I'm familiar with Windows but a Linux newbie. I have a Synology NAS which I want to use with my Raspberry Pi 2B (which is running Tvheadend). The NAS supports NFS, SMB and AFP. I want to minimise the load on the Pi when writing files to the NAS. Which will load the Pi the least: NFS or SMB (or AFP)?

I know I could set it up and perform experiments but I'm struggling. I've assumed NFS is the way to go but getting the Pi to talk NFS is proving tricky and I want to know if it's worth the effort to prioritise learning this stuff now.


1 Answer 1


Part of your question may be soliciting an opinion: "...if it's worth the effort..." But there is one part that I feel can be answered factually: Forget about AFP... cross it off the list - even if you use Apple hardware!

You will find some (@Dougie - your cue) who feel NFS has all the advantages. Personally, I have decided to stick with SMB (Samba)... not because I think it's great - only because its familiar, and all I've seen and heard about NFS hasn't incentivized me to clutter my life with Yet Another Protocol. In other words: Samba is in my comfort zone, NFS doesn't seem worth the effort.

Of course this is 100% opinion - but when you boil it down, it's often a tradeoff: Do I invest my time to gain some performance advantage? That's usually a subjective decision because... because it's your time.

Your question has been asked before - it's discussed frequently in fact. And there are some articles that offer objective and empirical data. But keep in mind that many of the Q&A/discussions you'll find online are focused on the server - not the client. Based on your question, it seems your RPi will only use the client-side software.

I feel the answer to your question is that any performance advantages of NFS or Samba will depend upon your use case. And unless your RPi 2B is running near 100% capacity, these advantages are likely to be irrelevant. If NFS excites you enough to try it, then try it. If not, stick with what you know, and apply your time to more relevant matters.

  • I'm familiar enough with other stackexchange sites to know not to ask for opinions! I was hoping for data. As you point out, I'm acting as client. All of the questions I was able to find were from the pov of server so, since I don't know what I don't know, possibly invalid. I wasn't asking your opinion of whether it was worth my time, I was fleshing out the question because all too often, people don't provide the why in SE questions and you go off down a blind alley answering the wrong question but I can see how it was misinterpretable. Back to the drawing board! Jan 3, 2021 at 9:20
  • @serialhobbyist: I'm ambivalent to the whole opinion thing - which is to say I'm happy to answer an opinion question as long as it has some, uh... "substance" :) I think even the "official rules" here recognize opinions are a necessary ingredient for many valid questions. I think your question is a good example of that. Unfortunately, there seem to be no benchmarks for the NFS client, and even if there were, they'd only be applicable in a very general sort of way. I tried to present a logical answer, but not necessarily a quantitative one.
    – Seamus
    Jan 4, 2021 at 0:03

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