Time Capsule or External Harddrive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Hatchet, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Hatchet macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    I just switched over to mac from PC and got a 24" iMac 2 days ago.

    I am wondering what are the advantages of getting Time Capsule vs. An External Harddrive?

    I am currently hooked up to wireless and don't really mind a harddrive being on my desk as this imac only has 1 cord :)

    Time Capsule looks to be almost $100 more than other similar sized harddrives for its capacities.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. DARKJ3DI macrumors regular


    Jul 6, 2008
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    Time Capsule has built in 802.11n wireless so you can set up a wireless network with it. However an external Hard Drive can be used for transporting data around with you. Each has its merits.
  3. DougT macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2008
    The external hard drive will probably be faster at transferring data as it's wired.
  4. soberbrain macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2008
    The appeal of Time Capsule is that it's wireless networking + hard drive. Which is great for people with portables so that they can backup via Time Machine while being completely wireless.

    Since you have a desktop I would go with the external hard drive. It will be cheaper and you'll get the same benefits.
  5. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2008
    If you already have a wireless network set up and don't particularly need to back up via Time Machine wirelessly you would be much better served by just getting an external HD. It will save you money.
  6. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008

    You already have a wireless network. You just need an external HDD. I prefer not to put all the eggs in the same basket. What would you do if the routing portion of Time Capsule dies down the road? If you keep the two separate, if you need a new router, you can get one for cheap. If you need a new external HDD, you can get one for cheap.
  7. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Time Capsule has two advantages: First, it is wireless, so you can easily use it with a laptop, or with two computers. That doesn't seem to apply to you, so no advantage here. Second, it is wireless, so you can put it somewhere away in a safe place where a burglar won't find it. The backup on an external hard drive won't help you if a burglar takes your iMac and your external hard drive as well.
  8. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    That's very true. I have been wondering about that too. An external drive is very likely to be located close to the computer. And if a burglar were to steal your computer, chances are he/she will also steal the external HDD: backup won't help in this case, like you said.

    This is why I recommend to Mac users and Windows users for that matter, to encrypt any critical file. In OS X, this is very easy: create a read/write disk image. I also recommend that the critical files be saved onto another medium and placed off site (like take it to work).

  9. Balty macrumors 6502


    Jun 12, 2008
    Canberra, Australia
    And then hope that the disk image doesn't corrupt and that you don't forget the password......

    ....risks I might be willing to take. :D
  10. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    LOL. Good point. Did not think about that. Next time, I'll open the disk image on the external drive, and then copy the files, instead of copying the disk image from the MacBook to the external drive.

    The ideal solution would be to have at least one copy offsite, because a hidden Time Capsule is not strong enough to face a huge power spike (unless on a UPS) or a flood or a fire. I know I am taking this to the extreme, some files are just priceless such as video of the first steps of a baby.

  11. liquidh2o macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2004
    Another advantage of the Time Capsule is wireless printing via it's USB port on the back. Just depends on how much flexibility you like :)
  12. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    I think you can print wirelessly using an Airport Extreme Station. So, for those who already have an Airport Extreme Station, and looking to share a USB printer, Time Capsule is not mandatory.

    I am not saying nobody should buy Time Capsule. It works for some, and not for others depending on taste, needs, and budget. I already had a external HDD and a wireless router before I bought my MacBook. It does make sense for me to buy yet another routing device.


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