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What NAS for my use case?


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Dear experts,

 

I have a dozen or so various DASD (Thunderbolt, USB) containing my media files (movies, pics, Hi-Rez music) to work (just to watch and listen, predominantly) with on my 24-inch iMac, which became just way too inconvenient, and am looking for a better solution.

 

I see QNAP NAS products are quite popular among the experts on this forum (please see “Running a Large Roon Library on a QNAP TVS-872XT” article by Chris, and the following fruitful discussion, for example).

 

I am not running any room correction or convolution, I don't stream, use local only library (files located on various DASD, all to be transferred to NAS), have a decent sized footprint (about 12TB of Hi-Rez files: I'm a huge fan of music and can't live without it), and I see my NAS working just like an external super configurable HDD.

 

Would you still recommend QNAP TVS-872XT 16GB (TVS-872XT-i5-16G) for my use case (I think 8 "traditional" drive bays that support 3.5/2.5 inch spinning or solid state drives should be enough for me to provide 90 - 100TB total storage capacity)? I have a gut feeling QNAP TVS-872XT might be an overkill, but we need to take into consideration possible up/downsampling and/or format conversions…

 

With possible redundancy, what RAID level would you recommend for such media library (level 5, perhaps, as Chris suggested)?

 

What HDD’s would you recommend, please? What is the “sweet spot” in terms HDD’s performance/price now?

 

Would it be beneficial for me to employ the M.2 solid state drives to use them for the QNAP OS and applications, if any? Would 2x500GB suffice? Should any RAID be employed (level 0, perhaps)?

 

Any special requirements for the cable to connect the router to NAS?

 

I will have to put this NAS only about 3 feet from my desk, and low noise level is definitely a factor here. The specs give the Sound Level at 24.2 db(A). Could somebody, please, provide me a real world example of how loud/quiet it is?

 

Any tutorials you would recommend me to study, please?

 

As you can clearly see, I am a newbie, and most definitely need your help, please, dear experts.

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16 minutes ago, SoundSparks said:

I am not running any room correction or convolution, I don't stream, use local only library (files located on various DASD, all to be transferred to NAS), have a decent sized footprint (about 12TB of Hi-Rez files: I'm a huge fan of music and can't live without it), and I see my NAS working just like an external super configurable HDD.

Here's the big issue:  If you are planning to use the NAS  "just like an external super configurable HDD" and not to run any of the programs, you do not need an i5 because any of the QNAP boxes will be fast enough and capable enough.  The main issue will be capacity and you already have a handle on that.  

20 minutes ago, SoundSparks said:

I have a gut feeling QNAP TVS-872XT might be an overkill, but we need to take into consideration possible up/downsampling and/or format conversions…

22 minutes ago, SoundSparks said:

Would it be beneficial for me to employ the M.2 solid state drives to use them for the QNAP OS and applications, if any? Would 2x500GB suffice?

None of this is an issue if you are running your programs (Roon, JRiver, Audirvana, etc.) on your iMac.  In that case, the NAS is "just like an external super configurable HDD."   You need to confirm this.

23 minutes ago, SoundSparks said:

Any special requirements for the cable to connect the router to NAS?

No.

24 minutes ago, SoundSparks said:

I will have to put this NAS only about 3 feet from my desk, and low noise level is definitely a factor here. The specs give the Sound Level at 24.2 db(A). Could somebody, please, provide me a real world example of how loud/quiet it is?

Hah!  This is an issue.  Unless you are going to use SSDs instead of spinning discs, I doubt you will be happy with this.  All these spinning discs make noise.  Of of the biggest advantages in having a NAS is that it can be located remotely from the listening environment.

 

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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15 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

None of this is an issue if you are running your programs (Roon, JRiver, Audirvana, etc.) on your iMac.  In that case, the NAS is "just like an external super configurable HDD."   You need to confirm this.

First of all, thank you very kindly for your most appreciated help, Kal!

