EXternal Hard Drive Advice...

Discussion in 'Mac Peripherals' started by JoelBC, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. JoelBC, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #1
    I have a 2012 MBA with a 256 GB Hard Drive...I am looking for recommendations regarding an external hard to use for backup purposes noting the following:


    1. I have a WD ShareSpace 4 TB RAID 5 NAS which i) I use to backup my Windows computers and ii) I use to house my iTunes library. I would very much like to use this drive to backup my MBA but the NAS is not Mac friendly.

    2. I will follow a backup strategy similar to that I use for my Windows computers...weekly full system backups...daily Home Folder backups.

    3. I will likely partition the drive into at least 3 partitions...1 bootable for Mountain Lion install or the then current OS, 1 for TimeMachine and 1 for daily Home Folder backups.

    4. I would appreciate recommendations as to the best rout to go -- Mac friendly NAS drive, USB 3.0 drive, thunderbolt drive, etc. -- and why.

    With much thanks,


    Joel
     
  2. macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #2
    Synology is Mac, Windows & Linux friendly. As a bonus is TM compatible (automatic OSX backups)
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #3
    Appreciate the response as that is exactly what I am looking for -- a drive that is Mac, Windows and TimeMachine friendly (I don't use Linux)...that said, any suggested models noting that at a minimum I want at least 1 TB...

    Thanks,


    Joel
     
  4. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #4
    Your old drives should fit in the Synology NAS.

    Which model, hmm. I have a DS212j which is a very popular unit, it supports up to 4GB drives. The 4 drive ones support RAID but have staggered startup so they're slow to wake from sleep if you allow them to spin down.

    The j series is good for home, the + will run a small business.

    There's a simulator on Synology's site to give you an idea what it has to offer.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Appreciate the response but am not looking to move my old drives as I will keep those for my Windows based systems -- though this is getting a little complex for home.

    I also read on CCC website that for a functional system backup one needs to have the disks HFS+ formatted which I do not think is possible with a NAS...I will report ack once I hear back from CCC.

    Thanks,


    Joel
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2011
    #6
    blueroom could you kindly describe your set up with the synology ds212j. Ive been trying to decide for weeks now which direction i should go with my media storage etc I just purchased a mac mini moving from an old dell. I have two externals that are almost full (about 2tb). I have appleTv in main room and contemplating purchasing another one for den or just have the mini connected directly instead of another appleTV. Thanks.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I am still looking at NAS devices and all the devices that I have looked at -- unless I am missing something -- have disk drives that are NTFS formatted...are there any NAS devices where the internal drives are HFS+ formatted.

    Thanks,


    Joel
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Scotland
    #8
    I think Synology NAS devices are formatting new HDD as ext2fs/ext3fs which is Linux file system. Synology is the best choice for home nas.

    Recently I bough an external Lacie 9032 3TB HDD for about £180 and it is USB 3.0 drive - very fast with my retina mac. I used some other manufacturers in the past but I have chosen this one reading good reviews etc.

    So far so good:)
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #9
    Could you please expand as to why you believe that the Synology is the best Home NAS as I would like to understand your logic.


    Yes, I have a WD USB 3.0 drive and am backing up at the rate of 300+GB/hour...
     
  10. macrumors regular

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    Scotland
    #10
    user friendly, easy to configure, PLENTY options.

    I did have Dlink 323 before, saw a difference after jumping to Synology.

    Google it, Synology nases are really popular.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #11
    Appreciate the response...the next thing that I need to do is compared read/write speeds between my existing NAS and a synology as it just might be time for a new NAS...
     
  12. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #12
    smallnetbuilder.com has all sorts of benchmarks for many NAS's

    Synology and pretty much every other NAS uses Linux's ext file system. It's all transparent to the client computers.

    Synology is very Mac friendly, has constant updates, lots of third party apps and IMHO the best user interface in the NAS business.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Appreciate that...the issue, at least as I understand things, is that the SYnology NAS does not come with hard drives so the benchmarks will be based on the drives that one inserts...

    The specs for my existing NAS [which I am running in a RAID 5 configuration] are here http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/AAG/ENG/4178-705023.pdf [see the chart on the 2nd page] ..any idea as to how much faster a new NAS could / would be...

    Thanks in advance,


    Joel
     
  14. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
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    #14
    Here's the rub, fast GigE NAS's get their speed from dual network adapters running over managed switches (called link aggregation). Your MacBook does not support this.

    Your WD Sharespace isn't reviewed on smallnetbuilders.com and the review here http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/western_digital_8tb_wd_sharespace
    calls it slow.

    Plus it doesn't work with your Mac according to your first post.

    PS the hard drives will have little effect on overall speed over a single Gigabit Ethernet port, RAID will also account for a speed hit.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    :(



    :(



    Apologies but I should...in my OP I said it was not mac friendly meaning under Windows 7 I am getting write speeds of approximately 30+ GB / hour where under OS X I am getting variable write speeds but on average less that 8 to 10 GB / hour.

