Simple NAS, AirPort Extreme?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by sdilley14, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm looking at doing a simple NAS set up. I'm new to this sort of thing, so bare with me please. Really, I'm in the market for a new router, and I figured that while I'm replacing my router, why not get something where I can do a simple NAS setup. I have a 500GB USB HD that will work just fine for the storage end. What I am really wondering; is it worth it to spend the money on an AirPort Extreme to fill out the router end of the set up, or would I be just as well served (or maybe better served) with something "cheaper" (Linksys, Netgear, Medialink, etc.)?

    FWIW, I have a MacBook Air, Apple TV, an iPhone 5, and I do use my ATV for streaming TV shows and music videos quite a bit. The HD space on my MBA is quite limited, so any set up that would allow me to stream media effectively from my external HD to my ATV without having the HD directly plugged into my MBA would be ideal (though I'm not sure that is possible since anything streaming to the ATV has to run through iTunes?).
     
  2. marzer, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013

    marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #2
    For streaming media, your probably better off with a NAS that connects to the router via ethernet. My experience with usb drives connected to routers (linksys and apple anyway) usually have been slow performance. Fine for archive storage and backups but too slow for media.

    I do prefer apple routers for their ease of operation and bonjour awareness. But if cost is an issue, get yourself a less expensive alternative and an ethernet capable NAS box. I used to house my iTunes media files on a Buffalo Linkstation. It had a gigabit connection and an easy web-based user interface.
     
  3. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #3
    Interesting...thank you for the feedback!
     
  4. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #4
    You could do worse than an Airport Extreme. You already have the USB hard drive, and if you are buying a router anyway the cost of an Airport Extreme is pretty reasonable as compared to buying a cheaper router plus a NAS solution (e.g. a Synology USB Station 2, which will leverage your existing hard drive). Yes, the performance is lower than it would be with say a Synology - but if you're not simultaneously streaming to multiple Apple TVs it should suffice.

    An issue to consider is the complexity of installing your iTunes library on a network drive. Whether you use the Airport Extreme drive sharing or a NAS, in order for your library to stream to your Apple TV the library needs to be hosted by iTunes on your Macbook Air, and iTunes needs to be configured to use that remote disk for its library. That of course means that iTunes will not function when you're traveling (since the remote drive won't be visible) but that may be an acceptable trade-off for you.

    Long-term I would suggest you obtain a separate computer to act as an iTunes server (a Mac Mini, even an older Core 2 Duo, would be fine - or in a pinch, a Windows box). That machine can also host your network disk space, and using iTunes Home Sharing you can not only stream content to your Apple TV and iPhone, you can even transfer iTunes content to your MBA's internal drive for use off-network (e.g. to watch a movie while traveling).

    With that in mind, I'd suggest going for the Airport Extreme for now, and saving the cost of the NAS toward installing a stationary computer as your iTunes media server in the future.
     
  5. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #5
    Excellent advice, thank you!
     
  6. douglasgoodall macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    #6
    Using Airport Extreme (ac) with USB HD not for TM

    I have a nice Buffalo 2TB USB drive I was intending to plug into my extreme. I am having trouble finding instructions for setting up the drive for shared access by network clients.

    The Airport Utility is 6.3.1.

    There doesn't seem to be a way to access or configure shares/partitions on the drive.

    Can anyone point me to some doc on this. I don't want to use the USB attached drive for TM because I am using a DROBO for my TM?

    Thanks,
    Douglas
     
  7. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #7

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