Yes, this is the case indeed: I am running all my apps (Audirvana, VLC, DiskCatalogMaker) on my iMac, and, just in case it is important, I am using this Fibre+ Gateway 2.0 modem.

16 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

Hah!  This is an issue.  Unless you are going to use SSDs instead of spinning discs, I doubt you will be happy with this.

The cost of using All-SSDs is just way too high for me, unfortunately: will have to employ mechanical HDDs instead (or at least some combination of HDDs and SSDs). I was trying to make sense of multiple offerings from QNAP, but just drowned... One NAS looks particularly interesting: TS-h973AX-32G. It is a relatively compact Tower (7.19 × 8.84 × 8.82 inch), has just one fan (140mm, 12VDC), offers 9 (!) bays (5 x 3.5-inch + 4 x 2.5-inch), provides excellent connectivity options with 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Ports. Am I "barking at the wrong tree" again, and this product is not an optimal choice for my use case? I am lost completely...

18 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

One of the biggest advantages in having a NAS is that it can be located remotely from the listening environment.

Trying to negotiate with the "boss" having a cable running from the storage room to the office (we live in a small condo)... Any way to establish wireless connection between QNAP NAS and my modem, I wonder...

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3 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

It is a relatively compact Tower (7.19 × 8.84 × 8.82 inch), has just one fan (140mm, 12VDC), offers 9 (!) bays (5 x 3.5-inch + 4 x 2.5-inch), provides excellent connectivity options with 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Ports. Am I "barking at the wrong tree" again, and this product is not an optimal choice for my use case? I am lost completely...

In my experience, it is not the fans that make much noise (most of the time); it is the spinning discs.  They make noise when they are accessed and, also, when they are doing "house-keeping" tasks.  How much and when?  Not predictable.  My NAS is about 3-4 feet from my desk, so I am sensitive to it. OTOH, my listening is done in another room, so I don't care.

 

3 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

Trying to negotiate with the "boss" having a cable running from the storage room to the office (we live in a small condo)... Any way to establish wireless connection between QNAP NAS and my modem, I wonder...

Before I wired my apartment with CAT-6a, I use MoCA to connect the NAS to the streaming PC.   WiFi may be possible, too.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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5 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

Trying to negotiate with the "boss" having a cable running from the storage room to the office (we live in a small condo)... Any way to establish wireless connection between QNAP NAS and my modem, I wonder...

 

This is easily done and not too expensive. I use TP Link Omada 1350 Access Points (they have higher bandwidth options also) at $56 a pop. I now run 4 of them in my house to cover 4800 Sq foot (two floors) and I get ~ 38MB/s (300mbps for those that care) and sub 2ms ping rates. Stellar for throughput and latency.

 

Figure 1 AP per 1500 sq foot (44 foot diameter circle).  I just use the PoE function on my switch and have a single cable ran per.

 

TP-Link's 802.11K/V/R support is solid so if you have more than one AP they hand off and negotiate your client connections very well.

 

If anyone suggests a mesh system: Those are great if you need to extend wireless but can not get a wired run to where you need it. But most people fail to mention that you lose 1/2 your throughput.

 

NAS / Wifi AP's would go into a network switch along with your modem. So getting a PoE switch would be a good option. Since the NAS you listed can do 1-5GB wired copper Ethernet you could look at something like: https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Multi-Gigabit-Managed-Uplinks-MS510TXPP/dp/B075Q5T7NH.

 

Just keep in mind the the AP and end points are going to be the limiting factor so I think you would be fine with 1GBe PoE switching.


 

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Thank you very kindly, dear experts!

If I can get my away establishing wired connection using readily available CAT-6a cable, I will go this route (superior throughput and latency), and if not, I will try to implement approach kindly outlined by @plissken.

Still a million dollar question remains: which NAS providing 90 - 100TB raw capacity would you, dear experts, recommend for my use case, please? IMHO, offering dual Thunderbolt 3 ports QNAP TVS-*72XT Series looks most attractive. Any alternatives from other manufacturers you could recommend to consider for my use case, please?

