NAS drive questions with Pi

NAS drive questions with Pi:

I got a Raspberry Pi and the only thing it’s doing is running a Syncthing server as my own self-hosted version of cloud storage on a 64 GB flash drive attached to it. I’ve been meaning to check out ways to set up a media server. It seems a Raspberry Pi isn’t really suitable for that as I probably want to transcode videos on the fly (what’s the alternative–transcode the entire file on my desktop system and then stream that from the Pi? Not sure if this is practical) and it’s not powerful enough to do that without lag.

I got 2 8 TB WD Reds (NAS drives)–what can I do with them? So if I want a media server, I need to connect these drives to an actual computer that’s more powerful? If I only want to connect them to the Pi, what reasonable things can I do with them?

Thanks.

P.S. I’ve heard of things like unRAID, FreeNAS, and NAS4Free. So are they like an operating system for a NAS drive? Do I actually need these? I prefer things to be as minimal as possible but I don’t know if I can get what I want like a media server without them.

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