Synology DiskStation DS215j or Airport Time Capsule

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jazzss29, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. jazzss29 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2015
    A little input required here guys.

    So I've currently got a MacBook Pro which doesn't come with a great deal of storage. I'm currently using a number of external hard drives but want to look at one central place I can save and access files to and from.

    What I would like to do is:

    Place all my files (movies, music) on this storage device and be able to access and transfer files from both my MacBook Pro and iMac. So essentially I will not just be using this as a backup but also to access these files on a regular basis.

    Access the files both from home and remotely from other locations.

    A few points:

    I am not going to use either device for anything more than the above so I appreciate there is probably a vast number of things you can do in addition to what I require them for however I will only be using it as a basic user.

    Is the Time Capsule HD upgradable. One thing that makes me lean towards the Synology is that I can upgrade the HD as and when required whereas I have a feeling that with the Time Capsule I may be limited to 3TB.

    I'd prefer something that has an easy to use interface, I appreciate it will not be plug and play as such but just something that is not overly technical.

    A plus point with the Time Capsule is that as it is also a wi-fi base station, I can use it to replace my existing router which currently is not very good at all (Sky Fibre Broadband).

    Also how would either device work with Apple TV? Eventually I wish to purchase a new Smart TV and Apple TV and would like to access the movies stored on the device. (I don't currently have Apple TV)

    I'd appreciate any opinions on what might be better for me.
  2. felt. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    You're gonna want to use a Raspberry Pi and run bittorent sync on it using usb drives for storage! Back in the day I would have thought a 2 bay NAS is kind of pointless but with the 6TB HDDs we have now, not so much. My 5 bay has been great, though I wish it had 10gbit instead of just gbit since I can't get more than 112MB/s which seems to be about the limit of gbit ethernet
  3. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    I run a Synology Nas and just upgraded from four 1TB drives to four 2 TB drives. Very Easy rebuild process just swopped them out one at a time and the System rebuilt them. There are a couple of Synology IOS Apps "DS VIdeo" and "DS Audio that can play your content from the NAS without a computer or Itunes. I would expect these apps to be ported to the Apple TV and if/when they are you will be able to play Media content. You can play media content today from the NAS but only by Airplaying from an IOS device or by running ITUNES on a computer.

    I use my Synology for Time Machine backups and have multiple computers using it successfully. There is a lot of other functionality offered by the NAS but since you said you not looking for additional functionality will leave that alone.

    DS Video and DS Audio work with Chromecast today so you can play your media that way.
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Lets see first you say all you are going to use the device for is to store files and share them both locally and remotely and you don't want any frills. Then you say it would be nice to use it as a media center and wifi router.... hmmm...

    Synology NASs work great for the first case, they do use one year warranty type desktop drives, and they will fail at 13 months... but you say you are going to upgrade the drives anyway.

    Your scaling of requirements gets more complex. Not sure about the latest gen apple TV, but you need iTunes running on a machine somewhere to serve the video.

    Buy a refurbed mini and server package and be done with toying around. Connect to your modem ethernet and share its wireless, set up a time machine backup destination for your other devices, run iTunes or maybe PLEX to serve your video, set up VLNs for remote access.... I've been happy since I stopped trying to be clever about using the NAS and just put together a real server.
  5. interstella macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2013
    Suffolk, England
    I'd go for the NAS. I bought one a few weeks ago (DS215j) and it's very versatile so I suspect it won't be long before you start making use of it's other facilities. I wish I'd bought one ages ago.

    See this thread for some more info, especially my comments on using NAS for Time Machine.

    Synology do not supply disks with their units. Fit a couple of Western Digital Red NAS drives, or just one to start with if you like. You can fit another in the future in a RAID1 configuration so both disks have mirror images of your data.

    You can stream from the DS215j to Apple TV without having iTunes open (though I've not got the new one to confirm it works with this) but if you rip DVD's you'll need to make sure they are Mpeg and not MKV files. MKV files stream well to my Panasonic smart TV and you can even watch them on an iPhone or iPad via the Synology iOS apps. You can also make use of Synology's iTunes server.

