What would you do? Extra ssd space or time capsule for $500

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Soulweaponry, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Soulweaponry macrumors 6502

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    Mar 13, 2010
    #1
    Getting ready to order retina MacBook and am trying to decide how important the internal storage is. I could either get the base retina with extra ram and a 3tb time capsule to backup the big stuff, or for the same price get an extra 256 gb to have a total of 500 on my ssd. I'm leaning towards the base Mac with 256 and time capsule. Lots more space for the same price AND its a backup.

    So to put it simply:

    Retina base Mac with ram and ssd upgrade 16 and 500 gig= 2900

    Or retina base Mac with ram and no ssd upgrade 16 gig and 256 plus 3tb time capsule=2900

    But I'm really not asking you to choose for me. I'm asking what you would do. What do you think? Put in the same situation, what would you choose? Doesn't matter if you have a retina or not. All opinions welcome
     
  2. Epic Xbox Revie macrumors 6502a

    Epic Xbox Revie

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    #2
    I'd go with the Time Capsule, or perhaps some other external drive.
     
  3. kylera macrumors 65816

    kylera

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    #3
    I would just take the upgrades and not opt for TC.
     
  4. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #4
    I love my Time Capsule, it's nice to have the 'don't have to think about it' backup option. I use it just for backups though, I store my extra files on a NAS. I have an old PC, stuck a couple 2TB hard drives in it, and I'm running FreeNAS, which is a unix based NAS server. I get lots of upgradable storage that way. FreeNAS supports AFP and broadcasting as a Time Machine backup source, so it can be used for that. Food for thought.

    Also, worth mentioning; OWC has a 480GB SSD for around $600, you get a bit more storage for a bit less money that way instead of going through Apple. Just be aware that if you go the Time Capsule route as network storage, I'm only getting about 60MB/s read speeds to ANY of my computers over ethernet (Wi-Fi is of course, much slower. Rarely can you get anywhere NEAR the theoretical speeds of even wireless N due to packet loss and overhead). Contrastly, my NAS reads at about 115MB/s, virtually saturating gigabit ethernet. The NAS is connected to the time capsule (it's my router, after all), so the Time Capsule is capable of handling full gigabit (some routers are 'gigabit compatible' but are not actually capable of hitting a full 1000mbps), but it's internal hardware just isn't capable of a lot of speed. So just keep that in mind, that connected via ethernet you'll only be operating at about half the speed of an internal spinning drive. Over Wi-Fi expect to be much, much slower. It's okay for archival purposes or for Time Machine backups (Time machine goes on in the background so if it's slow it doesn't bother me), but probably not great as an external storage medium, it just doesn't have the speed.
     
  5. swerve147, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    swerve147

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    #5
  6. Soulweaponry thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    That's insane. I'd be saving hundreds getting that and I'd get a small processor boost too. Something to think about. Never even considered refurbished. Don't know how I'd feel knowing someone owned my computer before me. I never buy used stuff. Someone might have jizzed all over the MacBook before I got it for all I know.


    Never had a time capsule, but I'm super excited about it. It's not just for backups through time machine right? Like I could open the drive wirelessly and backup folders and stuff right? All I gotta figure out now is how to effectively back up iTunes movies without keeping them on my MacBook disk. I just started buying movies and DAMN. I already have about 100 gigs worth of movies.

    I'm hoping if I upgrade the ssd in say...2 years the capacities are way up and prices are way down.seems like the prices on these things are going down so slow
     
  7. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    swerve147

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    #7
    I've purchased 2 refurbished rMBPs from the Apple store, a base and midrange (which replaced it) and they were both without physical flaw -- no scratches, dents, dings etc. I think (don't quote me) when Apple refurbs their machines they swap out everything but the internals, so there is no external trace of previous ownership. I can't speak for other places like Best Buy.

    In fact the Apple refurbs I've purchased both had Samsung screens. It seems like during the recondition process they're given a good once or twice over, and are tested thoroughly. Additionally my refurbs came from a service center in PA, so it's even more comforting that US techs probably took a look at it, instead of it coming directly off the line at Foxconn (or wherever they're made overseas). And finally they're covered by the same warranty as new.

