Time Capsule vs External Drive and Router, again

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by imanidiot, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. imanidiot macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #1
    I know everyone is probably sick of these questions, but after poking around, they seem to vary enough from situation to situation not to be completely redundant. Anyway, here goes...

    I have a mid-2010 iMac 21.5, just exhausted Apple Care in August. It seems to chug along quite well, no problems. BUT it's 3+ years old. Connected to it I have a OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro hard drive, for Time Machine backups. It is also 3 years old and has likewise been trouble-free. BUT it's 3 years old.

    Now, I know that all hard drives eventually fail. And the one in my iMac is 3+ years old. And the one in my Time Machine drive is 3+ years old. I have come to feel from my years of experience with Windows machines (HP, Dell) that 3 years seem to be a sort of watershed point in the lives of computers. Therefore, I am somewhat concerned.

    I spoke with Apple Support and explained my situation, which is that my iMac has exhibited no signs of distress, and I would prefer not to replace it until it does. But that I was concerned about not losing all my stuff (as as happened before). I asked for advice, and he suggested that I get a Time Capsule to replace my current wireless router (a Netgear WNR3500L which is also 3 years old, but seems to function fine, doesn't drop connection, ever) and Time Machine drive, so that I'll be covered until/when the HDD in my iMac starts to act up/die. So that's what I am considering doing. HOWEVER, I'm wondering whether a new Time Capsule would be inherently a better choice than a new OWC external drive, especially since my wireless router seems to be doing just fine, thank you. A new 2T external OWC drive like the one I currently use would be less than $200, a Time Capsule would obviously be more, and is a router to boot. But do I need a new router? Routers have no moving parts, and I'm wondering if and how they deteriorate? And I have read reports of problems with Time Capsules (not the drive, but the power supply dying after a year or so).

    Or should I just replace everything and be done with it? (Which would hurt---I don't want to spend money just to spend it). If I could get another year out of my iMac, which is my first Mac and by far the best computer I have ever owned, I would like to.

    Sorry to be so long-winded, but any suggestions would be more than welcome.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    If I were you, I would just buy a new external USB drive and leave it at that.

    The Time Capsule issues you read about were with the first generation and the newer ones seem to be okay. That said, the main benefit of the Time Capsule is it allows network backups. That is a nice feature if you have a laptop, but less necessary if you only have a desktop machine like your iMac.

    If you existing router is fine, I don't see any compelling reason or even benefit to a Time Capsule in your situation.
     
  3. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #3
    A new TC would be my second choice. My current setup is an AEBS and a Synology NAS as it's so much more than a TC.
     
  4. imanidiot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #4
    Appreciate the advice. Yes, I only need to backup my desktop. I have a laptop but I don't use it for anything important. And in my smallish house, my existing router seems to do just fine. I really only use it to stream NetFlix to my Apple TV a couple of rooms away, and for iTunes homesharing, and it does that perfectly well.

    What I'm now thinking about doing is go with my current set-up but add another external drive and have Time Machine back-up to both, just for safety's sake. Then when my iMac starts to act up, I'll replace it. I just don't want to do it if there is no compelling reason to. After all, one of the things which drew me to Mac was it's reputation of being of better quality (and longer-lived) than your average Windows PC, and of course the Mac OS, which is just the best (in my experience, despite the major gaffe which is the New Pages, of which I won't speak).

    Thanks for responding.

    ----------

    I'm thinking you're probably correct...
     
  5. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    #5
    Your needs are super basic, don't overcomplicate it. You already have a perfectly good functioning router. It doesn't need to be replaced. My parents iMac is from 07 and hasn't failed yet. I applaud you for being proactive for backups.

    Buy a simple cheap external hard drive (OWC 2tb for $200?? WHY??), back up to that and call it a day.


    BETTER yet, since you are only backing up one computer - look into a cloud based backup such as Carbonite. It's $60 a year for unlimited backup, that way you have your external HD for immediate backup. If you have a fire, theft, flood, hurricane, etc. then all your data is STILL backed up off-site.

    You can have 100 hard drives all with backups but if they are all lost in a fire, what good is that?
     
  6. imanidiot thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    May 1, 2011
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    Denver, CO
    #6
    Brilliant, super-sensible answer. Thank you.
     
  7. imanidiot thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #7
    If you feel that spending that amount on an OWC drive is overkill, would you care to recommend a more affordable other? Just looking for advice.
     
  8. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    #8
    Quite honestly, take your pick.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_ss_i_0_4?k=2tb+external+hard+drive&sprefix=2tb+
     
  9. imanidiot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #9
    Thank you for the pointer. As a layman and not a techie, I always overcomplicate these things, I know. (I was once and still am, a little, an audiophile, and agonize about things like cables, NOS tubes, etc. That is, of course, another, lost generation. Probably for the best).

    I very much appreciate the suggestions.
     
  10. tbradnc macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    #10
    If you only need to back up 1 computer and don't want to spend a lot of money, try Carbonite (www.carbonite.com). For $49 a year you can keep a computer backed up continuously. I had an old Macbook I kept backed up with Carbonite and sure enough, it failed. The entire Macbook was and still is available for download from the Carbonite site.

    It has been over a year since the machine died and I still find stuff I need to grab from that old computer. I have since installed a Time Capsule but the $49 I spent to keep that old Macbook backed up is the best $49 I ever spent.
     
  11. imanidiot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #11
    I looked at the Carbonite website and am considering it (in addition to my current external drive). It looks like a good alternative to local external storage. And yes, it's just my iMac, and I am looking to protect my iPhoto library, projects in iMovie, and text/manuscripts created primarily in Pages (I'm a writer), so seems reasonable. Thanks for the tip. My only worry about something like that is the possibility of them going out of business for some reason. But you take your chances I guess.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Good advice from troy14 there. The only companies that make hard drives now are Seagate, WD, and to a lesser extent Toshiba. If you buy a drive from OWC, or Lacie for example, and you crack it open it will be a Seagate or WD drive inside. There is no good reason to pay more for the same drive in a different case. If anything, there is an argument to be made for buying from the same company that makes the drive.

    I would just get a 3.5 inch external USB3 drive from Seagate or WD. Be sure to erase the entire drive when you get it and not use any of the included software on the drive.

    ----------

    I use Crashplan for online backup in addition to a local Time Machine backup. I would not use an online backup as my only backup. If you ever have to do an entire restore from an online backup you will be waiting a long time for that data to download. I think most users use online backup as a second, failsafe (if the house burns down) type of backup.

    My suggestion would be continue your TM local backups then do an online as secondary.
     
  13. tbradnc macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    #13
    I don't think you have to worry about Carbonite going out of business.

    Being able to get my iPhoto library back when my old Macbook died was worth a lot more than $49 to me.

    And.. every now and again I'll think... "Where is that file? Oh yeah, it's on my old Macbook." and I login to my Carbonite account and snag it. :)
     

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