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Can you put an SSD in a NAS?

Most NAS drives will accept SSDs as well as mechanical hard drives - we look at whether it's a good idea

It is definitely possible to put SSDs into NAS drives. This is because they accept 2.5in drives. However, the question is, should you?

While solid-state storage may offer maximum performance, this isn’t necessarily in the context of adding them to NAS drives. SSD drives don’t tend to offer a big advantage, especially when you take into consideration that gigabit Ethernet connections are only able to reach transfer speeds of up to 110MB/sec. Faster options like 10GbE hardware, however, require serious investment.

Despite this, it doesn’t mean that adding SSDs will be totally futile. We tested out the Qnap TS-453B which has four 2.5in SATA SSDs. We saw a small increase in 4K read speeds. This was a climb from 10.4MB/sec to 11.4MB/sec.

Anyone that has used a four-bay NAS appliance will tell you, the joint noise produced by four mechanical hard disks can be clamorous. On the other hand, SSDs don’t contain any moving parts so they run silently, with the only sound you can expect from your NAS being its interior fan.

SSDs have the added benefit of usually using less power compared to mechanical disks. The tests we carried out on the four-bay Qnap TS-453B, which was full of four 1TB Seagate Barracuda 3.4in hard disks, used up 32w from the mains while not in use. It took 38w from the mains when it was streaming videos. After changing this to four SSDs, the number fell to 14w when idle and 16w while streaming.

There was a major drawback to SSDs in the past which was their price when you compared them to HDDs. For £40 you can purchase a 1TB mechanical disk, which means you can set up a 3TB RAID 5 array for around £160. However, SSDs have now started to narrow this divide. Up until a few years ago, a 1TB SSD would have cost around £250, whereas now prices have started to decrease so that you can get your hands on one for around £60.

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