It's that time of the year again — Prime Day 2021 is nearly here, and we're beginning to see some exciting deals on storage devices. A network attached storage (NAS) enclosure is a great option as it lets you stream your locally-stored media on all devices in your home network using a service like Plex. You also get the ability to back up files automatically, host your own audio and video streaming server, and so much more.
Between Synology, Asustor, QNAP, WD, and Buffalo, you have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting a new NAS enclosure, and with budget models starting off from as low as $100, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get started with a home media server. There are a lot of enticing deals in this category, so let's take a look at the best Prime Day NAS deals.
Best Prime Day NAS deals
Synology is the largest manufacturer of NAS enclosures, and it sells dozens of products across various categories. Synology is known for its high-quality offerings, and its products are built to last. But the defining feature of Synology's NAS enclosures is the software, with the web-based DiskStation Manager setting the standard for this category.
Most of these enclosures will go on sale starting Prime Day, but for now, these are the best Synology NAS enclosures you can buy.
Synology DiskStation DS220+ | $72 off at Amazon
The DiskStation DS220+ is a truly outstanding NAS, offering up to 32TB of storage, powerful hardware for Plex media streaming, and the best software features you'll find in this category.
Synology DiskStation DS920+ | $110 off at Amazon
The DiskStation DS920+, is one of the most powerful NAS enclosures money can buy today — and an incredible deal for Prime Day. With four bays that can hold 64TB of storage, simultaneous 4K streaming over Plex, M.2 slots for SSD caching, and a wealth of software features, the DS920+ is in a league of its own.
TerraMaster F4-210 4-Bay NAS | $52 off at Amazon
The TerraMaster F4-210 is a 4-bay version of the F2-210, and is a great choice if you're looking for a budget NAS with plenty of storage. It has a single Gigabit Ethernet port, 2GB of RAM, and a decent set of software features, including native Plex integration.
TerraMaster F5-221 5-Bay NAS | $52 off at Amazon
TerraMaster's F5-221 is a fantastic value if you want even more storage, with the 5-bay NAS enclosure accommodating up to 80TB of storage. You also get dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, powerful hardware, and all the features to make the NAS a great 4K Plex media server.
Best Prime Day NAS Hard Drives deals
Now that you have a decent selection of NAS enclosures to choose from, the other factor to consider is hard drives. Picking the right hard drive for your NAS is vital as these enclosures are designed to run 24/7. Regular consumer hard drives aren't ideally suited for a NAS environment, but there are plenty of NAS-focused models that offer vibration resistance and are tailored for NAS systems.
These are the best Prime Day NAS hard drive deals currently available.
Western Digital 4TB Red Pro NAS HDD | $44 off at Amazon
The WD Red Pro is aimed at enthusiasts and delivers blistering performance. The NAS drive spins at 7200rpm, is based on CMR tech, and comes with a five-year warranty and vibration resistance.
Which NAS should you buy on Prime Day?
I'm currently running a 150TB media server and have used dozens of NAS enclosures over the last decade, so I have a decent idea when it comes to picking a media server that fits your needs (and budget). The first question you have to ask yourself is how much storage you're going to need. That sets the basis for whether you should get a two-bay, four-bay, or a larger NAS enclosure.
The best NAS for 4K Plex is the DiskStation DS920+, and at $110, it is down to its lowest price. You are paying a lot of money here, but you're getting four drive bays that can hold a total of 64TB of storage, 4GB of RAM, robust internal hardware, a ton of software features, and the ability to add more drive bays should you need to do so in the future.
If this is the first time you're buying a NAS and you don't want to invest a lot of money into an enclosure, then the DiskStation DS220+ is a fantastic choice. You're still getting all the best software features that Synology has to offer, and while the hardware isn't quite as robust as the DS920+, it is a great choice for first-time buyers.
How to pick the right hard drive for your NAS
Choosing the right hard drive for your NAS is just as vital as selecting the right enclosure. Because NAS enclosures are designed to run 24/7, there are NAS-focused hard drives available in the market. These models feature vibration resistance and are designed to handle the stresses of a 24/7 environment, and differ from your regular hard drives.
Another factor to consider when choosing a NAS hard drive is the speed. HDDs are usually available in either 5400rpm or 7200rpm, and the latter delivers better performance because the spindle moves at 7,200 rounds per minute. I've used 5400rpm drives in NAS enclosures tailored for media streaming for years without any issues, but if you're building a more enthusiast-focused NAS and are looking for better performance, pick a model with a 7200rpm.
There are several NAS-focused hard drive product lines, with WD Red Plus and Seagate IronWolf dominating the sales charts. With drives starting out at 1TB and going all the way to 16TB, there's no shortage of options available across either product line. One final point to note is that WD was recently embroiled in a controversy where it was passing off slower drives in its NAS-branded series, so if you are interested in buying a WD Red NAS hard drive, make sure it says CMR. The product is identifiable by Red Plus branding, so make sure you get the Red Plus drives with CMR and avoid the regular Red drives for now.
Do you need to buy an SSD for your NAS?
There is always the option of adding SSDs to your NAS instead of mechanical hard drives, but cost is a limiting factor. A 2TB IronWolf hard drive costs $80, but if you want to buy a 2TB SSD, you will have to shell out nearly $200. The cost per gigabyte is $0.04 with the hard drive, and $0.09 if you go with an SSD.
That cost goes up exponentially at higher storage volumes. A 4TB IronWolf Pro is $140, whereas a 4TB Samsung 870 QVO SSD is $400. The cost per gigabyte is $0.03 for the hard drive, but goes up to $0.10 for the SSD if you go with the 4TB option.
Then there's the fact that an SSD doesn't actually deliver better performance. If your primary use case is building a Plex media server, going with a traditional NAS hard drive will give you the same level of performance as an SSD. So unless you're looking at hosting your own website or running virtual machines on the NAS, you're better off with a traditional HDD.
Prime Day 2021 NAS deals I'm most excited about
Of all the NAS deals this year, the one that I'm most excited about is the DiskStation DS220+. This is a fantastic all-round NAS for home use, and the fact that you can get it for $240 — $60 off its usual price — makes it a noteworthy Prime Day deal. The DS920+ is also a stellar option if you're in the need for more storage and double the memory out of the box.
Hard drive availability continues to be very limited, and as a result, most 8TB and higher storage drives are ridiculously costly right now. If you're just starting out with a NAS, your best bet is to go with a 4TB drive from Seagate's IronWolf Pro series or WD Red Pro.
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