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10 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

Thank you very kindly, dear experts!

If I can get my away establishing wired connection using readily available CAT-6a cable, I will go this route (superior throughput and latency), and if not, I will try to implement approach kindly outlined by @plissken.

Still a million dollar question remains: which NAS providing 90 - 100TB raw capacity would you, dear experts, recommend for my use case, please? IMHO, offering dual Thunderbolt 3 ports QNAP TVS-*72XT Series looks most attractive. Any alternatives from other manufacturers you could recommend to consider for my use case, please?

I like my QNAP.  My thoughts in no particular order:

  • At the level (price point) I purchased mine, QNAP seems to offer more CPU/$$.  I have a 4-core Celeron and wish I had splurged for an I3 (Ryzen NASs were just coming out at the time) or better.  Whether this CPU/$ holds at your price point, I do not know.
  • Maximize the RAM.  You may only want to use as a HD at this time but if you ever start digging into the apps...you might change your mind.
  • You never know what you might want to do so if you do not find your app on the QNAP website, try here: Qnapclub Store
  • For RAID I mirror and have a backups.  But I my total is only 8TB or so.  For your storage requirements whatever RAID you decide on, You better have a stash of HDs in the closet.  From what I have read, NOT what I know, if one drive fails, you have a high probability of more failures.  Personally, unless your movies are critical, I would not RAID and just have backups.  Do you keep the discs??
  • Best HDs: Best Internal Hard Drives: August 2021 (anandtech.com)   I have always been partial to WD but Seagates seem to be doing pretty well.  In my history I have had motherboards fail before a hard drive.
  • I would hate to rely on WiFi to stream a movie (streaming from your NAS). In a condo you will likely get interference issues, even if you run an obscure wifi channel.  (Although just thinking about it...I live on a private airstrip...lots of radios about.  We are on the landing path and every time a plane is on final it mucks up the TV antenna; broadband is only for internet in my house).  I used to get them from my neighbors and they are 300 feet away.  Run a cord is my recommendation.

 

 

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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2 hours ago, jcbenten said:

I would hate to rely on WiFi to stream a movie (streaming from your NAS). In a condo you will likely get interference issues,

 

Yep. That is always a consideration. 5Ghz is going to be a better option and if you use something like what I posted with their controller then it can generally do a decent job of Spectrum Analysis and adjust accordingly.

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2 hours ago, jcbenten said:

Personally, unless your movies are critical, I would not RAID and just have backups.

 

I would add you need to consider off-site backup as well to protect against theft and fire. Yes, these may be extreme events but they do happen. For example, a thief steals your NAS, then what good does RAID do?

 

I do a weekly backup of my NAS to a portable USB drive. I actually have two of these drives, one connected to the NAS and the other is in a deposit box at my bank. I swap out the two drives every few months since I don't purchase (add) a lot of new files. There are lots of other means to accomplish this as well.

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > fitlet2 (Linux Mint - HQP NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine, Intel NUC (Roon server)

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Thank you very kindly, dear experts!

19 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

In my experience, it is not the fans that make much noise (most of the time); it is the spinning discs.  They make noise when they are accessed and, also, when they are doing "house-keeping" tasks.  How much and when?  Not predictable.  My NAS is about 3-4 feet from my desk, so I am sensitive to it. OTOH, my listening is done in another room, so I don't care.

 

 

13 hours ago, plissken said:

The issue you are going to get into is acoustical noise with 3.5" HD's if it's going to be in your listening area.

I will try to use the storage room for my NAS (wired connection), and if not, it will sit about 3-4 feet from my desk: so noise is definitely a consideration for me. I was thinking of some kind of soundproof enclosure to put the NAS into, but this, most probably, will not work because of possible NAS overheating ( 215 BTU/hr on Access and 117 BTU/hr while in Hibernation )...

4 hours ago, jcbenten said:

I like my QNAP.

