Time Capsule or Air Port Extreme with external HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by William7, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. William7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #1
    i have heard complaints in the past about time capsules failing so i was wondering if i should opt for an air port extreme and external hdd which i hear results in basically the same thing. Which should i do?

    i was looking at the 2 tb g-drive here http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive.cfm which is 240$ so ill end up 50$ more than the time capsule reliability is worth the extra but i would rather keep it. Thanks for input
     
  2. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #2
    I have an original 2008 Time Capsule still in use and it has worked fine for me as the backup for my iMac. But I will probably go with an Airport Extreme as a replacement down the road--whenever that may be. Right now, I have a 1TB external plugged into it and use it for my iTunes library and as the Time Machine for my new rMBP--by partitioning a large external, it would seem a more flexible solution than a Time Capsule.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    #3
    The newer model Time Capsules seem to not have the troubles the original version did. If you plan on using this setup with Time Machine, the Airport Extreme does not support the use of an external drive with Time Machine.

    Many users report it works... but it is not supported and some users report it just stops working sometimes for no apparent reason.
     
  4. William7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2012
    #4
    i was just reading up on it and yea i just noticed its not supported. also looks like you can partition/use the internal hdd as nas too so i think ill grab that then. Thanks for the help
     
  5. bobr1952, Oct 14, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012

    bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
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    #5
    My thoughts are that Apple has made changes to allow Time Machine drives connected to Airport Extreme/Time Capsules. I can see why they would not be all that excited for people to use that vs Time Capsule but as you said, many have found it to work fine. For me I can't say as far as longevity but the properly formatted partition on my external drive connect to my Time Capsule had no trouble initializing as a Time Machine drive for my new rMBP and seems fine doing backups. I'm sure you will be hearing from me if it does fail but I'm not overly concerned even if it does as I also use Super Duper to make bootable backups.

    My suggestion to give it the best shot is to be sure the drive if formatted properly and run the initial backup off of the Airport Extreme and keep it there--do not try and connect the Time Machine drive directly to your computer--only use it as a network drive.
     
  6. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #6
    I tried the AirPort Extreme and external drive route, and found it extremely unreliable. Absolutely not worth the hassle IMO.

    Now running a Mac mini and backing up to the internal drive without any issues at all. The Time Capsule will be the best option here.
     
  7. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
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    Melbourne, FL
    #7
    How is it unreliable? Just wondering what to look for should I run into problems. As I said in my post, I am not all that concerned as I have an alternate backup with Super Duper but the set up and backups so far have been flawless so I'm not sure where the failure point is.
     
  8. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

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    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #8
    How recent are these changes? When I bought my Airport Extreme last winter/spring I looked into hooking up a drive for use as a Time Machine backup, and the remarks on it weren't very reassuring. If I remember right, a terminal command or two was required (not a big deal, but means you're leaving Apple-supported territory in many cases), and more worrying was the statements that it would either stop working after a few weeks or the backups would simply not work properly. I know you can verify your backups if you're using a Time Capsule (but seemingly can't any other way); is there a way to verify backups with the Airport Extreme?

    Another question, for practicality purposes. I've read that a Time Machine needs to be set up either wirelessly or as a wired drive. That is, it backs up differently depending on the connection type (wireless is thrown into a sparse bundle, a wired connection is just a series of folders). While I'd love to use wireless for regular backups, if I ever needed to restore my entire system from backups, I'd want to switch over to a wired connection for faster speeds. It sounds like you can't do that. You could always wire your computer to the Airport Extreme via ethernet to get those speeds, but... Any thoughts?
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    #9
    External drives attached to a Time Capsule are supported, so you should have no trouble. See this.

    I think it was one of the point releases with Snow Leopard that Airport Extreme USB disks with Time Machine just started working with no Terminal hacks or anything. But, interestingly, Apple is still going out of their way to say it is not "supported" (whatever that means). It even says in the Mountain Lion help files not to do it. Who knows what is going on. :confused:
     
  10. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    Nov 14, 2009
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    Colorado
    #10
    Just to clarify, if talking about Time Capsule, yes you can use it as a NAS right out of the box. But as for partitioning, you have to remove the internal hard drive and connect it to a computer to partition it.
     
  11. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #11
    Having done both, I say go with the TC. It was much easier to set up and never had an issue (until a power surge through the cable lines and fried it, but Apple replaced it under AppleCare). I had my mom set up with an AE and a had an external hard drive and it never worked 100%. It showed it backed up, but it never did. I finally removed the AE (she didn't need a router anymore) and ran the HD to the computer to back up and no issues.
     
  12. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
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    USA (Virginia)
    #12
    The distinction that you're talking about is about the destination of the Tiime Machine backup; for a particular Mac, you'll want to set up Time Machine to back up to either network-accessible disk (a Tiime Capsule or an AEBS with an external drive, or probably a supported NAS) or a direct-attached disk (a USB or Firewire, etc. drive plugged directly into the Mac).

    In the first case, TM backs up to a sparsebundle file, and in the latter case, a "regular" folder. Let's say you're using a TC. You can connect your Mac wirelessly or with an ethernet cable, and either way TM will back up to a sparsebundle file. You can even do some backups wireless and some cabled, I believe. If you need to do a restore, you can choose to connect to the TC wirelessly or with an ethernet cable for faster restores, and either will work.

    The thing that won't work is plug a USB drive into a TC or AEBS, do a few backups, and then plug the USB drive directly into your Mac and restore from it. I'm pretty sure that won't work.
     
  13. Zeke D macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

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    Nov 18, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #13
    Time for my $0.02:

    I use my Time Capsule for performing backups and I use an attached USB 2.5" HDD to store my music and software backups. The idea is I can unplug the USB drive and plug it into a new machine to install my iTunes library or all the software stored on the external drive. Finally, I have a Sawtooth G4 with four hard drives storing all the stuff from the external drive and the Sawtooth is backed up to the TC. I effectively have 3 copies of all my software, plus the original Discs.
     
  14. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I like this idea a lot. You can do a fresh install and have all your software ready for a new computer.
     

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