    Overall they really look and operate like new, you just don't get the fancy new packaging (you do get a new microfiber cloth :)). TBH I probably would never have bought a MBP if it wasn't for the discount on the refurb, Apple's pricing for new is a little overpriced in my opinion.
     
  8. el-John-o, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #8
    An Apple refurb isn't as simple as Apple taking the machine and sticking it in a new box. They are completely gone-over, ANY defective or visibly worn parts are replaced. They'll even replaced pieces that are scratched. They have the same warranty, and are carefully gone-over. I would have NO reservations about buying a refurb. For example, the iPad and iPhone refurbs get the entire outer shell and battery replaced, leaving just the display (sometimes, unless it's not flawless) and the logic board. Practically new for lots less!


    Yep, absolutely. The Time Capsule will show up like any other drive in the finder (down with the network drives). When you open it up, you'll find what looks like a disk image file with the name of the machine you're backing up with Time Machine. The rest of the drive is yours to play with, you can back up or store any files you want, including your iTunes library if you want. I believe there is also a way to limit the amount of space Time Machine will use on a drive. (Time machine doesn't delete old backups until the disk is full, so even if you only are using, say, 150 gigs of space, you can still fill up a 3TB drive with backups)

    Just be aware that accessing the Time Capsule over Wi-Fi will be sllloooowwwww. Wi-Fi sounds fast, at 450mbps max for 5GHz wireless N like the Time Capsule supports, but it won't hit that, not even close. There's a ton of overhead, packet loss, etc. You'll be super lucky to hit 20MB/s, you'll be more likely to hit 11-15MB/s in each direction (works out to be about 120mbps). On ethernet, though, you'll hit closer to 60MB/s, roughly half the speed the internal drive is actually capable of. Still slow, but much better.

    Just a 'heads up' anyway. If you have your iTunes library stored on the Time Capsule, for example, you'll get buffering and stuttering when streaming any uncompressed video (compressed video, though, won't be an issue). You'll be able to stream your music just fine, but syncing with an iPod or iPhone and adding a bunch of music to those devices will be time consuming. Transferring videos and such to those devices will also be time consuming. I recommend finding a spot in your home where you can run ethernet. In my house, my Time Capsule is on a shelf in the back of my home office. I run a 50ft ethernet cable (you can get them cheap online) around the baseboards to the other side, where my desk is. Then a cheap ($15) gigabit switch sits on that desk, and a short ethernet cable lets me plug in my MBP, and another ethernet cable plugs in to my desktop PC. Then if you need to perform a more intense task (like syncing a device to your Time Capsule stored iTunes library, performing the initial Time Machine backup, or copying that 100GB video library over for the first time), you can save yourself a TON of time.

    Also, quick tip, when you get your time capsule, make sure to go to spotlight settings, click on the privacy tab, and add the Time Capsule disk to the list so spotlight doesn't index it. For whatever reason, spotlight slows Time Capsule waaayyy down. Lots of people complain about it, but that's usually the solution right there.

    Edit: The only reason I use the Time Capsule exclusively for backups is because I also have the NAS. The NAS for me was zero cost because I had some drives and I had this old desktop PC. Once configured, it's almost twice as fast over ethernet as my Time Capsule. So I use that to store most of my files, and just do backups to the time capsule.

