Helios4, a DIY Nas Kit for up to 4 drives with an armada 388 SoC. Of what I read, this SoC is great for handling data transfer, even raid stuff but its cpu isn’t very powerful.
If you deside to choose such “diy-arm-sbc” nas I’d recommend you to check first if it has Armbian support.
I tried different os and so far I can say it’s the best, imho. The guys seem to know what they are doing, the images are very stable, you get many device specific tweaks and improvement and support is also good.
…Basicly same with the CoreElec crew here
Can’t really join the discusion here, I have no experience with these Intel powered micro/mini servers or NUCs…
Just heard they generally use up way more power than arm boards but have stronger cpu’s. And lack of hardware decoding/transcoding ability, except the recent Apollo/Kaby Lake NUCs…but yeah, just what I heard.
Well, all depends on what you find good enough. In my case a device that can do mostly everything except transcoding, and with around 40 MB/s in transfer speed from the box, I can’t really complain. Armbian supported devices are extremely stable and there are plenty of guides out there to help you on the way to a own NAS storage.
Regarding my own setup, which is much more silent than my old QNAP as my external hard drives do not spin unless I’m using them. I’m using a small RPI fan which is very silent and my Tinkerboard is running around 40-45°C during normal tasks, and might get as high as 50-55 during high load operations with 80% + CPU usage. I currently have three external hard drives attached to it, yet since the drives most of the time is idle, high temperatures is not an issue. It takes 3-5 seconds to wake up a hard drive when in Idle which is not a problem for me at all since the setup is much more silent and the hard drives do get increased lifetime.
I have been using the open source rockstor nas which is free, scalable and works on almost any hardware you throw to it. it comes with several addons on docker like plex, owncloud, vpn transmission, couchpotato, headphones. runs on a small hhd for the server side and then just add tb of usb. best way to make use of an old laptop/pc with at least 4gb ram. my 2 cents worth. based on centos and BTRFS
While there are many ways to go with a NAS, I chose a hardware NAS rather than single board or self built. Primarily because I wanted a really nice clean and compact box with good ventilation so an purpose built enclosure offered the best solution. Very tidy and compact and no fussing around, but you do have a to pay a little more.
I looked hard a Drobo, QNAP and Synology and went Synology because of the wide range of support and features and functions. I really like how many different apps can be run on the Synology. Getting a newer version that supports Btrfs was also a big win. DS418Play was my choice. Enough memory and horsepower to do what I need and more (including transcoding support if that’s something you want to look into)
Wow, that is pretty good (330 Mbps ~= 40+ MBps), especially through a USB2 port. BTW, is that a read or write speed?
I have a Seagate GoFLEX Home with 3 TB SATA HDD running on an ARMbian (stretch) OS with NFSv4.2 and is connected to my Gigabit LAN as my NAS. I can only get about 36 MBps write speed to my NAS which is way below what my 3 TB SATA HDD can do.
That’s read speed I’ve measured with iperf3, and I’m able to play the 300 Mbit Jellyfish bitrate test file through Plex with PlexKodiConnect. I’m running a headless version of Debian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch) and I’m actually not sure about the write speed, yet I think it is around the same as your NAS with 30-35 MB/s. The CPU seems to be the bottleneck, so if I overclock it the results would be even better.
I tested using the dd Linux utility with a 4 GB file from my Linux desktop computer running OpenSuSE 42.3 to my Seagate GoFLEX Home NAS through a Gigabit LAN (see below). During the write cycle, I notice the CPU Usage for the system was between 70% - 80%. On the read cycle, CPU usage was about 55%. TBH, I really don’t know if my R/W tests are any good.
[suse@linux:/home/local/PEOPLE/suse/Downloads/junk 729%] ~ dd of=/mnt/devel/junk/BigFile.dat if=/dev/zero bs=4M count=1024 oflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
4294967296 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 125.594 s, 34.2 MB/s
0.007u+2.267s=2:05.79e(1.7%) TDSavg=0k+0k+0k max=6116k 400+8388608io 1pf+0sw
[suse@linux:/home/local/PEOPLE/suse/Downloads/junk 730%] ~ dd if=/mnt/devel/junk/BigFile.dat of=/dev/null bs=4M count=1024 iflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
4294967296 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 56.9382 s, 75.4 MB/s
[suse@linux:/home/local/PEOPLE/suse/Downloads/junk 731%] ~