    I'm no expert but be careful before replacing the Sky router. I'm sure I've read that Sky fibre won't work with other routers. I could be wrong on this point but it's worth checking.
  6. kryten42 macrumors 6502


    Sep 17, 2015
    In a little world of my own
    NAS is so much more flexible, and the Synology NAS's are very flexible indeed.
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    NASs are so slow, and not scalable. There are a lot of NAS fanboys around here, sometimes I think they are salesmen. If you ever try to use them for more than file servers in a casual or hobby type, you will be sorrily disappointed. I listened to the NAS fanboys a year ago and wasted a bunch of money and time on trying to get it to work. They seem to look good on paper, but you have to go high end to get any performance... and if you go high end, get a real server and save lots of time, agony, and money..... but if all you are doing is serve files, they do their thing well.
  8. wlossw macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2012
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    I was looking at a nas... Instead I bought a Mac mini and a 4 bay media sonic external enclosure and a thunderbolt to esata adapter... Filled the bay's with 4tb wd reds... It's super stable and does everything I could possibly want. With a quad core i7, 16gb of ram and 512gb ssd this thing is way better than any nas.

    Total cost has been about 2,000, but that wasn't one outlay.

    I could have done the same thing with a Linux box with internal drives, and spent less than a grand...
  9. 2128506 macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2013
    Heart of Mordor
    I have both old and new models of Time Capsules, they are gathering dust now because of Synology DS412+.

    It's absolutely fantastic piece of hardware. Requires considerably more setup than TC, but does much more.

    It runs bittorrent client (obviously), Plex server, SMB/CIFS server with Time Machine volumes, DLNA server, Dropbox sync client – no issues at all. And it's nice to use "store everything forever" backup strategy with 8 TB of disks. :)

    People writing about NAS boxes being slow usually refer to entry-level dual-disk models which come with very limited RAM/CPU. And even then part of that slow CPU gets used by software RAID etc. Once you spend a bit more for midrange model (4+ HDDs) it works like a charm.
  10. Helpfixit macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    I previously owned a 2TB time capsule and can say that it was extremely slow when copying data. Currently I now own a Symology DS124play and I'm very happy.
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I don't now what sort of advice you got a year ago or what sort of NAS you ended up getting, but just because you ended up with a bad product, doesn't mean all NASes are bad. I don't know what you mean when you say NAS fanboy, but you definitely sound like a NAS hater.

    Where did you get the idea that "one year warranty type desktop drives" "will fail at 13 months"??? This is just spreading misinformation. No one, not even the drive manufacturers, can tell when a drive will fail. Even drives marketed as "enterprise" or "NAS" can die within a year. It's entirely luck as to how long a drive will last you.

    There are quite a few NASes that can run things like Plex and iTunes servers and do the job very well.

    Going with a NAS can save users a considerable amount of money. I recently put together a NAS running XPEnology (open source implementation of Synology) for about $90. It took about half an hour of work to put everything together and I was up and running. Since then, it has been running 24/7 without a hitch. BTW, the drives I put in it were all over 2 years old.

    $75 Intel SS4200 (like new from Ebay)
    $11 2GB stick of RAM
    $ 3 E2220 CPU (to upgrade the stock CPU in the SS4200)
    $ 0 Four 4TB drives I had laying around that came out of my Drobo when I upgraded it
    $ 0 An old USB flash drive I had laying around
  12. Helpfixit macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    I find my Synology NAS is usefully for transferring files back and fourth from my iPad using a fantastic app called FileBrowser. Also it really helps with the 16GB storage limitation on my iPad and iPhones at home. ( saves money on purchasing higher capacity devices )

    My main use of the Synology is:

    • Web Server ( php and SQL - web development )
    I have Coda2 and MAMP setup remotely to my Synology NAS ( RAID 1 ) and set a backup of my work to an external drive connected to the two bay NAS.

    • Video Station
    As I have a Samsung 4K TV ( dlna ) that streams media content from the NAS.

    • Time Machine backups
    • ITunes server
    Above are just some examples of my usage.

    It's very handy, as pastrychef has mentioned you can easily build your own NAS with higher end components than what's available from Synology, QNap et al. Though I'm happy with the DS124play given its low power usage and it runs 24 / 7 without any problems.

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