    If you're concerned about backups, by the way, it's not a real backup unless you've got a copy off site! What if your house burns down or someone breaks in and steals your computer AND your time capsule? I use an online storage solution (CrashPlan), others put their most important files, or even a backup using Time Machine, onto an external hard drive every couple weeks, and put that hard drive in a safety deposit box, or a desk drawer at work, or SOMEWHERE where it's safe and not in the same building as the PC/Time Capsule/etc. The reason I use BOTH however, is because in the event my computer hard drive fails, it would take weeks to download all of my files off of the internet via CrashPlan. That is strictly a 'all the crap hit the fan' solution. It's much much faster to plug into ethernet and restore from a Time Capsule, or my NAS. HOWEVER, again, if I lose all of that (and it has happened!) I always have the option of restoring from the internet. Several years ago my house was hit with lightning, and it trashed EVERYTHING. Even stuff behind high-end surge protectors. TV's, sound systems, you name it. Also, nearly all computers (even a laptop) were destroyed, and I was only able to salvage files from ONE hard drive, the rest were toast. Ever since then I've had an off-site backup (back then it was burning files to a DVD once a month and sticking them at work or something, but not with decent broadband speeds and lower costs for online storage, I use CrashPlan). It's worth it! Homeowners insurance replaced all the hardware and I got to go on a crazy electronics store shopping spree, but no insurance can replace the data!
     
  9. Mac Write macrumors member

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    Vancouver British Columbia
    #9
    Time Capsule is a waste of money, unless you really want the space savings.

    Get an Airport Extreme and use any USB external Hard Drive. Plug it into the Airport Extreme, format it for Mac and Vella it will appear in Time Machine list as a Time Machine drive. Cost of a USB3 External 3TB HD under $150.
     
  10. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #10
    That's true, but the Airport extreme doesn't support USB 3.0 so over ethernet, you'll take a pretty significant performance hit. (Wi-Fi is such a bottleneck you won't notice so if you plan on using it over Wireless that's fine). That's the reason I went with the Time Capsule. Price wise, it's pretty on-par for what you'll pay for a 3TB NAS, but you get the advantage of it having a pretty good N router built in. Over ethernet, I get pretty decent speeds, (though they could be better).

    Theoretically, USB 2.0 supports about 60MB/s. However, USB 2.0 has too much overhead to ever hit that (it's why you can transfer files in sustained throughput much faster over FW400 than 480mbps USB 2.0, sometimes nearly twice as fast, despite it being 'slower' theoretically). If I plug a USB drive into my Time Capsule (which is an Airport Extreme on the inside) I see speeds of around 30-35MB/s, quite a bit slower (about half) than the speed I can access the internal drive with. I took the drive OUT of that same enclosure and stuck it in my NAS (where it lives now) and access it at over 100MB/s.

    However, even at 30MB/s that's faster than what you'll probably get sustained over Wi-Fi, even Wireless N. So if you plan on exclusively using it wirelessly, then there's no real performance advantage.
     
  11. Mac Write macrumors member

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    Vancouver British Columbia
    #11
    I know it's USB2. How fast is the Time Capsule drive though? I use a Drobo FS for my backups.

    Just trying to help the OP save money also.
     
  12. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #12
    RE: USB3 mobile and...

    Hi guys and gals,

    I just want to make a couple of remarks...as to what I would do.

    I'd upgrade the RAM and SSD (Apple=expensive or third-party=cheaper) and get a tiny mobile USB powered USB3.0 2TB WD drive (small, relatively inexpensive, portable, >100MB/s R/W) partitioned into two 1TB partitions, one for TM backups and one for other storage, say for data or videos or music. Then switch off the local TM snapshots using:

    Code:
    sudo tmutil disablelocal
    and connect the USB3 drive whenever you are home or need it on the road. This gives you a faster external drive (>100MB/s R/W) as well as TM backups whether you are home or on the road.

    I suspect that 802.11ac is on the horizon for the TC, and it should make backing up to the TC wirelessly so much faster once everything is 802.11ac. Personally, I'd wait for an 802.11ac TC. And yes, I do love the TC for TM backups too. In fact, I do precisely this, I alternate three TM backups, one wired to a USB3 2TB WD MyPassport, one wirelessly to the TC's internal drive, and one wirelessly to a USB2 external drive attached to the TC via USB2. This way I have a redundant TM backup at the office as well as a mobile TM backup when I'm on the road.

    ...just a different opinion and usage...

