Dedicated PC for NAS/Plex Server

Hi Everyone, new user here…came upon this forum to find some advice as to how I should proceed. My local computer store had a sale, and I ended up with a new Asustor AS3204T NAS and 4x WD Red 10TB drives.

I am new (and late) to the NAS game, but I have always wanted to be able to access my media (movies, tv shows, music, photos, etc) through one outlet, and Plex seemed to be the clear choice. I’ve never gotten into it for obvious reasons ($), but now that I had a chance I jumped the gun on the drives and NAS.

Currently, I have a simple home network, and a small 2 bay DLink 323 to store some movies and shows that can be accessed by others on the network, purely as a network drive in windows. The storage is relatively small, and cannot hold all of my media, so the rest just goes into many 5.25" drives that I have lying all over my desk. With the new hardware, I hope to be able to put everything on it, and run a Plex server and be able to share it with family, and remotely. However, the more I researched, the more complex it seems. A lot of reading and youtube show either a pure dedicated server PC where the hdds are inside, or actually use the NAS box as a server…however I want to build a PC to do the work (server), but use the NAS box as the storage, using whatever best RAID method is possible.

Currently, this is what I want to do, but would like some help as to how:

  • use the NAS as a storage for media only (ie NOT use the NAS as a Plex server)
  • build a small PC with graphics card for the Plex server (ie to be able to HW Transcode the media on the NAS), and what hardware to get (xeon, ryzen, quadro, etc)
  • connect the PC+NAS to the network (how)
  • get a UPS for the setup
  • how to setup the NAS best for this purpose? normal RAID, unRAID, Freenas, etc
  • I’ve read that zfs file system is the best…will my above choice already solve this problem?

The only hardware I have is the NAS box and hard drives. I have not even begun to search for the PC portion. Any advice or help to get me started would be great!


Welcome to the forum.

I’ll try to keep this short and focus on your specific queries. Feel free to follow up on specifics.

First of all the hardware you have is solid and will meet your needs. You shouldn’t need to buy or build an additional server. I’ll describe below on the basis of using the NAS for the Plex server, as you are not clear as to why you don’t want to do this. Why do you need a separate box to do that role?

The model asustor you have bought has a quad core intel CPU and a hardware transcoder, meaning it can run Plex server as an “app” on the appliance with no drama, all the way to 4k.

If you build a “standard” pc to do this it would need to have a beefy GPU which generates heat and noise. Dedicated hardware is always going to win for these specialised tasks. Any spec hardware will do the job but for general purpose transcoding Nvidia is better.

Just plug and play over Ethernet. Set up the NAS as a target for the Plex transcode server and access your media.

You already have the asustor so freenas and Unraid are out of the window unless you return the appliance. Asustor will have a raid mode. With 4 drives I’d recommend a striped mirror (raid 10) which will give you performance and 20TiB storage.

Again you already have your asustor. It won’t run ZFS. If you don’t want to use the asustor you can build a dedicated server but that will make the appliance redundant.

Overall I think you are trying to do too many things at once. Start by setting up the asustor and creating a media share. Install the Plex app and get a trial key (they are usually good value). See if the appliance on its own meets your needs. If it doesn’t then we can revisit and see what upgrade may be needed. I actually think you will be pleasantly surprised with the power of the hardware.

Good luck

Yes, I suppose that would be a good first step, and I will definitely try that first! I will revisit the post and provide updates. Thanks for the informative reply!


A nas does not require a powerful cpu or gpu. just decent ones that support hardware acceleration for the best experience. So, a intel cpu with quick sync, or nvidia gpu. AMD at the moment doesn’t have a great transcoder engine (in terms of gpus), nvidia turing and intel quick sync are decent.

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