Best NAS Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by SisterRay, May 10, 2008.

  1. SisterRay macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I am looking for the best Network Attached Storage hard drive for use with a (1st gen) MacBook and a PC.

    I want to be able to store files larger than the Fat32 4Gb storage limit.

    Also I have a wireless network (802.11g), will this be fast enough to operate the NAS.

    I'm in the UK so the model has to be available there

    Any ideas?

    Thanks
     
  2. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Time Capsule? (You don't have to use it as a Time Machine drive if you don't want to - it's basically just a NAS). It'd also serve the purpose of upgrading your wireless network to draft-N

    Alternatively, look at the Synology range, which are Mac-friendly.
     
  3. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #3
    I've been looking into NAS's myself lately, and you'll find there are lots and lots of options and lots of opinions about which are "the best." To mention just two manufacturers, one that is very highly regarded is Netgear's line of "ReadyNAS" boxes, though these are a bit pricey. The standard bearer is the 4-disk ReadyNAS NV+, which has been around a while, but they've just announced two new models, the ReadyNAS Duo (2-disks) aimed at the home market, and the 6-disk ReadyNAS Pro which will be aimed at the SOHO/ Small-Medium business market.

    Another line that was recommended to me by an IT consultant friend of mine is by Promise Technology, specifically the SmartStor NS4300N. If I was going to spring for a NAS, however, I'd probably go with the ReadyNAS.

    Since it sounds like you'll be storing lots of data on a NAS, I'd strongly recommend you get something with RAID capabilities. This won't eliminate the need for backing up, of course, but it will dramatically improve reliability. Some of the better RAID boxes (such as the ReadyNAS) also support online volume expansion, which means if you get tight on space, you can simply throw another hard disk into the RAID (or replace the disks already there with larger ones) and you'll add storage without the need to move data.
     
  4. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    Murka
    #4
    [​IMG]

    I've got one of these. It is fantastic. Gigabit LAN, 2x external USB for printers, other HDDs, or one touch backup of a disk/usb stick to the NAS, and 2x SATA ports inside for two drives of ANY size.

    Mine currently has 2x 750Gb drives in it, and can go as high as you can find.

    Gigabit was the killer for me. I can't stand slow network transfers - and this wasn't that expensive. I purchased mine here.

    You can create users and groups with it, and define permissions for many different aspects. Many homebrew firmwares have turned up too, with some quite varied functions.

    The thing even has BitTorrent support built in.

    It's best formatted as ext3. Windows, Linux and MacOS can connect to it and see it as a Samba mount, NFS or FTP.
     
  5. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #5
    I've been thinking of getting one of these to utilise two old SATA drives I have. Reckon it'd be any good as a multimedia NAS for a wired network (iMac and an HTPC)?
     
  6. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    Murka
    #6
    I have no issues streaming HD media off it to my Macs, as the network is Gigabit all the way through.

    There is a media server thing built in to it (which looks like it's going to be changing it's name to PacketVideo MediaServer after a recent acquisition), but I haven't tried that bit yet.
     
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #7
    Gigabit, as I've said before, doesn't mean Gigabit - especially on very low-end enclosures like that. It may advertise Gigabit, and it may say connected as Gigabit, but what you'll actually be getting is below Megabit (which should be enough to squeeze a compressed HD stream through). Not that this will be a major factor if you're solely on wireless, as 802.11g will hardly saturate even sub-Megabit speeds. EXT3 will be the format you want to use, and most NAS's out there use it.

    If you're actually looking for the best, I have one of these not doing much at the moment, and this along with the higher-end Netgear ReadyNAS machines are among the fastest out there in terms of reasonably cheap (sub-800 with all four drives loaded) NAS's, as well as being reasonably feature-rich.

    For a low-end enclosure machine with plenty of scope for expansion, the Thecus N2100 is very popular with lots of third-party hacking potential - although it runs hot (but not as HDD-life-impacting flaming as the Time Capsule). However, if you look at the N2100's performance, you'll notice that performance is pretty much on the pedestrian side - and the same story is true for much of the 200-300 class machines, including the Time Capsule. Anything cheaper will be even worse.

    And if you're really, really looking for the best - buy a Mac Mini or a cheap PC to run a Linux-based NAS server program on, or take it to the logical conclusion and purchase server-class machine, either a Windows / OS X Server box or a NAS-configured server box. The key to throughput is the CPU as well as the network interface, and even the high-end NAS's have Celeron-class brains. However these obviously need more upkeep.
     
  8. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    Murka
    #8
    So explain to me why, on a folder of 5.5Gb (a mixture of photos, videos and software dmgs), my NAS completes the operation in almost the same time that my FireWire 400 manages? :p

    I know FireWire 400 is nowhere near gigabit, but getting a real-world near FW400 isn't bad really, is it? ;)
     
  9. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #9
    I'd draw your attention to this chart, which compares very similarly to all the devices I've owned:
    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/component/option,com_nas/Itemid,190/chart,12/

    Similar-to-FW400 throughput would put your 80 quid enclosure right at the top of the list. That means either you're reading something wrong, or this is the greatest undiscovered bargain in the history of NAS's.

    Of course, it's perfectly possible that your Firewire drive sucks ;) I have an older 2.5" FW drive that has a very seldom-used small archive on it that takes several times longer than current USB2 drives to copy stuff onto.
     
  10. Tom Sawyer macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    #10

    I'm not 100% sure on the availability in the UK, but I've been using an Infrant (now Netgear) ReadyNAS NV since January of 2006 and it has been FANTASTIC. It is a 4 drive (sata) raid 5 box with some very interesting extra capabilities (can replace drives with larger to expand the array, Raid-X etc)... has about every streaming server you can imagine... PnP AV, iTunes etc as well as popular network file sharing in SMB and AFP. It has gotten better with time as Infrant and now Netgear has continued to expand the capabilities of the little box. It's pretty amazing.... It streams to my PS3, Use it with my XBMC's etc etc. The only thing it does not do is act as a Time Capsule. I sure wish it would, but no direct support from Apple yet on a standard SMB or AFP share, only TC. Thus... I bought a TC for that purpose.

    Anyway... VERY much worth checking out, I can't recommend them enough!
     
  11. SisterRay thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I got the Iomega 500Gb Network Hard Drive. £99.99 in Comet.

    Just started using it, will post my view of it.
     

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