Getting a new Airport Extreme - looking for NAS suggestions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cardiac dave, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. cardiac dave macrumors regular

    cardiac dave

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    iToronto
    #1
    I've placed an advance order for a new Airport Extreme, which has the ability to connect to a USB hard drive.

    I'm looking for NAS options. Ideally I was thinking about one of the MacMini sized enclosures, to match the Airport.

    The Lacie models listed all seem to have just firewire 400 interfaces.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    London
    #2
    If you are plugging a USB drive in then you are not looking for NAS option. NAS = Network Attached Storage, i.e. a box with one or more disks that connects directly to a network. You already have the NAS side covered: the Airport Extreme. You are looking for disk enclosure options.

    Personally I'd just get a stack of cheap Icy-Dock enclosures, USB hub and some disks...
     
  3. cardiac dave thread starter macrumors regular

    cardiac dave

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    #3
    I understand. What about an actual NAS to plug into one of the ethernet ports?

    I'm unsure of the speed differential - what is the bottleneck?

    Which is the slowest connection? USB2, 802.11n, or the AE's ethernet?
     
  4. islandman macrumors 6502

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    Sep 13, 2006
    #4
    I bought an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ recently, and it holds 1.5 TB of data (you can get smaller sizes). It has a nice form-factor, was easy to set up, and should work fine in your situation. I am going to get an Airport Extreme very soon, but right now, my NAS is connected to the network via a network switch (1 GB/sec), but I also connect wirelessly to it via 802.11g. It handles streaming music just fine, even over wireless.

    I imagine that 802.11n would be the slowest connection, but it's probably plenty fast for most uses. Even with my 802.11g, I find very few bottlenecks when connecting to my NAS. The biggest one is opening RAW files in Photoshop over the wireless network.
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #5
    In pure theory terms USB2 is a lot slower than ethernet. I'm not sure about n but USB2s a lot faster than g WiFi. If want lots of space and/or want some redundancy a NAS box might make more sense as you can have one that does RAID...
     
  6. cardiac dave thread starter macrumors regular

    cardiac dave

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    #6
    please correct me if I've got my numbers wrong here:

    USB2 = 480Mb or 60MB per second - theoretical

    FW400 = 400Mb or 49MB per second - theoretical

    AE's ethernet is only 100Mb or 12.5MB per second?
    (it's only 10/100 - not gigabit ethernet, is that right?)

    802.11b = 11Mb or 1.3MB per second
    802.11g = 54Mb or 6.75MB per second
    802.11n = apple claims up to 5x faster, which would be 270Mb, or 33MB per second?

    Now between 10/100 ethernet and 802.11g, I can say from personal experience at home, the ethernet seems around 5x faster (instead of the 2x that I came up with above) than 802.11g when copying large files.... so what are the realistic numbers?

    At any rate, it looks as if that the wireless will be the bottleneck, so just using a USB hard drive would be faster than using a PC as a fileserver through the AE's router. Sound theory?
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #7
    Seems right enough to me. Certainly, the USB2 drive would be at least as fast in real life, and presumably noticeably faster.
     
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #8
    Your numbers all look good at a glance to me. I assumed it was Gigabit as Pro Macs have had gigabit for some time and all Macs have it now, right down to the Mini.

    I've checked the specs and it's only 10/100 which would kill the deal for me...
     
  9. rumplestiltskin macrumors regular

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    Apr 12, 2006
    #9
    But what's really the throughput?

    If someone has purchased the new AirPort Extreme and connected a USB2 drive to it, perhaps that same someone might copy a few small and large files across the network (in both directions) and report the actual throughput over Ethernet? I don't really care about the wireless throughput but I imagine others will.

    Thanks in advance!

    Barry
     
  10. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #10
    You guys actually gave me something to think about. Currently I have an original Airport Extreme which was hardwired to my G4 450 but is now 802.11g connected to my Mac Mini. The Mini has a newerTech v2 miniStack drive enclosure ($75) with a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 drive in it, 500GB. Now as soon as Leopard is released I am getting a 24" iMac, wireless KB & MM, as few wires as possible. I am selling my dad the Mini to hook up to his plasma (he wants it already) and was planning on throwing the 500GB drive (even though it is ATA not SATA) into a FW800 enclosure and connecting it to the iMac and then throwing my old 120 WD into the miniStack for dad. But I also knew I had to get a new Airport Extreme for the use with the AppleTV. While the iMac can communicate directly to the AppleTV, I still need the router to connect to my cable modem. (I don't know if I lose the n speed if I have an n iMac, AppleTV, but a g router). But with what you are talking about I could keep the miniStack, connect it via USB to the new Airport Extreme and sit it right above or below it. But does that make it too complicated when my media is on the USB connected drive that AppleTV is trying to access via streaming not syncing through the router which has to talk to the computer which tells the AppleTV that it is back over on the USB attached Airport Disk. Sounds like a lot of wireless network traffic before anything is even streamed.
     
  11. rumplestiltskin macrumors regular

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    #11
    I read somewhere that the drive connected to the AE will not be accessible to the AppleTV. Better double-check before you go down that route. :confused:
     
  12. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #12
    It should be if it is mounted as the iTunes library. But noted. There are a lot of ?'s re: AppleTV and the new AE.
     
  13. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #13
    Why spend $200 getting a NAS box when the Airport Express has that ability? :)
     
  14. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #14
    Just a note, but it appears that the new AE does not offer the same wall-mounting capability that the original does. Just a mini-bummer. I have my AE wall-mounted.
     

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  15. MacVault macrumors 65816

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    #15
    The 10/100 Ethernet port would be the bottleneck. I can't beleive Apple failed to make it a Gigabit port. What were they thinking? Gigabit can't cost much more, if any. :mad:
     

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