Best net­work Time Ma­chine drives

We tested four net­work–at­tached stor­age de­vices that all claim Time Ma­chine sup­port to see which one fared best

Mac|Life - - REVIEWS - Re­viewed by Kenny Hem­phill

When Ap­ple launched Time Ma­chine, it also re­leased its Time Cap­sule Wi–Fi router and hard disk combo, mak­ing it easy for you to back up your Mac with­out hav­ing to worry about plug­ging it in. It’s some years since the Time Cap­sule was last up­dated, but thank­fully there are now plenty of other op­tions if you want to back up wire­lessly to a net­work drive.

It’s im­por­tant to note at the out­set that while all of the drives here are des­ig­nated as be­ing com­pat­i­ble with Time Ma­chine by their man­u­fac­tur­ers, Ap­ple doesn’t rec­om­mend any NAS drive for use with Time Ma­chine. Its rec­om­men­da­tion is that you use a di­rectly con­nected hard drive or SSD. One rea­son for that may be that it is in the process of dep­re­cat­ing Ap­ple File Pro­to­col (AFP) in fa­vor of SMB and that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of SMB in macOS ap­pears to be less than per­fect.

There are a cou­ple of other things to con­sider when you buy a net­work drive. One is how many drive bays it should have. There are sev­eral rea­sons you might want a box with mul­ti­ple drives: stor­age ca­pac­ity, se­cu­rity, and speed. The more drive bays a box has, the more disks it can house and the more stor­age you have avail­able. How­ever, some NAS boxes can also be con­fig­ured as RAID units, mean­ing that you can ‘stripe’ data (store it across mul­ti­ple drives) for speed, or ‘mir­ror’ it (du­pli­cate data on mul­ti­ple drives) to pre­vent de­vel­op­ing a fault.

Oh, and don’t over­look the case needed to hold your pre­cious data.

If you want to re­place Ap­ple’s Air­Port, en­sure that the NAS works well with Time Ma­chine.

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