Wireless Hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Aniej, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. Aniej macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    Oct 17, 2006
    #1
    I am looking at picking up a wireless HDD for the holidays so that I can use it for time machine in the near future. My search for such an external HDD has not been as successful as i would like, so I have two questions:

    1. is time machine compatible with a wireless hard drive or is there any reason to believe that time machine will only work if it is wired to the computer?

    2. Can you recommend some really good wireless hard drives that have somewhere between 400GB - 500GB and dare I ask maybe even 1TB?
     
  2. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    #2
    I sent this out a bit earlier, maybe someone is a bit more interested in this question now that you have had your coffee and the tryptophan from Thanksgiving turkey has worn off.
     
  3. ironjaw macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I didn't even know wireless hard drives existed:eek:

    any link?
     
  4. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #4
    I don't know of any 'wireless' hard drives either, unless the OP is referring to a server which he connects to wirelessly. Sounds costly, at any rate. Maybe they'll give us a link to an example they've seen.
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #5
    Iomega StorCenter Wireless
    http://www.iomega.com/direct/produc...SORTMENT<>ast_id=26890319&bmUID=1164572640990

    There are a number of wireless NAS's as above - sometimes a bare unit but others populated with drives.

    There are also NAS Routers which you can stick a wireless access point onto. US Robotics manufacturers a decent one and this class of product is becoming a popular item, partially because in most cases you can leave your Bittorrent feeds running into the NAS instead of having your PC/Mac switched on.

    The problem with these units is really that unless it's very casual use throughput over wireless isn't spectacular - in fact it's abysmal. For incremental, 'bit by bit' backups occuring throughout the day as Time Machine might do I suppose it may work. But in the end I think it'll be a bit of a dog to be honest.
     
  6. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    Oct 17, 2006
    #6
    Hmm ok there is a chance I might have made a mistake and misunderstood what I thought the product was intended to be, but I have only been wrong two times before so I duno;)

    Here is a link as an example, let me know because I would hate to buy this thing and then find out I was way off.

    http://www.provantage.com/tritton-tri-whd1200~7TRTN01L.htm
     
  7. ironjaw macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Its going to tak ages to transfer files, I mean if you have small files that you want to transfer then that is fine. you can always get one of those wireless routers with usb2 and connect external drives to then to share on the network (I would not do it)

    Probably the best is either a directly connected usb2 or FW400/800 device to you Mac or a 10/100/1000Mbit (gigabit) hard drive on the network.
     
  8. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    Oct 17, 2006
    #8
    Sesshi, you are right on the money with what I am referring to. That is a bit disappointing to hear about the transfer rates. I was planning on just using it at my home for the purpose of time machine and then any other general files I decided to store on there. Does that make any difference or is it still going to have poor transfer levels? Any other ideas that might get this to work wirelessly or do I need to wire my baby down when I want to use time machine?
     
  9. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #9
    Wireless is wireless. Whatever it is you're transferring it's going to have the same speed over wireless - although there are performance differences in how big a file you'll be writing, but that's on the NAS side. Either way I'd expect about 1MB per second on average in terms of write speeds for small files - and even less in many situations. This is just a one-time write speed. There are other things that Time Machine may need to do in terms of reading data, checking data and accessing hard disk catalog data and all of these things will be very slow over wireless when compared to a wired full-duplex 100mbit (or gigabit - but in my experience most low cost NAS's suck for Gigabit use) connection.
     
  10. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    #10
    OK well that pretty much puts that idea to sleep. In that case, how about a recommendation on a killer external hard drive (space and speed)?
     
  11. raptor96 macrumors regular

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    RI
    #11
    By no means killer but....I've had really good luck with my WD MyBook Essential. It's spins up super quick and when it goes to sleep (when I have put disks to sleep when idle checked) it spins back up in about 2 seconds. I spent a long time searching for deals on ext. HDs and I've found that MyBooks are really good and discounted often. Hope that's helpful in some way (btw mine's 250 gb but I know they make much larger ones). Ciao!
     
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #12
    I'd say most of them are fairly decent. You may also like to take a look at the Freecom Classic SL network drive. It's a NAS and DAS (Directly Attached Storage) in one, so you'll have the option to hook it up to a wireless bridge should you feel the burning need to do so. You can't have it going in both modes (NAS/DAS) at the same time but it's nice to have the option of doing either. I have the DAS-only version of the Classic SL and it's not a bad drive, if a tad noisy (it has a small fan. Very small, high-speed fans are fairly noisy and this is no exception).
     
  13. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #13
    The question is: Can Time machine work over a network share or does it expect another local drive. From a unix perspective the mount is pretty much the same, but I hope Time Machine has a way to select the destination on a share.

