Today in our QNAP TVS-872XT review, we will focus on one of the best Plex servers around. Generally, the TVS-872XT can be the best option for anyone who wants a NAS with every connection option.
With a dual Gigabit, this 8-bay desktop NAS has an integrated 10GBase-T port to aid all five N Base-T speeds. It comes with two 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 ports for anyone who wants speedy access necessary for media editing.
Aside from that, it’s also the best NAS for Plex. It’s something we’ll talk more about in this QNAP TVS-872XT review. But first, let’s check out its packaging.
This section of our QNAP TVS-872XT review is all about this best Plex server’s packaging and what its contents are. The NAS’ box is a huge one, and you’ll see an image of it at the centre. Above the image and to its right, you’ll find a sticker displaying the total memory that it uses.
At the bottom of the TVS-872XT’s image, a line of text is present to describe some of its hardware features.
On the box’s rear section, you’ll see a collection of icons along the bottom left portion of the package. These represent a couple of its QTS OS features like the Surveillance Station, Private Cloud, Data Protection, and Backup Station. It also includes Mobile Management and File Sharing.
The box’s sides exhibit a collection of transportation icons at the top left portion. It shows an SSD/HDD compatibility panel at the bottom.
Another side of the box displays a collection of icons depicting the different standards the TVS-872XT meets.
Inside this box, you’ll find the NAS unit itself packed nicely and securely. QNAP ensured that the NAS is fully protected to avoid damages during transit.
Aside from the unit, other items bundled in the package are pretty comprehensive. These include a 10GbE cable and a pair of Gigabit Ethernet cables. There’s a good number of fixing screws to help secure the 3.5-inch drives in their drive trays.
Additionally, there’s a bag of screws for the 2.5-inch drives that you can utilise to fix into the bays.
The company included a nice touch by adding a pair of passive heatsinks for the NAS. It’s something to help cool the M.2 drive. Of course, there’s also the quick installation guide in the TVS-872XT’s box.
QNAP TVS-872XT Review – Design and Functionality
This section of our QNAP TVS-872XT review focuses on the functions and design of the best NAS for Plex.
The NAS’ Design
The TVS-872XT NAS sports a compact tower design. It comes with a metal casing to support eight drive bays that are vertically mounted.
The top of the drive bays has a smoked plastic panel. It houses a monochrome-backlit LCD featuring Select and Enter buttons.
This panel lets you switch the NAS on & off, as well as configure & view network IP/TCP settings. It displays warning messages if there are issues with the NAS.
Also, warning messages will be displayed if any issues with the NAS occur. Often, the LCD shows data about the NAS volumes and drives.
When you remove the lid, it reveals a finely-designed interior that is easily accessible for upgrades. The Thunderbolt 3 card is set in one PCIe slot, leaving the second slot free for other upgrades.
You can insert a 25GbE/10GbE/40GbE or FC (fibre channel) adapter since the QTS software supports them now.
It is covered by the company’s trademark aluminium and finned heatsink and has a dedicated blower fan as well. Two huge 12cm fans manage the hard disk cooling and chassis. With that, noise along the rear was pleasantly low.
Memory upgrades are easy since the two SO-DIMM slots are accessible by removing the drive carriers on the right side. Supplied on the two 8GB SO-DIMM modules are the base memory, which you need to change for upgrades.
With Qtier Technology, the TVS-872XT performs auto-tiering. It moves data between SDDs and HDDs to constantly optimise storage efficiency.
Also, its SSD caches accelerate IOPS performance to reduce latency, which is perfect for IOPS-demanding apps. It significantly improves productivity, which is ideal for business use.
The TVS-872XT comes with the HD Station. It lets you directly enjoy multimedia using an HD player or third-party player like Plex. Generally, the HD station is user-friendly since you only need to connect the TVS-872XT.
By linking the NAS to an HDMI display, you can have streamlined installations with up to 4k of video output. With this, you won’t only avoid the challenging setup process of network media players.
