I am currently using a Seagate Central as a temporary network drive. I had a WD My Book Live die on me, and it took me over a week to pull off not quite 2TB of data using the DiskInternals Linux Reader application. With that and other media I’d collected since the My Book Live died last July, I’ve filled a 3TB Seagate Central to within 400GB of capacity.
My current path is a Synology DS214play NAS (network attached storage) box. There are a handful of models in the DS214 series, but the D214play has the most powerful processor and a floating point unit, having the ability to transcode video and audio files on the fly. Since I will be using this as a media server as its primary function, getting a unit capable of transcoding was a good move for me.
Why do we need transcoding? Not all devices in the house can play the same video formats, and the DS214play will transcode them to the proper format while sending them across the network. The excellent Mezzmo package for Windows 7/8 does the same, but I am not going to turn my desktop computer on, burning up 300 watts or more of power, just to send a video to one room in the house.
The DS214play does not come with hard drives–it is an empty 2-bay unit. I have researched drives a bit. My recent experience with the My Book Live, whose drive got corrupted after a simple power outage, has made me shy away from their products. Although, their pricey “Se” and “Re” series drives are high reliability enterprise drives with a five year warranty and extra technology to help with error recovery and vibrational stability. The WD Red drive is claimed to be an “enterprise” or NAS drive, but its poor 5400 RPM speed instantly ruled it out for me.
One drive catching my attention was a Hitachi, aka HGST. Many server and cloud providers have used these with among the lowest failure rates in the industry. Given the price on one of these in a NAS-duty configuration was $70 lower than the same sized 4TB WD “Re” drive, I decided to give it a try.
Having 4TB will take care of my needs for awhile, and the Seagate Central will be a backup drive, fired up occasionally to sync with the DS214play. The My Book Live is still under warranty, so I will be replacing that as well, and may use it for a backup also, likely with less critical files.
The Synology NAS products are really well thought out. Rather than having to hack them and install my own set of utilities, Synology has the ability to download applications that install right to the NAS without any hacking or special knowledge needed. Bittorrent clients, the Serviio DLNA/UPnP server, a video surveillance recorder, and many others are available as add-on modules. Very nice!
It is all coming together nicely. Further progress will be posted here as it happens.