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Best NAS devices in 2024

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Network-attached storage (NAS) enclosures are smart compact servers that can be used to store data, save money on cloud subscriptions, stream media, run a home surveillance system, and much more. Depending on what you plan to use the NAS for, it’s possible to spend as little as $200 or as much as $2,000. There’s also the route of building your own DIY NAS, though we’d recommend this if you have an old PC at hand or need additional performance not offered by ASUSTOR, QNAP, Synology, and other NAS brands. Here are my favorite NAS enclosures.

Our top picks for the best NAS in 2023


Synology DiskStation DS224+

Synology DiskStation DS224+

Best NAS

An uprated CPU makes this a killer NAS

The Synology DiskStation DS224+ is the direct successor to the popular DS220+, which was praised for the value it offered to consumers looking to buy their first enclosure. The DS224+ has an Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of DDR4 RAM, and support for Synology’s excellent DSM operating system and catalog of apps.

Pros

  • Powerful specs for the price
  • Excellent DSM OS

The Synology DiskStation DS224+ replaced the aging yet extremely popular and successful DS220+. We recommended the older DS220+ for just about everything, from budget purchases to those who want to create their own media streaming service. Synology upgraded the processor for the DS224+ but kept everything else (including the price) the same. Being a dual-slot NAS means you can install up to two 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives for a maximum capacity of just north of 20 TB.


Installing drives inside the Synology DiskStation DS224+

As well as being one of the best Synology NAS available, the DiskStation DS224+ is a well-positioned NAS compared to the competition. The Intel Celeron J4125 is a notable upgrade over the older J4025 with a maximum burst speed of 2.7GHz across all four cores. It’s the same chip that was used in the DS920+, which was (and still is) one of the best-value NAS for running Plex. Throw in Synology’s best-in-class OS and you’ve got a winner. It’s just a shame about the lack of 2.5GbE networking and M.2 slots.


TerraMaster F4-423

TerraMaster F4-423

Best value NAS

For those who are looking for the best bang for their buck

TerraMaster’s F4-423 is an Intel-powered NAS with four drive bays, M.2 SSD support, and 2.5Gb networking. For the price, it’s a very capable server foundation that can be used for various deployments.

Pros

  • Impressive specs for the price
  • 4K media transcoding
Cons

  • OS is still a little rough

TerraMaster is known for producing some of the best-value NAS in the industry. You’ll frequently find its enclosures undercutting the competition, especially Synology. TerraMaster F4-423 is a powerful server with some impressive specifications for the price. Let’s start with the Intel Celeron N5095 processor, which is found inside a more expensive NAS like the QNAP TS-464. It’s a quad-core chip capable of boosting up to 2.9GHz. This is joined by 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, which can be expanded up to a whopping 32 GB.


terramaster-f4-423-nas-drive-caddy-partially-out-1

The four bays are great for installing some high-capacity 3.5-inch drives, and two M.2 SSD slots are at hand for caching or expanding the storage pool further. Two 2.5GbE ports are available, as well as a dedicated HDMI port (though it cannot be used for media pass-through like other NAS). This is some considerable firepower for the price, but it’s not all good news for TerraMaster’s F4-423. The TerraMaster Operating System (TOS) isn’t quite as refined as the competition, but the company has made some serious strides in recent years, and we expect it to continue updating the OS to bring it up to standard.


QNAP TS-464

QNAP TS-464

Best Plex NAS

The best NAS for creating your very own Netflix

The QNAP TS-464 is a brilliant and powerful NAS, rocking an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM out of the box, and even two M.2 slots and a single PCIe expansion slot. It has everything you need to run a Plex Media Server, including dedicated HDMI output.

Pros

  • Powerful Intel CPU
  • Upgradable RAM, M.2 slots, and 2.5GbE

The QNAP TS-464 is an impressive piece of kit. The QTS operating system is easy to use and beginner-friendly, making any QNAP NAS an ideal starting point for those new to the world of network-attached storage. This enclosure happens to be the best overall Plex NAS, thanks in large part to its specifications. There’s the same Intel Celeron N5095 found inside the TerraMaster F4-423 NAS, but QNAP only officially supports up to 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, though we imagine (and haven’t tested to confirm) 32 GB should work just fine.


QNAP TS-464

There are four drive bays, the same as the F4-423 from TerraMaster, but where QNAP differs its NAS is with expansion support. Not only do we have two M.2 slots for rapid SSDs, but also a single PCI slot for installing more M.2 drive capacity or faster network connectivity. On the rear of the QNAP TS-464 are two 2.5GbE ports, multiple USB ports, and a dedicated HDMI port for hooking up your TV. It’s an excellent package on an attractive chassis and runs a solid OS, making it our top pick for running your media server with Plex. We’ve also compared QNAP vs. Synology if you’d like to dive deeper.


ASUSTOR FLASHSTOR 6 (FS6706T)

Asustor Flashstor 6 FS6706T

Best SSD-only NAS

Quiet, fast, and reliable

If you’re looking for a NAS with excellent transfer rates, look no further than the Asustor Flashstor 6 FS6706T. This thing is rapid, with six M.2 slots available for speedy SSD drives. There’s 2.5GbE networking, HDMI output, expansion support, and expandable RAM, making the FS6706T an impressive NAS.

Pros

  • Six M.2 slots
  • Excellent OS
Cons

  • Somewhat loud fan
  • NAS M.2 SSDs are expensive

Mechanical 3.5-inch drives are still the recommended buy in 2023 for storing lots of data on a NAS, but flash storage has come down in price considerably in recent years. Manufacturers, including Western Digital and Seagate, are starting to offer NAS-focused SSDs, including M.2 drives, and the latter is precisely what the Asustor Flashstor 6 FS6706T supports with six available M.2 bays. This will help reduce power draw, noise, and vibrations and extend the lifespan of the system before drives require replacing.


