Time Capsule vs NAS vs External HDD - What do you think?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Val-kyrie, May 12, 2008.

  1. Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    I am in the process of upgrading my computer hardware and peripherals. I will soon be purchasing a MBP with an ACD (when updated). I currently have a Linksys WRT54G router and an HPLJ1200 Laser Printer with a USB port (no wireless capability). Here is my question:

    I want to set up a backup drive (I will be purchasing some type of external storage) connected to a router internally or externally (possibly to the WRT54G) for wireless backups but would also prefer to connect my printer to a router as well for wireless printing (not possible with the WRT54G). With what I have and in an attempt to get the best bang for the buck I have contemplated three options.

    1) Hook up a NAS to my Linksys WRT54G and connect my printer to the NAS.
    2) Buy Time Capsule and connect my printer to it and forget the Linksys.
    3) Buy a non-NAS external HDD with FireWire enclosure and purchase Airport Express. Hook up HDD and printer to AE.

    I do not have high speed internet where I live so I have mainly used the Linksys for networking, but I may be moving in the future so I will keep the Linksys even if I don't use it now.

    How best to proceed?
    Can the HDD in TC be partitioned?
    I really want to create a partition or two to clone the MBP's HDD and a third partition for backups.
    Any other options?

    Thanks again for suggestions.

    PS - I realize the Linksys is 802.11g and 10/100 whereas TC is 802.11n and 10/100/1000.
  2. Val-kyrie thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    Important Articles for TC

    I just found six articles by Apple Insider which are pertinent to my questions and the questions of many people here on the forums. While some have referenced a page in one or more of the articles, I am listing the links to all six so they will hopefully help others who are searching for backup solutions.

    Article 1
    Article 2
    Article 3
    Article 4
    Article 5
    Article 6

    I am still uncertain what to do because I really want to clone my HDD as well as back it up, but TC cannot be partitioned nor can it be used in Target Disk Mode. And Airport Express cannot be used with a USB HDD. Thus I would still have to buy a HDD for cloning and either an AE or AEBS or TC for my printer.

  3. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    this is what I've done, after going through a similar process to you.

    I have 2xUSB external HDDs. they are partitioned into two - one for my macbook hard drive, one for my media (music + videos). I connect both to my macbook once a week. Clone my macbook to both drives one after the other using superduper 'smart' updating (doesn't take long). Then I clone the media partition from one drive to the other so I have a backup of that.

    Then I take one of the HDDs to work so I have an offsite backup. No point to me having a backup if I get burgled or there is a fire.

    The other HDD I plug into the back of a Time Capsule. Its used to stream all my media to my macbook/appleTV. The fact that it also has a clone of my macbook on is just helpful in case I have a crash I can immediately boot from it and restore.

    then the time capsule is used for standard documents backups.
  4. higgalls macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2008
    I am actually wondering the same questions too. I need to sort out a backup system, and am wondering whether to go with the Time Capsule, or some other sort of NAS. I am thinking that the Time Capsule would be best though as I don't want to be plugging in via Ethernet or USB, and I would want it to use Time Machine in Leopard.

    But is the Time Capsule able to back up XP computers too? From reading on the net, I believe it should be fine.

    For me, the Time Capsule seems to be a good solution, even though the price is a bit high (it does have a 802.11n router in it though which is a plus).

  5. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    time capsule is fine for backing up documents, but it doesn't give you anything that lets you recover quickly if your mac drive crashes. for that, a cloned drive is helpful. otherwise you'll end up reinstalling leopard, then all the updates, then using time machine to put your documents and apps back. A cloned drive you can get back up and running within minutes - you can even use it as your main drive via USB until you can get your internal drive replaced.

    Even if you just buy a cheap external USB drive thats the same size as your mac drive, then use superduper or carbon copy cloner or similar to do a regular clone - say once a week or even once a month. Just plug it in, then put it away in a drawer.

    for extra safety, take it out of the house.
  6. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I had been pondering the same question for some time and finally decided on a Time Capsule, which should arrive tomorrow or Monday. I have a 250 gig OWC FireWire drive, which I have been using both for backups and to store my MP4 movie files. It was clear that it was too small for long term use so I had been trying to decide whether to buy a Time Capsule, a different NAS server, or a bigger FireWire drive.

