NAS for a Mac home: Airport Extreme vs. Seagate GoFlex
November 23, 2012 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I want to move to network-attached storage. I've got two Macs and am trying to decide between buying an Airport Extreme or Seagate GoFlex.

I have two Macs running 10.6.8 -- a MacBook 5,2 that could upgrade to Lion/Mountain Lion and a Mini 1,1 that can't, but which we will eventually replace. Our internet company comped us a Ubee DDW3610 router. Primarily, we'd like to run our iTunes and iPhoto off of NAS, but I wouldn't mind moving practically all our files to a "local cloud" and accessing them over wifi, and likewise accessing documents remotely. We have Roku, not Apple TV, but that could change over time.

It's Black Friday, of course, and I'm weighing a $90 refurb Airport Extreme (latest or latest-1 version, it's unclear) plus unspecified USB hard drive(s) against a $130 3TB Seagate GoFlex at a retailer for which I have a $20 credit. Alternately, I could get the GoFlex *as* the unspecified USB hard drive, but I don't exactly know what the advantages would be.

I've read up on NAS, including at AskMe, but I haven't seen a lot from the latter half of 2012, particularly regarding the GoFlex, and double-particularly regarding the GoFlex stacked up against the Extreme in a Mac household. I'd appreciate any pointers.
posted by blueshammer to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not a Time Capsule?
posted by empath at 8:46 AM on November 23, 2012

I should also mention that I have a PC laptop for work, but I don't plan on formatting everythinga s FAT32, so I assume that's not a consideration.
posted by blueshammer at 8:47 AM on November 23, 2012

empath, $448 for a 3TB Time Capsule vs. an effective $110 for a 3TB GoFlex or <$200 for an Extreme + external hard drive is a sufficient price gap to make me look pretty closely at the cheaper alternatives. But I'm happy to listen to Time Capsule evangelism.
posted by blueshammer at 8:50 AM on November 23, 2012

I'll tell you one thing about my Airport Extreme: I set it up a few years ago and haven't had to even touch it since then. It's been ROCK solid for years. I used to constantly have to fiddle with routers I'd owned before switching over to the Airport Extreme. I'd always balked at the price. It's so much more than competing products... but after going through too many others, I finally gave in and bought one. I picked up a refurb for around $100. Love! That! Thing!

Also: I've had bad luck with GoFlex drives. A 1.5 TB drive only lasted me a year, and a smaller one lasted less than 2. Perhaps there's a difference between Seagate FreeAgent Goflex and Seagate GoFlex? I don't know, but I avoid those things like the plague.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:05 PM on November 23, 2012

Oh, one more thought: I wouldn't go with a Time Capsule, personally. It seems silly to combine a router and a hard drive when the hard drive will be outgrown after a few years but the router could easily last much much longer.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:13 PM on November 23, 2012

I'd probably go for the AirPort Extreme. It is a good solid wireless router too.

Access to the drive over the network isnt a matter of what filesystem you use to format the disk, it is a matter of what file sharing protocols are supported. Looks like the Extreme supports disk acesss from both Mac and Windows, so I assume it is using the Apple-native AFP and the windows-native SMB/CIFS.

All that said, im not sure this is going to do for you what you want it to do. Storing iTunes and iPhotos libraries on a server works fine, until you take your laptop off your home network. Also, neither iTunes nor iPhoto is designed around sharing the same library folder from multiple computers simutaneously. There are various approaches you can take, but nothing that "just works," the way you'd expect it to.
posted by Good Brain at 1:15 PM on November 24, 2012

I use an iomega Media Drive and have had a love hate relationship for a few years.

Love that it works and is simple, I just store my mdeia on it to access over my jailbroken ATV2, it was relatively inexpensive, less than $200 for a 2TB

What I dont like is that they seem last about a year or so oand then I gotta get it replaced by Iomega, which I have now done twice, also the remote access is very clunky and involves an account with a remote DNS server such as TZODNS which is only free for one year.

Next time I will probably look into a different brand.
posted by silsurf at 8:36 AM on November 25, 2012

Data point to consider... I just bought an Airport Extreme and hooked it up last night. Plugged my USB drive in, and... nothing. Turns out, the USB port on the AE isn't powered well enough to support the drive on its own. I now have to buy a $30 powered USB hub to add to the setup. Still don't have any idea how well this is going to work for me (with the drive supporting my iTunes library).
posted by GamblingBlues at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2012

Got it hooked up - Airport Extreme + USB drive + powered USB hub = my iTunes library in NAS form on my local network streaming just fine to my Apple TV.
posted by GamblingBlues at 1:53 PM on November 27, 2012

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