Cheapest reliable solution for time machine backups

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by kramerica2, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. kramerica2 macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    I'm looking for the cheapest way for wireless time machine backups. At the moment I have a basic wireless router that won't accept external storage.

    As I understand it, I have several options:

    1. 1TB Time Capsule:
    - advantages: simple AIO solution, elegant, works perfect with Time Machine.
    - disadvantages: potential reliability issues, not upgradeable, if fails then I lose the router and the hard drive.
    - cost: 300$

    2. Airport extreme + 1TB external drive:
    - advantages: upgradeable, if one fails I don't lose the other, reliable (depends on the hard drive).
    -disadvantages: rumors that time machine doesn't always work in this case, less elegant solution
    -cost: ~280$

    3. Connect a network drive to my current setup:
    - advantages: customizable, no need to change the router, reliable
    - disadvantages: not sure that would even work with time machine, non elegant solution.
    - cost: ~200$

    Basically, I have some questions that would help me decide:
    1. Can the time capsule be used for things other than time machine? for example, can I make a partition for time machine, and another partition to host photos and videos that all computers could access?

    2. Would solution no. 2 work with time machine with no problems whatsoever?

    3. How about solution no. 3? would it work?

    Thanks a lot for any future input....
  2. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Unless you want a wireless backup, just plug an external drive into your Mac, and configure Time Machine to use it.
    It doesn't format your drive or anything, it just has a backup file/folder there, you can have music or whatever else you want beside it.
  3. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    Thanks, but:

  4. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Ah I see, oops. Alright I'd go w/ #2, that way you can swap your TM drive out when it gets full, that might take a while though.
  5. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    I've never dealt with Time Machine and network drives, but #3 is the best option if you can swing it. Apple's network hardware is a heap of very pretty overpriced junk.

    Bear in mind also that the Time Capsule contains a standard 3.5" SATA hard drive, so it's upgradable so long as you don't mind voiding your warranty in the process. The disassembly isn't terribly taxing from the looks of it.

    Time Machine makes:
    1. hourly backups for the past day
    2. daily backups for the past month
    3. weekly backups until the drive is full

    Once the drive fills up, the oldest backups are deleted to make room. There is no need to worry about a Time Machine drive filling up, assuming it's big enough to accommodate the initial backup.

    Besides, there is no benefit in keeping an older Time Machine drive.
  6. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    Thank you all, I'm still looking for direct answers to my questions, if anybody knows them...
  7. Matt-Man-Plus macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2008
    I can answer number 1. Yes you can use the TC for things other that TM. I don't know if you can actually partition it but you can make disk images that TM will ignore. However, if you're planning on using a disk image and putting an iPhoto library in it to have multiple users accessing it, it won't work without continuous headaches regarding permissions. Been there, done that.
    If you make the disk image for iPhoto and set it to "ignore ownership" you will continually have to go into the settings and re-check that option. At least that's the experience that I had. Contacted Apple support and they said that you shouldn't/can't use the same HD for TM backups and iPhoto user account sharing. Never tried iTunes or anything else on it. See this Apple document.

    I have a disk image on my TC that I use for misc data storage and backups of my work PC (norton ghost images)
  8. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    Thanks Matt-Man, it seems that option #2 would be best for me, but I'd still like to get definite answers for 2 and 3, before spending money....

Share This Page