Apple Airport Extreme 802.11n AirDisk Performance Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Jack Flash, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. Jack Flash macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
    My goal is to have a lossless collection of my music and video files stored on one of these massive drives to give my 80GB HDD some breathing room. The advantage is that they can be accessed anywhere with wireless access.

    I have two Western Digital MyBook Essential Edition HDDs. They're 160GB and 250GB respectively, and both interface via USB 2.0

    I plan to partition some fo the 160GB to be used with Bootcamp. I have installed MacFUSE and the NTFS-3G package to enable reading and writing to NTFS drives in OS X if that matters.

    So, how well will this router work with a USB 2.0 hub? What are the read/write times like compared to my internal 5400 RPM 80GB HDD?
  2. pjarvi macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2006
    Round Lake, IL
    I have that particular drive, and use it with OS X. It's accessed the same way as connecting to a shared drive on a Windows PC, using Samba. (e.g. smb://192.168.x.x) The drive is horrible though. It's terribly loud, puts out a lot of heat, and is slow (3-7MBps despite being connected via gigabit). You would be better off putting together a small linux box with a raid setup. I'm thinking of using a Via Epia for this purpose.
  3. Jack Flash thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
    I was thinking about just buying the 802.11n Airport Extreme and DIYing my own external HDD through it.
  4. chadi macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2007
    Canada eh?
    My library is rather large and I found that storing it on a network drive is OK, but not great. Wireless making it even less attractive. I just moved all my music off my network and onto an external USB drive. All I need to do now is setup a dump on one of my servers to back the drive up to each time I update my library (which isn't to often, a song here and there when new ones come out from iTunes and when I buy a cd now and then).

  5. Jack Flash thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
  6. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    I use a synology network drive (it actually has a limited features itunes music server built in) which I connect to on a gigabit network.

    I've got it set up as a plain folder on the device which can be accessed normally (saves hassle). Reading the music is fine, no issues with delay except maybe a second at the very beginning. There is severe difference between the times writing any info across compared with an internal drive, changing the song info for an album takes nearly a minute versus just about instantly on an internal drive.
  7. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have the MyBook Pro version of that guy, really solid drive. tends to get load, but I really like it. Wish I would have got the world addition. The ethernet would have been really nice.
  8. Jack Flash thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
  9. saxman macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2004
    I have a AEBS (802.11n) with a Lacie Porsche drive (500GB) and printer attached to it via a powered USB hub. I have a powerbook and ibook on the network, so I cannot vouch for the "n" speeds.

    Copying is slow. I get on average 1.5-3 megabytes per second copying over the wireless "g" network. Hooked up to the ethernet port is slow as well, but I haven't clocked it. I would recommend copying all the music to the drive when plugged directly in your mac first, then hook it up to the basestation. I have my entire iTunes library (92GB) on the network drive and I can stream music fine to my laptops and an airport express hooked up to my stereo. I've been playing with doing video with mixed results. If I play through VLC and increase the buffering, I can play video to my laptops fine. Although seeking takes a few seconds. I'm still playing around with settings though. Playing a video through iTunes used to crash for me, but since the last iTunes update it plays ok with some stuttering now and again.

    A few caveats:

    - Most drives do not power down or go to sleep when attached to the AEBS. The drive always spins. I've read that the drives that do power down (via their own hardware or software), most of the time do not wake backup and a power cycle is needed.
    - It seems that most drives that use software raids (multiple drives in the same enclosure) are not recognized by the AEBS
    - For me, the hard drive has to be powered on before connecting to the AEBS. That is, if you turn the drive off at night, you will need to turn the drive on, then power cycle the AEBS for it to recognize it. YMMV though.

    There is much more information on Apple's discussion forums than I have found here. For music it works fine for me, the jury is still out on video in my experience though
  10. kmacduff macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2007
    Same here

    I have the same setup except that I am using a custom enclosure USB 2.0 eSATA from vantech with a seagate 500Gig drive in it. I would echo Saxman's experience, same results for copy speed, etc.
    Tried to watch a downloaded .avi of flight of the conchords streamed wirelessly to the powerbook 12" G4 last night and too slow. Seems a lot faster if I just use the Macbook in 'n' mode but I have to explore this more.

    I like the suggestion of changing the buffer speed settings in VLC and will try this tonight.

    I also have run across a new issue, which is that in 9a499 release of Leopard, which I am running on my Macbook(2GHz Intel core 2 duo) there seems to be a problem with airdisk utility. It can see that my base station has drives(one 500Gig drive with 5 partitions) but it cannot mount them, though they mount perfectly fine on the powerbook G4 12" running the older version of airdisk utility. Airdisk Utility lists as being version 1.1.1 in Leopard instead of version 1.1 which is in OS X 10.4.10 that came with the airport extreme base station. I tried copying over and using the older version with no success.

    Any suggestions?

    I think I might have to go back to using 10.4.10 until this gets worked out as I am also operating with the goal of housing all music and video files on the Network storage(airdisk) and streaming them as needed to the two laptops.
  11. Knolly macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2007
    One thing you should definitely know... NTFS is NOT supported on Airport Extreme. If you need to access some of the drive via bootcamp...

    1. Format it FAT32.
    2. Format it with the Mac file system. If you access it through your airport you actually CAN read the Mac file system natively in Windows through the magic of airport.

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