Time Capsule vs. External Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Macology, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Macology macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I'm gearing up to purchase a new MBP, which is how I discovered these forums and am now, slavishly, hitting refresh several times a day on the "MBP update this Tuesday???" threads.

    But my question is this: My Apple store fellow recommends the Time Capsule for backups/internet access. Given the concerns I've seen online with TC, is this a smart choice? Or should I go with an External HD (and any recommendations on which?). I definitely need a backup solution.

    A few notes of possible relevance:
    1. I'm a "switcher"; this is my first Mac since I was, I think, 12 and using one at school. So I suspect I'm not up on all the options out there.
    2. I have wireless internet in my home already. It isn't what I'd call lightning fast, but it does the job.
    3. My other laptops are PC-based. Guest laptops needing to connect to the internet will be PC-based.
    4. I'm open to an online solution vs. an external hard drive, so if that's a better way to go, please advise!

    I appreciate any advice and guidance--thank you!
     
  2. AdamA9 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 2, 2010
    #2
    Judging by your needs I wouldn't use the time capsule for the internet. I made that mistake and realised I couldn't use the PC wirelessly with the TC.

    I did get rid of the PC though, so now have a nice 20mbps running through the TC for my iMac and Air. All sync seemlessly, and it's a joy. Backups are very quick, and so far after a couple of months of use, no problems to report.

    :cool:
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #3
    I would agree with the above. The TC doesn't seem to suit your needs and nowadays I am hearing that around the 18th month they're crapping out. While it's not confirmed, there are enough reports to make me wonder.
     
  4. Macology thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thank you! Any preferences for an External HD vs. an online backup solution? I do like the TC's "set it and forget it" appeal, but agree on the questionable durability reports.

    Thanks for your feedback!
     
  5. Imadofax macrumors newbie

    Imadofax

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    Feb 22, 2010
    #5
    I have a Mac Mini using OS X Server.

    Been really happy using Time Machine.

    I am using two USB drives as backup destinations. One is formatted for Mac use only and it's pretty much plug and forget.

    I have a second drive that I've created two partitions on, one for Mac and second for PC's. Every now and then I point Time Machine to the Mac partition and let it create a separate backup (in case I ever had a problem with dedicated USB drive).

    As for choice of USB drive. So many out there, you would have to research but can share my experiences with Seagate Free Agent Drive.

    Got a great deal on 1.5 Tb Seagate Freeagent Desk at Costco, ended up buying two. After about a month I noticed that one of the drives started making constant clicking noises. A few google searches and found that it could be indication of upcoming drive failure. Long story short, contacted Seagate and they replaced it (but I had to pay for shipping). They actually sent me an upgraded model, Free Agent Xtreme that has firewire.

    Anyway, now the second drive I bought is starting to make noises, thinking about sending it back in. So after reading the google searches I am a bit paranoid anytime I hear a clicking noise but was happy with Seagate service, except having to pay for shipping.

    Hope that is of use.
     
  6. Macology thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Time Machine + USB drive = *joy*

    Thank you! These posts have helped tremendously, and I appreciate the time you all have taken to respond. I now am feverishly plotting USB drive research, to begin with Seagate (insert diabolical laugh). If I ever move to an all Mac household, TC may be the way to go, but until then, I'll be set!

    Thanks!
     
  7. Jof macrumors regular

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    Oct 2, 2008
    #7
    Look at getting either a USB or Firewire caddy and just popping a drive in it as-and-when. I'm currently favoring Firewire (e.g. Icybox 2x 3.5" drive enclosure) as it seems to use less CPU and of course frees up one of those USB ports on my under-equipped MBP ;)
     
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #8
    I would not recommend getting a USB or FW drive that you manually connect to your laptop to backup. While it is acceptable for a desktop... it really goes against all principles of good backup technique for a laptop.

    Get something that sits on your wireless home network, so that your laptop can be backed up without human intervention. Time Machine backs up your computer every hour... and few people will want to be "wiring down" their laptop all of the time to support TM.

    /Jim
     
  9. Macology thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Thanks, Jim--the "non-human intervention" angle was the reason why the Apple fellow thought TC would be a good solution. His father had just lost his data--twice--due to poor backup practices, so he was fairly passionate on the subject :). I appreciate your comment!
     
  10. Macology thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Ah-and a good point. I'd read that MBPs don't have many USB ports, so definitely something to keep in mind if I have a "wired" solution. Thank you!
     
  11. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Happy w/ Time Capsule

    I'm very happy with Time Capsule + iMac + (wife's) Windows XP laptop. I'm not sure what concerns you've seen regarding the TC, but mine's worked flawlessly since early '08 as the router/wireless access point and iMac backup. (It doesn't back up the windows machine but otherwise plays nicely with it. It also "hosts" my USB printer and a large USB memory stick.)

    Like Jim/flynz4, I also recommend a "no human intervention required" backup strategy.

    I bought an external HD to store my raw digital video footage. After much debate (price was a factor) I finally decided on a 1 TB Seagate "Free Agent Desk For Mac". It includes a firewire 800 interface, which was a priority for me.

    When I was researching, I came to the conclusion that lots of Seagate 11th generation drives had problems but the 12th gen should be OK. Unfortunately I couldn't tell what would come installed within the Free Agent Desk unit, and I still can't. (I tried to open it up without damage but gave up the attempt.) So far it's been over two months and still OK.

    One thing I remember though, as of a few months ago, there was not 1.5 TB 12-gen. drives. So, my research led me to believe that any 1.5 TB Seagate unit contained an 11-generation drive.

