Which is better for a college student?:Time Capsule or Regular USB Hard drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KingMo, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. KingMo macrumors member

    May 27, 2010
    I am debating whether I should invest in the Time Capsule or a regular hard drive to back up the data on my laptop, since I have nothing backed up anywhere else.

    I know that the Time Capsule has its additional features but which do you think would be most efficient to be used in a college dorm?
  2. ryNze macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2011
    If you have the money to spare, go for the time capsule. I personally haven't used one before but it looks really nice.

    I personally got a USB one cause its much more convenient and it is easier for me to share files, etc. with my other friends who happen to have Windows.
  3. harmonica01 macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2007
    Im preferential towards basic external HD, what you should be more concerned with is what software backup you intend to use. I suggest Carbon Copy Cloner since it's free and has a pretty easy UI.
  4. KingMo thread starter macrumors member

    May 27, 2010
    Ok thanks. I think I may go with the regular Hard Drive but I'm also concerned about how the software is going to get backed up as well.
    Does the Time Machine also backup software?

    Cool...what exactly is Carbon Copy Cloner?
  5. harmonica01 macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2007

    It speaks for itself, it does the same that time machine does but more efficiently with encryption and stuffing. And then also keeps cloned folders of your HD that change themselves with each backup.

    When you need to use it to restore to a new HD, just boot up and download it again as it's free
  6. KingMo thread starter macrumors member

    May 27, 2010
    Ok, thanks a lot.
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i use a combination of sugarsync (60gb plan) + multiple 1tb hard drives (one time machine and three for archiving material). why so much?

    i have a lot of data that i have collected for my research, and losing it through fire, theft, or damage would be a major blow. the time and money i put into collecting it represents years of effort.

    1. sugarsync holds the crucial data + stuff i am working on this minute. if everything went bad for me here, i could still get by with the stuff i have backed up online.
    2. the time machine hangs out in the office and backs up things every day. i just plug it in when i arrive.
    3. one archived drive is in my bag. it carries all of the stuff that won't fit on my computer's hard drive.
    4. one archived drive is in my office. i copy files over from the one in my bag every few days to keep it up to date.
    5. one archived drive is at home. i copy files over from the one in my bag every few days to keep it up to date.

    yes, doing it this way is about 150 dollars more expensive than the time capsule. and, it certainly takes more effort. but, i think the key is to have backups in multiple physical locations. if my house burns down tomorrow (our neighbor lost everything last winter), i am ok. if my office is broken into, i am ok. if my backpack is somehow stolen off my back, i am ok. in other words, this gives me peace of mind.

    in your case, if you don't have much data, at least consider a cloud service like sugarsync. i can't tell you how many students mysteriously experience computer problems the night before papers are due. i have had it happen myself! and, it is distressing beyond the ability of words to adequately convey. i don't plan on going through that experience again.
  8. tjb1 macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Make sure the tc will work on he network at your school.
  9. KingMo thread starter macrumors member

    May 27, 2010
    Wow...that's a lot of backup solutions. But that's the best method I guess. I haven't had the dreaded "computer problems the night before the paper is due" issue yet, thank God, since I have my academic materials backed up on flash drives here and there, but I need to start backing up the rest of data on my laptop such as my music, software etc. So I will take what u said into consideration. Thanks.
  10. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Time Capsule is extremely overpriced...
    FW800 drives should be perfect for you!
  11. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    I just got a Time Capsule and it's been great. Time Machine is excellent for Mac backups and there's still plenty of room (for most users) to use the 2TB in the base Time Capsule as an external hard drive as well.

    Standard drives are cheaper, but don't allow you the flexibility to use them wirelessly.

    There are other WiFi external hard drives that can be used. The Seagate Go Flex Satellite is pretty cool, but is $200 for a 500GB drive. The student pricing on the Time Capsule is $279 and is 2TB.

    The only drawback is network compatibility. You may want to check with your school to make sure it will be compatible on their network. You'll be using it as a router as well and I'm not sure how you would do that--unless you are in private housing and have your own Internet service. In that case it wouldn't be an issue.

    The other nice thing about the Time Capsule is that you can plug in a USB connected external hard drive and still connect to it wirelessly on your network. If you have a flash drive or other external device you want to carry files around on it's nice that you can just unplug it and take it with you when you leave, but don't have to have it dangling off your laptop when you move from one place to another at home.
  12. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    do you need the network? If not, go for a USB hard drive. That's what I use and it works fine. and it was ~$70 for 2TB instead of $200 for a similar time capsule. I don't need my own network because my campus has blanket wi-fi that is fairly reliable.
  13. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    i use the 1tb western digital mypassport portable hard drive. its usb 2.0/3.0, but since its a mac, it'll be 2.0. none the less, 3 year warrenty, 1TB, and the fact its slim and small thus easy to carry around, prob best hard drive for college and affordable, runs 79-90 dollars last i checked.

    i use one and dont have it pluged in 24/7. i plug it in prob every couple o weeks to do backups.

    time capsule is nice but, its 299.99. u should save some $$$ and put it towards textbooks XD
  14. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    glad i could help. mine is the extreme version, which is necessary for me, because i have a lot of irreplaceable data. collecting it has literally cost years and thousands of dollars, so a few hundred on backup is no big deal.

    the minimum i would have if i were you is one physical backup (time machine is fabulous) and one cloud backup (assuming your data will fit into one of the plans). if your data is larger than something like 60gb or so, you'll probably be better off with two physical (two separate locations) and important information on the cloud (likely the best solution, assuming you have music files and stuff like that).

    at any rate, a couple of external drives and a cloud solution still falls under the price of one time capsule, so i think it isn't a difficult choice :)
  15. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    i found an offer on amazon for a 2tb time capsule for 299 with 75 dollars off, so it would be 224. i think they have to charge tax so maybe about 250 all togeter

    anyway evenw ith a bit off, is it worth it?
  16. Tummy macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    I had a 2tb Time Capsule and the drive failed. We lost all our backups and other data I had stored on the drive without backup.

    I replaced it with a Synology NAS with redundant 2tb drives. The total came to about $100 less than the Time Capsule.

    I like the Synology solution better than plugging in external drives because it has redundant, mirrored, drives. Also as a networked based solution, I don't need to physically connect anything to the computer. It's all automatic in the background, the same as a Time Capsule.
  17. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    was it the new 2tb 2011 time capsules though?
  18. getz76 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2009
    Hell, AL
    I had a 1st generation 1tB Time Capsule fail on me.

    I have a 2tB Dual Band version in the house now. It works really well and it is nice having a set-and-forget Time Machine backup. That's the only reason I would recommend one at the price, though.

    Will the school let you use a router on the network, or are you planning to create a non-internet wireless network in your dorm room?
  19. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    that is a good point. With the encryption on our school network, they won't let us run our own router on it...
  20. KingMo thread starter macrumors member

    May 27, 2010
    I don't think the school will allow me to use a router on the network. So I'm planning on creating a non-internet wireless network in my room.
  21. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    so is the amazon offer i found 75 dollars off worth it?

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