Yes, QNAP TVS-*72XT Series looks most attractive, but Synology does offer some interesting opportunities as well (at a bit lower price point). Could you please help me to compare technical specs: QNAP TVS-672XT vs. Synology DS1621xs+ ? I am not knowledgeable enough, and do need expert advice here, please... Most importantly, in terms of reliability, which brand would you give your preference to, dear experts?

4 hours ago, jcbenten said:

From what I have read, NOT what I know, if one drive fails, you have a high probability of more failures.  Personally, unless your movies are critical, I would not RAID and just have backups.  Do you keep the discs??

This is something I have never heard before... Thank you for the warning! Some of the content is critical indeed, and I have no chance of getting my hands on it again. I would say we are talking of only about a few TB total here, and manual backup (i.e. without doing any RAID) of this content is certainly a possibility. Does this approach seem feasible, please?

 

5 hours ago, jcbenten said:

I would hate to rely on WiFi to stream a movie (streaming from your NAS). In a condo you will likely get interference issues, even if you run an obscure wifi channel.

This is my concern also, ergo, hard-wiring with CAT-6a cable would be my preference. Going to take the "boss" to a nice restaurant to negotiate the deal...

 

5 hours ago, jcbenten said:

Maximize the RAM.

Can a newbie like yours truly perform such complex "surgery"? I take it I will need 2 x 16GB modules. Any names you could recommend, please?

 

2 hours ago, ericuco said:

I would add you need to consider off-site backup as well to protect against theft and fire.

Yes, off-site backup for my critical content ($$$) for sure. Going to talk to my insurance folks about theft and fire.

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1 hour ago, SoundSparks said:

This is something I have never heard before... Thank you for the warning! Some of the content is critical indeed, and I have no chance of getting my hands on it again. I would say we are talking of only about a few TB total here, and manual backup (i.e. without doing any RAID) of this content is certainly a possibility. Does this approach seem feasible, please?

 

RAID is about continuity/uptime and backup is about reconstitution. If you are archiving your physical media then they are your backup. If it's other critical data then simply setup a file structure where critical data is in its own folder and just that folder is backed up. *BTW you may hear someone say RAID is backup or a form of backup. This is patently false. Just FYI.

 

For people that I've setup Synology NAS it's how I handle it. Then just use the DropBox app and make sure to backup the critical folder.

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1 hour ago, SoundSparks said:

Can a newbie like yours truly perform such complex "surgery"? I take it I will need 2 x 16GB modules. Any names you could recommend, please?

 

It's pretty easy. I would just hop on YouTube and search for a video on the unit you want in question. Most likely someone has documented it.

 

Just make sure the unit is unplugged and touch something that will ground you out before handling the RAM modules. They generally insert at a 45 degree angle and you flip them up to 90 degree. They are keyed so they can only fit one way.

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RAM upgrade:

Piece of cake if you have messed with desktops.  If not in the manual, the Youtube route is the way to go (per @plissken) .

 

If you have the opportunity, just purchase already maxed.  If not available, usually the ram makers have a selection guide on their website and then hunt around for the best price.  For example:  Memory RAM & SSD Upgrades | qnap | qnap nas | TVS-872XT | Crucial.com

 

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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3 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

Thank you very kindly, dear experts!

 

I will try to use the storage room for my NAS (wired connection), and if not, it will sit about 3-4 feet from my desk: so noise is definitely a consideration for me. I was thinking of some kind of soundproof enclosure to put the NAS into, but this, most probably, will not work because of possible NAS overheating ( 215 BTU/hr on Access and 117 BTU/hr while in Hibernation )...

Yes, QNAP TVS-*72XT Series looks most attractive, but Synology does offer some interesting opportunities as well (at a bit lower price point). Could you please help me to compare technical specs: QNAP TVS-672XT vs. Synology DS1621xs+ ? I am not knowledgeable enough, and do need expert advice here, please... Most importantly, in terms of reliability, which brand would you give your preference to, dear experts?