You’ll get to use the TVS-872XT as a Home Theatre PC for direct multimedia satisfaction. Plus, the HD Station makes it one of the best Plex servers around.
By linking the NAS to an HDTV using the HDMI output, you can view saved multimedia content on the NAS. It will allow you to enjoy the multimedia output on a bigger screen. Plus, you can get to download then install multimedia applications from the Ubuntu Software Center via QNAP Linux Station.
Moreover, TVS-872XT has a graphics card to enhance NAS video processing and GPU tasks. It’s not only fast, but it also displays multimedia files in high-resolution.
Plex Media Server
If you think about it, video streaming services are generally great when it comes to consuming large amounts of content. However, you do not own any of these no matter how long you have subscribed.
The Plex Media Server is a backend media server element of Plex that’s free of charge. It organises visual and audio content from your personal media libraries. Then, it’ll get streamed into your player counterparts.
With that, Plex provides an alternative for people who want to keep collections of photos, music, and videos. What’s great about this is that you can be detached from any provider.
The media management software assists users in establishing an easy access media server no matter what platform you utilise. Plus, it now comes with a free library of movies you can stream.
Plex earns a high rating due to its easy configuration, extremely reliable performance, plus outstanding organisational tools. Do note that it comes with a couple of data collection policies.
What is Plex?
The Plex is one media management platform that has two parts. These are the Plex Media Server which is a media server software, and the Plex, a new playback app. Plex replaces the Plex Media Player which was supported through the end of January this year.
An advantage of this specific setup is that you’re only required to worry and focus on maintaining your file collection. It should be on the server, so your media library will be available on every device via the Plex application.
Generally, Plex is the answer to anyone’s personal media enjoyment. And the best place to download their free and user-friendly software is on the QNAP TVS-872XT NAS.
This NAS is one of the best Plex servers around. And once you download the Plex software, it’ll take care of the rest.
With Plex, it magically and conveniently scans then manages your files. It will automatically sort all your media intuitively, conveniently, and efficiently to your Plex library. Once you’ve downloaded the application on QNAP’s best NAS for Plex, you’ll be streaming everything easily in minutes.
Why Should You Use Plex?
Since Plex puts together all the media that’s important to you, it’s already a good reason to use. And when you download it on the TVS-872XT, everything gets even better.
With Plex and the best Plex server, your personal collection of media will look great together with outstanding streaming content. Here, you can enjoy Live DVR and TV, a growing catalogue of excellent web shows, podcasts, and news.
So, it’s definitely possible to delight in all the media you enjoy in one convenient application, and on any device. Plus, you can use the media anywhere you are, which makes it better.
Compatibility and Playback Flexibility
Plex can conveniently play almost any media file you have. When it comes to audio, Plex supports WMA, MP3, M4A, and FLAC files.
For videos, it supports HEVC, MP4, AVI, MKV, DIVX, and MOV. Plex can also show PNG, JPG, TBN, and RAW image files.
Plex includes integrated tools for converting non-natively supported files like DTS. Then, it will be converted to a format that’s usable. Also, you can easily stream 4K content which is highly notable.
Plex Pass brings you the best of Plex. It grants exclusive and advanced access to premium features, which is why advanced users should consider getting an account.
Three plans are available for this premium access. You can choose the monthly subscription that costs $4.99 per month, or an annual subscription for $39.99 yearly. If you want a lifetime subscription, this costs $119.99.
Plex Pass offers a lot of impressive features. This is why you should consider it if you have the TVS-872XT, the best NAS for Plex.
With Plex Pass, you will have access to advanced audio features like gapless playback, silence compression, and more. These come with artist bios, better artwork, as well as automatic lyrics for the best listening experience.
Plex Pass’ offers auto-tagging and Places for easy sorting of photos. It provides an organised timeline view, and it automatically uploads files from your mobile. Also, it creates photo albums for you to search through pictures with ease.
