suggest some NAS options that support AFP

Discussion in 'NAS Buying Advice' started by strongcoffee, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. strongcoffee

    strongcoffee New Around Here

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    Hello all. I'm looking to add a NAS to my network for the purpose of centralizing my movie and music collection. I would also like to use it with my Mac for Time Machine backups, hence, why I need AFP support. My network consists of a couple of PCs that will be connected via ethernet cable, a couple of Mac laptops connected via wifi, and a PS3 that'll likely be connected via wifi. I plan on purchasing a wireless draft n router with gigabit ethernet soon too.

    This is what I'll require:

    SMB/CIFS (for Windows PCs)
    AFP support (for time machine backups)
    RAID 1 (for redundancy)
    gigabit ethernet
    iTunes streaming (not required but I would love to have the option)
    movie streaming
    print server (one monochrome laser printer)
    low energy footprint
    price cap of $350 (without drives)

    I've considered going with a store-bought solution like the Synology 207+ or a ReadyNAS Duo but I'm not so sure about the performance. I don't want things to be painfully slow to the point that I have to go out to lunch while I wait for files to copy to and from.

    I've also thought about using my secondary PC as a FreeNAS box as long as it's not a pain to install and administer. I've thought about Windows Home Server but since it doesn't support AFP, it's a no go. Here are the specs of the hardware I have available:

    1.8GHz Intel e4300 C2D
    stock cooling
    2 x 512MB DDR2 800 Buffalo Firestix
    Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 rev 2.0
    Antec Sonata II case (with stock SmartPower 2.0 450W ATX12V v2.01 power supply)
    Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 80GB ATA/133 HDD (for OS)
    2 x 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA ST31500341AS (flashed to SD1A fw)

    I would love to go with the DIY option as I know that will provide more performance but I know it will be more work than the store bought solution. If i do go with the DIY solution, what additional hardware will I need to bring me up to speed? I would also like to know what OS to use and what add-ons I'll need to install to provide the media functionality?

    Thanks very much in advance for helping this NAS noob. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  2. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    First, Time Machine support may involve more than just AFP support. Can anyone else help here? I know that the Buffalo Quad supports Time Machine.

    Looks like your motherboard supports RAID 1, so you don't need a controller.

    Don't know what you define as "painfully slow". Both the ReadyNAS Duo and Synology DS207+ tested at around 20 MB/s for RAID 1 with a Gigabit LAN connection. That's about par for most RAID 1 NASes.
     
  3. zedpol

    zedpol Occasional Visitor

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    Freenas

    check out freenas, it can do a lot of the things you are asking for. Make sure to install the embedded version. For whatever reason people get better transfer speeds with it. Also, check out freenas.org.


    Openfiler has better transfer speeds but is way more complicated and is purely a nas distro. You may have problems doing things like an itunes server.

    If you don't mind learning linux, ubuntu server is a great option.
    z
     
  4. strongcoffee

    strongcoffee New Around Here

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    thanks for your replies. I was browsing the Synology forums and it looks like there are still some hiccups related to Mac connectivity so I think I'll just go with repurposing my spare PC and select FreeNAS as the OS. I have a few more questions, though, if you guys don't mind.

    1) Is the stock 450 watt PSU that came with my Sonata II overkill for my purposes? Should I try to go with a more energy efficient solution like an Antec Earthwatts 350?

    2) Should I look into a high speed CF card via CF to IDE as my system drive? What are the advantages and disadvantages compared to the 80GB pata disk I currently have? This is the card I'm considering:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820208418

    3) As thiggins pointed out, my mobo supports RAID 1. Should I just look for a 4 port hardware controller in the event my storage needs change? If so, what are some good bang for your buck type cards?

    4) I'm considering Ubuntu server but I'm a little hesitant because of all the command line work. I would need to look up each step since I'm unfamiliar with the commands. Still though, I'm interested. What do you guys think of this link?

    http://www.kremalicious.com/2008/06/ubuntu-as-mac-file-server-and-time-machine-volume/

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  5. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    All the systems I have built as part of the Fast NAS series have used 300W or lower supplies. As long as you don't have a power-sucking graphics card, you should be fine.

    Might provide a little power savings.

    Higher level software RAID will be supported by NAS distros (mdadm)

    Or how about this.
     
  6. zedpol

    zedpol Occasional Visitor

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    Buying new parts for marginal wattage savings doesn't make financial nor "green" sense. From a financial standpoint you I.E saving 60 watts on something running 24 hours a day would only save you about 20-25 cents a month on your electric bill. From a "Green" standpoint much better to not throw away your old power supply and have some one go through the huge energy costs of building you a new one, not to mention the pollution and such. Anyways, my point is unless you haev a use for the 450 watt one and you need to buy a new on anyways then just stick with what you have.


    As far as the CF to IDE card thing. I don't think it is a bad idea but I vaguely remember you saying you already have an 80gb hard drive. Sounds like that would work just fine.

    I'm not a huge fan of RAID. I think you would be much better served by buying a large hard drive and an external enclosure to back up to. If you do any raid I would suggest RAID 1 and also buy an external hard drive to back up to.

    If your storage needs change just buy a new bigger hard drive. Just think, in 2 years or so hard drives should be in the 4tb range. Anyways..just my 2 cents.

    Z

    p.s. I think a lot of people spend a lot of money future proofing their rigs when really all they end up doing is spending a lot of money.
     

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