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hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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1,164
Hi, for file sharing and backup among Windows, iOS, Linux and Mac systems, what is the difference between using a SMB configured Mac with external storages vs a NAS? What are the pros and cons for each approach? I am the only one using the systems and I don’t intend to access the files from outside home via the internet.

 

dimme

macrumors 68030
Feb 14, 2007
2,963
26,321
SF, CA
IMHO the Mac is more flexible and easier to backup. Also better at running docker and VMs apps. It can end up costing more but that depends if your are recycling old systems or not. I have a 2012 mini happy running chairs to Macs, Windows, Linux and iOS devices. I have to admit a NAS is a cleaner setup, as far as wires etc. But why toss out perfectly good stuff if you can repurpose it.
 

hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
7,679
1,164
My MBP 2010 17" is retired. Even I take it out, it has only old interface ports.
 
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Kgeee

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2013
30
13
The main difference is the NAS has built-in SATA slots for multiple hard drives. This means it can run some sort of RAID setup for both speed and redundancy. It can also lose a disk without any data loss, and achieve much greater read and write speeds than one (external) drive can provide.

Using a mac, you would also need an external raid array. Something like the TerraMaster D5-300C. Or use a Mac Pro with internal SATA slots. Or you could use multiple external drives using macOS software raid.

If you don't need RAID storage, I don't see a lot of use cases where the mac that won't suffice.
 
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dimme

macrumors 68030
Feb 14, 2007
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SF, CA
At the risk of sounding like a luddite, I think too often users put too much trust in their RAID systems. At the least a good 3-2-1 backup system is a must in my option.
 
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Kgeee

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2013
30
13
Th
I don’t need nor want RAID.
Then there's really no point in buying a NAS. I am using a Mac Mini for file sharing and as a TimeMachine target. It works very well. I've added a 10 GbE interface, and get full speed all day long.

You can use TailScale if you'd like access to your files from the outside at a later point. You don't need to punch holes through your firewall. It's zero-config and secure.
 
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satcomer

Suspended
Feb 19, 2008
9,115
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The Finger Lakes Region
I don’t need nor want RAID.
Most NAS use newer old Raid as backup and they go with the newer raid 10+! This way a user can use any size of disks in slot of the NAS! That was bane of old rational NAS boxes and some manufacture buy their brand of disk, all from same vendor they arrive (and give these manufacturer a kick back)! I know the smart NAS maker Synology Forrest Linux with the new 10*+ raid they call their own name that use that 10+! So keep your old ways out of smart NAS boxes if your so sacred!
 

evbartl

macrumors newbie
Mar 20, 2020
26
3
I've got this setup and working at home, but now I want to access those files when Im traveling (I'm creating youtube videos, and sometimes i need access to old video files).

How would I use tailscale to do this? Isnt that just screen sharing?
 

ozaz

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2011
1,558
496
I'm also considering whether to get a dedicated NAS or whether to just use a regular computer (such as a Mac Mini) for a 24/7 file server and backup target. Something not mentioned in this thread is power consumption. I'm assuming NAS devices have much lower power consumption than devices like Mac Mini, particularly if external storage devices need to be added to the Mac Mini. Is this fair?

@hajime what did you end up going with?
 

hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
7,679
1,164
I got a NAS but it was defective so returned it. Replaced Mac Mini several times as this model has wifi/bluetooth issues and Silicon Mac cannot recognize multi-display correctly. So just an external drive for backup for the time being until something better is available.
 
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dimme

macrumors 68030
Feb 14, 2007
2,963
26,321
SF, CA
I'm also considering whether to get a dedicated NAS or whether to just use a regular computer (such as a Mac Mini) for a 24/7 file server and backup target. Something not mentioned in this thread is power consumption. I'm assuming NAS devices have much lower power consumption than devices like Mac Mini, particularly if external storage devices need to be added to the Mac Mini. Is this fair?

@hajime what did you end up going with?
From my research an M1 Mac mini and a NAS with the same amount of drives consume about the same amount of power.
 
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