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Question for starter NAS are Raspberry Pi 4s viable?

Ultraforce
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Hi, from recently starting to watch Linus Tech Tips videos I've been exposed a lot to pieces of technology that I was not exposed to prior. Among them is the idea of a NAS to store data. This has happened to coincide with getting warnings on my computer about the fact that there's only 20 or so left in the 256 GB that my 3 year old Dell XPS 8930 Desktop has, I've seen articles when searching NAS that talk about how a low investment introduction is using a Raspberry Pi and I have a Pi 4B with 8 GB of RAM that I got for uni projects so was wondering if that would be a good choice at least until I figure out if I need to look into a standalone NAS or replace my computer. Here was the article that mentioned Pis being able to be made into your own NAS. https://www.howtogeek.com/139433/how-to-turn-a-raspberry-pi-into-a-low-power-network-storage-device/

Thank you very much for your time,

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if you want to learn how to do it on a Pi?  Go for it.

 

Alternatively, a refurbished business desktop PC of 6th/7th gen can be had for around 100-25 bucks, which can hold 2-4 drives internally, and most include windows, so you don't have to learn anything too different.

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I'd only suggest using it as a backup target, it's not super performant for anything else.  Since you're having to use a USB attached drive anyway though, you could just skip the RPI and plug it right in - much simpler, but not nearly as fun to set up. 🙂

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If you only have the 1 PC, a USB drive or a secondary drive inside your PC is much less complicated; and you dont get limited by gigabit speed. 

The fact you only have 256GB sounds like its an SSD. Just get a 1-2TB hard drive as secondary storage since its an ATX sized computer. 

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5 minutes ago, Jarsky said:

If you only have the 1 PC, a USB drive or a secondary drive inside your PC is much less complicated; and you dont get limited by gigabit speed. 

The fact you only have 256GB sounds like its an SSD. Just get a 1-2TB hard drive as secondary storage since its an ATX sized computer. 

Okay, I do have one terabit drive with 426 GB free at the moment but wasn't sure if because I don't know what stuff can be moved from the C drive to the D drive if a NAS would be simpler as it would be keep pretty much everything in a network location.

Would a NAS use case be more so if you are in a situation where you are using more then 10 TB of external hard drives and want it more organized?

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10 minutes ago, Ultraforce said:

Would a NAS use case be more so if you are in a situation where you are using more then 10 TB of external hard drives and want it more organized?

Not particularly.  A NAS is literally Network Attached Storage - it's when you want data of any size to be attached to your network rather than a single system.  The usual reasons are either multiple client systems, or space/power concerns where you don't want that much storage in the same location as your PC, usually with laptops since they're portable, though also if you have enough storage (>20 TB or so) then you'd want it remotely just for noise reasons.

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21 hours ago, jec6613 said:

Not particularly.  A NAS is literally Network Attached Storage - it's when you want data of any size to be attached to your network rather than a single system.  The usual reasons are either multiple client systems, or space/power concerns where you don't want that much storage in the same location as your PC, usually with laptops since they're portable, though also if you have enough storage (>20 TB or so) then you'd want it remotely just for noise reasons.

Ah so more so if you want a storage solution for 2 desktops, 3 laptops, and a Nvidia shield? Can NAS be split up in terms of which clients of the servers can use what and whether they can access it only locally or remotely?

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11 minutes ago, Ultraforce said:

Ah so more so if you want a storage solution for 2 desktops, 3 laptops, and a Nvidia shield? Can NAS be split up in terms of which clients of the servers can use what and whether they can access it only locally or remotely?

Sure, all of the above, given something sufficiently sophisticated.  You can also carve it up by user/device combinations as well - in fact, carving up by user and group is much more normal for a true NAS, carving by device tends to be with SAN (or something SAN-like).  For instance, you can access all of your files regardless of where you log on that only you can access, someone else you share storage with accesses theirs similarly, and you can have shared storage for the two of you.

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I managed to set one up pretty easily (running gui-less raspbian, samba, and connected through an Ubuntu Laptop, though Windows should work too). It's not particularly difficult and a pretty fun weekend project.

 

The performance, however, as everyone said, is the issue. Going with the USB slots, you're not going to get impressive up and down speeds. I believe people have made HAT connectors that'll cover the IO pins and allow you to attach a HDD or SSD. I didn't try this, but I expect the speeds to be much better, and storage capabilities much better as well.

 

Ultimately, I don't think a NAS is beneficial unless you have 4 or more computers in a house that might want to interact occasionally. If all you have is one computer and a TV... Dropping videos into it so they can come up on your network-connected TV is nice, but the effort needs to be less than just tossing those on a flashdrive and plugging it in yourself.

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9 minutes ago, delph said:

Ultimately, I don't think a NAS is beneficial unless you have 4 or more computers in a house that might want to interact occasionally. If all you have is one computer and a TV... Dropping videos into it so they can come up on your network-connected TV is nice, but the effort needs to be less than just tossing those on a flashdrive and plugging it in yourself.

I disagree with the, "At least 4".  Taking my laptop out onto the deck to have a cigar and hang out with the dogs while editing photos, then switching to watching a movie, is kinda hampered by dragging a drive around, even a couple of flash drives ... and then I'd need to choose the movie or TV show some time in advance, transfer it which can take another chunk of time, etc.  And since a basic single disk NAS really doesn't cost much than a USB hard drive, I'd generally recommend most people go that direction unless all they have is a single desktop PC.

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1 hour ago, jec6613 said:

I disagree with the, "At least 4".  Taking my laptop out onto the deck to have a cigar and hang out with the dogs while editing photos, then switching to watching a movie, is kinda hampered by dragging a drive around, even a couple of flash drives ... and then I'd need to choose the movie or TV show some time in advance, transfer it which can take another chunk of time, etc.  And since a basic single disk NAS really doesn't cost much than a USB hard drive, I'd generally recommend most people go that direction unless all they have is a single desktop PC.

Is it best to try and find on ebay or some other used market shop to grab a NAS since it seems like normally both NAS and the internal Hard Drives associated with NAS don't seem to go on sale at a retailer for quite as low a price as external consumer drives. But I definitely think I will do some talking about whether or not NAS might be a good choice for what we do with other people in the house.

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1 hour ago, jec6613 said:

I disagree with the, "At least 4".  Taking my laptop out onto the deck to have a cigar and hang out with the dogs while editing photos, then switching to watching a movie, is kinda hampered by dragging a drive around, even a couple of flash drives ... and then I'd need to choose the movie or TV show some time in advance, transfer it which can take another chunk of time, etc.  And since a basic single disk NAS really doesn't cost much than a USB hard drive, I'd generally recommend most people go that direction unless all they have is a single desktop PC.

Fair enough points, here. Yeah, if you can find a use for it, then all the better.

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