External Hard Drive for multi-mac Time Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jscalt, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. jscalt macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2008
    Well, I'm sure it's been asked several different ways, but here's my situation:

    Two iMac G5s (pre-Intel)
    A MacBook Pro (two years old) that comes home for breaks from college

    I want to back up all to the external drive using Time Machine.

    I'm just upgrading everyone to Leopard and have an Airport Extreme. The Hard drive will be in my bedroom so noise is an issue.

    From what I've read, I probably want one that has a separate power supply, FireWire, something between 500GB and 1TB

    Any input much appreciated!
  2. jhsfosho macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Houston, TX
    If you plan on doing Time Machine through the network, or making the drive network accessible, you would want a USB external drive.
  3. jscalt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2008
    Thank you. I've never heard this. I was planning to back-up one of the iMacs and the MBP via wireless (unless there's a better way). The other iMac would be connected to the harddrive. Am I getting this right?


  4. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    You can't connect the hard drive to the AEBS and attach it to a computer at the same time. What you'd want is an externally powered USB HDD connected to the AEBS's USB port (AEBS does not have a FW port). Your two wireless computers will back up wirelessly. Your wired computer will back up to the drive via the AEBS (ie, because it is connected to the router with an ethernet cable, it will still access the drive as a networked drive, just not wirelessly).
  5. jscalt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2008
    That makes sense, except... I believe I do have a firewire port (I have the iMac G5 PPC with iSight - bought it just before the intel iMac came out). Am I correct about that?

    Must admit I don't know what AEBS means...

  6. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    My apologies. AEBS stands for AirPort Extreme Base Station. There's also the Time Capsule (TC) and AirPort Express (AEX/AEx).

    Regardless of whether you have a FireWire port on your iMac G5, you can only connect the external to either your AEBS or your iMac (and not both). You have the option of disconnecting the drive from the AEBS and connecting it via FW to your iMac for backups, but that would defeat the purpose of having a network attached drive to do backups. So ultimately, you would save money by getting an HDD that only has USB connectivity and connecting it to your AEBS only then backing up using Time Machine and pointing it to the networked drive on all computers.
  7. jscalt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2008
    How embarassing! Of course! Makes sense. Now that I think of it, when I first set up these computers I never really fully networked. Maybe I'll take care of that when I get Leopard installed, and do it right!

    Thanks for your help. You've saved me some money (not going for firewire). Any particular drive you'd recommend for my set-up?
  8. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I've built all of my externals so I can't recommend any particular model. I'd recommend newegg.com. The site lets you search according to features, and it provides user ratings and reviews. And hopefully somebody else reading this might have some recommendations for you. Best of luck :)

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