Follow Up: PR4100 as a Plex Server? Good move or Bad?

I’m following up on my original post here (which I can’t believe was almost two years ago) asking whether the PR4100 would be appropriate as a long-term Plex server. I’ve almost maxed out my 8TB MyCloud Mirror, and I wanted to run through a few remaining questions before I make a purchase of a new and improved setup.

As it’s been two years since I started looking at this server model, I was wondering if there were other models from WD that one might recommend over the PR4100. In addition, is it expected/rumored/known that there will be an updated version, model, or completely new device in the near future that will be a better buy?

I’ve acquired two 8TB WD drives (Red WD80EFAX / WD80EFZX). I will likely get two more in order to fill the whole PR4100 at once rather than setting it up progressively. If I tape the third pin, are these good drives to house media for playback?

When I do set all four drives into the server, will it be possible to make a RAID setup where one drive mirrors another and I have two separate volumes? Is that just two separate RAID 1 setups?

And one question I didn’t get answered from last time, the drive also seems to have the capability for us to upgrade the RAM to 16GB. Would the extra RAM do anything for me running it as a Plex server (concurrent streams?) or is that largely for the enterprise applications?

Will I encounter any issues running both the MyCloud Mirror and the PR4100 on the same network?

Thank you for any and all help & guidance!

I use my PR4100 as a Plex server and its excellent. Not sure about your RAID questions. But you can certainly run both boxen on the network, as long as they have different names.

Generally speaking I am very happy with the capability and performance of my PR4100. I primarily use the NAS to store data, particularly my movie collection, and to act as a Plex Media Server. The ability of the PR4100 to transcode on the fly reliably was a big reason for my purchase and it has worked without any noticeable problems in my Plex configuration with many different Plex Media Player apps. I do have to manually install PMS updates that I download from the Plex website onto the PR4100 as the WD app page/dashboard section shows an extremely outdated build as current. But updating is really simple so it’s all good. Specific responses below but I’m just a novice that probably knows just enough to be dangerous so take them with a grain of salt.

I don’t know about any new model but I just compared the current price listed on Amazon to what I paid for my PR4100 and Amazon has it at about a 10% discount from the price I paid about five months ago.

I have not had any problems with any of the WD drives that I have purchased and I have multiple WD NAS systems.

I don’t know all that much about the different RAID configurations but when I setup my PR4100 I received advice to use a RAID 5 setup and so far so good. The PR4100 can do what the dashboard calls volume virtualization and is potentially capable of other forms of creating additional volumes. I’d try searching for more information on the WD site or this forum regarding multiple volumes and google the different RAID setups to see if RAID 5 or another might be more appropriate for your purposes. Another thing to note is the PR4100 allows for drive encryption which is something I wanted considering the amount of data I am consolidating on this NAS.

I manually upgraded from the standard 4GB (I think) of RAM to a full 16GBs and I definitely think that was overkill for me as the most significant use of my PR4100 is as a Plex Media Server. I really haven’t used much of that memory usually maxing out under 20% utilization even while it’s really working. I purchased the extra RAM to future proof myself for a while but an upgrade to 8GB would likely more than suffice. It’s also really easy to install the upgraded memory as I recall.

I cannot imagine you experiencing any issues with two WD NAS on your local network. I was running three on my LAN without problems and was actually using the Remote Backup function to automatically keep a copy of the data from the two smaller NAS devices on the much larger PR4100. It was a little complicated to setup at first but it works pretty seamlessly once configured.

Hope that was helpful.

Good Morning!

I’m looking at upgrading from my EX2 Ultra to the PR4100. My question is, does this still work well in 2023, and does it do 4K transcoding decently? The EX2 Ultra doesn’t really do transcoding at all, and i think I’m going to kill it as I’m almost always maxing out my available 1gig of ram. (not upgradable)

Makes sense.
Transcoding was beginning to drive NAS specs; which was detracting from the core functionality of a NAS: Being a great file server for multiple users.

Long ago; I figured the best path was to TRANSCODE MYSELF; and stream hi-res files at native resolution.

Interesting to hear that. What do you mean by they’re beginning to act accordingly.

I ended up cancelling my order of a PR4100 and got a Synology 1019+. So far, the support and app have lasted me longer than my MyCloud Mirror Gen 2 did. Somewhere along the firmware updates, it just too sluggish to use, and I migrated to the Synology server without repurposing the WD. Even concurrent streams have played back just fine.

I will note that most of my streaming is 1080p media. If it’s 4k you’re talking about, that’s probably a different game. But I haven’t wanted to invest the time, space, and (until recently) didn’t even have internet that would support streaming files of that size.