Best NAS to replace Time Capsule for Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by jimckimmel, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. jimckimmel macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    I have a first gen (1TB) and second gen (2TB) time capsule. 1st Gen is failing, but most of my Time Machine backups are happening on the 2nd Gen. Since I no longer use the TC as a network router, but have gigabit ethernet at the TC, what are the best options for NAS drive to replace the TC for Time Machine only?

    I have a secondary cloud backup, but would like to keep a local network Time Machine Backup for restores (seems to work better for me than the cloud backup which is better for individual files if the TC isn't available to me - like when I'm remote).

    Any thoughts/suggestions?


  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    It depends do you want a NAS or a DAS (Direct Attached Storage)? What Mac are you using? Do you want a two, three or four bay system?
  3. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I have this question as well. As I have an older model TC and Apple may not be making any more if rumors are to be believed. I have tried a couple different single-drive NAS drives (cheaper, more home-type products) from Western Digital and Seagate and I have had issues getting them to be recognized and stay recognized as Time Machine drives. It seems I am always having to reconnect the drives manually and occasionally have to reboot. Is there a more corporate version (multi-bay or single) that works as smooth and flawlessly as an actual Time Capsule? One that I set up once and that my MacBook Pro will just find and use for backup whenever I get back home and it connects to my WiFi.
  4. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Buy an old base model Mac mini. Install Server. Add a large external drive. Every bit as reliable as a TC but faster and more versatile.
  5. Diego7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    I'm in the same boat.

    I've been using an old Time Capsule and want to purchase a new NAS drive to use with Time Machine. I'd rather not purchase another Time Capsule, because I don't want to use it as a router (I don't know much about these things, but Apple Support has repeatedly told me that not using a Time Capsule as my primary router vastly increases the risk of corrupted backups).

    I don't need a large drive; 1TB is plenty. Right now, I'm stumped.

    I've read several accounts of similar problems with Western Digital's My Cloud drives—they just don't seem to play nicely with Time Machine.

    I did a quick search on refurbished Mac minis. The cheapest one I saw was $419. I was hoping to find a complete solution for that amount or less.
  6. davidoloan, Apr 1, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017

    davidoloan Suspended

    Apr 28, 2009
    Is that true?

    I'm not using mine as my primary router, but my network is made up of multiple Airport Extremes.
  7. Diego7, Apr 1, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017

    Diego7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    I honestly don't know. I spoke to several Apple senior support people (I can't remember their exact job title) throughout the course of ~2 weeks.

    The first person I spoke to had me set up my Time Capsule in bridge mode and said that I would have no problems at all. This person also told me that Apple doesn't like its support people assisting customers in setting up a Time Capsule in bridge mode. Apparently, they're supposed to say that it can't be done (which one support person actually told me a long time ago). That support case was closed.

    The second person I spoke to stated that I might run into some difficulty down the road with my Time Capsule set up in bridge mode (my call had to do with a different issue about the Time Capsule). That support case was closed.

    The third person I spoke to told me that corrupt backups were pretty much guaranteed to happen as some point in time. She said that the Time Capsule was designed to be used as the primary router or not at all (even though it can be set up in bridge mode). She was adamant about it, and assisted me in changing my Time Capsule to my primary router. She was also a bit rude. That support case was closed.

    So yeah. I really have no idea. But right now my Time Capsule is my primary router (even though I don't want it to be). I can say that during the short time I had my Time Capsule in bridge mode, I didn't have any problems with my backups. I never did a full recovery from my backups, but I did recover a folder without any fuss or problems.

    EDIT: If someone can tell me on good authority that using Time Machine with a Time Capsule in bridge mode won't present any complications as compared to using it with a Time Capsule as my primary router, then I will definitely consider buying a new Time Capsule. A better solution would be one that doesn't require me to purchase a combo router/drive. I would prefer buying a backup drive that can be used reliably with Time Machine and a third party router.
  8. ianrip macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2010
    work:Oyu Tolgio, Home:LOS, From Scotland G15
    I don't think a NAS is needed for back up.

    i simply use 2 external passport HD'S, 1 TB each as thats my size, but you can upsize if required, both are attached to my mac mini using usb ports.