Asustor Flashstor 6 FS6706T

The Intel Celeron N5105 processor is an excellent choice for this enclosure, having four cores and a burst speed of up to 2.9GHz. It has ample PCI lanes for all the storage slots, as well as the ability to support an expansion unit to increase the number of bays up to 14. However, the supported expansion unit has 3.5-inch bays, so there won’t be 14 M.2 SSD slots. Even though M.2 SSDs should make this a silent enclosure, the single 80 mm fan ensures that it’s anything but, and you will need to prepare yourself for the price of NAS SSDs.


Synology DiskStation DS223j, white background

Synology DiskStation DS223j

Best budget NAS

A great budget NAS for beginners and backups

Synology’s DiskStation DS223j is the replacement for the popular and well-received DS220j, an affordable 2-bay enclosure with access to the company’s excellent DiskStation Manager (DSM) OS. Rocking a new ARM processor and more RAM, it’s a solid choice for those who simply wish to store files and backups.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Synology DSM OS
Cons

  • No expansion support
  • Limited specs

Synology’s DiskStation Ds223J is one of the more affordable NAS enclosures offered by the company. It’s the lowest we’d pay for a Synology NAS, keeping to two drive bays at the very least for better data protection and RAID support. This NAS may not have all the same highlight specifications found in more expensive NAS, but it’s still running the same excellent DSM OS. If all you need the NAS for is to store data or some backup files, the Synology DiskStation DS223j is a great choice.


Synology DiskStation DS223j

For connectivity, there’s only one 1GbE port on the rear, joined by a few USB ports. That’s all the processor will be able to handle, being a quad-core Realtek ARM chip. The older DS220j had just 512 MB of DDR3 RAM, so it’s good to see Synology upgrade the internals of this successor with 1 GB of DDR4. It’ll still be a limiting factor if you plan on pushing this NAS a little further than originally designed by Synology, however.

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Synology-DS1522-plus

Synology DiskStation DS1522+

Best capacity

Great NAS foundation for expansive storage

The Synology DiskStation DS1522+ is an expansive NAS with five drive bays, 8GB of RAM, and an AMD Ryzen processor. Two additional expansion units with five bays each can be connected for a high-capacity storage solution.

Pros

  • Expansion support for up to 15 bays
  • Synology DSM OS

The Synology DiskStation DS1522+ is a mighty enclosure with five 3.5-inch bays as standard. In our review and extensive testing, we found the NAS to be a powerful addition to the home or office with an impressive dual-core AMD Ryzen processor. It’s not designed for use as a Plex Media Server, as the CPU isn’t joined by graphics processing and, as such, will struggle slightly with transcoding media on the fly. But when storing a lot of data, you can’t go wrong here. Once all five bays are fully populated, up to two five-bay DX517 expansion units can be connected.


Synology-DS1522plus-drive-bays-1

That’s a total of 15 drive bays with an additional two M.2 slots for SSD caching or faster additions to the storage pool. The 8 GB of preinstalled RAM can be expanded up to 32 GB, which is more than what you’d find in many desktop systems. Like any other Synology enclosure, the best part of this NAS is the DSM operating system. Four 1GbE connections are present on the rear, with a few USB ports and two eSATA for expansion. It’s a pricey package, coming in at $700, but it is well worth it if you’re looking to go big.


QNAP TVS-h674-i3

QNAP TVS-h674-i3

Best performance

This NAS uses a desktop-class Intel Core i3 chip

The QNAP TVS-h674-i3 is a very powerful NAS. Inside is the same Intel Core i3-12100 processor that you’d find in more affordable desktop PCs, providing the QTS OS with plenty of performance headroom. The HDMI port, expansion slots, and upgradable RAM make it the perfect NAS for heavy Plex usage.

Pros

  • Impressive performance
  • Extensive connectivity
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Higher power draw

You likely won’t require anything close to the QNAP TVS-h674-i3, but should you be in the market for one of the more powerful prebuilt enclosures, QNAP has you covered with its impressive TVS family of NAS. This thing has the same Intel Core i3-12100 you’d have found in more affordable desktop PCs, making it considerably more powerful than other NAS in this collection. It’s priced accordingly, however, coming in at an eye-watering $1,700.

Running QNAP’s own QTS operating system, the TVS-h674-i3 has 16 GB of DDR4 RAM (with the prospect of expanding up to 64 GB), six drive bays, two PCI slots, two M.2 slots, and two 2.5GbE connections. It’s expensive, but QNAP threw just about everything inside this enclosure. Those two PCI slots can be used for additional M.2 capacity or to introduce 10GbE networking. All this tech does mean the NAS will run a little louder and be more power-hungry than other enclosures we’ve recommended.

Choosing the best NAS

We’re big fans of the Synology DiskStation DS224+ with its Intel processor, upgradable RAM, and dual 1GbE ports. The upgrades over the DS220+ may not have been substantial, but it’s more than capable of running the latest apps and services of today without a problem. Throw in Synology’s excellent DiskStation Manager (DSM) OS and cloud platform, and you’ve got one of the best NAS ecosystems. This NAS is also a great choice for those looking to buy their very first NAS and want something with a little more power.

For those on a tighter budget, we’d recommend the Synology DiskStation DS223j. It’s not going to win any awards for performance or expandability, but the NAS will happily act as a means for backing up some important files and running an app or service or two. Having access to Synology’s DSM operating system is a huge win here because it resembles that of a modern PC, making it easy to learn the ropes and get the most out of the enclosure.


Synology DiskStation DS224+

Synology DiskStation DS224+

Best NAS

The Synology DiskStation DS224+ packs a punch with an upgraded processor, the same superb DSM OS, and amazing app support.

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