Trust Time Capsule?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by glennsan, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. glennsan macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2002
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    San Diego
    #1
    I am looking for a networked backup solution for my new iMac and my laptop that are used frequently at my home and have 10 years of email, photos, music, tax info, etc. While I like the idea of the automatic feature with Time Machine I am not certain I can trust Time Capsule due to a couple of issues that I have read about from others for hardware reliability after a year or so and an issue I experienced myself with a customer that was using one where the backups just quit when it got full instead of deleting the old ones like I heard it was supposed to. I had to reformat and start the backups over again with them losing over a year of their archives.

    Has anyone else experienced this or am I special? Any other ideas would be appreciated as well. Thanks.

    Glenn
     
  2. Bear macrumors G3

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    #2
    All of the reliability issues I've seen has to do with the Time Capsule overheating.

    My suggestion would be to get an Airport Extreme Base with a separate USB disk. This will actually save you some money. Also, if the glitch ever happens where it stops backing up, you could swap to a different USB disk and you wouldn't lose your old backups until you wanted to.
     
  3. glennsan thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2002
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    San Diego
    #3
    Bear,

    Thanks for the reply. I am considering that but at the moment my printer is plugged into the USB slot on my current AE and my wife would not be very happy if she couldn't print from her laptop like she does now. I have seen the hard drives that have an ethernet port and claim you can plug them in and use with TM. If that worked well it would be an option also.

    Glenn
     
  4. kppolich macrumors 6502

    kppolich

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    Nov 28, 2010
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    Iowa
    #4
    I second the AEBS with usb storage. I have that running right now 500GB partitioned into 250GB for Timemachine backup and 250GB for NAS runs cooler than my previous Time Capsule with the exact same performance. If I ever find a cheap time capsule i'm going to convert it into a RAID time capsule with a 3.5" to dual 2.5" laptop drive RAID 0/1. Until then, save yourself some money and hassel and go with the AEBS with removal USB hard disk so you can move it with you if you aren't around your home network.
     
  5. Bear macrumors G3

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    #5
    The Airport Extreme Base Station supports attaching a USB hub. So that leaves the printer useable even with a disk attached.
     
  6. kppolich macrumors 6502

    kppolich

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    #6
    ^ beat me to it. Put a hub for multiple devices/HDDs/printer
     
  7. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    Berkeley, CA
    #7
    Can you really access more than one HDD through a hub on the AEBS?
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #8
  9. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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  10. paduck, Jun 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    paduck macrumors 6502

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    Jul 5, 2007
    #11
    You can also print share off a Time Capsule. You cannot, however, do Time Machine backups to an Airport Express or Extreme. You could do a straight file copy though (or Carbon Coy Cloner or Super Duper).
     
  11. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #12
    I vote thumbs down for Time Capsule reliability. I had a first gen TC replaced by Apple after it's power supply failed. I lost all my backups including the only copy of files from my daughter's machine. I now use an external usb disk on the Time Capsule and a separate AEBS as a router (so I could get the guest network capability). I also use an online backup service as well as manually copy files to my iDisk, Dropbox and a LaCie network space 2 NAS drive. What can I say? I don't like losing data.
     
  12. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #13
    I think that you need redundant backups. I use Time Machine plus a clone on a separate physical drive, plus another clone that on a USB bus-powered disk that I keep in a fireproof box. If the stuff you have on your HDD is important to you ,don't trust a single point of possible failure.
     
  13. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #14
    I "trust" my Time Capsule, as much as I trust any electronic device. How many of you have read about failed hard-drive enclosures, or had it happen to you? My guess is that it's not uncommon for HD enclosures to fail.

    I've read a lot of the Time Capsule threads here, and my understanding is that the problems with 1st-gen TCs dying around 18 months were due to substandard capacitors in the power supply. They failed when subjected to heat they should have been able to handle. Many people make the assumption that the "real problem" is the design, which packs the power supply, the drive, and the electronics into a small case. Since the newer ones have a similar (though internally a little different) design, they say "Don't buy one! They haven't fixed the problem!" I'd bet that Apple is smart enough to do a proper thermal design, and the initial generation problems will not repeat themselves.

    Besides, you're not betting all that much, anyway, because when the (older) TCs died, the data was still safe on the drive. You could still get your data back, and though Apple would tell you not to do it yourself, it's easy to do and Apple would never know the difference. Handle it like a failed hard drive enclosure. (The only trick is to know to use a hair dryer to soften up the glue holding the rubber pad on the bottom.)

    I've had a 1st-gen TC for over three years. Its serial number is within the problem range that Apple has published. It's never failed in any way and I've been very happy with it. After 2 1/2 years I needed more space so I replaced the original 500 GB drive with a 2 TB "Green" drive. Was easy to do. (Some might say I put a lower-heat drive in there and that's why mine still works. Maybe. But it lasted around 30 months with the original drive...)

    Well enough about Time Capsules...

    You don't mention a budget, but maybe you want to think about a NAS that plays nicely with Time Machine. After reading about the Synology DS411j here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1117716&highlight=blevins+synology and here: http://www.amazon.com/Synology-DiskStation-Diskless-Attached-DS411J/dp/B0049MPQGS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1307983627&sr=8-1 I've been wanting one for myself! I believe they're advertised as Time Machine compatible.

    I'm not so sure about plugging an external drive into the AEBS for Time Machine use. Reading the posts here, it seems it works for most, but not for everyone. Also, it is officially not recommended / unsupported by Apple -- they say (claim?) "Time Machine can’t back up to an external disk connected to an AirPort Extreme" (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/15139.html) Even if it appears to work OK, do you want to trust your backups to it? Could if some firmware glitch cause some of the data to be unuseable? That'd be worse than an "enclosure failure."

    I think you're on the right track thinking about wireless backup, though, because of the portable computer. I believe it's important that backups take place automatically to eliminate human error. If you have to plug / unplug an external drive to the portable computer all the time, you'll probably stop doing it and backups will happen very infrequently!

    Good luck on whatever you decide.
     
  14. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a

    Matthew9559

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    Apr 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #15
    I would go with a Time Capsule + a separate external HDD. Data redundancy is what you want.

    Time Machine is perfect as it makes incremental backups of everything you do. It works great, can go back and easily grab something you deleted a few days ago via Time Machine.

    Then use the external HDD and make backups of all the documents, photos, etc. etc. you know you would be mad if they went missing.

    I have been using mine for a year now with zero problems. No overheating, psu issues or HDD crashing. I am starting to think Apple Care may be a good thing to look at though if problems do arise. I would think Apple would help to recover any data on a broken Time Capsule. I have no idea though.
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    New England
    #16
    Apple Care is definitely good, when mine failed it was covered by my Mac's Apple Care and I was offered a replacement no questions asked.

    However, Apple's policy protects the hardware, not your data. This raised a real issue for me as the replacement I was offered was "send the dead one to Apple", get one back.

    I have a strict policy that no drive leaves my possession without being wiped or mechanically disabled. Especially, not one that contains a full backup of my system. So I escalated things and ultimately they sent me the replacement and let me keep the dead PSU one. (Since repaired).

    I agree with old-wiz. Time Capsule and Time Machine should be only a part of your backup strategy.

    I must also say that the Time Capsule/Time Machine is by far the easiest backup method to set up and maintain, and recommend it highly for anyone who doesn't already have a well-defined backup strategy.

    B
     
  16. applefan289 macrumors 68000

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    Aug 20, 2010
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    USA
    #17
    Nice avatar. As I'm reading your reply, I almost feel like it's the leopard that's talking.
     

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