Will Synology NAS become a bottleneck with Mac mini and Plex?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by morphin1, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. morphin1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    India
    #1
    Hi guys,
    Am planning on getting a Mac Mini with Synology NAS 414J and Asus RT 3200 AC router.
    I plan on streaming movies using PLEX TV in MP4 or MKV format from my Blu ray high quality rips(each movie is about 4-6GB in 1080p). There will be at max 2 1080p streams running simultaneously.

    The Mac Mini will be the server and the NAS device for storage and backup.
    Will the above NAS device create a bottleneck or should I get something like the DS415+ instead for streaming 1080p videos?

    Your thoughts and all help is appreciated.
    Thanks guys
     
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #2
    The Synology will be absolutely fine with two, and I've read of people doing half a dozen or more simultaneous HD streams.

    Keep in mind the bitrates you're talking about for each movie is less than 1MB/s per stream, while the hard drive is capable of 100MB/s reads. While having several simultaneous reads (i.e. movie streams) at once is much more challenging for the HDD, a few streams is not going to overwhelm the HDD. (not that it applies to the drives you have, but I know seagate even makes video streaming optimized HDD's that can handle 16 simultaneous HD streams)
     
  3. morphin1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 28, 2009
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    India
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #4
    You don't want to directly attach your media storage to the mini? Why bother with a NAS (there may be good reasons).
     
  5. DFWHD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    #5
    I had a Synology DS1511+ that I stored all my media on and it was useless for streaming. Horrible performance that we never could resolve, so last spring I moved to a mini server and pulled the HDDs out of the Synology and attached directly to the mini via USB 3 and life is great now. I know lots of folks have had great luck streaming from Synology units, but it just didn't work for me. For that reason I'd suggest suggest not going with the NAS, but YMMV...
     
  6. avemestr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    #6
    The 1511+ does not have a hardware transcoding engine (basicly a dedicated chip) for transcoding media. Therefore it'll have a hard time transcoding on-the-fly, since the Atom CPU is simply not fast enough.

    The same goes for the 414J, that OP have mentioned.

    So OP have three options:

    1) Buy a Synology with hardware transcoding engine (eg. 415play) and no Mac Mini. Plex Media Server can be installed on the Synology (it's easy to do with a package).

    2) Buy a Synology without hardware transcoding engine (eg. 414J) and a Mac Mini. In that case the Plex Media Server should be installed on the Mac Mini and the Synology should remain a "stupid" device not doing anything heavy except feeding data over ethernet to the Mac Mini. This is an unnecessarily complex setup that provides no advantages, except if OP requires software functionality from both Synology AND Mac Mini (eg. cannot live without Surveillance Station on Synology AND cannot live without certain apps on OS X).

    3) The third option is to use Mac Mini only and accept that there'll be 4 external drives making a visual mess around the computer. Install Plex Media Server on the Mac Mini.
     
  7. CUDA_Switch macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    #7
    I have a very similar setup to this - Mac Mini and Synology NAS 413J, using Plex to stream BR rips. I use the Mini as the Plex server with local storage for the rips, and use the NAS exclusively for backup of the Mini and a couple other Mac/Linux boxes. I think your plan of using Plex on the Mini is best. The Plex server on the NAS can do MP4 rips from DVDs no problem, but I don't think the 414J has what it takes for high quality BR rips. It can't do transcoding either, if you need that. Buying a 415+ might help, but it's not worth the extra expense when the Mini could do it with no trouble at all. Also, the Plex server software for the NAS isn't as flexible as the OS X (or any desktop OS) version. Workarounds exist on the Synology forums, but they can be a pain. You could try using the NAS to store the files that the Mini serves out, but if that doesn't work just use cheap external storage on the Mini instead.
     
  8. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #8
    There are probably a few scenarios where the OP's setup might make sense (MM server + NAS)... for instance if they want to connect the MM directly to the TV, but they don't want a bunch of noisy/messy hard drives or relatively noisy NAS sitting under the TV as well.

    Personally, the setup that's worked best for me so far is the Mac + external hard drives - all located in my basement. That serves as the file server for iTunes and backups. I have experience with Synology over the last several years at work, and they work great with PCs, but I've found performance frustratingly spotty with OS X and certain file types - I gather that OS X has always had trouble with SMB performance, at least with Linux (which most NAS's are using).

    However, using a NAS as a "dumb" file server for streaming video should work fine. Using the NAS as a Plex server itself, as some have suggested, is a slightly different discussion.
     
  9. mauka macrumors member

    mauka

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    #9
     
  10. mauka macrumors member

    mauka

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    #10
    I have a Synology DS1515+ running Plex. What I do is convert my DVDs to MP4 format on my Mini, then store on them on the Synology. Playback is wireless through the Plex applications on my Roku and iPad. The MP4 files average 1GB in size. I could convert at a higher quality but haven't seen the value yet. What I like about Plex is it automatically finds the movie title and synopsis. If I want a movie for travel I'll put the MP4 in iTunes and copy to my iPad Mini. I also use the Synology for Time Machine and Windows backup.
     

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