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I'm planning to build a NAS for my music, films and some other files, but I can't figure out what would fit my needs best.

The Pi brings a lot of "fun" because DIY and it's versatile (Kodi, Samba, etc.) and low cost. The main complaint I have is the theoretical max. transfer rate of 11.5MB/s over Ethernet100.

That's where I think a more powerful NAS like the EX4 or a self-built from old PC would be better, but I'm not sure whether I need Gigabit Ethernet for transfering and streaming music/films/files to and from it.

The Pi would also cost 1/10th annually vs the EX4 and I could imagine 1/15th vs an old PC.

Have you made any experiences with the Pi as NAS and how its transfer speeds are? We are 4 people (basic family) and the only people that could be using the NAS would be my sister (music, maybe films) and I (everything).

Thank you for your help!

Greetings Steve

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  • I made experience that it is possible to stream two 1080p x264 movies at the same time (which needs up to 60~70 Mbit) with minidlna. If you want to serve more people with 1080p videos you need a better machine with gbit. I built a NAS with a WD green and always send the harddisk to sleep, so it uses less energy. However when I want to watch a movie, I have to wait for the hard disk to spin up (takes about 20-30 seconds).
    – syss
    May 18, 2016 at 12:51
  • Thanks man. I already have the WDEX4100 now, streams like a champ but doesn't like transcoding too much over PLEX. May 18, 2016 at 19:26

2 Answers 2

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If it's just the network bandwidth, the RPi 3's wifi is 802.11n so you should be able to exceed 11.5MB/s. If you're worried about saturating your WiFi network, you could purchase a relatively inexpensive USB adapter.

I've had success with this Plugable USB2.0 10/100/1000 adapter and I'm sure there are others. I'm don't know what the max throughput actually is, especially since USB 2.0 itself tops out at 500Mbps, but it should certainly be sufficient for most purposes.

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  • This is a situation where it helps to know a little about the guts of a raspberry pi. The same controller and the same bus is at the root of USB and built-in network adapters. So if you're pulling data off a USB drive in order to send it out the ethernet port, you're loading that bus up in both directions. Now the new onboard wifi is different, but it is on the SDIO bus, which is also not as fast as you're hoping. Benchmarks available seem to say the onboard wifi peaks around 40 Mbit/s = 5 MB/s. IMO Raspi 3 makes a good NAS for files or audio, but not streaming HD. Nov 17, 2016 at 1:54
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As N Jones suggested, there are ways to improve the base performance of the Pi if needed. If you won't be doing anything demanding it should be working just fine as a file server. Playing media off of the Pi would heavily depend on the quality of the media and if any encoding would be done.

What are your plans for the storage if you go with the Pi? I could suggest checking out the WD PiDrive and the WD PiDrive Kit .

WD My Cloud EX4 is quite a powerful NAS that can serve a lot of different purposes and offer good RAID support and redundancy. It may even be an overkill for simple file sharing NAS, depending on how much storage space you'd need. If you do need all that power and storage I would recommend checking the newer version WD My Cloud EX4100.

Post back with more details and if you need any additional info :)

Captain_WD.

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  • Hey thank you for the suggestion with the WD Kit. I plan to copy all of my music to it which could be around 500GB - 1TB due to High-Res FLACs. I also have 3TB FullHD movies and plan to copy my Blu-Rays soon which will add up another 3-5TB. What I want to do is to save all my work on one HDD and music+films on another which are then accessible through KODI etc. (I don't yet know what I will end up doing) to stream to all of our devices if needed. Apr 19, 2016 at 9:34

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