Best/Most Compatible NAS for a Mac setup?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by danny_w, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #1
    I am considering getting a NAS for file storage, primarily media files but also for general backup. I currently have an iMac 24", :apple:TV, and WDTV Live Plus that would need to be able to access the NAS (the :apple:TV via iTunes on the iMac obviously). Everything is wired except for the :apple:TV which is wireless-n. I currently have an original USB Drobo connected to the WDTV (previously it was attached to the iMac) and it is accessible via the WDTV file server. What I envision is a NAS (ReadyNAS Duo or NV+, Synology, etc) hardwired on the network, with perhaps the Drobo attached to that for further backup (this may be a waste but the Drobo is paid for).

    I had heard long ago that the ReadyNAS products were considered the ultimate for Mac compatibility at the time, but time has moved on. I can get the ReadyNAS Duo for $215 or the NV+ for $311 from Buy.com (both cheaper than the Drobo), but are there better products today? I have seen a lot of discontent on the ReadyNAS forums from lack of responsiveness from Netgear and this bothers me. What is everybody here using? Why?
     
  2. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #2
    I have also seen several people recommend the HP Mediavault Server, but it requires (at this time anyway) a Windows PC to initially configure it. This seems to me to be a big limitation for this device.
     
  3. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #3
    It seems as though I have answered my own question. I have spent much of the day and all evening researching and reading reviews, and it looks like the Synology DS410j is the winner for price/performance, and the company gets good marks from others on this forum. It can be had for little more than the older ReadyNAS NV+ but gives about double the performance (around 50MB/s). Sure, there are NAS units that do twice that but they cost more than my house. I would welcome input from anyone with experience with any of these or would recommend something different.
     
  4. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #4
    After further research it appears that the Synology DS410j has serious issues with streaming of large and/or high bit-rate HD video files. I have seen posts (as yet unresolved) on both the Synology and SmallNetworkBuilder forums. The ReadyNAS NV+, even though slower, at least is a proven performer it seems. I think I will take the reliability route.
     
  5. padapada macrumors regular

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    #5
    Do have a look at the NAS reviews at mpcclub.com!
     
  6. sportster macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I too have looking into a NAS. But, like you can't seem to find one that I like 100%. Seems like there is always some type of trade off you have to sacrifice when picking one.

    I was looking at the Netgear ReadyNAS Duo, but found lots of mixed reviews.
     
  7. jdelgado macrumors regular

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    Oct 25, 2009
    #7
    I have also been looking into a solution for backup for three MBPs and a desktop (mini), and file serving (iTunes, movies, photos, etc). A NAS looked like a perfect solution, but I am worried about compatibility and other issues that are reported here and elsewhere.
    I am leaning towards something like the Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2, a LaCie 4big Quadra, or external drives hooked to a mini via FW or to a AEBS via USB.
    I currently have a couple of external 1.5TB HDs (LaCie and Seagate) and have tried different setups, and looks like this may be a reasonable alternative to a NAS for my needs.
     
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #8
    I can't do a comparison, but I can report (after 2+ years of experience with it) that the D-Link DNS-323 with 2 x 1tb Seagates in RAID-1 configuration has worked very well for me.

    The only problem is that occasionally one of my Macs will refuse to find it -- meaning that Finder reports "connection failed." I don't know why this happens, because when it does I can always connect to the NAS via browser (from the same Mac that won't connect via Finder) to confirm that it's up and running properly. And if I power up another one of the Macs, it sees the NAS just fine. So I don't think the NAS is at fault.

    BTW, I tried an inexpensive NAS earlier this year, just to see whether there could really be such a thing. Nope. It was the $100 Macally G-S350UN, an absolute piece of *****. The first from (via Amazon) failed, the replacement was functional but glacially slow -- and then, after about a month, it failed. The take-home lesson, I think, is that nobody can make an inexpensive NAS that's worth anything.
     
