Is the Apple Time Capsule worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by PicnicTutorials, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. PicnicTutorials macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #1
    I need a new external drive. I have time warner cable. So can that utilize time capsule? How exactly does that work? I already have a all in one router and modem. Does the time capsule take its place as my wifi as well? I really only need a external drive. But I also got the new faster wifi in my imac so it would be nice to use it. Because I'm sure my router/modem is older style wifi. If it won't hook up with time Warner, which external do you guys recommend?
     
  2. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #2
    If all you need is a network drive. Western Digital and many other companies offer relatively cheap network drives that are Time Machine compatible.

    That being said the Time Capsule will likely offer superior wifi speed, range and reliability.
     
  3. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #3
    With just an iMac (connecting via WiFi to your router) you WiFi speed is going to be faster than the Internet connection, so there is no reason to have a faster router. Since your iMac is not a portable, there is no reason not to just connect an external drive (USB3) to the iMac for TimeMachine backups. So save some money and buy just an external drive.

    Note that I'd recommend the Time Capsule if you had more than one system connected via Wifi (and wanted to communicate between them) or if your Mac were a portable, for which an external drive is a nuisance.
     
  4. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #4
    that all makes good sense. so what then the gdrive? any recommendations?
     
  5. gnasher729, Jan 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014

    gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #5
    Any external drive, as long as it doesn't say that it is "Macintosh compatible", and as long as it doesn't come with backup software. That's because all USB3 drives are Macintosh compatible, but if it calls itself "Macintosh compatible" then suddenly it costs a lot more. And any backup software on the drive will just interfere with Time Machine backup, so again you pay through the nose for nothing.

    Toshiba, Samsung, Seagate are the most likely candidates. Avoid Western Digital which comes with tons of software that is more than useless, or LaCie which doubles the price for being "Macintosh compatible". Or anything with "Backup" in the name.

     
  6. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I have a 3.5" 500GB drive from a laptop that I put in an enclosure and use as a time machine drive. Works perfect.
     
  7. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #7
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #8
    Let's be clear here -- it's the backup software that comes with WD drives that is the problem. There is nothing wrong with WD drives themselves. I've seen seemingly random problems reported with drives that don't remount automatically after sleep, and that's with various brands.
     
  9. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #9
    Exactly. So I'm looking for one that I know remounts after sleep or after restarting. Because remounting the thing is a pain. Thats a reason I may lean towards a time capsule. Because that has to remount. Otherwise they would fix it quick
     
  10. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #10
    Can someone explain to me how a time capsule works? So currently I have a all in one modem/router. It extends my wifi all over my house. I have a wifi extender downstairs that throws the wifi into the backyard and front yard. It currently is a nice setup.

    Does the time capsule sync in with my modem/router? Or does it completely take its place as my modem/router? If it just hooks into the existing modem/router, and the current router/modem has the old type of wifi, then how do I take advantage of the new apple wifi speed? I assume it can't go from old wifi type to new wifi type, or can it?
     
  11. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #11
    And in my view, one that you can keep intact!

    First, the "all in one" that you have actually has four functions -- modem (your Internet connection to the world), router (sets up a local area network, LAN, and does Network Address Translation, NAT, between the outside world and your LAN), Ethernet switch to allow multiple hard-wired connections to your LAN, and a WiFi wireless access point. It may also have a USB port for connecting a hard drive as a NAS (Network Attached Storage). Typically any of these functions can be disabled if you don't need them -- the only one you absolutely need is the modem function.

    The Time Capsule is a NAS, router, switch, and wireless access point. The only feature it doesn't have is that of the modem. You could physically connect it to you existing all in one and use it solely as a NAS. Or you could turn on its wireless access point (and probably but not required turn off the one in the all in one) to get the faster WiFi. In either of these cases you would run it in "pass through" mode, which disables its router functionality, as you already have that in the all in one. If you only wanted the wireless access point you could halve the cost buy buying the AirportExtreme Base Station.

    As I said earlier, since you have only one computer and it is a desktop system, you will get the fastest performance as well as the lowest cost by attaching an external hard drive directly to your computer. You can buy a 4TB external hard drive for less money than even the AirPortExtreme. Also with only a single computer, your WiFi is used only for Internet access, which is slower than your current WiFi, so there would be no speed advantage to the AirportExtreme or TimeCapsule's wireless access port.
     
  12. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #12
    Wow I think I got all that. Thanks for the detailed explanation. I'm going to have to read that a couple more times I think.
     
  13. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #13
    Well G-drive is out...amazon review...

    "Called G-Technologies to report an issue I've been having whereas the drive goes to sleep on its own (not managed by OSX) and when woken drive cannot be written to or ejected. Was advised that they have seen this issue for some time, but do not have a fix for it. Similar issues have been reported with some of their other devices that were resolved by a firmware update, but was told that there is no firmware update available for this device. Was advised to not RMA, but rather to return to point of purchase so that I could order another product! Way to stand by your product! Last G-Technology product I will ever buy."

    I'm still looking for a external drive that says... "this drive does not unmount when your mac sleeps". Anyone have one that performs said function with a mavericks os?
     
  14. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #14
    Looking ahead to the possibility that you won't find a drive you like and thus might get a Time Capsule to use with your all-in-one modem/router -- if you haven't fooled with changing the settings on an all-in-one, you should post the brand and model here and one or more of us can help you with the process. It can be truly bewildering (but sometimes not).
     
