Recommendations for a foolproof NAS

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Wardotron, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Wardotron macrumors member

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #1
    Hello all!

    I am looking at a NAS to store and serve up my home media to various connected devices.

    I have two Macs connected via Airport (802.11G) and an Xbox 360 playing films in the lounge.

    The media library is iTunes-based. I will need 1TB or more.

    Maximum budget is in the region of £300 ($450).

    Can anyone recommend a rock solid and foolproof solution?
     
  2. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #2
    $450 won't get you far if that includes drives and you want good speeds. Nothing is foolproof, though RAID 5 doesn't do a bad job. I'd say Drobo but it doesn't have ethernet, though the USB version could connect to your base station.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #3
    I disagree. I bought a TB NAS drive for $250 usd from Buffalo. Its a highly regarded brand and so far it's been great.
    I would recommend that brand but go for the 2 TB if you need the space.
    Is it fool proof? Can't say ... Drives fail but again, this is a good brand backed by a decent warranty.
     
  4. Wardotron thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #4
    A lot of people have mentioned Buffalo. Which of their products do you think best fits the bill?

    Regarding foolproof, I meant ease of use and faultless performance. I know that drives can and do fail and intend to back up everything.
     
  5. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Depends if you need the speed really. The Buffalo on gigabit won't be great but if throughput isn't an issue, then that's fine. Just depends on ones requirements really.
     
  6. Wardotron thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    My current network is fine for streaming to the Xbox, but porting data computer to computer is a bit slow. I was thinking about upgrading my router to an Airport Extreme, connecting the Xbox and NAS via Ethernet, and using the wifi only to administrate and add data. Would this be viable?
     
  7. Wardotron thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
  8. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Depends. Airport Extreme will indeed be much faster, barring you have draft-n wireless cards on them or cat5e ethernet cables for gigabit. With a gigabit LAN, the throughput is much higher, however a lot of cheaper NAS devices just can't transfer that fast.

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/component/option,com_nas/Itemid,190/

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/component/option,com_wireless/Itemid,200/

    My current 360 is connected through gigabit as well as my laptop, used to have a desktop hooked up as well and I got speeds that maxed out my drive's write speeds (60mb/s)~. Now I just use Firewire 800. But yes, a cheaper NAS will indeed be slower, just depends on how much you have to move. Gigabit makes a HUGE difference in transfer speeds as long as the NAS can keep up.
     
  9. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 28, 2007
    #10
    I bought one to use at work. So far it works fine. We only have 10/100 networking (no gigabit), so the fastest transfer rate I get is about 9.4Mb/s, which is plenty fast for serving off documents to 8 computers.

    Setup was very easy on X and windows.

    edit-- I have the 1Tb version running as 500Gb in Raid 1.
     
  10. digitalfrog macrumors regular

    digitalfrog

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  11. Wardotron thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #12
    Interesting, thanks for all your tips. I have just bought a new MBP with N-rated wifi, so it might be worth upgrading the router and making the wired connections cat5e ethernet.
     
  12. Wardotron thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #13
    Thanks again, I might have a look at this. I haven't seen any available in the UK though, must be stuck on a boat queued at the Suez Canal or something.
     
  13. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    The wired doesn't have to be cat5e, but you'll get better speeds with 5e than 5 on gigabit. Also, the cable shouldn't be horribly expensive as long as you stay away from big box stores, I don't know where online in the UK though.
     
  14. Slovak macrumors regular

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    Jul 26, 2008
    #15
    I've recently set up a FreeNAS solution. Old AMD 1.8 Ghz box with 512MB RAM. Put in 2 new Seagate drives, set up software RAID1 and it's working great. It has more features than I'll ever need. If you don't have an old box around, you should be able to build one for $200 with another $150 going to drives and staying well within your budget.
     
  15. Mebsat macrumors regular

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    Florida
    #16
    Anyone know about Stardom/Raidon?

    I've been looking at this one for a similar setup:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Raidon/SL36202SLB2/

    Seems to hit all the right points for USD$229
    I don't know about the brand though.

    Anyone (besides OWC lurkers) know anything about them?
     
  16. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #17
    Thanks to the poster who pointed out the ix2. I'm very interested as well. I'm looking for a NAS that would serve as a relatively foolproof file server as well as a media server for iTunes, PS3, Roku, Sonos, AppleTV, Xbox, etc. (I don't have half of those things, but want to keep options open). The ix2 is advertised as doing all of the above. No mention of FTP or web access, which is a bit of a bummer, but that could always be arranged through another computer. They also mention some interesting possibilities, like setting up two ix2's in different locations and having them set to mirror each other!

    I could always just rig up a PC to run as a server for all the above, but I'd be concerned about power consumption.
     
  17. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    To be somewhat foolproof, you'd need to run at least RAID 5/6 with 4 drives or more.

    http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS508/index.php great, but expensive
     
  18. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #19
    This is what I bought.
    On a 10/100 ethernet it is faster than my Western Digital MyBook Pro was. It is not very very fast, but it streams to my ATV fine.
     
  19. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #20
    Nice. No, I'm not worried too much about drive reliability -- I make backups of the critical stuff, and if I lose media files I can always re-rip them.

    I guess "foolproof" means easy to connect to and find files and reliable enough that I don't have to run downstairs and reboot the thing every other week.

    I think I'd also want something that could sleep and save power (and disk wear) since I'm at work most of the day, I would only see the server in use for a few hours each day. Do these NAS devices support sleeping the hard drive when idle?
     
  20. justflie macrumors 6502a

    justflie

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    #21
    Personally, I'm looking forward to a next-gen Drobo where they hopefully included ethernet. No way in heck I'm going to buy a Drobo AND the DroboShare to put it on the network. That's just lame. It is a bit out of the price range you mentioned (when you take drives into account) but I think that's about as foolproof as you can get. Shove the drives in and you're ready to go (from what I understand).
     
  21. Slovak macrumors regular

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    Jul 26, 2008
    #22
    Most of the new drives support it, but the hardware device must support it as well, which I would imagine should be pretty high on the manufacturer's list. I've got my FreeNAS set up in power saving mode after a period of inactivity.
     
  22. timeconsumer macrumors 65816

    timeconsumer

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    #23
    Normally I would disagree about RAID 5 but since the OP has specific storage requirements of 1TB or higher (and a budget), I think RAID 5 may be decent to do assuming the OP doesn't add more than 3 hard drives. If the OP does add more than 3 then I would worry about the failure rate and it would be far from a "fool proof" solution.

    With that being said, I still feel RAID 1 is a better option than RAID 5.
     
  23. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #24
    I bought a Buffalo Linkstation Pro Duo, 2 Tb, for $349 at Fry's a couple of months ago. I'm running it in RAID 1, but you can also set it up as JBOD or RAID 0 for full capacity, if you like.

    I would call this product "foolproof" in the sense that it was easy to set up and I haven't had any trouble with performance, knock on wood.
     
  24. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #25
    Perhaps I'm ignorant, but what exactly would you recommend using if gigabit isn't fast enough?
     

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