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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Time Capsule 2TB and 3TB

My heart have been to and fro towards the Airport Time Capsule. The idea of seamless and automatic backup is very attractive. Working with all the important data, protecting them could be seen as crucial in my line of work. However the price tag has been pushing me back couple of times. 
Apple AirPort Time Capsule

AirPort Time Capsule comes with 2 sizes of storage, 2TB and 3TB. The former is £249 and the latter is £349. There is also another device, Airport Extreme which when connected with a USB hard disk can do what AirPort Time Capsule could do. 

The AirPort Extreme is £169, still quite pricey for a wireless access point. Another problem would be that AirPort Extreme only has one USB port, therefore you have to choose whether to connect it with a printer to enable wireless printing or the hard drive.

There is another messy way to use the Time Machine, that is by connecting a portable hard drive to the Mac you're using directly. However, you have to connect the wires each time you want to backup. Therefore doesn't fit the purpose of seamless and automatic update. 

I've read somewhere that you can also connect a Mac Mini (or any other Mac) with an external hard drive and treat that as a Time Machine location. That seems quite okay if you have a Mac Mini that you want to leave turned on all the time. 

There is another way (I think) that can work. Using a network HDD and connect it with the router. It might be usable by Time Machine, but there is also a possibility that it uses a different file sharing protocol that might block the Time Machine application to connect with it. 

I also read from the Internet (I hope it's not from Apple haters) saying that usually a Time Capsule only lasts for 1.5 - 2 years. However, I hope that is not the case. Or maybe they use it extensively with a lot of Macs all at once. That might also be the case.

So there are 6 choices you can make to use the Time Machine application.
  1. AirPort Time Capsule 3TB = £349
  2. AirPort Time Capsule 2TB = £249
  3. AirPort Extreme + External HDD combo = £169 + External HDD price
  4. Wired external HDD = External HDD price
  5. Mac mini + External HDD combo = £499 + Monitor + Mouse + Keyboard + External HDD price.
  6. Wireless HDD = £150 +/- (don't know whether this will work)
Well, that's a lot for you to consider. For me, I won't be using a wired solution because that goes away from the point of automatic backup. Because there might be a day when you are too tired to turn on the computer and backup. 

I won't buy the top of the range £349 and the Mac mini option because of the price tag. That leaves me with option 2, 3 and 6. Since 6 is not proven and I need to do some research about it first and update this post later. I really hope that option 6 is doable because if it is doable, it will be the most cost effective of all.

From the look of things, currently I'm more prone to choose the 2nd choice because the wire mess that the 3rd option might make. Well, let's look and see. I'll sure to update about this matter in the future.

-- update --

I have a good news and a bad news. The bad news is, as far as i know there isn't any wireless hard disk that can be connected to the network and work together with Time Machine. But the good news is, there are a lot of Network Attached Storage (NAS) that can be used with Time Machine. The price is cheaper.

So what you need is an Internet router, connect the NAS device using the LAN wires and setup your time machine. A 3TB NAS is around £130 and a 2TB NAS is around £100. However, please make sure it'll work with Time Machine before buying one.

I guess that is the best choice there is to utilise Time Machine on a Mac. It might not be an Apple solution, but still is a cheap and viable solution. 

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