Movie & TV Extras
Cinema Trailers gives a theatre-like experience before you begin watching. It provides the extras you want, such as behind-the-scenes, cast features, deleted scenes, and the like.
Watch and Record Free broadcast TV
With Plex Pass, a tuner, and an antenna, you can enjoy great TV without having to pay for cable. Watch, pause, and record your favourite free HD broadcast channels, local news or sports using any device, wherever you are. What makes it more exciting is that you can skip commercials.
Offline Entertainment with Mobile Sync
You can sync your shows, movies, music, and photos to your mobile phone to enjoy these offline. Wherever you go, you can freely access these anytime.
User Control for Child Safety
Plex Pass provides parental controls for you to manage what your children can access. You can give each of them their own customised account.
Plex Pass Perks
Plex Pass subscribers get exclusive access to Plex Pass Perks, which comes with deals, discounts, VIP experiences, and early viewing. You can also use the newest features of Plex before other users. Plex adds promotions frequently, so it’s best to check these often.
Key Features of the QNAP TVS-872XT
This is the part of our QNAP TVS-872XT review that focuses on the NAS’ key features.
Heightened Visual Experience with 4K HDMI Output
This NAS from QNAP comes with an HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K, 60Hz output (3840 x 2160). It provides excellent benefits for applications such as video production and editing. Because of this, the QNAP TVS-872XT is one of the best NAS for Plex.
Also, it’s beneficial for professional photography and industrial design that demand colour realism and on-image resolution. It’s necessary for transfer, intensive media storage, and display.
Performance & Endurance of Enterprise-Level SSDs
With the TVS-872XT, you can take advantage of software-defined SSD RAID additional OP via QTS 4.3.5. Overprovisioning or OP lets you allot extra space for better random write speeds and prolong the SSD’s lifespan.
With the updated software, QTS 4.4.1, you can use more affordable consumer SSDs for the TVS-872XT. Aside from that, SSD OPs are adjustable, and you can acquire the performance and endurance of enterprise-level SSDs.
The TVS-872XT features two PCIe 3rd Generation slots. These let you use various kinds of expansion cards for enhanced application potential.
Flexible Virtual and Physical Networks
The Network & Virtual Switch application lets you organise physical network interfaces like network adapters and Thunderbolt ports. It also applies for virtual adapters, including virtual machines and containers.
From the application, you can easily access and handle communication between virtual and physical networks. It’s because the app provides a visualised topology that presents network connections clearly.
Additionally, the app makes network connection management easier by providing more flexibility. With that, you can allocate adequate network resources to the TVS-872XT, its virtual machines, and containers, when needed.
Fast & Flexible Connectivity with 10GBASE-T and Thunderbolt 3
The TVS-872XT uses the 8th-gen Intel Core i5 8400T 1.7GHz 6-core processor. The NAS has a dual-channel 16GB DDR memory and features two Gigabit ports and a single 5-speed 10GBASE-T port.
Additionally, the NAS supports 6GB/s SATA drive and has AES-NI encryption for excellent performance and secure data.
M.2 SSD Caching for Performance Boost
QNAP’s TVS-872XT utilises 2.5″ SSDs for caching to deliver better performance. Also, it has two M.2 SSD slots for installing PCIe NVMe SSDs with 2280 form factors. With improved performance, the TVS-872XT is one of the best Plex servers on the market.
QNAP TVS-872XT Review Specifications
Let us now focus on the NAS’ specifications as we move forward on our QNAP TVS-872XT review.
To begin, the TVS-872XT’s uses an Intel Core i5 8400-T 1.7GHz processor, with a 16GB DDR4 2666 memory. It comes with a total of 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 10GbE Ethernet port.
It has a couple of rear panel connectors available such as two 1GbE, a 10GbE, and two Thunderbolt 3 connectors. There are two audio, two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C connectors, plus one USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A connector.
