NAS vs. adding RAID to Time Capsule via USB

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wilburpan, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. wilburpan macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    I'm in the market for a 4 drive RAID5 device, and have figured out two ways to go about doing this. The first is to add a NAS to my network. The second is to add a RAID device to my Time Capsule via the USB port. I got this idea from looking at the OWC website, where all of their RAID devices connect only via USB or Firewire.

    The downside as I see it to the USB solution is that I would have to also get a USB hub since I already have a printer in that slot. The upside is that it seems to me that adding a USB drive to the Time Capsule is going to be simpler than adding it via the network, and would result in less errors, although I could very well be completely wrong about that. For some reason I think that the USB solution would result in faster performance, but I think I could be completely wrong about that, too.

    Any input would be appreciated. Suggestions as to which 4 drive RAID device/NAS to get would be appreciated, too.

    By the way -- I only want to use this device for external storage, not as a volume for Time Machine to connect to, if that matters.
  2. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010
    USB is horribly slow, but so is TCP/IP. Why does it need to be on the network? Why not use DAS instead? Attach directly to your Mac using the Firewire interface, which is way faster than USB.
  3. wilburpan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Multiple users are going to access this storage unit, so it has to go on the network somehow.
  4. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    My experience is the USB on the TimeCapsule is not your friend.

    I had a Drobo attached to the USB Port (Drobos have a reputation for being slow to begin with). I was ripping DVDs from 2 computers and writing directly to the Drobo attached to the TimeCapsule, and discovered that after about 20-30 minutes of driving the device pretty hard, the USB connection would overheat and drop the Drobo like a rock. I switched the connection to a direct connect FireWire and shared the drive so I could still reach it from both computers - problem solved.

    Go NAS. Synology gets really good reviews here and elsewhere...
  5. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    You can always connect the drive to a computer and share the volume across the network, assuming you've got a desktop and the computer is always there and on.
  6. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010
    That's what I would do. Designate one of your machines as the file server, and direct attach the RAID array to that computer via Firewire. Then share the volume over the network with the other machines. This will yield far better performance than Time Capsule + USB.
  7. ChrisMc73 macrumors member


    Jan 25, 2010
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I own the ReadyNAS NV+ and its awesome.

    The support community is great, it works as a Time Capsule itself, if you want.
    I love the feeling that my data is spread across those 4 drives and feel safe knowing I'm covered from a drive failure.

    ReadyNAS is one of the more affordable solutions out there too.
  8. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2010
    I very good NAS RAID device is actually faster than USB *IF* you connect with 1 Gbs ethernet end-to-end. If you connect via wireless then clearly USB would be faster.

    NAS also gives you the option of being all to share it independently of any other device.

    I personally wouldn't even consider USB for a 4 Drive NAS solution. I am fairly certain that you will get significantly better performance and reliability from a NAS solution, especially as your needs grow or the number of work stations accessing the storage goes.
  9. wilburpan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    I thought I'd post a followup on what I wound up doing. I wound up getting two Synology DS111 NAS units, and fitted both with 2 TB drives, set up one as the primary shared storage for my home network, and the other as a dedicated backup for the first NAS. I figured that by the time I would need to go beyond a 2 TB drive for storage, there will be bigger hard drives available, so I skipped the RAID thing altogether.

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