Whats the added benefit of a NAS?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mfacey, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. mfacey macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004
    I've been browsing a few online tech stores and looking a various NAS enclosures. They seem to be quite expensive for what they are. I'm wondering what the added benefit of a NAS would compared to for example the USB disk i currently have attached to my airport extreme base station. Anybody care to explain?:confused:
  2. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    It really depends on the NAS device. Many of them are setup in a RAID array, which will offer redundancy over a single HD plugged into your router. Others have software which will allow you to use different functions such as scheduling backups, remote access, etc.

    This Buffalo LinkStation, for example, offers web access, FTP access, iTunes streaming, and can act as a print server, among other stuff. (No, I'm not shilling for Buffalo. I just have one and like it)
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    It can be accessed by any computer on the network (with the proper permissions), it can be set up as an FTP/HTTP server to the outside world, etc.

    Basically, it is a server unto itself, not just a disk volume.
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    USB disks connected through a router tend to be extremely slow. But what you have is effectively already a NAS, it's just limited on features and speed.
  5. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    I don't know if that's true in general.

    A good router with USB disk support could be faster than a cheap, badly implemented NAS. It really depends on what hardware you buy.

    However, in general, I would agree: NAS will be more expensive and offer a faster speeds, but for most home users, that'd be an overkill.

    Also, RAID1 or 5 is IMO for must home users overkill.
    Rather have a second cloud-based backup online.

  6. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I am not aware of any USB router-connected drives that can do more than about 5-7 MegaBytes per second. That's slow. Even a very slow NAS (ie. my software based RAID 5 array running on a PII 350mhz processor) still does 20-30 MegaBytes per second. Modern ones are capable of 100 MegaBytes per second and more.

    RAID should never be considered in lieu of a backup, but it offers other advantages that are worthy of consideration.
  7. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Yup. NAS = Network Attached Storage. The Airport Extreme/Time Capsule is a NAS.

    Just to repeat zhenya's point, a dedicated solution will (generally) give you better throughput (3x or more) and additional features (UPnP streaming, iTunes streaming - audio only-, torrents, etc...) that might allow you to keep your clients off more often.


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