Buying a budget NAS

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by PaulCon, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm looking to buy a NAS drive to work with my mac, iPad and PS3, basically I'll be using it to stream media to my PS3, backup my mac via Time Machine and it will also be used as an iTunes server.

    I haven't got a fortune to spend as if I did I'd go for a Synology straight away so I've been looking on eBay for any deals, has anyone ever used the D-Link DNS-320? I'd prefer a 2 bay NAS but if I had to get a 1 bay then I don't mind to start off with.

    Thanks

    Paul
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    #2
    If you're using Time Machine you should not get a third party nas (ie. one that isn't from apple). And since the Time Capsule pretty much suck in terms of performance, even that isn't a very good idea, unfortunately.

    There are plenty of posts on the internet on this, but in short if you're using a third party nas there is a very big chance that you'll regulartly get greeted by this message:
    "Time Machine completed a verification of your backups on [your drive]. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you."

    Which is a nice way of saying "you're screwed, all your backups are gone because we are ****** ups that keep corrupting your data".

    There are a couple of suggested methods to fix this, but after trying various my impression is that none are reliable.

    After almost two weeks of trying out my new synology nas (and an older lg nas) I've decided to return it and go back to the less convenient but more reliable (in terms of TM support anyway) usage of external usb hard drives.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Rotterdam
    #3
    I had the same problem on my Synology DS212+, it sucked for Timemachine,. I could start over every week. In November I upgraded to a DS713+ (the 212 is moving to the office) and it's running really nice ever since.

    But I guess for time machine nothing beats an old regular Harddrive or a timecapsule. But if you need to do more than timemachine that's not a solution. I don't think there is a good solution for a small budget. So instead of getting something cheap now, just save a little more and buy the device that does everything how you like it.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    Buy an old Mac mini and attach external drives that. With the server software it works great for file sharing and Time Machine. (In three years, backing up 4 systems, I've never lost a TM backup.)

    Of course it's not a "budget NAS" but it will also much better performance.
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    #5
    Add me to the list of people that do not like NAS for TM. So far the best TM solution I have found is a direct connected drive.

    But for regular NAS duties, I have found the Synology products to be pretty good and when paired with the new WD Red drives they seem to perform quite well.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    Giuly

  7. macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #7
    Actually, the problem isn't NAS, the problem is Time Machine. I don't use Time Machine for that very reason - Apple has made TM too dumbed down and too inflexible in their pursuit to make backup "user friendly".

    Use other backup solutions that are flexible and work fine with NAS drives - ChronoSync and CrashPlan are the two I'd recommend.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #8
    I use a Synology for my TM backup(s). Works great, I've even used it to restore and all went well.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    #9
    Thats why I said I dont like a NAS for TM. As a backup solution they work great with other software.
     
  10. Fed
    macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    #10
    Google microserver. Opens up tonnes of capabilities with plenty of upgrade-ability. Super-low power consumption as well.
     
  11. RMo
    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #11
    This is exactly what I do and it works well, besides the fact that it probably uses more electricity (and is more expensive initially, though I already had the Mac mini before I repurposed it for this). But more generally, you can do this with any machine that can run OS X Server.

    Maybe Time Capsule has gotten better, but I'm still afraid I'll have a very expensive device with a dead drive. And I don't trust third-party Time-Machine "compatible" NASes to be reliable. So while a directly connected USB (or whatever) drive works, the Server setup is a bit more convenient for me. Whatever works for you.
     
  12. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #12
    Synology's Time Machine works great. As an added bonus I'm not unplugging & unmounting drives as the whole thing works over your home network.

    I run weekly backups to an external USB drive so I have a recovery plan. The setup (a DS212j) uses between 9 & 18W of electricity.

    The live demo is a good way to take a look at the actual interface.
    http://www.synology.com/products/dsm_livedemo.php?lang=us
     
  13. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    My mini with 4 external drives (7.5TB total capacity including internals) consumes 70 watts. I'd suggest a mini because it's the lowest cost and lowest power consumption.
     
