best Time Machine device

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Sniv, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Sniv macrumors member


    Feb 21, 2011

    I'm new to mac, so this might be a stupid question.

    I would very much like to use Time Machine but I don't know if the Time Capsule is the best solution. What do you guys think or do you have other devices you could suggest in stead?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You can use any external HDD there is. The Time Capsule is just a wireless router with a built-in HDD to backup to.External USB HDDs are much cheaper, and can do the same, but if you prefer a wireless setup, even for TM, then TC is the simplest solution.

  3. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
  4. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    I use an external sata removable disk enclosure ( mine are black widows ) so I can pop in and out various different drives. I also have another one at work.

    Using multiple disks ( get a couple of 2 TB's maybe ) gives you flexibility.

    From time to time I like to erase the current disk partition that time machine is using and then start over again ( a new backup base ).

    I also turn OFF time machine after a backup. I want to be the one driving when I take backups versus an automatic process. ( If you take that approach you better make sure you remember to run your backups ).
  5. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    If you go wired, an FW800 device will be faster than USB.

    I used to use FW800 HDDs for my Time Machine, but now use a Time Capsule (my iMac via wired Ethernet and MBP via wireless).
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I found TimeCapsule to be too slow, I went with a FW external drive and then decided for a NAS since other computers in my household needed back up solutions.
  7. Sniv thread starter macrumors member


    Feb 21, 2011
    Thanks for your replies! I'll look up other options - the ones suggested her :)
  8. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    I use a western digital essentials USB drive. Works just fine. Very quiet. Very affordable.
  9. gregd33 macrumors member

    May 3, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    It depends on what you want.

    A simple external drive isn't a real backup strategy but is usually good enough for non-business/life critical stuff.

    If you do need something more serious, check out the synology stuff for a true raid-backup. Otherwise any external drive works well.

    For me, I use the airport extreme for my wireless routing in the house with an external USB hooked up to that. It's a poor mans time capsule.

    Good luck.
  10. solaris macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
  11. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I think the answer depends largely upon whether you're backing up a computer that stays in one place, or a portable one that you move around. That's because I think a good backup strategy works without relying upon human input, at least as much as is feasible.

    If you've got a desktop (or a portable that stays in one place), a directly-attached USB or Firewire external drive (that you leave connected) will work well with Time Machine. However if you've got a mobile computer and try the same approach, you'll have to remember to plug the drive in every time you bring it back "home". The vast majority of people will either get lazy or forget about attaching the backup drive, and thus when the backups are needed, they probably won't be very recent, and maybe disastrously out of date.

    This is where the Time Capsule shines, as the easiest way to do automatic, wireless backups, whenever the portable computer is used within range of your wireless network.

    Other reasons you might choose a TC:
    - you need a good reliable router
    - you have multiple Macs you want to backup to one place
    - you want the backup disk (TC) to be in a closet or different room

    I use a 1st-generation TC to back up my iMac (via ethernet cable) and my MBP (wirelessly), and I've been completely happy with the TM performance to the TC.

  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I would very much like to use Time Machine but I don't know if the Time Capsule is the best solution. What do you guys think or do you have other devices you could suggest in stead?"

    Suggestions follow.

    Unless you really, REALLY need Time Machine (if you have the right reasons, you'll know why you need it), you'd be much better off to create and maintain a "bootable clone" drive instead. The primary reason for having a BOOTABLE (emphasis intended) clone is that you can't boot from a Time Machine backup in an extreme moment of need. If, someday, you go to boot the Mac and it won't start up (from the internal drive), you just hook up your bootable clone drive, and boot from that, and then get things going with the main drive again. Again, you CANNOT BOOT from a Time Machine backup.

    You can use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper! to do create a bootable backup.

    CCC is free and will do everything you need. It can now even "archive" old files that no longer exist on your main drive (and would be removed from your "clone" during the incremental updating runs).

    For hardware, I'd suggest you get one of these:

    ... instead of an "external hard drive". They are cheap, easy to use, and can be booted up from as well.

    Just put in a "bare drive" from a vendor of your choice, and you're ready to go. You can even keep a second "bare drive" (or as many as you like), and swap them out as needed.

    A "dock", combined with one or more bare drives, will become one of the most useful accessories you can have.
  13. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    Well, this might be a little misleading. When needed, you boot from your OS X installation DVD (Tiger - Snow Leopard) or the USB drive shipped with MBAs or the "recovery" partition (whatever they call it) for Lion. Then there's an option to restore the entire disk from a Time Machine backup. It's not any harder than booting a clone.

    (The only case I'm not sure about is running Lion on a new computer and the entire drive dies -- how does one boot? I'm pretty sure there's a procedure for this case too, I just can't remember it. If I'm wrong and there's no other boot option for this case, that would be good argument for a bootable clone backup!)


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