4 Bay NAS; Low Power; Reliable

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mcmul, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. mcmul, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015

    mcmul macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I recently moved house and need to rethink my home network, due to power supply and phone line restrictions.

    Moving from: servers, switches, powerline adapters
    Moving to: Mac Mini with NAS, WiFi extenders

    I know exactly what to do regarding the WiFi extenders and Mac Mini, however struggling with the NAS. Can anybody recommend a low power, reliable, 4 bay NAS? I know people rave about Synology but I'm struggling to work out whether the price is justified. I literally just want to whack in 4 2 TB drives, connect it via Ethernet to the Mac Mini, and let it tick over.
     
  2. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Well, I use the Synology for pretty much that purpose. It meets all your requirements - and then some. I guess the question is are you paying extra for features you aren't using? But I don't think any of the ones that are significantly cheaper are considered reliable - the names that consistently come up as recommendations are Synology, QNAP, and Drobo.
     
  3. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I'm willing to pay a higher price for reliability. Which model do you use and what's your set-up (high-level) between the Mac and Synology, out of curiosity?

    I've found this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Synology-DS...qid=1428062019&sr=8-2&keywords=synology+4+bay.
     
  4. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #4
    +1 on Synology. While the "reliability" aspect of the NAS is going to depend highly on the quality of drives you're running, I've found that Synology has a fantastic build quality for their products that is often worth the premium. A while back, I purchased a lot of USED Synology products off Ebay for a heck of a deal, and they're still kicking. I know "reliable" and "used" don't often go together, but if you're looking for a little bit of a break on the price, it might be a safe route to take in this case.
     
  5. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    What versions are they? I'm looking at the DS414; any thoughts?
     
  6. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #6
    I have never personally used that model. The models that I purchased were the DS412+, but they seem very similar.
     
  7. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I'm using the DS411j - the Synology model number system is the drive count plus 2-digit year, so it's in the 2011 model year of the 4-drive types.

    I'm using 4 x 2TB with the Synology hybrid RAID and split into two volumes (appx. 1.5 TB and 4 TB). The first volume is set up for Time Machine, and I have a separate account for each Mac with a quota associated with each so one of them doesn't take up all of the space. The other volume is for data - I have a combination of user home folders and shared folders - all of my iTunes files are under Music and that folder is the iTunes home for my Mac Mini, which is acts as my HTPC. (Other Macs can use the folders for read and to drop files into Automatically Add to iTunes, but do not modify the library or file structure.) I've also created a folder only my wife and I have access to for things like tax documents and other vital records.

    As long as you're in single-user mode, the Synology will mount at the same point in the file system. If you use fast user switching, you'll need to use a script in each user's account to set up symbolic links for them so the network path is consistent. (Assuming you need consistency... this is mostly an iTunes issue.)

    After a few years, I've managed to fill up roughly one half of the data volume with a hefty-sized iTunes library (mostly with movies and TV shows). If I start running out of space, I can always expand by swapping in higher-capacity hard drives. Just do it one at a time so the system can rebuild on the fly.
     
  8. Attonine macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Go with the 414j. You will be fine. More than enough to do what you are looking for.
     
  9. Gozar macrumors regular

    Gozar

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    #9
    I may take a few lumps but, I looked hard at Synology and ended up with an Asustor as5104T 4-bay.
    Lower price, more power and does what I need it to do.

    Worth looking at.
     
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    Just curious - if you only have a Mac Mini to worry about, why not go DAS instead of NAS? (directly attached storage)

    There are advantages to both NAS and DAS. I happen to use both for different purposes and perhaps it would be helpful if you provided what purpose you will have for the storage.

    I'll have to go along with others on the Synology though I have been extremely happy with my QNAP 5 bay x 4tb drives. My DAS situation is several different options that are attached when needed (from multi-bay to single drives).
     
  11. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    #11
    I have a 414, works fine - no idea what the power consumption is.
    Reason for NAS (for me) rather than DAS - better performance, better reliability, better raid protection, better tools for management and that its divorced for any other piece of tech.
     