  9. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #9
    I am leaning toward either the ReadyNAS NV+ or the Synology DS410j, largely for the future expansion capabilites of the 4-bay units. I have never used either unit, but I get the impression from reading reviews that the ReadyNAS is more versatile and configurable for automated backups (but is an older generation product) while the DS410j is a newer generation product, perhaps faster, but not as well built. I also read glowing reviews of the DS410j's speed in the pro reviews, but complaints of slow or inconsistent speed from the customer reviews. Does anybody have direct experience with both units, or with the 2-bay variants of these (ReadyNAS Duo and DS210j).
     
  10. Dapness macrumors member

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    #10
    Did you ever jump on one of these? I'm in the same boat trying to decide. The most rigorous task it would have is to stream Bluray MKVs to my Mac Mini downstairs via ethernet. If you've tried one of these and had flawless presentations I'd like to hear about it.
     
  11. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #11
    I bought a Synology DS210j and 2 Samsung 2TB disks to go in it as RAID0 giving my almost 4TB or storage; I didn't think I could justify the price difference for the DS410j just for the luxury of possible future expansion which may never happen. I use it to file sharing only at the moment but it works flawlessly for this task over gigabit ethernet. I did have one problem doing local backups to an attached usb drive; no matter what I would try local backups/copies would fail, but network copies to the same external usb worked fine. I worked with Synology and they sent me a patch that seems to have resolved the issue. Now that I finally have a central location for all of my backups and media files I am so glad I did it.
     
  12. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Do you like the 210j?

    I was looking at that but started reading the Synology website and then thought the 209 would be better performance for the $100 additional price tag?


    Would you buy the 210j again if you were to do it over?
     
  13. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    #13
    I use an Iomega storcenter. It has a few quirks. It has to be powered on after every power failure. OS X tends to drop the connection after a power failure and sometimes needs to be restarted.

    It has a few pluses. It does ftp. My Brother network scanner can ftp documents to the storcenter directly in only a few seconds. This is very handy. I'll be watching this thread for a replacement for the Iomega, but I'm interested in models which support anonymous ftp for my network scanner.

    I also have an older Time Capsule that has already been replaced once by Apple. For obvious reasons, I don't rely on it as my only backup for important things.

    I also have an Airport Extreme router but I don't use the usb port for anything. I'll probably opt for a usb NAS unit and use some of the usb drives we have lying around here. Again, I'll be looking for a model that supports ftp.
     
  14. spblat macrumors 6502a

    spblat

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #14
    That Synology DS210j looks like a real winner. I have an aging linux server with 4 JBOD USB drives hung off it. I could pick this up, extract a couple of my drives from their USB housings, back up to the surviving drives and wind up with better transfer rates, better power usage, more reliable Time Machine support, iTunes sharing, bittorrent, and on and on and on. What a cool box!

    Very very tempting. OP, if you wouldn't mind posting your experiences with it, please do, especially if you use features beyond basic file sharing. Details! :D
     
  15. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #15
    So far I haven't used anything except basic file sharing and Time Machine backups, which both seem to work just fine. It has multiple web portal interfaces including Management, File Station (somewhat like Finder), and others that I haven't used yet. It is a Linux box underneath so you might be able to tweak it some also. And I must say that the customer support was fast and efficient at getting me a patch for my usb copy issues. It can operate in RAID0, RAID1, and JBOD/Spanning modes. It has been great for my needs so far, and much faster than the older ReadyNAS units.
     
  16. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #16
    FWIW I use an HP MediaSmart EX 490 and initially configured it using Windows 7 on my Mac under VMWare. (You can download an ISO of W7 from official channels and use it freely for up to 120 days so it comes at no out of pocket cost). I use it to handle backups from my three Macs in OS X and/or Windows and it also has a nifty TiVo extender feature I use with the TiVo. All in all it has been a great little box. It's main weakness (IMHO) is the media server for itunes (a.k.a. firefly) which doesn't like large libraries.

    B
     
  17. Chic0 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I am in the market for a NAS drive. This thread was recommended to me by another member here

    This Synology DS210j sounds great. I've just looked it up on Amazon and it's at a good price of £156 + drive

    Just wanted to know how loud this is? the reason is because this will have to go in my lounge. it will probably have to go behind my AV stand, but I may be able to get a long ethernet cable and place it in corner of the room.

    also how easy the setup, if any?

    Does it cope well with data transfer and playback of large files/HD movies over 802.11n?
     
