Need advice: external drive for MBP+AEBS

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by chem, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. chem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #1
    Hello,

    I have a new Santa Rosa MBP with a 160GB 7200rpm drive, and the standard ethernet 802.11n Airport Extreme Base Station. I am completely new to Macs and laptops, but not new to computers in general and have made a smooth, happy transition so far.

    Before I rip my CD library to iTunes, I wanted to arrange an external backup solution. I figure the initial backup will be done via the Firewire interface (FW800) directly connected to the MBP, and then nightly or weekly incremental backups can be done over my wireless network with the drive connected to either the ethernet or USB of the AEBS (anything that uses the USB is called an Airdisk?).

    My problem is, I have no idea which disk to buy. I know brands: I want to get a WD, Seagate or Lacie. I am fixed on that. But would a simple USB interface be quick enough for restoring/backing up movies and music on demand? How much extra cost is it to get something with FW800 and ethernet interfaces (usually I just see things with FW and USB, not ethernet)? What is the minimum speed interface I would need to do photo editing or music/movie playing from the external drive, and would this be possible over 802.11n? Do I need any special software to ensure I can smoothly restore my iTunes library if Mac OS X is reinstalled on my MBP, or will simple backups of the music files be fine? What specific models would fit my needs?

    I am looking in the 250-500GB size range. I am particularly interested in hearing from other people with MBPs and AEBS setups, but would welcome any advice... I read a couple other ext. drive threads in the forum, but none of them completely answered my questions :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. The Stig macrumors 6502a

    The Stig

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    Nov 4, 2006
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    On the track
    #2
    Get something without a fan, because the ABS HD does not spin down so the fan will run 24/7 which makes it loud.

    Also transferring things to the HD is slow. Don't buy one thinking it will be like having the HD plugged into your computer because it isn't anything close. 3.5 mbp/s max.

    The Stig
     
  3. chem thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 9, 2007
    #3
    The AEBS HD will never spin down even if nothing is connected to the network or accessing the drive? Is that true for all brands?
     
  4. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a

    macjonny1

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #4
    I have a WD Mybook and it spins down when the computer is in sleep after a bit, usually within 30min or so. If your computer is on I think it keeps going, but I don't have my computer on all the time to know that.

    Also, USB 2.0 is fine for video, etc. I store movies on the hard drive and put an alias to the location on the mac. No problems at all.
     
  5. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #5
    I eject my AirDisk when I'm not using it and it spins down...usually.
     
  6. SSpiro macrumors 6502a

    SSpiro

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    Mar 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #6
    I'm in the same boat.. I bought a 750GB Seagate drive with sata interface, but don't have an enclosure to put it in; and I'm concerned with USB 2.0's speed?

    Is an AirDisk any USB drive plugged into the base station?
     
  7. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #7
    AirDisk doesn't operate at full USB 2.0 speeds. It is still good enough, considering it is early technology for consumer devices.

    Eventually (I hope), we'll see Firewire 800 on the Airport Extreme offering superfast wireless hard drive access. That'd be nice eh?

    And yes, an AirDisk is any USB hard drive connected to your Airport Extreme (read: Airport Disk).
     
  8. cardsdoc macrumors regular

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Shaker Hts, OH
    #8
    I too was in a similar boat when I purchased my MPB. I wanted a fast drive for backups, large file transfers, streaming HD, and something that would be available for any networked computers (mac or pc). The NAS solutions were limited in that most don't support HFS+ or AFP which plays much nicer with OS X for when connecting directly via FW800 and doesn't have file size limitations. The airport disk on the AEBS was reportedly very slow as mentioned here. I wound up purchasing a samsung 500gb sata drive and a nice enclosure from OWC with USB, FW 400/800, and esata ports. I then used an older dell laptop as a fileserver. I has a gigabit port (which could easily be added to any pc) and I run Ubuntu on it which can read/write to HFS+ and AFP and/or SMB can be used. This coupled with a gigabit N router (the AEBS in my case) allows for an always available, very fast, and relatively inexpensive solution. If I'm doing a large back up I can choose to directly connect with FW 800 for max speed and reliability. You can do it with a windows PC as well but if you want HFS+ you would need to purchase additional software (Macdrive). Also, windows does not support AFP, only SMB. So if you have an older pc to spare, I recommend it.
     
  9. SSpiro macrumors 6502a

    SSpiro

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    #9
    Interesting. This doesn't sound like a bad solution at all. I wonder if I could run VMWare on my Server PC at home and load 10GB image with Ubuntu instead of setting up another box.

    I have other boxes.. but this would be easier.

    Thoughts?

    What OWC enclosure did you get? I need to buy an enclosure still.
     
  10. cardsdoc macrumors regular

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    Jun 9, 2007
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    Shaker Hts, OH
    #10
    I don't have any experience with Ubuntu in Vmware - assuming it could properly interface at gigabit speeds with your ethernet card/chipset and whatever connection for the HD you choose (usb, fw400, fw 800) then it should work. A couple things to be aware of: 1) Ubuntu will not support writing to a journled HFS+ drive but this can be turned off through OS X without formatting. SMB works out of the box very well , but if you prefer AFP you have to install it.

    What is your server running? If it's winxp or vista it may be easier just to use that and share the drive. You'd have to get a copy of Macdrive if your going to use HFS+ and use SMB but you would't have to go through the hassle of installing/configuring Ubuntu.

    I purchased this enclosure from OWC.
     
  11. The Stig macrumors 6502a

    The Stig

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    #11
    When I had mind it didn't spin down when I ejected the airdisk, and it if did it took forever.

    The Stig
     
  12. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #12
    Mine spins down 20mins after being ejected.
     
  13. SSpiro macrumors 6502a

    SSpiro

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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #13
    Hmm. I think I'm going to pickup this encl.

    Maybe I'll just share with the XP machine then.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    iFor incremental backup you don't care much about speed. Let them run in the background or at night and you never have reason to wait for it to finish. A USB drive hung off the airport router is fast enough. Restoring a file is not something you do frequently so speed is not an issue. Right now I use "retrospect" to do increntails but I'll switch to Leopard's Time machine when it comes out. USB is fast enough.

    For photo editing a FW400 external drive works well enough.

    You will need more than just one external drive. One just for the incrementals. one for off site backup and one for data that will not fit in the notebook. The most bang per buck right now is a 500GB USB drive. buy that use it for incremental backups. buy the others as yu need them
     
  15. SSpiro macrumors 6502a

    SSpiro

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    Mar 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #15
    Ordering the enclosure now.

    Mine isn't for backup.. I'm using mine for media storage (movies, music).
     

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