Time Capsule 2TB or Airport Extreme + External Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mac mac mac, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #1
    I have the first generation Time Capsule (early 2008) with a 500GB built-in hard drive. I also have the Netgear 614 router connected to the Time Capsule so I can broadcast another SSID at the 2.4Ghz frequency (Time Capsule is running at 5Ghz only) so I can connect my iPhones.

    The Netgear router just died, and I really don't want to change the Time Capsule frequency to the 2.4Ghz frequency as my AppleTVs, iPads, and Macs can take advantage of the 5Ghz frequency. So I've decided to upgrade my existing Time Capsule to the current model that can broadcast two frequencies simultaneously.

    My question is, should I get the 2TB Time Capsule, or should I get the Airport Extreme and an external hard drive separately? I do need another hard drive as my photo and video libraries keep expanding. Which would be a better option? I have another 2TB for my Time Machine backup.

    For hard drive, I was thinking about the Drobo since it maybe a better investment in the long run since it's more expandable? Or getting the 2TB Time Capsule would be adequate? I shoot maybe around 300-500 pictures a month on my 7D (I shoot RAW). And I also buy maybe 10 movies/TV shows per month. What's your recommendation? Thank you.
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    I use a first gen TC with an external USB drive. I would not depend on any NAS where you cannot remove the drive containing your data before sending it back for service. I would recommend Drobo, Synology or QNAP over their competitors. I would also recommend AEBS over Time Capsule after my 1st gen TC failed and while I got a replacement free from Apple, my data was gone forever. I use an AEBS as my router and my TC as a NAS where the internal drive has nothing particularly important on it and my TM backups go to a HFS+ formatted WD 1.5 TB USB drive.

    I also own other NAS products from Buffalo, Iomega and LaCie. Of those three, the one I like best is LaCie but since getting Synology, I'm working on wiping the older drives and selling them off and relying on the Synology from now on.

    I recently got a smugmug account and I'm considering gradually uploading my 200 GB of photos so they are backed up off site. This is key to my strategy of getting back down to one NAS for photos/videos (Synology) and one NAS for TM backups (TC with external USB drive).

    There is one up side to using a TC as your router. If you own a lot of Macs and iOS devices, software updates are "cached" by the TC so you don't have to download them over again for every device. Despite this this minor advantage, I prefer to use an AEBS as my router and relegate my TC to backups only with it's wifi switched off. BTW, TM backup over wifi can be spotty and can lead to corrupted backups. This has happened to me more than twice and I finally ran ethernet to one older machine that didn't have 802.11n and was having problems backing up via wifi.

    hope this helps...
     
  3. mac mac mac thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #3
    Thank you so much for your help. I'll go with the AEBS instead of TC then. I too have been having issues using Time Machine over Wifi. That's why I'm using an USB connected external drive for Time Machine instead, and use the TC drive for movies. I'll look into the other brands you mentioned in addition to Drobo. Thanks again.
     
  4. mac mac mac thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #4
    There are several Drobo models, which one would you recommend? The regular Drobo with USB 2.0/FW 800, gigabit Ethernet, or the pro version with eSATA/FW 800/USB 2.0/Gagabit Ethernet?
     
  5. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #5
    I'm not as familiar with Drobo as I am with Synology. Drobo uses a proprietary file system and RAID architecture so it might be more difficult to recover your data if the Drobo ever dies. Synology (and QNAP AFAIK) use EXT4 filesystems which could be read if the NAS ever died.

    There are 3 tiers of cost. On the bottom tier are WD, Buffalo, Seagate, Iomega and Apple TC. The bottom end units range from $129 to $299. Next come units with separate HDD like Synology and QNAP that run $350+ once you pay for at least one drive. At the high end is Drobo which seem to all cost over $1000.

    The Synology DS411+ costs over $600 just for the NAS. It's Intel based and can run mainstream Linux apps compiled for x86. Then you have to buy the drives. The Synology DS212J costs around $200 plus drives. It's ARM based and can't run mainstream Linux apps. For more money you get more speed and better app compatibility but higher power consumption.

    The last time I checked, USB Drobo units (with no network!) cost over $500 plus the drives and the cheapest network (NAS) model you could get cost over $1100 plus the drives. I held an "on sale" Drobo in my hand briefly at Microcenter but decided I didn't to spend over $800 plus drives on an NAS solution and bought something else.
     
  6. grpaul349 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    #6
    I just bought a 2TB Time Capsule. There was a time when they were pretty cost prohibitive - but with the hard drive prices rising the 2TB was a good deal.
     
  7. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #7
    It's not the price that worries me. It's what happens if the power supply dies (like my 1st Gen TC) or a firmware update goes south (like my LaCie NS2). You wind up swapping with Apple (or whomever) for an empty and all your data is gone. What's worse is all your data may wind up in readable form in some remanufacture facility.

    That's why I was recommending that the OP consider an AEBS with a usb drive or one of the driveless options from Synology, QNAP, Drobo, etc. If money is not an obstacle, driveless is really the way to go for NAS because you have absolute control over your data and if you ever have to send a unit back for repairs, your personal photos, letters, music and tax archives don't go with it.
     

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