Which high capacity drive do you recommend? Should I get NAS?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hajime, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. hajime, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    hajime macrumors 68030

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    #1
    Hello, got about 10 old hard drives (Windows and Mac) which I need to consolidate. Is there any high capacity drive that can back up files of both OS? Is it better to buy one specifically for Mac and one specifically for Windows?

    Shall I buy a normal HD or a NAS? In the case of normal HD, anybody has experience with Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drives 4TB, Expansion Portable HD 4TB and Backup Plus Fast Portable Drive 4TB?

    In the case of NAS, which one do you recommend? I remember that four years ago, many people recommended products from Synology.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    Any drive formatted in FAT32 will be read/write compatible with Windows and OS X.

    A NAS is only really necessary if you need it to be attached to a network and accessible by any computer on the network without plugging/unplugging anything routinely. If you're only ever connecting to one hardware device, then a simple USB drive would do the job for much less money. Or, if your router supports it, plug a USB drive into it and it will function more or less like a NAS.

    I use a Buffalo NAS and it has served me well.
     
  3. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    I recall that many years ago, when I drag and drop files from Windows PC to an external drive, sometimes things did not work out due to long file names. Any comment on that? I think it was when I installed linux on my PC or Mac.
     
  4. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #4
    A nas will help because it is shared over the network and the filesystem is irrelevant as far as the client OS is concerned.

    I built my own NAS with FreeNAS, i think its better than the NAS boxes you buy if you're a little technical as you can scale it anywhere from 1-2 drives to hundreds of drives if required by upgrading the hardware.
     
  5. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Don't format your drive to FAT32 since it is an old file system. It has limitations on how big a file can be (4GB max) and filename length.
     
  6. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #6
    As mentioned, a NAS has the advantage in that it will be able to serve both Mac and Windows clients from the same file system. There is a slight bit more overhead in maintaining one, however, and a bit of a premium on initial purchase.

    If your space needs are more modest, it may be slightly cheaper and convenient to just purchase two separate drives for each device. Even 4TB external drives are quite cheap these days.
     
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #7
    You could certainly back up files to a NAS but need to remember that a NAS is subject to its own set of failure issues. How much data are you talking about backing up?

    Naturally, the easiest solution are dedicated external drives for each computer via USB3, eSATA or Thunderbolt. These take the least amount of time with good drives while a NAS is limited based on Ethernet standards and the NAS hardware.

    I use both NAS and DAS (directly attached storage via typical drives and connected via USB3).
     
  8. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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  9. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Then what format should I use?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 25, 2016 ---
    Just curious. How does it work? Which file system should I use?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 25, 2016 ---
    Maybe under US$350?
     
  10. LiveM, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

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    #10
    You can get a big drive and partition it with two different formats I believe, but not with Disk Utility unless one of those formats is universal (slow).

    You can get software to write to Windows disks, which comes with certain drives, but it's just going to slow things down and may not work after an update. I ended up abandoning that.

    A normal HD is far more flexible. I have similar drives.

    The Backup Plus Portable is essentially the same as the Expansion Portable. There is some backup software included in the Backup range which is good for Windows but not useable for Mac since there is Time Machine.

    The Backup Fast is great but not that useful unless you have two of them. It will allow the disk to copy your other drives as fast as they can be read from source, and is even faster if you get a second one and back up the first.

    If you were using Adobe Premiere or some other video editor that runs off the native files, the speed would also be great. Personally I prefer Final Cut Pro X by miles and that uses proxy files to run as smooth as silk off a standard USB 3 drive.

    So I have gone for more capacity over faster speeds. I have the LaCie 8TB Porsche Design USB 3 drive, a 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Desktop and several 2TB Seagate Backup Plus Portables, a 2TB WD My Passport, a Seagate Expansion Portable, a WD My Book, a couple of My Books Live NAS drive, and a WD MyCloud NAS. Like you, I have a bunch of other older drives which I keep for family or office use.

    Unless you get a pro NAS like Synology it will be FAT32 and slow as a dog. The same speed issue will apply if you use a Time Capsule or connect a USB drive to a router.
    NAS drives have ethernet ports and connect to routers via Cat 5 cable or better. The cable is fast but the processor on the drive, the format of the drive, or the router in the case of USB-attached drives, is the bottleneck.

    Get a couple of LaCie Porsche Design 5TB. I went for 8TB which Apple doesn't sell.

    It's $30 more than 4TB and looks great next to a Mac. The Windows version is cheaper and has a darker finish, like a brushed metal Space Grey. Inside it's the same.
     
  11. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    For 350, you won't get a decent NAS. More a "disk with ethernet" type of thing.
    No problem, if the data itself is worthless and basically consists of movies that you're not going to watch a 2nd time anyway.
    If there's "real" data (documents, images) that hold a real or intangible value, then I'd strongly recommend getting something worth its money.
     
  12. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    One option is to buy a SATA drive dock (StarTech makes some great ones), then buy one or more quality HDDs (WD 6TB Black is a good deal for a quality drive). Then, use disk utility to partition the drive into as many partitions as you need. And lastly, connect the drive to each native OS and format the partitions with the appropriate filesystems (OS OS X Extended for Mac, NTFS for Win, exFAT for a cross-OS possibility).
     