Of course, QNAP didn’t forget the USB 3.0 Type-A, and one HDMI 2.0.
For the TVS-872XT’s front panel connector, you’ll find a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A one-touch copy connector that’s present.
The NAS has RAID support for JBOD/ 0/ 10/ 5/ 50/ 60. It comes with two 120mm active cooling systems and two 60mm Blower CPU coolers. Plus, it supports eight drive bays.
For its central storage, the total hard drive size that it supports is 14TB, while its maximum capacity is 112TB. For the internal file system, the TVS-872XT supports EXT4.
Dimensions and measurements of the NAS are 279.6 (D) x 329.3 (W) x 188.2 (H) millimetres. For its weight, the unit is 7.06k.
QNAP TVS-872XT Review – Hands-on
This time on our QNAP TVS-872XT review, we will get more hands-on with the QNAP TVS-872XT. Let’s begin with Snapshots.
Hybrid Backup Sync
For the Hybrid Backup Sync, it’s a multi-function backup solution that supports data from your QNAP TVS-872XU. These will store files on different remote, local and cloud storage. The Hybrid Backup Sync prevents data loss during critical hardware failure or system damage. Also, it aids multi-position backup, flexible synchronisation, and instant recover.
This tool consolidates restore, backup, and syncing functions into one QTS application. It’s for a convenient and secure data transfer to local storage spaces. Plus, the process lets you develop data backup efficiency, disaster recovery, and file syncing remotely or on the cloud.
To make it easier, this application offers data storage plans and full disaster recovery. What’s more, it conveniently supports synchronisation services and online storage in different clouds. These include Alibaba Cloud, Google Drive, Microsoft, OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and a lot more.
Thanks to its extremely responsive graphical UI, the Hybrid Backup Sync lets you perform numerous backup tasks efficiently. You can have a centralised and straightforward task management function at your disposal. It will then provide you with the possibility to analyse detailed information regarding your activity’s status and its details.
With this solution, you can create several backup processes and sync or restore from the overview page. It allows you to confirm the use of storage space and immediately checks the status of current operations. The results provide you with positive outcomes, highlighted errors and warnings, plus the total number of errors available.
The Hybrid Backup Sync also lets you check backup processes from other NAS devices to centrally manage all processes easily. The application allows alarm recording to immediately review error messages and warnings to avoid critical delays in tasks.
Snapshots is a feature that offers block-level protection with a local backup solution for data. It’s what records data from a certain point, then allows you to restore it to this specific state whenever necessary.
Technically, it’s a vital feature for current storage systems. It helps protect and secure files, folders, as well as iSCSI LUNs.
In the instance of a malware attack or unnecessary changes, stored data can immediately be restored/reverted. We were able to return it to a specific point in time to guarantee continuity.
The Snapshot Agent utility is for servers to establish consistent snapshots for VMware vSphere Client and Microsoft VSS.
Benefits of Snapshots
Today’s businesses require modern solutions for restoration and backup. Since data and files are vital for the success of a business, IT administrators require excellent solutions for back up. Not only that, but it’s something necessary for restoring the system itself and the important files.
With Snapshots, you can have the TVS-872XT record the condition of the system, anytime. If sudden situations arise on the system, you can immediately revert to a previous time/state that Snapshot recorded.
It’s a feature of Snapshot that includes a quick and convenient web-based snapshot tool for backing up and restoring data. It lets you restore from any point of time to prevent instances of losing vital data.
The Storage Manager also features several tools to take snapshots, as well as to retrieve files as necessary. Individual files can be restored easily when accidentally saved over or deleted. The whole system can revert to a healthier state whenever necessary.
You can set Snapshots by schedule or manually, depending on your preference. Then, it’s backed up by another server or NAS for an all-encompassing backup solution.
EXT4-Based Snapshot for Brassbound Storage Performance
There are open-source Btrfs snapshot technologies causing impacts on a storage’s performance. It’s due to the continuous modification of data. With that, QNAP created their EXT4-based snapshot technology that keeps altered data “outside the volume”.