  14. RMo
    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #14
    I measured my setup with a Kill-A-Watt once but can't remember, but I do know that with only one external drive it was much less than that. So, yes, I do suppose that I should clarify that I was comparing it to a Time Capsule, not another NAS. The mini (and I think newer ones are even better) is a pretty efficient machine, as are most recent Macs.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    #15
    My dream setup is a server or nas where I can put all my files (both from win and mac) and run them directly from there without having to copy them to the current pc/mac I'm using at the moment. And I'm not talking about watching movies etc. but rather files that I use in programs like xcode, photoshop, flash, etc.

    Is this possible with a setup like this? My setup with a new synology nas (ds213) was way too slow for this.

    Secondly, what format do hou get on the Time Machine backup with a setup like this? Is it a sparsebundle file format as you get when using any other nas, or is is the backup in regular file format as you get when backing up to an external usb drive, for instance?
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Sue De Nimes

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #16
  17. macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #17
    I have had this sort of setup for 5 years or so. OS on the PC/Mac (with an SSD) and everything else on a NAS. I have a CAT6 LAN and a NAS that will do >100MBps Read/Write. I'm normally not dealing with big files but even so I don't see any access time problems.

    Now that I have a MacBook Air, all the I/O is by WiFi but even then it's not an issue. I don't use Time Machine as I have other ways of backing up the NAS files. I use CCC for the MBA OS files.
     
  18. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #18
    I use a first gen Time Capsule with an external USB disk for TM backups. I also have other redundant backup methods like Carbon Copy Cloner and Crashplan.

    I have two Synology DSxxxJ series (arm-based, low power) NAS drives. All my other NAS drives have bit the dust including an old Iomega, a LaCie, and two old Buffalos. I don't recommend bottom-feeding when it comes to NAS.

    For instance, I tried a Seagate NAS only to find they wanted me to pay a $19 a year subscription just to use ftp. And that was ftp from one side of my house to the other side of my house. No cloud involved. I took that thing back so fast it would make your head spin.

    One feature I require in a NAS is "auto power on" after power failure. This sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? It isn't. Another feature I require is BYOD (bring your own disk). After losing all my data when I mailed my first gen Time Capsule back to Apple for repair (power supply issue - the disk was still good), I realized that I never again want my data to fall into the hands of fedex or ups just to get a repair. A nice to have feature is DLNA because some internet-ready TVs offer the ability to stream movies, photos and music from either Windows or a DLNA compliant NAS drive. Synology drives don't come with DLNA installed and enabled by default but installing and enabling it only takes a few clicks.

    Most of our older Macs have SSD drives in them, to squeeze a few more years' use out of the machines. I plan on putting NAS in our newer Macs as budget and time allows. I keep bulky files on external firewire drives. I don't bother with the whole optibay mod. I'd rather be able to pop in the occasional DVD so I can rip it, put its contents on my NAS and file the DVD in the basement next to the music CDs and vinyl records.

    While Synology can be expensive, keep in mind you don't have to spend everything at once. Pick up a low-end unit like a DS112J (single bay) and put an inexpensive WD green drive in it. You can go back later and swap in a larger drive.

    Another "(somewhat) poor man's NAS" option can be had by plugging a Mac formatted USB drive into an Airport Extreme Base Station.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    #19
    I use a ReadyNAS Duo v2 with 3 TB in RAID-1. I have 4 Macs with a Time Machine backup on it. Never had any problems. My iTunes library is also there. I'm sharing the same folders using AFP/CIFS so they're both available on Mac OS X and Windows.

    Anyway, Synology's NAS are great too.

    N.B. My NAS is plugged in an APC UPS of 257 W. I have for around 2h of battery due to its low power consumption when I have a power failure. And, it will shutdown automatically when required... The NAS is compatible with most UPS.


    WD green drive have a lot of problems with NAS. They're cheap, but you should pay a little more to get a decent HDD.
     

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