This is something I have never heard before... Thank you for the warning! Some of the content is critical indeed, and I have no chance of getting my hands on it again. I would say we are talking of only about a few TB total here, and manual backup (i.e. without doing any RAID) of this content is certainly a possibility. Does this approach seem feasible, please?

 

This is my concern also, ergo, hard-wiring with CAT-6a cable would be my preference. Going to take the "boss" to a nice restaurant to negotiate the deal...

 

Can a newbie like yours truly perform such complex "surgery"? I take it I will need 2 x 16GB modules. Any names you could recommend, please?

 

Yes, off-site backup for my critical content ($$$) for sure. Going to talk to my insurance folks about theft and fire.

have you considered powerline  GigE/2.5G Ethernet for your NAS? That would allow you to move it away from listening area.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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8 hours ago, jcbenten said:

From what I have read, NOT what I know, if one drive fails, you have a high probability of more failures. 

Not in my experience.  I have had 4 QNAP NAS drives and over the years I have had single disc failure in just two of them.  I replaced each with a spare and recovered the storage in few hours with no work.  Each of the discs were replaced by the manufacturer under warrantee.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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On 9/12/2021 at 1:08 PM, SoundSparks said:

Any way to establish wireless connection between QNAP NAS and my modem, I wonder...

I did this for years with my 24T Synology without issue whatsoever.  I used the Eero Mesh.  

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Thank you very kindly, dear experts!

In terms of NAS, QNAP TVS-872XT does fit the requirements perfectly. Just a bit "heavy" at ~ 2.2K... What max transfer speed can I possibly achieve? @plisskengets ~ 38MB/s, which is pretty good... I guess nothing beats Thunderbolt 3 DASD if higher throughput is required...

19 hours ago, plissken said:

If it's other critical data then simply setup a file structure where critical data is in its own folder and just that folder is backed up.

That is the plan!

 

19 hours ago, jcbenten said:

If you have the opportunity, just purchase already maxed.  If not available, usually the ram makers have a selection guide on their website and then hunt around for the best price.

I think even I can do the "surgery". Crucial offerings look pretty good.

 

18 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

I have had 4 QNAP NAS drives and over the years I have had single disc failure in just two of them.  I replaced each with a spare and recovered the storage in few hours with no work.

What RAID level did you employ, please?

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1 hour ago, SoundSparks said:

Thank you very kindly, dear experts!

In terms of NAS, QNAP TVS-872XT does fit the requirements perfectly. Just a bit "heavy" at ~ 2.2K... What max transfer speed can I possibly achieve? @plisskengets ~ 38MB/s,

 

What you are looking at, theoretically, could do 1250MB/s with it's 10GBe port. My 38MB/s is what I get over my WiFi. For audio and HD video even my 38MB/s is way overkill.

 

 

1 hour ago, SoundSparks said:

What RAID level did you employ, please?

This depends on what you want to accomplish. RAID 5 is easy and strikes a good balance were you can have a single drive failure but not two concurrent.

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I recently bought and installed a Synology DS 720+. All my gear, my router and my modem are in the same location.

 

When I set it up I assumed I would eventually move the Synology because of noise.

 

I won't be doing that because the Synology is dead quiet. 

 

That's my experience.

 

 

 

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On 9/14/2021 at 12:29 PM, plissken said:

RAID 5 is easy and strikes a good balance were you can have a single drive failure but not two concurrent.

 

20 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

5

RAID 5 it is!

20 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

If my 8 bay NAS was 75% quieter, I could keep it in the room with me, too.

Definitely need to find a solution for this... I wonder if RAID DASD's (something like LaCie 6/12big where aluminum enclosure dissipates heat significantly better than plastic) are less noisy, and if they are, by how much...

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2 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

Definitely need to find a solution for this... I wonder if RAID DASD's (something like LaCie 6/12big where aluminum enclosure dissipates heat significantly better than plastic) are less noisy, and if they are, by how much...

All the QNAP enclosures I've used are aluminum.  

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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