    It is also possible that some of the slowness is related to the fact that I am writing to a sparse bundle as I want to preserve the meta data.

    The questions...is a $600+ Synology NAS going to be noticeably faster as I would hate to spend the money and time to find that there is no improvement.

    Would greatly appreciate any insights you may have.


    Noted with thanks...
     
  16. macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #16
    Your MBA WiFi could be the bottleneck.

    What WiFi router are you using?
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Appreciate you thinking through the issue but it is not my WiFi because:

    1. I am using Cisco small business components in my home which are very verbose [i.e. router is a Cisco SA-520] and I am getting consistently fast internet speeds.

    2. More to the point...all testing and results are based on a wired connection as I have a Thunderbolt --> Ethernet adapter.

    I really do need to dig into the comparative NAS write speeds.


    Joel
     
  18. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
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    #18
    Synology is in my top five tech devices, but I didn't love the DS412+ for the following reasons.
    1. It uses staggered startup on the drives after sleeping, this is good for power consumption and longer HDD life but it feels like ages before you can access the device.
    2. Can't use the dual Ethernet adapters in Link Aggregation mode on MacBooks or iMacs.

    The former can be addressed by not allowing the drives to sleep, the latter you might be able to get creative as it can be set for link failover but you'll never get faster than about 80mbs (and that's with GigE jumbo frames enabled whose support is iffy on OSx and not available with WiFi) or possibly (I've not tried it) as your firewall, VPN and DHCP server.

    PS I Googled your SA520 WiFi and got this "Deadly slow in WiFi, Garbage, etc...)
    https://supportforums.cisco.com/thread/2172960

    IMHO I'd start with trying out a new WiFi simultaneous dual band router (from somewhere with a good return policy)
    The AirPort Extreme, ASUS NT-R66U or Netgear WNDR-4500.
    Before you make any other changes to your setup.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Appreciate the insight as to what you would NOT recommend but which would you recommend. As a newbie to Synology I am looking at the DS413j [as the DS 413 may overkill] or the DS 212j [as the DS 212 may overkill]


    I have the SA520 *without* WiFi...I am using Cisco WAP4410N devices for wireless connectivity to my router.


    Appreciate the advice but please remember that my test results have been over a hard wired network as I have my MBA connected to my home network via Ethernet using a Thunderbolt --> Ethernet adapter.

    Thanks,


    Joel
     
  20. macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #20
    Hard wired GigE is a whole different ball of wax. Make sure jumbo frames are setup either off or the same on all your wired devices. Setting jumbo frames will speed up large file transfers over GigE on the NAS but not everything supports it.

    I've got a 212j running beta 4.2 and it's fine for our household. BUT I'm an old geek and although we're now all Mac here I still drool over a few MHz and I personally would buy the 213 (yes it's overkill). The Wirecutter review is very good (212j)

    Here's something interesting about beta 4.2, it seems noticeably faster across the board including file transfer.

    If anyone can recommend a good Mac NAS benchmark tool I'd be happy to post my results.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #21
    Now we are getting a little over my head...I will look for any such parameters in my router and other managed switches...perhaps this speaks to the need to purchase a new NAS from somewhere that will allow me to return it in the event that it too lags in speed.


    There seems to be a $100 from the 212j to 213 and another $100 from the 213 to 213+...will have to think this through a bit.


    Good to know...

    ****​

    Thanks for all the help and, to the extent that you can, keep it coming...
     
  22. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #22
    FYI, update the firmware (if applicable) to your HDD before installing it in the NAS.

    I keep looking at that $420 DS213+ and wondering how much better a dual core PPC @ 1GHz is better than a single core ARM @ 2GHz.

    Also curious about how well the WD Red drives perform.

    PS worth looking into jumbo frames, your Air might support it (look for MTU under hardware)

    Your readynas has it here. It has to be set on all the wired GigE devices to function properly.

    http://www.readynas.com/?p=310
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Noted with thanks...


    Get both and try as only real world experience will tell...



    Could you please give me more info on this as I would love to try to increase performance as much as possible noting:

    1. I have a WD ShareSpace NAS and not a ReadyNAS...the User's Guide URL is herw http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/UM/ENG/4779-705006.pdf

    2. The current MTU setting is 1500 as can be seen is the attached file. While I am still learning this pleas explain i) what it should be and ii) why.

    Thanks so much,


    Joel
     

    Attached Files:

  24. macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #24
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #25
    Appreciate that...I am going to try it out on my MBA / NAS tomorrow as it is 1:15 AM here and I have been awake or almost 20 hours and am getting tired...two quick follow ups:

    1. How will I tell that the MBA / NAS does not like 4000...for example, will it crash, etc. or is it simply the case that there will be no speed increase?

    2. Why 4000 over 9400 as it appears that jumbo "needs" a setting of 9400.

    Thanks a lot,


    Joel
     

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