NAS or 4bay external hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by raevynn, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. raevynn macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2008
    I live in a 3 Mac household - two MacBooks and a mini as media center. Now I need more storage space to start digitalizing our huge DVD and CD collection and I'm thinking about buying a QNAP T-409 NAS.

    However, it's a lot money for a lot of stuff I don't need - actually, an external hard drive with 4 HD bays would be just fine, so I can connect that to our server-mini, format it in HFS+ with RAID 5 and completely manage it from there.

    Can someone here recommend something like that for me, or do you think I should invest in the NAS (despite not needing it's server functions and preferring HFS+)?!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. ian.maffett macrumors 6502


    Aug 1, 2008
    For personal use I would look at either a net drive from or a Drobo. Drobo is nice because it can grow with your collection with diverse drives. Just me, though.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You could go with an eSATA card and a 4x eSATA drive enclosure. Management would be handled by the system it's attached to, as that's the impression I have of all you really want. ;)

    It's rather easy, simple hardware, and not too expensive. You also choose your drives, so you're not stuck with what may come in a ready-made solution.

    There's two basic ways you can do this.
    1. Use a single eSATA port from a card, to an enclosure that has a port multiplier in it. Cheaper, but slower, as PM chips top out at 250MB/s throughputs, no matter what drives or quantity used. It should be fast enough for your purposes though. KIT available (example, but it does claim to support Macs. Also a 5 bay version). :D Looks to be a good price IMO. :)

    2. Use 1 eSATA port per drive. The enclosures will have 4x eSATA ports on the back. It's a bit more expensive (4 port eSATA card vs. say a 2 port model). Enclosure costs won't differ that much, as PM circuits are cheap.

    Just a thought. :)
  4. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    nanofrog, the OP doesn't have a device that can use eSATA.

    Another vote for the Drobo from me. If you cannot afford it, go for a firewire redundant RAID (RAID 1) system.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I should have been more clear, as I was thinking of the use of an eSATA Express Card on one of the laptops, and distribute over Ethernet. Basically, just shifting the Media server duties. Otherwise, the NAS method would be a good option. Perhaps the idea of FW is as well, but off hand, I'm not sure of the speed on the Mini in question.
  6. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Unless something has changed, MacBooks have never had ExpressCard slots. Nor have Mac Minis.
  7. raevynn thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2008
    My MBP (sorry, forgot to mention the Pro) has an ExpressCard Slot, but we're looking for a solution for the Mini, not for the MBPs. The MBP are only turned on when they're needed, while the mini is the server...
  8. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    I have the same setup as you, with a MBP and a Mini as a file server. My preference is just to use a firewire external drive attached directly over a NAS. Although in theory a NAS should get gigabit Ethernet speeds, NAS hardware is seriously lacking and will slow down file access.
  9. fteoath64 macrumors regular


    Nov 16, 2008
    Go for the Qnap 4-Bay NAS!. You would not regret it. It blows away the TC and it can do TM backup on fixed ethernet (fast!) and on 802.11n as well. With 4 bays, when the WD 2TB greens becomes affordable, you wack 4 of them in there and it is your only digital vault!.

    I just cannot get that device where I live.... argh...:(
  10. benlangdon macrumors 65832


    Jan 13, 2008

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