The data remains faster and stable when it comes to accessing performance, thus, minimising the effect on storage performance.
Snapshot Shared Folder
You will also receive the Snapshot Shared Folder tool that has only a single shared folder on one volume. It helps decrease the time needed for recovering single folders to a couple of seconds.
In a QNAP-performed test, restoring a shared folder that’s 300GB from a snapshot, took about 30 minutes in total. Then, when retrieving the shared folder from one shared folder only took a total of three minutes.
The Snapshot Manager features smart snapshot area management. It aids in controlling and managing the number of snapshots while allowing the start of Snapshot Replica tasks. It is done after specific local snapshots are taken.
You can also introduce the Snapshot Manager in File Station. It’s to create snapshots while determining different content via the snapshot overview together with the Unify Snapshot Directory.
Convenient Management – Windows’ Earlier Version Reinforcement
Another excellent aspect of Snapshot is that it lets Windows users reinforce files straight from File Explorer. This happens by right-clicking on files to save effort and time without needing assistance from IT administrators.
Now in our QNAP TVS-872XT review, we’ll take a look at how well this QNAP NAS performed during our tests.
Generally, for its performance, everything went smoothly and seamlessly when we ran it through a couple of tests. The first test we did was restoration and backups. Throughout these tests, everything went smoothly and seamlessly. We didn’t experience any problems on the HDD arrays despite the connection speed we had.
Not only that, but it showed us that it could handle both encrypted read & write tasks efficiently. Plus, it displayed a seamless performance which was great.
Also, during the tests, we learned that the TVS-872XT is slightly more efficient with writing encrypted data than reading. Despite this, it still functioned excellently so you shouldn’t worry about a thing.
When it comes to the real-life transfers, this NAS from QNAP was able to adequately deal with tasks without issues. With that, it successfully handled our tests effectively, which was great.
All in all, the TVS-872XT was great and did all the tasks that we needed. With that, we’re giving it five stars for its perfect performance. Plus, we’re giving it another five stars for being the best NAS around for Plex.
Quality Drives for Better Performance
One thing that you should remember is that any NAS only performs as efficiently as the drives you’ve installed. Often, you hear stories about users who have lost all data. This is due to using incompatible hard drives that aren’t suitable for the NAS.
With that, it’s best to use hard drives designed specifically for use with the NAS ecosystem. You simply need to choose the best drive for the NAS. These shouldn’t only be affordable but should have adequate storage size, and of course, excellent NAS performance.
Pair a top-notch drive with a RAID array, and then you’ll realise that you have a highly enjoyable and reliable NAS.
How to Install Plex on the TVS-872XT?
Installing Plex is easy, especially when you’re setting it on the best NAS for Plex.
Step 1: Install Plex Media Server via the QNAP “App Center”
The first thing to do is enter the App Center in the QTS Desktop Administration. Search for “Plex” on the search field.
Click “Add to QTS” to start the installation process.
After some minutes, the installation progress should have ended. Now, the Plex Media Server will be enabled and installed.
Note that the time of installation depends on the system’s bandwidth.
Click “Launch” to have the link lead you to the GUI of Plex Media Server.
Step 2: Setting up the Plex Media Server Through the Management Page.
Now, get into the Plex Media Server. The library will be empty if it’s being used for the first time. Click on “Add a section” to set up the media folders on the NAS.
Choose the type of media you want to access. Plex will easily download data for your media based on the type of media.
Choose from TV Shows, Movies, home movies, and Music, or Photos. Enter the file name then select the path to access your media.
After Setup and Searching for the Media File
After the setup process, the system will need time to find the file data from sites like TVDV, IMDB, and more.
Search time is based on the number of search options appearing in the system. When the search has completed, a comprehensive list of data will be available on the screen.