    Regards,
    Switon
     
  13. NewishMacGuy, Jan 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013

    NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a

    NewishMacGuy

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    Aug 2, 2007
    #13
    Like many things Apple, the Time Capsule is better executed aftermarket:

    Airport Extreme + 3TB Hard Drive = $300 on Amazon

    Is having the two combined in one box (and thus also limiting upgradeability & configurability) worth $200?

    The USB2 performance difference will be irrelevant once the first backup is done. And for that 1st backup you'll be wanting to connect the computer to the AE via ethernet anyway.





    ___
     
  14. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #14
    In my experience, the internal drive is 2-3 times faster than a USB 2.0 drive. Remember the theoretical MAX of a USB 2.0 drive (which it'll never reach) is 480mbps. Wheras the internal drive can communicate at Gigabit speeds.

    That's over ethernet though. Wi-Fi is so slow with so much overhead, that it won't matter. Both drives will be slow.
     
  15. Soulweaponry thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Can i first just say: damn? Your post was exactly the answer i was looking to get but didn't expect to actually receive. It's people like you, who take the time to write long posts and actually explain things, that are such a value to communities like this one. You are amazing. I just wanted to say that. Can i put you on my speed dial so i can ask you questions whenever i want? :D

    I was going to write down here what i ended up choosing, but i thought i'd make a new thread just to let everyone know my decision making based on it. And you helped me with that. Thanks alot man. I'll be getting a 2 tb time capsule soon, so all i need to figure out is how to partition it so my backups don't take up the whole damn thing
     
  16. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Well thanks!

    Just giving back. I ask more questions than I answer I think, so it helps to give back :p

    Let me do a little digging with my Time Capsule and see if I can't figure out how to do it. I know there's a way I've just never had a need to...
     
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #17
    On a side note I disagree that Time Machine is not a "real" backup. I wouldn't rely on it as a sole backup source (I clone to an external drive that I leave in a different location at least monthly), but it has come in handy for me personally on two occasions, most recently late December after I lost my MacBook Air while traveling. My cloned drive was about 2-3 weeks old at that point, and while I restored from that first (lest my Time Machine restore take upward of 15 hours over Wi-Fi), I ultimately did restore from my Time Machine backup when I got my replacement rMBP. Time Machine completed its last backup the morning I headed to the airport, so apart from the hassle of getting a new machine and restoring it was almost as if I never lost the old one.

    The most useful backup is the one you actually have. Most people aren't going to go through the hassle of backing up to an external drive regularly. Time Machine over a Time Capsule or Airport-connected drive is a set-it-and-forget-it routine. That's far better than nothing.
     
  18. kensic macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2013
    #18
    spend the money on the bigger SSD.

    in reality. the SSD will be alot more useful. when u have 500 gb of ssd...thats alot of space no need for making back ups.
     
  19. el-John-o, Feb 2, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Absolutely there's a need to make backups. Hard drives, even SSD's, DO fail. All the time. Computers get stolen, floods happen, houses burn down. If there's anything important on your machine, are you prepared to lose it forever? A backup is not a way to temporarily offload files you aren't using, it should be used by anyone who has anything they'd rather not lose on their machine.

    Well, what I was referring to, is that one shouldn't feel 'secure' with a backup that doesn't include an offsite backup. Whether that's an external drive stored elsewhere, or a cloud based solution. Natural disasters, theft, etc. They can all take out both your MBP AND your Time Capsule at the same time.

    Local backups (a NAS, Time Capsule, etc.) have the advantage of speed. If a hard drive fails, you can restore from a local backup quickly. However, it is just as vulnerable as the host machine in the cases of natural disaster. Off-site backups are slow and can be inconvenient, but they are not 'as vulnerable' as they are in another location!

    Not everyone has the time/energy for something like that, but I always mention it when the situation arises. Some people don't really think about it or realize how important it is. Several years ago I had lightning strike my home so bad it blew through even some high-dollar home theater surge protectors, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment. It's certainly possible that if that same thing happened now, I would lose my Time Capsule, my NAS, and maybe even my MBP if it was plugged in. Certainly would be glad I have my offsite backup them! I use a cloud backup, so it'll take a week or more to restore, but it's better than having nothing at all! BUT, in the more likely event that I simply have hardware failure, I'll be able to quickly restore over ethernet to my Time Capsule.

