Windows 10: Power - dedicated NAS or use older computer
Power - dedicated NAS or use older computer
I see more people now are thinking of using some sort of NAS box for media serving these days.
Often they decide to use something like an Older Laptop with one or two external USB enclosures (powered JBOD type).
This may work in the short term and is good to test the idea of using a NAS but it consumes VASTLY more power than to use say a dedicated Micro server with up to 4 internal (often Hot swappable) HDD's.
The reason being typical servers are robustly built, are DESIGNED to be left running 24 hrs a day 7 days a week and when "idling" consume minimal current -- also for things like file serving / multi-media for home users the NAS doesn't need to have a humungously powerful CPU or graphics - usually the VGA built in graphics on these servers is sufficient - you will be running these things headless most of the time anyway.
Once you've got your NAS up and running you will very rarely if ever need to apply updates etc - just let the thing run until hardware fails or you decide you need a new one.
If you use WINDOWS on a laptop for example you've got all the updates, emails and a zillion of other things when running a DESKTOP OS rather than a proper server OS like LINUX or FREENAS etc.
A laptop with a standard i5 processor and say 4 HDD's in one or 2 USB 3 enclosures - is probably grossly overkill for this type of service anyway plus you will probably be running Windows on it - running Windows headless is often problematic too.
The probable obstacle against using a dedicated NAS server is that it's unlikely to have a Wifi card - however you can get a load of wifi adapters - but again Wifi on Linux or Freenas OS'es is always a bit of a gamble - a router in BRIDGED mode will get round this - connect the NAS Lan to a port on a router operating in Bridged mode and then that router will connect by wifi to your network - this is better than pure wifi anyway for a SERVER as this will work in FULL duplex mode rather than half duplex giving better throughput.
(If you are running things like PLEX a decent wifi service will work - even at 2.4GHZ but if it drops to below about 3mb/s you'll get a load of buffering / pauses on the remote device - especially if any inline transcoding needs to be done so a Wired LAN is far better here of course if possible). Remember that you need to take account of the UPLOAD or Wifi transfer ).speed here as far as your remote device is concerned
Looking at energy -- on idle my HP microserver is consuming around 12 watts -- nothing, a Laptop with 4 X HDD's connected with 2 external USB enclosures is running at about 70 watts.
These days in most places you are getting increasingly higher charges for energy these costs begin to get significant --especially if you have more than 1 server. - I saw the other day that a UK utility firm was raising its electricity prices by a whopping 15% - in that country that's not the worst either as you have to ADD a wallet busting VAT charge on top as well !!! - and the UK isn't the only place where energy costs are rising (although it has to be said it's the MOST EXPENSIVE out of the places I generally work in).
When going for a NAS it's worth looking at these considerations - I think you want a server to be UP most of the time unlike a typical Laptop / tablet.
So from both an economic and Technical view it makes sense to use a dedicated SERVER box rather than use an old laptop / desktop for your NAS.
Hoping to save people aggro and money here if they are thinking of having a NAS -- I've done it both ways and I'm far happier with the Server solution for hardware.
I'm not sure the point you are trying to make, to be honest. A NAS is designed to run 24x7. It also should consume less power than a desktop running the same hard drives. I don't know if anyone who would try to use a laptop as a NAS.
I have a WD EX4 with 4x2 TB WD Red drives in it. It runs 24x7 and I haven't had a single complaint about it.
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