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I am completely new to Raspberry Pi, and don't know a lot about it. My knowledge on hardware, software and programming (except for basic Python) is also very limited.

However, I read you can make a NAS out of a Raspberry Pi. I browsed through some questions here, and even saw some tutorials, but in every case it seems that only low-power NAS can be made from Raspberry Pi.
I'd like to create a NAS that gives me instant access to files and/or streams HD videos.

Is this possible to accomplish with a Raspberry Pi?
If so, will it still be cheaper than a regular NAS solution?

  • You probably could, but plugging a big hard drive or memory stick into the Pi and expecting it to work quickly or at all, it may not be the best of ideas. What are you going to store it on, and will the Pi be using wifi or ethernet at the same time? If using high-power wifi + hard drive, it will need to be powered from an external hub. – Wilf Nov 24 '13 at 19:13
  • @wilf I'd like to store music and videos (in HD) in it. I'd like for it to use ethernet to connect to the network (unless another option is better). Basically, I want it to be where I store that stuff from my computers. I'd like to be able to later watch that stuff from my computers, or possibly from another Pi with XBMC on my TV. Maybe there's an easier solution, but as I said, I'm new to this. If there is a better solution, let me know. :) – JNat Nov 24 '13 at 19:41
  • For high speed stuff, with some buffering (like the lighter grey bar on Youtube vids), something like this may do. However, if you do not mind having to buffer more, and setting it up, the Pi should work well for most things. It also depends on other factors, e.g. what security measures you want, the operating systems on your other computers, etc. – Wilf Nov 24 '13 at 20:37
  • Note that it only has 100 MBit network, which may be too little for your taste. Except that, it will be fine. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jan 24 '14 at 12:56
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I use my Pi as a NAS and it works great. I have a 2TB powered external HDD where I store my HD movies. I installed Samba for filesharing. Streaming over LAN is incredibly quick, does not stutter at all. Over WiFi though you would definitely run into problems.

My setup cost me £35 for the Pi and another £70 for the 2TB disk bringing the total to £105, cheaper than any other NAS solution I could find at the time. I have been using this system for about 6 months and it hasn't given me any problems so far (aside from the occasional SD card corruption that tends to happen with Raspberry Pis)

  • Nonsense! I run my NAS and streaming even high-bitrate movies over WiFi is perfectly fine. Do set a large readhead buffer if you use VLC, though because the stream seems to come in big bursts. – PythonNut Jun 4 '15 at 23:48
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Late to the party but the below link is to a performance test of the Raspberry Pi as well as the Banana Pi. It confirms some of the comments already made here, but also points to an alternative possibly better than Raspberry Pi.

https://www.htpcguides.com/raspberry-vs-banana-pi-benchmarks-sata-gigabit-matter/

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Most of the time when low-power in mentioned it is talking about wall power, and the less power you pull to accomplish the same work the better, so yay. on the other hand the rpi is not optimized for very fast I/O like a purpose built NAS box should be, so It may be slower, so boo. Will it work as a NAS? yes. The best? No. Good enough? maybe, It depends on what your good enough is.

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    My "good enough" is, p.e., being able to stream HD videos without lagging, glitching or anything of that sort. :) – JNat Nov 25 '13 at 1:04
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    @JNat Since the definition of high definition changes often (I remember when folks were bragging about television quality video) here is how you do the math: determine frames per second and bytes per frame (which may vary per encoding, raw is HxWxC/8) multiply them and add 10% for overhead. This is the bandwidth you need. Now to estimate the bandwidth of the NAS your are building: you take the bus speed/2, the drive speed, and the network speed/2 and take the smallest number. and remember that on the rpi the network is connected by usb. – hildred Nov 25 '13 at 1:14
  • My setup give me about 5MB/s (40Mbps) over NFS. Works just fine for (hd-)video streaming (5MB/s == 18GB/h). – Gerben Nov 25 '13 at 15:40

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