  12. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I'll end up accessing it directly too; I have a bunch of other machines (Linux/Windows) that will end up using it, and I'd like to explore some of the other features Synology seems to come with.

    ----------

    Super response, mate. I've noted everything you've said :)

    I was curious about the model format and I'm finding it much easier to browse now. That new DS415+ is INSANE!

    Finally, many thanks to the other posters for the response.
     
  13. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #13
    I think you've made up your mind, but if you need more data points -- I have a DS412+. It's been running more than a year and has behaved perfectly.

    Before that I had an Iomega (now Lenovo) 2 disk NAS, and before that, a D-Link unit. They were both troublesome -- not that I lost data, but they weren't always available, they were pretty slow, firmware and OS upgrades were truly frightening . . . basically, they sucked.

    The DS412+ has had none of those problems. I recommend it highly.
     
  14. imel96 macrumors newbie

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    jakarta
    #14
    Synology is good, I used/managed one at work, a 5 bay year 2011 version.
    Thinking about getting one for home too but don't see how a 4 bay is better then time capsule other than raid the mirror feature.

    I want Raid 6/dp to protect from dual drive failures. With 4 bay, raid6 is same as raid1, maybe slower.
    But 5 bay is so expensive :)

    Then there's the bit rot issue, important if you have TBs of data. Synology doesn't have ZFS or even Btrfs that
    can protect you from bit rot. You could build your own pc with enough drives and install FreeBSD or Linux to
    get ZFS or Btrfs. You just then only worry about the power consumption of the pc.

    I'm seriously thinking of using iCloud drive to tackle this problem. I reckon with the amount of money to buy/build
    own nas I can pay for 1 TB for a few years and I don't need to worry about upgrading hardware, data protection
    although bit rot could still be an issue. They also run on green power. There's no way I can have a better setup
    at home or at work (Isilon, which apple uses, starts with 8 digit figures I think).

    Downside is iCloud drive integration is still limited and it will eat bandwidth (although I have fttp)

    Comments before I transfer my money to apple?
     
  15. nightmars macrumors member

    nightmars

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    #15
    Another Synology advice here.

    But having your "low-power-requirement" in mind I would suggest having a look at the DS 414slim. I myself am using a Mini plus the previous version (DS 411slim)- I have never been happier with another NAS. Has been my best choice so far.
     
  16. mcmul, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015

    mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I thought the Time Capsule was, to put it crudely: an Airport Extreme + External Hard Drive + Limitations = Highly Networked Back-Up Drive only for Mac? I actually ran a boxy little Windows Server (among others) for years and it's been brilliant but I want something that doesn't need an OS that I have to manage, can literally be tucked away in the corner and forgot about. I particularly like Synology because it looks like they've made everything easy for you: web interface, supports all the usual protocols, and seems to have tonnes of features that I know nothing about yet (something about cloud services like Dropbox, something about security cameras, etc). Also, I'm running 2 TB drives at the minute and it looks like, when it comes to the upgrade, Synology make it as easy as possible.
     
  17. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I'm contemplating the DS415Play given it has hardware transcoding. How would I play stuff on my TV? I have an AT3.
     
  18. Rorlow macrumors member

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    Jan 12, 2011
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    Detroit, MI
    #18
    Drobo 5N

    I'm very happy with my Drobo 5N, works great as both a secondary time machine and NAS for my network.
     
  19. imel96 macrumors newbie

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    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    jakarta
    #19
    The airport extreme part is important. I'm building a house and I don't even think about wiring the home other than
    one line to connect to wifi base station and that's just because fibre optic connection is still cheaper than 4g network :)

    Would be nice if synology has built in wifi option. That and zfs/btrfs to prevent bit rot. I have some images from
    2000's which now has mysterious noise and to date I still can't stop it from happening.
     