  15. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #15
    My only system that has externals always connected never sleeps (it is a server), however I would be surprised if the drives sold by Other World Computing (macsales.com) had this problem. Give them a call. I own seven of these http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB, most 3-5 years old, and they work fine.
     
  16. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I'm a bit confused here. Is it true that I only need one partition to backup multiple computers using a non-TC external drive? I started doing this with a 2TB USB connected drive by making 5 partitions (1 data and 4 dedicated to Time Machine backups). For some reason I thought you needed the seperate partitions unless you were using a TC.

    Getting back to the "is apple TC worth it" question, that's currently a maybe in my book. I trust the reliability of the TC better, but I'm seeing 4TB WiFi options for $200, which is considerably better than 2TB for $300. That said, if you only need 2TB and want to stay in an Apple only world you might pay the extra $100, or get a refurb for $200. I went for the refurb and am very happy. Looks good as new and if you're just backing up, the AC networking isn't that important after the initial backup.
     
  17. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #17
    Maybe a wifi external hard drive would not suffer from unmounting after sleep or restart. Any truth to that???

    ----------

    found this worth posting...


    This review is from: Seagate Backup Plus 3 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive (STCA3000101) (Personal Computers)
    I have both Mac and PC in my home so it's important for me that the ex HD works for both. I've tried other models and they don't work as smoothly as this Seagate. I formatted this Seagate to exFAT32 and it has been working flawlessly on both my Mac and PC. FYI, Mac products default format is "Mac Journaled" or "HFS". If you format your HD to this, then your HD wont work on your PC. Conversely, PC products default format is NTFS. If you format your HD to this, then your HD wont work on your Mac. The only format that both Mac and PC use is exFAT or FAT. Therefore, if you want to use your HD interchangeably with both Mac and PC then you must format to FAT
     
  18. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #18
    You don't need multiple partitions if you use the Server app to create a TimeMachine server. It will create multiple sparse disk images on a single partition.

    A WiFi external hard drive is actually a NAS (network attached storage) rather than a drive that is physically attached to a single computer. You would have to be sure that it supports TimeMachine. And it effectively unmounts whenever network connection is lost. The Time Capsule is a NAS + a router + a wireless access point, so would naturally cost more.

    In your case, with just an iMac and existing working WiFi, you will get the highest reliability, lowest cost, and best performance from a good USB3 external drive. If you had a MacBook I'd say buy the Time Capsule.
     
  19. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #19
    lol I hear and agree. I'm googling for while here. Looking on amazon and etc.. The only reason I like the idea of a wireless one is all the data would be acces able from anywhere in my network. I like that idea. Is there any other way to do that with a hard wired drive? Thanks for all your help by the way!
     
  20. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #20
    Easy. Attach it to a Mac that is always turned on. On that Mac, System Preferences -> Sharing -> Turn on "File Sharing", then under "Shared Folders" click the + Button and select the external hard drive.

    In my previous post "Avoid drives with "Backup" in the name". There is the Seagate Extension drive which is cheaper and doesn't come with rubbish software. Someone else posted here quite recently with massive problems because the software on the "Backup" interfered with Time Machine.
     
  21. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #21
    Accessible anywhere, but from what? AFAIK it wouldn't be from you iPad or iPhone. That just leaves one device, your iMac. The external drive would be accessible from that.

    Or are you planning another Mac purchase?
     
  22. PicnicTutorials, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014

    PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #22
    a how is this one? comes pre formated for mac. http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Backu...-1&keywords=Backup+Plus+Desktop+Drive+for+Mac

    or this one this seagate expansion drive http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Expansion-Desktop-External-STBV2000100/dp/B00834SJS0. Is that the one your referring to @gnasher729? It looks like it comes preformatted windows.

    Basically every single hard drive I find that I may want, if I google "x hard drive unmounting from mac" they all say they are unmounting when the computer sleeps or restarts. Apple needs to fix this. Not ok. So my only goal right now is to find one that does not unmount by itself.
     
  23. bernuli, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

    bernuli macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I am not sure that is true any more. Well maybe it is. But I get better speedtest.net results connecting via a Time Capsule that is hard wired to a Verizon cable modem/router vs WiFiing up to the Verizon router direct. Maybe it is just a tired Verizon box.

    Time Capsule worth it IMO. Especially if you have an apple store close by, good support.


    B
     
  24. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    I'm more than slightly concerned about the possibility of someone breaking in and stealing all the computer equipment they can find including my backup drive. We have a MB, a MB Pro and a Mac Mini and travel between two apartements in two different cities. A TC in both cities would minimize this fear. Better still if the backup (TC or otherwise) were hidden to some extent and not wired to a computer. I've currently got a USB 2TB drive connected to the Mini and a TC in the other appartment. My MB backs up just fine wirelessly through the network to the drive connected to the Mini. I can't think of anything more valuable to me than my data. Most physical things can be replaced.
     
  25. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #25
    I suppose I should say YMMV since it depends on your existing router and you connection speed. I just measured a file transfer from one Mac (connected via Wifi to an older AirPort Extreme 802.11n, to a hardwired Mac -- 740.2MB in 77 seconds which works out to 77 Mbps. My ISP is 25/25 Mbps, which I have verified, so in my case the old WiFi speed is 3x my ISP speed. I also see this in practice -- if I connect my MBP via Ethernet cable it doesn't seem to browse any faster than over WiFi, however transferring files locally is much faster when wired -- I can transfer that same file in 15 seconds.
     

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