    I chose the Time Capsule, finally, because it appeared to be the simplest solution. It’s both wireless, which a bigger FireWire drive would not have been, and works out of the box with Time Machine, which no other NAS server could do. I don’t know how it works with movie files for iTunes but others have reported that it works just fine.
  7. Taiphun macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2008
    My solution for now is a simple terabyte Time Capsule.

    Later on, when the ReadyNAS Pro is released I plan on getting that and hooking it up to time capsule as my NAS.
  8. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    Yeah, I think that my 1 TB Time Capsule should be just fine for now, too.

    The ReadyNAS Pro appears to be a classy piece of gear but with a price of about 2 grand, it wold be a little rich for my blood. When I need more movie storage, I'll probably end up buying a 1 TB OWC FireWire drive and daisychain it it to my existing 250 gig OWC FW drive. I might also see how an external drive attached to the Time Machine via USB would work as an iTunes server.
  9. Val-kyrie thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    I am considering using TC for TM backups and a portable HDD for cloning which I could use with a USB hub attached to TC's USB port (I need a hub so I can still use my printer).

    Has/Does anyone else use a portable HDD? Is it worth carrying while traveling in case of a HDD failure?
  10. balk macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2008
    I was in the same process and had the following thoughts:
    -TC: single drive and no additional services possible (webserver etc.)
    -NAS (Readynas, synology DS207): price

    I ended up buying a Shuttle K45 barebone casing with mobo for $110. Added a processor, memory and 2x750GB in RAID1. For a comparable price as these NASses but with better specs. It is running Ubuntu and has an Airport Express connected to serve as access point. The 100mbit of the Express is the bottleneck by the way ;)
    For a first Time Machine backup I made a direct connection and finished 110GB in about 90 minutes; not bad.

    It was certainly more work to set up than a TC but also more flexible and with RAID1 redundancy.
  11. Val-kyrie thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    Would you be willing to post or PM me more specifics? I have just begun to read up on building one's own NAS and would be interested in the exact specs and cost of your NAS build. Please also include what version of Ubuntu you used.
  12. balk macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2008
    I bought this from newegg, and the same HDD from another shop, mwave.com. I forgot to buy a cable to power the second drive. You also need an separate sata data cable. Oh and a second PCI network card if you want your DIY NAS to work as a router.

    So far the hardware. In installed the alternate version of the latest Ubuntu, 8.04. I spent some time getting the machine to boot. Somehow, the USB sticks I tried to use did not work. Finally, I formatted a USB stick with the Linux ext3 filesystem and installed Grub on it and managed to boot from it and somehow install Ubuntu. Please be smart and have a USB cd player or a working USB linux around. I did not have a windows machine nearby nor an external keyboard. I had to borrow one from my work computer :rolleyes:
    Luckily, my TV has a VGA connection and I had a VGA cable. Oh, and an Airport Express as wireless as access point/external wireless adapter.

    So far more hardware ;)
    Ok, I got Ubuntu up and running and have Apache and friends, iptables, a DHCP server, OpenSSH and a DNS server running. That also took some time since my Linux skills were a bit rusty.

    Now for the whole purpose of this purchase: Time Machine wireless backups. I installed a custom Netatalk. Now I was able to mount shares on my MacBook wirelessly. Then, I followed this great howto to get Time Machine running.

    Webmin helps me maintaining the machine (and also messing around with Grub.... It is f*** up and I need to borrow a keyboard at work again :D :( )

    Moral of this story: DON'T FEAR THE COMMAND LINE! and be better prepared than me to save some time. :D
  13. cromeyellow macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2003
    San Diego
    Backup - what type of drive

    Is it important that the backup drive be
    1) Firewire
    2) POWERED

    Or would a firewire cable powered drive suffice?

Share This Page