  18. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #18
    I have the DS210j and am quite pleased with it overall. It is quiet (although not silent), it is easy to setup (they provide a utility that finds all Synology devices on your network and you access the unit via ip address), and is fairly fast. The unit does have a fan but I never really hear that, all I hear is the disks being accessed; it is in my bedroom and does not bother me, previously it was in my living room and even less bothersome. In my old apartment I had it connected via gigabit ethernet, in the new apartment I only have 10/100 to the bedroom so I use that. I have tried 802.11n via an Airport Express and that seemed to work well also, but I prefer wired networks where possible. I initially had problem performing local backups from the NAS drives to an external USB drive, but Synology support got me a trial build that solved the problem and I was very pleased with them (I assume it is in the current build or will get rolled in). For the money I think it is the best unit on the market right now.
     
  19. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #19
    FYI it seems that the DS211j is just about to be released. That should either provide greater specs for the same price or push leftover DS210j's to a lower price.
     
  20. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #20
    Maybe this is outside the box a bit, but I can't imagine anything being more Apple compatible than Airdisk or Time Capsule.
     
  21. Chic0 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Thanks guys for the info guys. I certainly don't know much about NAS drives, but I think I'm sold on this Synology one :)

    I've been reading up on the updated and soon to be released DS211J. Sounds perfect. Two bays will be sufficient for me. To be honest, I reckon I'll only need one drive for now anyway.

    I also found this review : http://www.kitguru.net/site-news/hi...ogy-ds211-nas-review-the-ultimate-budget-nas/

    The acoustics test seems to tally up with what you're saying Danny_w re the DS210.

    I'm not in an immediate rush to buy this, so going to sit tight for now. My plan is to have it just before xmas, so hopefully they will release this updated model soon. I might even end up going for the DS210 depending how much their price comes down.

    With respect to hard disks, which ones would you recommend?
    Would it be better to use 7200rpm or would 5400rpm drives suffice?
     
  22. FireArse macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 29, 2004
    #22
    Nv+

    +1 for the Netgear NV+

    Bought it and immediately put x4 2TB drives in it. Extremely happy with how is performs. Rock solid - I stream (over ethernet) 1080P 30+ Mbps video streams from it.

    Been on for over 3 months now.

    Can't argue with that for performance.

    F
     
  23. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #23
    I almost bought an NV+ but finally decided on the Synology 210j most just because it is a more modern design. However the NV+ is certainly a solid performer that has been around for a long time and is now available at a rock bottom price. I don't think you can go wrong with either one, and the NV+ does give you 4 bays for future expansion if/when needed.
     
  24. SidBala macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #24
    Why not build your own NAS? This approach is a bit more work to start with, but in the end you will get a very powerful server for less $$.

    I went to my local computer recycle place and bagged a high-end(for its time) Pentium 4 workstation with 2gigs of ram for $0.

    Then I got a couple of 2TB HDDs for ~$80 each. Installed Windows Home Server. I don't remember if I needed a windows PC to set it up. I just hooked up a regular monitor and keyboard to it.

    Its been running rock solid for over 4 months now. I access it from my MBP, my Windows HTPC and my windows Laptop, over both wired and wireless connections. It can easily handle multiple 1080P streams with no trouble. Absolutely no problems so far. You don't really need to manage it much after initial setup. But you can do so very easily on a mac.

    I also set it up as a print server. I installed utorrent for downloading. I even setup a live transcoding/streaming Airvideo server on it, so I can watch my movies on my iPad or iPhone. Mind you, this is being transcoded live!

    For just $160, it was a very sweet deal for a 4TB WHS.
     
  25. sammyman macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 21, 2005
    #25
    I had a Synology DS410. You should know that something happened and it crashed after about 4 months. I have a new one coming in the mail, and the old one is being RMA'd. I don't know how much data I lost due to the crash.

    The Synology warranty is ok, but it is not great. I had another run in with them when I purchased a refurbished unit on the internet. It had problems and synology failed to acknowledge anything even though the unit was only 4 months old.

    So Synology is great, but I haven't had the best experience with them. When my DS410 was working, it was great. Now that it is not, I am not sure I can recommend them..
     

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