What is the Best Synology NAS for Plex?

  • Post author:WunderTech
  • Post last modified:February 23, 2024
  • Post category:Synology
  • Reading time:12 mins read

In this article, we will look at the best Synology NAS for Plex. When you start looking at Synology NAS devices, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re looking for. First, you need to consider storage space, meaning how much total volume you’ll need.

To determine this, you’ll have to get an understanding of how much you’d like to store on your Synology NAS and the hard drive size you’d like to use. Plex will run on any Synology, so having the total storage space that you need is incredibly important.

We will look at a few important questions below before looking at other options.

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The Synology DS423+ is the best Synology NAS for Plex because it has a powerful processor that can handle 4K transcoding, four drive bays that can store up to 64 TB of media, and two M.2 NVMe SSD slots.

How Much Storage Space Do I Need?

The first thing you should do is use Synology’s RAID calculator to get an idea of how much storage space you’ll have after accounting for RAID. Plug the numbers into the RAID calculator and try and determine how many bays you’ll need in your Synology NAS, then proceed.

Do I Want to Use Hardware Acceleration?

First off, Hardware acceleration is NOT required for most people. However, you should understand if you’d actually like to use it as the Synology NAS device you select must be compatible with Hardware Acceleration.

It’s difficult to explain if Hardware Acceleration is necessary for each individual circumstance, but you should read and understand exactly what it does to confirm if you do or do not need it. Then, look for the Hardware Acceleration Compatible info below to ensure you get a device compatible with Hardware Acceleration.

Best Synology NAS for Plex

The devices listed below are some of the best and recommended options for Plex.

what is the best synology nas for plex

After you’ve selected your NAS, make sure you buy the best Hard Drive you can!

Synology DS224+

Synology DS224+ - best synology nas devices.

The Synology DS224+ is the best Synology NAS for beginners and might just be the best Synology NAS for Plex. Generally, this device will do everything, including hardware transcoding due to the Intel J4125 processor.

A lot of the devices below don’t support hardware acceleration, so if that’s a requirement for you and two bays are enough, you should go with the Synology DS224+. It’s just the best overall value and offers the most functionality for media servers on this list. If you want more bays, check out the DS423+ below.

Hardware Acceleration Compatible

Click here to purchase the Synology DS224+ on Amazon

Synology DS723+

What is the Best Synology NAS for Plex?

If you’re going to go with a two-bay NAS, get the DS723+. To be clear, the outgoing DS720+ was technically a better unit for Plex since it supported Hardware Acceleration, but if you’re not going to use that, this is a great option.

This device also allows you to eventually expand, if necessary, by purchasing an expansion unit as media files tend to grow in size as resolution grows.

Hardware Acceleration NOT Compatible

Link to purchase a DS723+ on Amazon

Synology DS423+

What is the Best Synology NAS for Plex?

The DS423+ is basically the same thing as the Synology DS920+ but it does not come with 4GB of memory (it only comes with 2GB of memory) which makes it the best Synology NAS for Plex.

This device is extremely similar to the DS920+ (when it was available), the DS423+ has the same processor, same M.2 Drive slots, same RJ-45 ports, and only 2GB less memory.

Hardware Acceleration Compatible

Link to purchase DS423+ on Amazon

Synology DS1522+

which synology nas buy - Synology DS1522+

The DS1522+ comes with an AMD Ryzen R1600 processor and five bays. The older model of this device (DS1520+) did support hardware acceleration, but the AMD processor in this device doesn’t.

Hardware Acceleration NOT Compatible

Link to purchase DS1522+ on Amazon

Synology DS1621+

which synology nas buy - Synology DS1621+

The DS1621+ has a different, AMD Ryzen Processor than the DS720+/920+/1520+. For NAS purposes, this is a great unit as you can add a 10Gbe expansion card and it comes standard with ECC memory, but this is NOT compatible with Hardware Acceleration.

This will run Plex great, but if you want/need Hardware Acceleration, go with the DS1520+.

Hardware Acceleration NOT Compatible

Link to purchase DS1621+ on Amazon

Synology DS1821+

which synology nas buy - Synology DS1821+

Similar to the DS1621+, this unit does not work with Hardware Acceleration. However, it’s a great device to run Plex on if that’s not a requirement.

This is a superior unit in terms of actual NAS performance, but possibly not with Plex depending on your goals.

Hardware Acceleration NOT Compatible

Link to purchase DS1821+ on Amazon

Setting Up Plex on a Synology NAS

Now that we looked at the best Synology NAS for Plex, let’s look at how to configure Plex. There are two different ways that you can set up Plex on a Synology NAS. The first is by using the Plex Package. This is arguably the easiest way, as you simply download and install the Plex package, and then configure it.

The second is by using Plex and Docker, which will allow you to run Plex on Docker and standardize it (as opposed to using the package). Finally, the third is by using Plex, Docker, and Hardware Acceleration.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

This article looked at the best Synology NAS for Plex devices. Please note, the new DS923+ (which is what most people think is the best overall Synology device) DOES NOT support hardware acceleration, so if you want to use it with Plex, you must get the DS920+ (if you can find one) or DS423+.

If you can still get your hands on a DS1520+, this is one of the best devices as well, however, it’s been replaced by the DS1522+ which does NOT support hardware transcoding. If you only need two drive bays, the DS723+ is the device you should buy. With that said, not everyone needs Hardware Acceleration, so going with the DS1621+ or DS1821+ is a great option as well.

Thanks for checking out the article on the best Synology NAS for Plex. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments!


Frank is an IT professional with 13+ years experience and the creator of WunderTech. He focuses on sharing his experience with others on computer hardware, servers, software, networking, and self-hosted apps. He has a BS in Computer Information Systems and an MBA. Learn more about Frank in his bio.