Best/Cheapest NAS solution for Mac?

in macOS edited January 2014

i am looking for a backup solution that will work over my local wireless network. Having done a bit of research I have come up with three options and I am wondering about what differences there may be between these options and whether there are other more preferable options.

1. NetGear READYNAS NV+: the most expensive option but supports AFP which is preferable to SMB. is this right? expandable. what am i paying extra for here, say over...

2. D-Link DNS-323: only supports SMB. much cheaper than above. expandable.

3. Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station: could connect an external hard drive via USB. built in wireless so wouldn't need a seperate wireless router.

One feature that i would particularly like is live updating of the backups. So I am wondering what software i would need to use with these solutions. Do some NAS products come with Mac friendly software to do the backups/mirroring or would i need to use standard backup software, such as Retrospect? Also should i be thinking about how Leopard and Time Machine will work with NAS?




  • Reply 1 of 11
    zoczoc Posts: 77member
    Originally Posted by nick_harambee View Post

    Also should i be thinking about how Leopard and Time Machine will work with NAS?

    If I remember correctly, Jobs said at the WWDC that Time Machine is able to backup data to a shared HD connected to the Apple Airport Extreme base station.

    I think it should also work with any AFP (at least) share.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    -df-df Posts: 136member
    I'm also looking for a NAS unit, not for backing up, but as a media server.

    I went out yesterday and bought a Promise SmartStor NS4300N and I must say it does not seem very Mac friendly. You have to use a PC to set it up, which thankfully I have, but not really, because I keep getting cryptic error messages.

    I think I'll take it back to Fry's and try out another one. The ReadyNAS looks very nice, but it's $800+... I wish Apple would just make a slimmed-down Xserve for homes.

    I'd appreciate and buying advice!
  • Reply 3 of 11
    I'd stayed away from NAS's for awhile (every time I tried, they were disappointing... or didn't work at all). But, I was getting a new MBP, so I decided to upgrade my router to N, as well as my PC. Got an Extreme, and everything worked fine. Had an extra external HD laying around, hooked it up. Wonderful. Works great, use it for an extra, extra backup, and for sharing files that need archiving. Easy-peasy for me.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    The performance of the Airport Extreme (n) is OK - fast enough for streaming media - but the CPU is a bottleneck.

    The cheapest way of adding high performance online storage is digging out a retired PC or Mac - adding some external drives, stick it in the basement and rename it "media server"

  • Reply 5 of 11
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    If you're interested in multi-forked file storage then their are only a few solutions that support nfs+/afs.

    On the other hand, if all you're doing is storing media files like photos, videos, and music, just about any NAS would work just fine. Since multi-forked files (files with resource forks) have all but disappeared from my workflow, it is no longer important for me to have that functionality. Thus, smb based sharing poses no problems for my home NAS.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    hujibhujib Posts: 117member
    I've had good luck with various products from LaCie so far:
  • Reply 7 of 11
    thanks for the advice,

    i don't know what multi-forked file storage means, so i don't know if i need it.

    specifically i want to have 1.5TB of storage (ideally 2 x 750GB) on my network, which will probably be wireless.

    Drive A will be for backing up media files and i would like to do this manually every so often. I want to be able to mirror the drive on my Mac Pro with the media files on the backup. I would normally use the Smart Update feature in Super Duper! for this to an external hard drive connected locally. I presume that Super Duper! would work over the network. I wonder whether Time Machine in Leopard would also be able to do this? (i.e. not do a progressive backup where no data is lost, but just mirror the source drive exactly)

    Drive B will be for backing up my main drive on three Macs, and I think that Time Machine will work fine for this, because i would like to a progressive backup here (i.e. no data loss and an expanding backup size), and a live backup (i.e. up to the minute) which seems to be Time Machine's forte.

    So, I am thinking that the simplest way is to connect a hard drive to an Airport Extreme Base Station, but I wonder what advantage I would get from using the Lacie NAS, or any NAS for that matter, over a USB hard drive plugged into the Airport Extreme Base Station, given the uses i want to put it to. The NAS seems to have an ethernet port, does this mean that i could plug it into an ethernet port on the Airport Extreme Base Station and get better speeds?


  • Reply 8 of 11
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    NAS is significantly faster than the airport extreme solution. With a gigabit wire network, it will easily be more than 3 times as fast at file transfers.

    Multi forked files are files that have resource forks. Mac OS 9 relied heavily on resource forks. They offered some really powerful features. However, with the internet now a main aspect of computer usage, compatibility with other file systems is more important. With OS X Apple started moving away from resource forks so that files could be copied to and from other devices and operating systems without losing part of the file.

    Media files, MS office documents, and adobe files of various types don't have resource forks. However, there are some Mac centric applications that still require resource forks.
  • Reply 9 of 11

    okay, now i need to know what a gigabit wire network is, is this a normal ethernet network with 100Mbps? say i connect to a NAS such as the Lacie NAS with an ethernet connection. would i just connect this to my router via ethernet and it would be recognised as a drive on my local network? if so would i get the faster speeds with the Airport Extreme Base Station (as with other routers) using an ethernet port as opposed to the USB connection?

    Presumably i would notice the difference less with a slower wireless connection?

    how do i know if a NAS supports multi-forked storage? the Lacie NAS says that it has full support for Mac, does this mean that it does?
  • Reply 10 of 11
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Gigabit = 1Gbps = 1000Mbps

    In real world performance gigabit is roughly 3 times quicker than 100Mbps. (Or more if you've got expensive hardware) If you're going to put storage on your network, I highly advise getting a device that does gigabit rather than just 100Mbps. They really aren't much more expensive.

    Using a USB connected drive to the Airport Extreme (or any other switch) will be much, much slower than using a NAS. Even a 100Mbps NAS will outperform a USB drive on the airport. On the other hand, the airport + usb drive is a nice and simple solution, just not quick.

    If you really need mac specific file storage (resource forks), you should look for NAS that supports afp (apple file protocol). There are only a few of these on the market since most people use NAS for things like video collections which don't need resource forks.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Does anyone know of a good Mac friendly NAS with a Torrent Server built in?

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