    So I guess, what I was trying to say was, A Time Capsule is indeed A backup. However, I would not consider a computer 'backed up' unless at least one copy was offsite. At least a copy of the most crucial data (the OS and applications can always be reinstalled, etc.) Though an on-site backup is better than nothing for sure. It amazes me how many people have no backup AT ALL and have lots of important information on there. iTunes library, family photos, documents, etc. All on ONE single drive, totally unprepared should it fail! At least folks who are using a Time Capsule or similar will have a backup in the event of a hardware failure. (Though again, if at all possible, an off-site backup is really important.) These days off site backups are getting cheaper and cheaper too, through cloud backups. For around $5 a month you can backup unlimited files to CrashPlan. Their backup software will automatically backup your computer just like Time Machine, only it'll back it up to servers in a datacenter (encrypted). That's what I use, personally. I have an old laptop running Ubuntu Server that acts as a 'crashplan server' that aggregates data from my NAS and backs up my computers. One feature of CrashPlan is that you can backup all of your machines to one machine, and that one machine can backup to the cloud. (With CrashPlan, you can only backup one machine per account, but you can backup as many machines to that one machine as you want and they even include the software to do it!)
     
  20. kensic macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2013
    #20
    wow computer stolen, floods, house burn down.....then might as well not go outside and live in a plastic ball because there's gems around us.

    ----------

    you certainly don't need 3 tb of backup....just get a 1tb external hard drive from somewhere for 50$.
     
  21. el-John-o, Feb 2, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Hard Disks fail at a rate of 7% of year and thousands of homes are destroyed every year. Hey, if nothing on your machine is important than fine. You can re-install the OS and all of your applications probably just as quickly as I can restore a backup. But there's a lot of stuff I can't replace. So I have a backup, and I keep my money in a bank instead of a pillowcase, I know where the nearest hospital is, and I wear my seatbelt, and a helmet when I ride my motorcycle. Cuz.. stuff DOES sometimes happen, and you can either be prepared or be sorry!

    It amazes me though how many people think backups are 'silly'. Until of course, it happens to them, and they've lost an important document, family photos, their music library, etc.

    BTW, OP;

    Once you get your Time Capsule and do the initial backup, mount the image file that contains your backup. (My Time Capsule disk is named Data, so for me it's Time Capsule -> Data -> John's MacBook Pro). Then go into disk utility (it may hang or take a while to open, just wait) then click on the image, which in my case is called 'John's MacBook Pro.sparsebundle'. Click on the partition tab, and resize the partition to whatever you want. Say, 1TB. You don't need to make any other partitions. It LOOKS like that'll leave unpartitioned space, but all it's actually doing is restricting the size of the backup image. So if you resize it to 1TB, Time Machine will start deleting old backups when it hits 1TB instead of continuing to fill the drive, so you can use the remaining 2TB for whatever other file storage you need.

    To those saying he should get a bigger internal; 1) Read up, he already made his purchase and 2) That works if he doesn't have alot of content! I have a lot of stuff stored on a NAS that would never fit on my 500GB SSD. Nor do I need to cart it around with me. DSLR images, ripped DVD's and Blu-Rays that I stream to a set top box in the living room, etc. There are LOTS of people who need 3TB+ of storage!

    Another thing that amazes me on MacRumors is how many people need nothing more than an iPad yet are buying really expensive Apple computers and acting like there's just no need for those of us that have more powerful hardware. 'Who needs 16GB of RAM' 'who needs 2TB of storage' etc. Well, some do, not everyone! Try running multiple VM's with 4 gigs of RAM, or try storing thousands of high resolution DSLR RAW files, and a SECOND volume of modified/editied RAW files, lightroom library files, etc. on a 500GB SSD!
     

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