Buying advice: NAS or Mac Pro?

in General Discussion edited July 2014
I need some buying advice from AI please!

We are doing some future plannign for our studio network. Some of our kit is getting a bit old so we want to start gradually updating things, plus we have add two new designers in the last 12 months. So what worked for my partner and I doesn't really scale to four people!

We need to replace our file server (currently a BW G3 tower with some extra hard disks stuffed inside) which is really slow and almost full. It is just used for serving files. We cannot afford an Xserve (well we could at a push if that was what everyone recommended) so want to explore other options. So far we have come up with:

* NAS plugged into our ethernet network

* A Mac Pro as a file server (just like we had our BW G3), perhaps running OSX server

I'm sure we should have RAID but I get lost over which (0,1 or 5) we should be using.

The NAS option looks cheaper -- there seem some amazing deals on 1TB NAS boxes. But I am worried that they will be fast enough and Mac compatiable?

The Mac Pro seems overkill, though if we downgrade the graphics card and put extra drives in it would be great I'm sure.

Anyone any thoughts/ideas?


  • Reply 1 of 11
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Sounds like an NAS with RAID 5 would be your best bet.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Yep, I agree. Get for example a LaCie Ethernet Disk (1TB or 2 TB), although they are RAID0 only. Those give you nice backup options, just connect some external FireWire drives to the NAS box and define backup routines.

    Or get a LaCie Biggest F800 1TB RAID-5 box (external, via FireWire) to connect to your exisiting fileserver. But you probably want more network speed, too. So the NAS option is indeed a better one.

    A Mac Pro just for filesharing is a bit overkill, I guess.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    othelloothello Posts: 1,054member
    good pointers -- i will go and read up on some of the products mentioned

    i don't know much about RAID and the differences between the types. i will google it but it would be great to hear what the differences are from people that know!

    RAID 5 means multiple redundant disks right? so the data is written to all disks at the same time?
  • Reply 4 of 11
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    As the others have already said, NAS would be the way to go if all you need is networked storage space. As for your idea of a Mac Pro over an xServe... xServe is hands down the better way to go (if you need the features it provides).

    Mac Pro:

    2499 (Base Config & OS X Client)

    499? (OS X Server 10 User or 999 for Unlimited)


    2998 (or 3498 unlimited)


    2999 (Base Config & OS X Server Unlimited)

    0000 (OS X Server Unlimited Included)



    Edit: This is assuming you've already made an investment in a rack... If you haven't then the Pro may be a good way to go so long as you don't see needing more rack based hardware in the future.

  • Reply 5 of 11
    othelloothello Posts: 1,054member
    DaveGee no rack and doubtful we would ever really need one. i was put off the xserve by the cost (but a lot less so now), noise and the 'feeling' that it was going to be overkill

    i like the NAS ideas as i can just stick it in a corner without a monitor. been doing a bit more digging and have heard stories of slow speeds if you go too cheap (cheap components to bring the price down)
  • Reply 6 of 11
    othelloothello Posts: 1,054member
    the lacie ethernet disk looks good, though it is USB2 and all our hard drives here are firewire. no great hard ship to buy a couple of USB2 drives. there is no RAID though which i increasingly think is important.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Yes, you're right, the Gigabit version has only four USB 2.0 ports. The older version had two USB 2.0 and one FireWire 400 port.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    othelloothello Posts: 1,054member
    Anyone else got any recommendations for which NAS to look at apart from the Lacie?
  • Reply 9 of 11
    othelloothello Posts: 1,054member
    a decision has been reached -- i am going to buy one of these

    had good advice and reports from people, and in terms of cost and features it seems excellent
  • Reply 10 of 11

    I have a similar predicament EXCEPT, I ALREADY own the MacPro.  I have a TON of data that I need to backup in an archive-like fashion (meaning stuff that I just need to have in at least 2 places, but am not likely to mess with often) and then ongoing backup of data that is currently being worked on.  It's an older Mac Pro (Woodcrest) but it has 4 drive bays, and I kind of want to hold on to it as a backup Pro Tools HD3 Rig (in case I have trouble opening / mixing older sessions that were created on it). 


    So considering that I ALREADY own the MacPro (Woodcrest), would that lead any of you to say that using it as a Pseudo NAS would be a good way to go? In my case, would you recommend using my MacPro as a NAS as a good option?  Would I need to run any particular software on it?  RAID card?  



  • Reply 11 of 11

    I have the same questions except I already own the MacPro (Woodcrest) and am thinking of retiring it into a NAS.   In my case, would you recommend using my MacPro as a NAS as a good option?  Would I need to run any particular software on it?  RAID card?  

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