  20. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    #20
    If you're building a home i WOULD run the cables.
    If you try to run multiple ATVs you will have issue. Remember NAS to iTunes, iTunes to ATV so thats a double hit everytime.

    I've just converted all the ATVs to cable and its much better over 1GBE than over WiFi.
     
  21. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I 100% agree that you should go wired whenever practical. WiFi is good enough for local HD streaming, but the more devices you have on the same bandwidth, the less true that becomes.
     
  22. mcmul, Apr 9, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015

    mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Unfortunately it isn't practical to run cables throughout. The WiFi router is also at the opposite end of the house to the main living areas and bed rooms. Instead I plan to buy 2 Airport Expresses to compensate. My plan is to connect one via Ethernet to the router (Sky Broadband) and then use other, in the main living area, to extend the connection. I'll then plug the Apple TV, Mac Mini, NAS, Sky+ Box into a five port switch, then connect the AP to the switch. Hopefully that'll localise all ATV/MM/NAS interactions to the switch, and it'll only extend out to the AP -> AP -> Router -> Internet when it needs stuff from the internet. I might even offload the Sky+ Box entirely and connect it directly to the router - what do you think? This all sounds good in theory, but I'm working under the assumption that: the Sky router and Airport Express play nicely; the two Airport Expresses maintain a decent, solid connection; the performance doesn't deteriorate when I connect (at the very maximum) 2 x iPhone, 2 x iPad, 2 x laptops and 2 x work phones to the second Airport Express to access the internet via the double hop.

    Thoughts??? :D

    Note: I previously used power line adapters instead of the APs and it worked brilliantly. However, due to (1) poor power supply placement, (2) poor phone line placement, (3) limitations with my TV/ISP router, I need the two APs to make the connection. I understand that I could probably just buy a generic WiFi extender or something but I just don't think the connection will be very good or if it'll work. Devices also drop off the WiFi when we're in the furthest part of the house and so I wanted to try and localise the Sky router to the room it's in and then connect to the second AP and use my "AP pipeline". Comments and thoughts are very welcome!
     
  23. imel96 macrumors newbie

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    jakarta
    #23
    I did not think about the number of ATVs would be involved.

    But with laying cable, I can only think it'll only be outdated while radio wave will keep going faster.
    I'm still using 802.11g/n I think and don't think it slows me down. Going to ac will improve it further.
    I will have fttp, but the speed is not so great, only 30/1 mbps, I could use 100mbps ethernet with that.

    And encoding tech also keep getting better. What about that h.265 FaceTime between iphone6es and 5g?
    Even lower bandwidth requirement in the future while my cable rot inside the walls, they weren't cheap
    and at some point needs to be replaced.
     
  24. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #24
    Cat5 became available in the early 90s, and was a ubiquitous standard by 1995. It's not the best networking cable today, but it is technically possible to get gigabit over it, if it's a high-quality cable. Even if it's a low-quality cable, 100Mbps reliable is still nothing to dismiss anyway. I wouldn't call them out of date. If cat5 has lasted 20-25 years and is still decent, I bet a homeowner would get the same milage out of laying cat6 or cat6a today.
     
  25. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Hard-wired will always beat wireless. Faster radios and encoding lessen the gap, but can never close it all of the way. Use wired ethernet wherever practical to reduce the competition of devices on the wireless spectrum.

    The key part is "wherever practical". If you can run cabling throughout a house with reasonable convenience, do it. Most of us can't, but can at least plan the central "hub" of devices so that that as many devices as possible are co-located with the main router and can be wired to it.

    For example, my setup has the HTPC (Mac Mini), an iMac, and the NAS (plus some other devices such as a networked printer) all connected directly to the router via wired ethernet. A powerline ethernet bridge connects a second room for the kids' computers and the rec room Apple TV. This lets the various iDevices, my MacBook Pro, the master bedroom Apple TV, and video game consoles all use the wireless band without competition from the wired devices. And believe me, I've seen the difference as a lot of those seem to be in use at once with the five of us all doing our own thing.
     

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