  13. kohlson macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Essentially any drive ill work, formatted to ExFAT, which Disk Utility can do for you. In my admittedly non-comprehensive testing, write speeds through USB3 are essentially the same as when formatted to OS X Extended. For an SSD, about 300MBs Write. Hard drives are notorious for have bad models, but the best indication for longevity - if there is one - is warranty. Read the specs on what each manufacturer publishes for its drives. NAS, for example, are meant to be 24x7x365, but may be noisier.
     
  14. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #14
    Well the issue you have with external drives is that you need to plug them in to back up. I use both my NAS and drives, the drives are for OFF SITE backup, but the NAS just sits there and my mac backs up to it without me doing anything whenever i am on AC power.

    I don't care that it might take a little longer because it is limited to wifi or ethernet speed because I'm not sitting there with an external drive plugged in waiting for it, and having to remember to plug in, like i would be if relying solely on external drives.
     
  15. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #15
    For what you want op a wd mycloud device would do the trick. Get the two bay version with two drives so you have redundancy.

    If you want to spend more then the qnap 253 series is a nice starter NAS.
     
  16. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #16
    I built a NAS for about $400. It runs XPEnology (open source implementation of Synology). My build has 8 hot swap bays, is powerful enough to run Plex server and stream 1080p movies to my Apple TV 4, and has transfer rates of ~110MB/s read and write.

    $200.00 - ASRock C2550D4I motherboard/CPU
    $150.00 - Silverstone DS380 enclosure with 8 hot swap bays
    $ 50.00 - Silverstone SFX ST30SF 300W power supply
    ----------
    $400.00

    I had spare RAM from my Mac Pro that I stuck in there, you will need to factor in RAM cost if you don't have any spares.

    If you want to get elaborate, you can add 10GbE and get at least ~300MB/s writes and ~800MB/s reads. Speeds will depend on the types of drives you have. I have seen much better speeds than what I am getting (I'm using Archive drives which are notorious for poor performance). I got 10GbE cards for my NAS, my Mac Pro, and 10GbE cable all for under $90.

    Advantages of my NAS build:
    1. Filename length will not be a problem.
    2. You can mix and match different drive sizes.
    3. Capacity can be expanded by replacing smaller drives with larger ones when needed.
    4. Can have single or dual disk redundancy to protect against hard drive failures and you won't lose any data.
    5. Run other applications such as Plex server or Download Station.
    6. Can be accessed by multiple computers and/or devices at the same time.
    7. Much less expensive than buying a retail prebuilt NAS.

    Disadvantages of single drive solutions:
    1. You will have drives and cables all over the place.
    2. Transfer rates will be limited to the bus you use to attach the drives or the speed of the drives themselves.
    3. No redundancy. If/when the drives die, your data is gone. (This is a very important one!)

    I can't believe no one else has brought up redundancy as a major benefit of NAS. Redundancy has helped save my behind many times over the years.
     
  17. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #17
    I have several low capacity drives as TimeMachine backup drives for several Mac. Will there be a problem if I just copy these TM images to one larger, say 4-5TB drive? Shall I just manually drag and drop these images from their original drives to the new drive?

    I guess I get two large drives. One for windows and one for MAC. I recall that sometimes just drag and drop files from Windows to a backup drive do not work. For example, the OS complains about long filenames, etc. What is the best way to move the files (Windows) to a larger 4-5TB Windows drive?
     
  18. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #18
    Avoid anything with "Backup" in its name. You want a simple hard drive that stores data, nothing else. Your Mac can do the rest, like backups etc. Many manufacturers try to sell you a drive with additional software at additional cost that in the best case does nothing useful, and in the worst case prevents your Mac from working as it should.
     
  19. McScooby macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Got loads of them, the most recent ones Back Up 4TB Portables are very sturdy metal casings, although prob the worst one I've got is the desk version backup (6TB), very flimsy plastic & connector that looks like it easily breaks (few -ve things on line about it already). IIRC, avoid the cheaper Expansion Seagate drives, they don't play well with Mac, if at all.

    Nowt wrong with the back-up thing especially on Seagates, I just buy them & re-format, sure you can use the software it comes with, the NTFS driver for mac, I had a bad experience with translators in the past, so personally I'd just erase & reformat using ex-fat so windows & mac can use it & be capable of file size over 4GB.
     
  20. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #20
    Does TimeMachine keep track of which drive I used to backup which Mac? For example, if I used TM to backup Mac1 using drive1, backup Mac2 using drive2, backup Mac2 again using drive3, backup Mac4 using drive 4. If I just drag and drop all the files in these drives to one big 4/5T drive, will I mess up everything in case I need to restore the backukps?
     
  21. McScooby macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Yeah, it does, when you plug a disk in for the 1st time it asks you if you want to use it & remembers it. Can't speak for using multiple drives with different back ups, but I suspect it would throw a wobbly if you tried to re back up out of kilter i.e run an existing backup of mac 2 on drive 2 after you'd done it to drive 3, it'd prob say it's corrupted/can't be used & force you to start over with a fresh back up. I wouldn't see the scenario that'd happen tho as a back-up can co-exist with other data i.e. films/music just like you'd store on the drive, time machine only uses however much space is available so no need to split between drives, you could prob even have a drive with 2 separate back-ups for 2 separate macs.
     
  22. arggg14 macrumors 6502a

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  23. 960design macrumors 68000

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    #23
    I have had a 3T for about 2 years. Still haven't filled it up.
     
  24. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #24
    I am worrying that I would make things out...
     
  25. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

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    #25
    Far, far too slow. OP is looking at 5Gb/s devices.
     

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