About a month ago I purchased a Netgear ReadyNas NV+ in order to store all of my media for my PLEX setup. My goal is to rip all of my DVDs in a manageable format in order to clear up some space in my condo. I have roughly 800 or so DVDs along with 50-60 Blu-Rays so if I can put all those DVDs into storage it would be nice. The Blu-Rays will have to stick around since I don’t have any way of ripping those, but the collection is small enough that I think I can find room for them. So my basic setup is a Mac Mini running PLEX in the main room which connects to the Plex Media Server which is running on my iMac that stays on 24/7. The reason I went with this setup is because I also have an Apple TV (2G) running in the bedroom and currently the setup needs to transcode the movies to play on that device. I didn’t feel the mini was powerful enough to handle the transcoding so I setup the PMS (Plex Media Server) to run on the iMac instead. I’m sure for the straight up DVD Rips the Mac Mini would have plenty of power to transcode, but I do have some HD rips that I’ve acquired that I don’t think would transcode as well without the iMac.
So with all of that setup it was time to look into storage options. When I first setup the PLEX I was just running a 1.5 TB external hard drive off of the iMac. It was not a bad solution for the time being, but once I decided that I wanted to rip most, if not all, of my DVD collection to the computer I knew that 1.5 TB was not going to be enough space. I also knew that I did not want to have to keep adding external hard drives on to the system… it would make for a huge mess. And on top of that I wanted to make sure I had a backup of things so I would need 2 external drives each time I needed to upgrade. Needless to say it didn’t seem like a viable option. This is of course where the idea for a NAS came into play. I didn’t know much about them going in, but I decided to take my time and do some research to see what would work for what I needed, at a reasonable price. I wanted something that I could run in a RAID setup so that I could have multiple drives holding my data and not have to worry about a drive failing. This lead to some confusion because I had never dealt with anything RAID before. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the basics of the different type of RAID setups, but something about Netgear’s X-RAID caught my eye. It was similar to RAID 5, but allowed for easy expansion if I needed. The price of the NV+ also caught my eye as it was pretty cheap compared to the other models I was looking at from Synology. I knew it was an entry level NAS and didn’t have the horsepower that some of the other models had, but from what I gathered it would handle the media streaming just fine, so I bit the bullet and placed my order.
Thankfully Netgear has an enormous support community for their ReadyNas line so I felt like I was in good hands if any issues were to arise. I consulted the hardware compatibility documentation and ultimately went with 4 2TB Seagate drives. With the X-RAID setup, the hard drives would net me around 5.5TB of usable space out of 8… which seemed pretty good to me. I would have gone with the 3TB drives, but the price wasn’t right and I don’t think I need that much space at the moment, not to mention they haven’t been fully tested with this model yet. So everything arrived after a bit of a debacle with shipping and setup was pretty simple. It took almost a full day to add and sync up all 4 drives and another handful of hours to transfer my existing ~1TB of data over to the NAS, but once that was done it has been smooth sailing.
The only thing that had me worried at the beginning was the noise level of the unit. When I first plugged it in and put in the first drive, it sounded like a jet engine taking off. Thankfully after the drive was done updating firmware and syncing you could barely hear it. There are still times when the fan flares up for a few minutes, but it eventually levels off and gets quiet again. My only other semi-complaint is that I was plagued by the dreaded “Seagate click”. Apparently this model of hard drive is known to click occasionally in this setup due to some sort of “sleep mode” in the drives themselves. It’s a little annoying at times, but it seems to have tapered off after having them running for a while. I’ve had the setup running for a month straight with no issues what so ever. I have yet to power the unit down and everything is just as fast as when I first set it up. I haven’t had time to test the UPS settings since the power has yet to go out in my condo, but I have no doubt that it’ll work just fine.
So if you’re looking for a cheaper method for Network Attached Storage then I would highly recommend the Netgear ReadyNas NV+. It’s been good to me so far and I’ve got about 1/3 of my movie collection ripped and running off of it. Everything streams without a problem and all the drives are still in perfect working order.