    I also have a NAS, but i wouldn't use that for back up's
  9. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
  10. zone23 macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2012
    I was in the same boat my Time Capsule was starting to show its age and Apple seems to be discontinuing them so I wanted something. I got the Western Digital MyCloud 2TB because thats all the storage I need. I like it because it basically gives you your own cloud storage from your own device. It has apps for the iPhone and iPad so you can remotely connect to it. I can also go to the MyCloud website from my Mac and download/upload files directly to it from virtually anywhere. It supports Time Capsule backups out of the box and I can see it on my Mac just like I could my Time Capsule. I can also connect external USB drives for backing the MyCloud device up. It has a ton of features for the money. All that said I did not need a WiFi router as I have a Asus router T-Mobile gave me. It was a little cheaper on Amazon but I bought it at Best Buy for a few dollars more but got it the same day. Maybe check it out.
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    A neighbor gave me an older, single-bay Synology NAS that he was going to toss out.

    I freaking love it. Time Machine backups go so much quicker on it vs. any Time Capsule I've ever owned. And you can limit how much of the HDD is used for Time Machine, which means you can leave some space left over for use as a general purpose network share.

    The Synology can run apps, too. I've got mine additionally running as a VPN Server, as well as a Surveillance Station, which records video from an IP camera I have on my front porch. Lots of other apps I haven't explored much. It's like having a little server that uses hardly any electricity!
  12. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    I have a 1515 5 bay from Synology it uses 24 watts which is like nothing lightbulbs use more lol.

    I love it ive got a couple Seagate Ironwolf Nas drives running at 5900rpm. it is great for time machine backups and doing a while lot of other stuff. I use it to backup everything on all the computers in the house a family member lost over a decade of tax work when his computer failed. It was awful I told him for years to get a nas and he held off and just what I was warning him of happened.

    So now he comes over and backs up on my nas, which is fine by me I have too much space anyways.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 1, 2017 ---
    matter of fact the nas is in the same room as me right now its quiet and it has just enough space. I could expand it with modules to like 150TB or so of space. which is overkill.
  13. Diego7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    I'm thinking of picking up a Synology DiskStation after seeing purpletalon55 and aristobrat give them high marks and doing some additional research.

    Would you guys recommend using Western Digital Red or Seagate IronWolf HDDs? Does it even matter?
  14. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    I would go with the seagate drives, they are newer than the reds, slightly faster and have the same length of warranty. Being 5900rpm they will have higher read and write speeds although not a lot higher it does make a difference. Plus they are a couple dollars cheaper.

    I would recommend getting no less than a 4 bas nas though, so that you have plenty of room for extra drives, a couple of the synology models like mine which retails about $550-650 depending on where you go to get it, can use external bays that hook in via a port on the back and expand the storage to around 150tb.
  15. Diego7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks for the recommendations.

    I'm looking at the two-bay DS216 and DS216j, but I'm also considering the four-bay versions (DS416 and DS416j) of those.

    The DS216j is probably sufficient for me at the moment, and it's only $170. I won't be adverse to eating $170 if I want to upgrade later. Plus if I do want to upgrade, I assume I can just swap my HDDs from the DS216j into whichever Synology upgrade option I choose. Is that correct?
  16. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    I would get the 4 bay the DS416J to start with. And then upgrade from that if you need to, I haven't swapped drives out into a different nas but I don't see any reason it wouldn't work theoretically.

    I cannot personally confirm it though.
  17. Diego7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks for the help!

    EDIT: One last question. Are you using DiskStation Manger 6.1? I was wondering if you've had any problems with that software version when doing Time Machine backups.
  18. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    Nope, Just used it today, and I'm using 6.1. something which is the update.
  19. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    Another reason that Seagate Ironwolf drives are better than WD reds is they partnered with Synology and added extra sensors to the drives so Synology nas can read extra drive health statistics.

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18 March 31, 2017