What to buy, Time Capsule, Base Station or Both?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by darkmikey, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. darkmikey macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2008
    New Zealand
    I want to start using time machine with my MacBook 2.4Ghz. I have a small external at the moment but need a much larger one. I'm looking at 1TB. The time capsule has caught my attention because of its wireless and seeing how I only need to do the backups while at home seems like a convenient solution.

    What I want to know is whether the speed is as bad as people are saying on the review site for the hourly backups?

    Should I purchase a Airport Extreme Base Station to replace my Dlink router (I can't stand the thing anyway) and then use a time capsule in my bedroom where I use my macbook mainly to extend the base stations signal? (from a speed point of view)

    Or Should I alternative buy a Airport Extreme Base Station and connect a hard drive to it via usb? (This would save me $400 but I'm happy to pay the extra for a base station + a time capsule if it would improve the speed drastically)

    And on a side note does the airport base stations/time capsules have trouble handling bittorrent (dlink router likes to crash due to the amount of connections)
  2. jlmcclellan macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008

    I'm wondering this very thing myself. Any ideas out there?
  3. Azagar macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2008
    San Francisco
    Don't know why you would wanna buy both, Time capsule is just a Airport Extreme Base Station with a built in hard drive. All spec are pretty much the same. The only downside I see with only having Time capsule is not letting a windows computer over you're network use it as a back up, because I don't think that HDD can be reformatted to FAT32. But I'm not 100% on that.
    Gonna bite the bullet soon and go the extreme base station & external HDD route soon since the rest of my families computers are windows (I know I'm trying to convert them. :D)
    This just sounds like you're choking your upload rate, for my d-link I have to set Transmission's upload to 50 Kb/s or my whole network will suffer slower speeds.
  4. darkmikey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2008
    New Zealand
    I ended up building myself a 1tb external in the end, also with the router crashes, I doubt its having too high a upload rate because we only 128kB/s upload and 7mB/s down
  5. jlmcclellan macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    So is the general idea that it's better to go for the Airport Extreme and attach an external hard drive than to get the Time Capsule?

    Is there any easy way to use the external HDD with Time Machine or does it require some serious mac-knowledge? (I'm still a n00b)
  6. dilbert4life macrumors regular


    Jun 23, 2008
    Bolivia, according to my flag :P
    Go for the Time Capsule if you have the money. It covers both worlds. The biggest benefit, however, of getting the AEBS, is that you can add pretty much unlimited amounts of storage via the USB port.:apple:
  7. SoybeanStasher macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    The Time Capsule certainly looks cool since it's all in one package, but I opted for an AEBS and an external 1TB drive for my Time Machine needs. Much more cost-effective, and it can easily be replaced with a larger drive if/when necessary.
  8. Delray macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2008
    Which 1TB drive did you go with? It seems that every external drive out there gets bad reviews. I was thinking either the G-Tech or Western Digital My Book Studio Edition.
  9. gwihannom macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2008
    For the last couple of weeks, I've been trying this out myself.

    My purpose was to make a shared network drive in my home office. I have recently purchased the new unibody MacBook Pro, but still needed to share files with other Windows PCs in the network.

    I had learned that for this purpose, attaching a NAS (Network Attached Storage) would be faster. So I tried it out with a Maxtor and WD devices, but the performance wasn't impressive.

    I bought an Airport Extreme and attached an USB hard drive to it. You don't have to do any settings, just plug in your USB drive into the AE USB port and you'll see it in your finder window. I think this was the simplest idea, but the speed was variable since it was connected via USB.

    My last test/decision was Time Capsule. You can use it for my purpose or if you don't need to share files, just set it up with the Time Machine and you can pretty much forget about it.

    Since Time Capsule also works as a wireless router, it replaced my Linksys router. The Wireless-N speed seemed a little faster, although it wasn't a huge speed bump from my Linksys Wireless N router.

    Transfer rate, depending on the size of your location and where the Time Capsule is, can vary. If I were to transfer files from downstairs to upstairs where TC is located, I would get a mere 3~4MBPS even under network Wireless-N. If I'm in the same room with TC, the speed is at around 6~7MBPS.

    TC is pretty much a few equipments rolled into one. A network hard drive, back-up machine, router, etc. The design looks nice and it's very easy to set up.
    BUT it is an overkill. I use it and I'm happy with it to a certain degree. It can backup and be used as a NAS. But considering the price of TC is 299 and 499, it's overpriced. The performance level is not what you would imagine. It won't "FLY," just kinda "FLOAT."
    It's fairly a new technology so trying it out for yourself wouldn't hurt.
  10. darkmikey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2008
    New Zealand
    I went with a Seagate 1TB 7200rpm 32MB SATAII Hard Drive (3.5") and a Welland 3.5" SATA enclosure. Then when I got them I simply screwed it together and saved about $200 (NZ, we have crappy deals)
  11. JoeBIII macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2008
    I've had the same consideration

    An additional question I have... wouldn't the performance of throughput to the hard drive be much faster in the TC vs Airport Extreme + external hard drive due to the fact that the drive connection on the AEBS is limited to the throughput performance of USB 2.0? I would assume that the internal drive access of the TC would be much more efficient in that capacity. Has anyone given that detail thought? Wouldn't the USB connectivity of the AEBS external drive bottleneck the throughput to be well under the gibabit connectivity (if utilizing wired network connection)?

    I can understand with the 802.11n, this may be less of a hindrance. But with full 1000 mbs via a wired network solution for for the desktop and TC, wouldn't that open the door to much better performance of the TC SATA read/write speeds?
  12. wizzracer macrumors 6502


    Sep 17, 2007
    Dallas, Texas
    When you add up the cost of a Router and Ext-HD the price right. The cost of a Router is around $120.00US then add a Ext HD 500gig cost is around $150.00, Total cost is $270.00~290.00, Throw in the software cost and your even or ahead.

    To get the fastest speed use the cable. One reason they tell you to on your first back-up. You can add storage as needed via the USB ports.

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