    Also, understand that a universal NAS drive is likely using the Samba protocol to handle the connection and it can be kinda buggy over long periods of time. I had my own backup script using rsync to a samba share for a while and I got a lot of errors with samba and a lot of filename errors. Latest stable build of samba too...

    I suggest a FW drive for a reliable backup solution.
     
  14. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #14
    Applestore UK offers a 400 GB wireless harddisk for £199; a 320 GB USB harddisk is £99 for comparison, so it's not that expensive. Strangely, there is nothing similar on the US store. Might be useful if you have a two or three laptops at home and want storage for your music and/or videos. Transfer speed is about 3 MB/second.
     
  15. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #15
    Unfortunately most NAS drives that I have seen are limited not only in throughput but in filesize, because most use FAT32 formatting. The problem with NAS is that it is a file-based format, unlike iSCSI (and direct attached fw or usb drives) which is block-based. When I researched NAS storage solutions last year I decided that all of the affordable home units had issues that I could not live with.
     
  16. tderemigis macrumors member

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    #16
    yea i had the idea to put all my music on a NAS drive.

    i became very disappointed with the performance. It just wasnt the seamless experience of using an external drive.

    like everyoen has said, id recommend an external
     
  17. gog macrumors regular

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    #17
    Hmm.
    This was useful.
    I too was about to go looking for a wireless hard drive. Wanted to stick it somewhere out of sight and have all my precious data backed up safe and sound. And use it for mass storage of music etc to keep the MBP freed up.
    Nice idea, but guess its not gonna happen, thanks.
     
  18. Maccer macrumors newbie

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #18
    What NAS drive are you using? Does it have 100 or 1000 Mbps Ethernet? I was thinking of buying either of these gigabit drives:
    - Lacie Ethernet Disk Mini (just updated with faster processor and 1 GB ethernet, the US page still lists the old specs but this UK page lists the new one)
    - Maxtor Shared Storage II

    I have also asked myself if NAS drives will work with Time Machine. So it is not possible to format them in HFS+ or some other Mac format? At least the specs for the LaCie disk say that it supports the AFP protocol and Bonjour, so it shouldn't be necessary to use Samba.
     
  19. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #19
    Are you sure about that?

    Most use EXT3 these days if they don't use Windows Storage Server (NTFS).

    None of thew low-cost 'gigabit' NAS's come anywhere near gigabit. They struggle even with megabit depending on file sizes. Hopefully the performance of the upper-end NASs might start trickling down to lower levels when they get more powerful processors in a year or two.
     
  20. techster85 macrumors regular

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    Lubbock, TX
    #20
    I bought the D-Link NAS thing and it is such a waste of plastic. This software support is lacking and the product itself doesn't really work as well as they claim. And, when it does work, it is SLOW.
     
  21. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #21
    Isn't somebody working on wireless firewire and wireless USB2. I heard about it like 2 years ago.
     
  22. NJuul macrumors 6502

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    Boston
    #22
    About 3 MB/second is quite accurate. I have a Sawtooth set up as a wireless fileserver, so I can access my music from my MBP through the wireless connection of my airport express. I get about ~25 Mbit/second, or roughly 3 megs/sec. Works well with smaller files, but I wouldn't recommend it as a backup solution. It's too slow, and I often get checksum errors if I try to copy a large .dmg between the two machines.
     
  23. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #23
    That's fairly optimal. You won't get the same throughput with a (wireless) NAS.
     
  24. Maccer macrumors newbie

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #24
    Maybe what you have described is already happening. When comparing the specs of the new and the old Lacie Ethernet Disk Mini, you see that the new one has got a significally faster processor and double the RAM:

    - Processor/RAM
    Old: 266Mhz / 32MB SDRAM
    New: 400Mhz / 64MB DDRAM

    Have you seen some reviews of these new Gigabit drives, or how can you be so sure about that they are slow? Of course the drives won't transfer 1 Gb/s (125 MB/s) since the drives themselves are not fast enough.

    What I am looking for is a drive that won't be limited by the network connection itself, which afaik has been the case with the old 100 Mbps drives. In a review I read, one particular drive with both 100 Mbps Ethernet and USB/Firewire connction wrote/read about 10 MB/s in Ethernet mode, and about 30-40 MB/s in USB2 (or was it maybe Firewire) mode.
     
  25. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #25
    Why care if the transfer rates are slow. You schedule the backup to happen at 2:00 AM and even if it takes four hours it is done by 6:00 AM.

    You would not want to run a backup over a wireless link while a computer is being used. The wireless link has only so much bandwidth and the backup would use a good portion of it making other uses of the wireless system very slow. So run the Time Machine backup at night and you will do fine. From what I've seen there is a preferences panel where you can specify the time and frequency of the backup. Just set it ti "every morning at 2:00" and don't let your computer go into sleep mode.

    About if Time machine will work over a wire less link. I doubt it will even "know" the connection is wireless.
     

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