The files that you’ll find can be viewed on your smart TV using web browsers. You can watch and stream via 3rd party clients like Roku, or via mobile applications.
Other third-party players you can use include Google TV and Smart TV.
Once that’s done, you’ll need to add local media libraries.
Generally, Plex is perfect for anyone who has huge collections of local media files. However, they’re also people who don’t have lots of space on the devices from which they’ll stream the content from.
Streaming and Downloading Server Content
After configuring the media server, users can download and stream the server content on other devices. Other than that, they can share their libraries to others using the latest cross-platform Plex application.
When it comes to specific changes, the updated and enhanced media playback application replaces the older Sync functions. It offers an easier and more convenient download function for accessing files offline.
However, some functions and platform support will disappear. For example, Plex will not continue support for the HTPC setups and TV mode.
Plex also unpublished its Microsoft Store version. Currently, it doesn’t have plans to release a new application for Linux.
Using Plex on the TVS-872XT
Plex Media Server is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, as well as FreeBSD computers. When using it with the TVS-872XT, you can install the software on this best NAS for Plex.
For playback, the new Plex application is available for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. And as mentioned, the streaming devices that it supports include Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast.
Plex is compatible with gaming consoles like the Playstation 4 and XBOX One. It also works for selected Smart TVs. You can use it with some VR platforms, Alexa, and the Sonos application.
We tested Plex with several devices to see if it will work properly with any of the listed compatible products. All of these worked smoothly, and we didn’t experience any issues, which is great.
Note that installing Plex Media Server on your TVS-X872XT is not your complete media solution. Like every product, it has a few limitations.
If you have a collection of media files in different file formats, not everything will be compatible with your devices. Some may work on the iPad and TVs, but not guaranteed to work on all smartphones.
Although the Plex app has a version on the viewing device, the app can only playback the supported media types on the specific device. Despite these limits, Plex offers a lot of things for your media entertainment. Also, you can make use of transcoding to convert files and make specific media files compatible with your viewing device.
Plex Performance on the TVS-872XT
Now, let’s focus on Plex’s performance when using the TVS-872XT NAS from QNAP.
We attempted to have the TVS-872XT transcode a media file via the Plex media server application. It was tested on an 8-bit recording that ran at 30fps with a 46mps bitrate.
The results were excellent, and we didn’t see any issues with transcoding. It’s the reason why we can call the TVS-872XT the best NAS for Plex around.
Overall, the QNAP TVS-872XT performed well with Plex, and we didn’t encounter any issues or lags with it. It’s something we can call the best NAS for Plex, and we’d highly recommend it as well.
If you’re looking for ways to access and view local content on various platforms, Plex is your ultimate solution. It has an excellent interface, no matter what type of device you use. It’s user-friendly, and our overall experience was great.
Plex has an intuitive interface and comprehensive platform that makes it an ideal option for a personal media server. It allows anyone to enjoy movies and shows with ease and convenience. If you want to enjoy additional features and enhance your Plex experience, you can sign up for Plex Pass.
Also, Plex saves you from the hassle of having to host your own media server. The free version of Plex covers the functionality that most users need, so it can be enough for some users. It allows streaming of movies and podcasts without hosting.
QNAP TVS-872XT Review Summary
With the TVS-872XT having a lot of impressive features and port choices, it’s one of the best Plex servers today. What makes it better than a lot of NAS products is that it comes at an affordable price.
One of the reasons why it’s the best NAS for Plex is its media features. It supports 4K for high-quality videos to give you the best movie experience. This feature makes it an excellent NAS for video editors since it has extremely fast Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Aside from content creation and entertainment use, businesses will find a lot of things to like about the TVS-872XT. It delivers superior performance, and the QTS software offers a lot of virtualisation apps and tools for data protection.
In conclusion to our QNAP TVS-872XT review, we highly recommend this NAS for content creation, business, and entertainment purposes. If you want to purchase this product, check out QNAP’s store locator to see the available dealers in your area.