    Brian33
     
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #12
    The "set it and forget it" is true of Time Machine, which is a program in the OS. It's not dependent on the hardware you use for your backup.

    If you already have a decent wireless network you could easily skip the Time Capsule and just buy either a NAS (if you want to access it from multiple computers) or an external USB drive (if you don't). And save some cash in the meantime. Either will serve you nicely for your backups.
     
  13. Macology thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Thank you, Tomorrow and Brian33... I may start small with a USB external drive and add a wireless backup option when I get cooler. :)

    Thanks!
     
  14. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    oops

    Ooops, now I feel silly; I read about the Time Capsules dying. Sigh.
    Brian33.
     
  15. serveitup911 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2010
    #15
    In regards to the Time Capsules dying, they use Hitachi Deskstar (aka Deathstar) HDDs. Over the years, they are noted to not be extremely reliable, with higher incidents of failure than some other models. Of course, many people use the Deskstar HDDs for years with no problems.

    I recently filled up my puny 320 GB WD MyBook USB 2.0 backup drive, so I decided to go with a new solution.

    I already have a Linksys wireless-N router, so I didn't want a time capsule.

    I decided to get a Qnap NAS enclosure Qnap TS-219p

    It is an expensive enclosure, but should be very versatile in that it has 2 hot-swappable drive bays. It will connect to a wireless router for full network storage access, and is fully compatible with Time Machine Backups with the latest firmware. It is also a fully functional print server, so if you have a USB printer, you can plug into the NAS and then access that printer wirelessly throughout your network.

    The Qnap NAS enclosures are some of the highest rated for speed and reliability, and appear to be backed up by excellent support. It can be configured to RAID 0, RAID 1, or separate drives.

    To go along with the enclosure, I purchased 2x 2TB Samsung Spinpoint F3EG drives, which are arguably the best performing and best value large capacity drives on the market right now.

    I plan to reserve one drive for my iMac time Machine Backups, and one Drive for my laptop (probably 2010 MBP or MBA) Time Machine Backups.

    I can let you all know how this goes once everything arrives (I just ordered today)

    Oh yeah, this is my first post, though I have been here for a while.
     
  16. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #16
    As you've already noticed, the benefit of a device like the Time Capsule is that you are automatically backed up wirelessly, every hour, every day. If you are wary of the Time Capsule, how about an Airport Extreme with a generic USB hard drive attached as a Time Capsule destination? This achieves the same level of protection as the Time Capsule, and the convenience of wireless backups, but breaks out the two devices theoretically improving reliability (or at least making dealing with a failure easier).
     
  17. mlnc248 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 23, 2008
    #17
    Time Capsule over Internet

    Hi guys, I just wanted to add my two cents:

    I have a previous generation TC (500 GB) that has worked great for about a year. I have two external drives and a printer connected to the TC. The Macs can print to the printer with no problem, but the Windows XP cannot. It sees the printer but nothing happens when I try to print.

    The TC backs up my iMac and MBP at home, and, after some hacking, it backs up my son's MB even while he is away at college.

    To get it to work over the WAN I had to change some settings on the TC and both my and my son's laptops.

    Sometimes I am sitting next to the TC and I hear it start spinning. I can look in the directory and see that it is currently backing up my son's data while he is at school. That makes me happy.
     
  18. newdeal macrumors 68020

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    Oct 21, 2009
    #18
    ...

    the new time capsules use western digital green hard drives which make less heat and therefore should be more reliable. Either way I don't care because Apple Care will take care of it for three years and by that time something better will be out if it dies. I use my time capsule as not only a backup solution but as storage also and it works great, I just made a automator script so it mounts to the desktop automatically on login. I can also access it easily from my PCs both wired and wirelessly so I have no idea why anyone says you can't use it wirelessly with a PC because that is simply incorrect. I can easily use it wirelessly and access the data on it from all the macs and PCs in my house, it is a very convinient thing because I have over 220 movies stored on it as a backup to me media center and I can stream them wirelessly to my laptops if I want to watch a movie in bed
     
  19. serveitup911 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2010
    #19
    Thank you for that info, the WD drives should hopefully be more reliable. Do you know when the switch to WD occurred?

    Good point about Apple Care also - who knows where HDDs will be in 3 years....
     
  20. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #20
    I use Super Duper backing up to a hard drive in an external case. I have a separate Airport Extreme as router. Given the well known problems with Time Capsule, I'd never go that route.

    I bought a 2TB OEM drive from NewEgg and put it into an OWC Mercury Elite enclosure that connects over FW 400/800 or USB.
     
  21. rkuntze macrumors member

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    #21
    PHP:
    AdamA9       Judging by your needs I wouldn't use the time capsule for the internet. I made that mistake and realised I couldn'use the PC wirelessly with the TC
    Time Capsule works fine with PC's wirelessly. You just have to remember that at least for windows 98 you will need a 13 character password. So set up your TC with a 13 character password and you will have no problems.
     
  22. newdeal macrumors 68020

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    #22
    It was when they newest models came out where they switched to 3 antennas instead of 2 and claimed 50% more range and 25% faster or something like that
     
  23. aquadisiac macrumors 6502

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    #23
    hijacking a bit but is there an external hard drive that works wirelessly like time capsule?
     
  24. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Plug an external USB drive into an Airport Extreme?
     
  25. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #25
    There are a number of ways to do this.

    1. A wireless NAS. There aren't too many to choose from, and they're all pretty pricey.

    2. A wireless router and a wired NAS. Might be slightly cheaper and more to choose from.

    3. A wireless router that will accept a USB drive. Probably the cheapest solution. Airport Extreme is a popular choice, as I understand it.
     

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