Jump to content

Pros/Cons of NAS vs Apple Airport Extreme & USB HD

Recommended Posts

I'm wavering on the above couple of solutions currently. The +ves and -ves I've listed below.


Firstly-Both similar priced when I add in harddrive, and I already have a wireless G router. Also I am likely to go down the sonos route in the future and I will be storing HD Video from my handy cam (however I can always plug laptop in direct.) My laptop is a 2008 Sony Vaio running Vista Home Premium.


NAS- (+)Wireless so I can just add to current network and have hidden away. I can also add naked drives as rqd (depending on model of NAS of course), also not limited in performance of USB at all.

(-)Possibley abit clunky to setup, G speed of network maybe abit slow for files other than audio.


Apple Extreme & USB Drive- (+) Upgrades my network to N spec and easy as to setup.

(-)I now have to plug PS3 direct to Extreme as it is G wireless thus negating most of the point of having a NAS in the first place! (ie could just plug USB HD direct to PS3).


For some reason I am drawn to the Apple solution but I feel practically and aeshetically the NAS setup would be best.

So what do you guys reckon?


PS3 60bg (160GB installed + Native music Browser)-AVI ADM9.1-Klipsch SW12 Subwoofer-Belkin Power Board- Custom power cables-Supra Sub Cable- No Name Toslink Cable - PROUD NZer

Link to comment

Hi Tonto, before selecting USB-connected "Airport Disk", take a look at usernaim250's travails: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Airdisk-Airport-Extremeextreme-frustration


Also take a look at some of Chris's articles here: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/taxonomy_menu/2/26


Should be great to get your big HDD out of the room and onto the network. I'm guessing you'll want to go with NAS, based on what I'm seeing.


Best of luck!


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

Link to comment

I decided to go for the Apple solution but I wish I had gone NAS. My logic was that I would be ripping slowly (1.2TB now, 1/3 of the way through) so I would buy a few USB hard drives as Airdisks, then get a NAS when I was closer to using its capacity, switching the USB drives to backup. It's an ok play. And in your instance, I'll point out the new version of the Extreme will run simulataneous G and N streams, so you won't cut down your network to G in order to connect the PS3.


Here are some issues:

a) drives must be hfs+ format if there are more than one. And even if just one, only some will work if they are FAT32.

b) 5ghz for me and many others is an absolute nonstarter. It won't stay connected for more than 10 seconds (literally) even 7 feet away in the same room.

c)the cpu in the Extreme is just not up to the task of doing two things at once.

If I am streaming, and any other network task is demanded--like when I click 'post comment' after I finish typing this, it is liable to drop the stream for 5-20 seconds. If I wanted to access one of the Airdisks directly, to see a directory, or open a file, or (god forbid) copy a file, it will ALWAYS drop the stream.

This is true by the way both wired and wireless, and with either MediaMonkey or iTunes (iTunes is worse).

Furthermore, when I copy files, they sometimes get messed up. For instance, if I rip some cds to my laptop and copy them over to an Airdisk, I will typically get a few tracks that lost their tags, and show up as orphans, with the long path/filename as the track name. This also happens if I try to rip direct to the Airdisk, but much worse--even when connected by gigabit ethernet.

d)It is slow at any disk function. It's not intolerable, but published tests show even cheap NAS is a good deal faster.

e)I get random interruptions when playing music that correspond to the drive spinning down when it shouldn't. Seagate or Apple's fault--I can't say for sure.

f)There have been a few instances where without a Mac I would have been sunk in setting up the AE, where the Airport software would not recognize the base station, even when connected by ethernet. And customer support with regard to the PC has literally been worse than no support, wasting my time and sending me through multiple representatives while giving misinformation and correcting it much later.


So, as the heart of streaming audio system, the Extreme "works". But not reliably. It is in my experience a stopgap at best. For me it functioned as a toe in the water, as I did not want to spring for a full blown NAS when I wasn't sure about the whole computer audio thing. But I will move up to a NAS when time allows (of course the longer I wait the cheaper they get so the urgency is not terribly strong).




Link to comment

Wow, very informative response! Thank You for your time!

I am now in the last week hedging to having a mac mini with a big drive installed instead. I then can AEX to my ADM9s in the lounge and use the mini with something like a Nuforce Icon to sort out sound in the Dining room/Kitchen. It all hedges on the PS3 Linux progress - If that all goes well it will be NAS time! If it sucks then will go Mini route I feel.

Thanks Again :)


PS3 60bg (160GB installed + Native music Browser)-AVI ADM9.1-Klipsch SW12 Subwoofer-Belkin Power Board- Custom power cables-Supra Sub Cable- No Name Toslink Cable - PROUD NZer

Link to comment

I believe with the new Airport Extreme (quietly launched a month or so back) they have two radio systems in them so can run both G and N at full speed so that would negate your negative point on the Airport.


I think most of the advantages of the Apple Airport Extreme would come if you are using it with Apple Macs rather than the windows Laptop too.


However, I think you would be advised to connect your NAS to your G-router via a cable if at all possible to reduce the amount of wireless traffic.


Other plusses for NAS (depending on model)

You can run extra services such as UPnP server or SlimServer.

Higher capacity with some redundancy if using RAID (THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS A BACKUP!)


Think thats all ... but I would personally go for the NAS setup even if it costs a little more as it should long term be more flexible. Did you have a NAS in mind? If you just say "I'm thinking of buying a NAS" can include a huge range of devices - everything from a £200 single drive device from WD or Lacie ... to a £1000 5 - 7 bay enclosure from QNAP or Thecus is referred to a NAS. Its very difficult to give any specific thoughts without knowing a bit more about your thoughts ...


Anyway hope I've confused you enough for today





...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

Yeah I'm gonna jump in next payday. Will be either a single NAS enclosure with a 500gb-1tb drive or a twin drive enclosure. Should be cheap as chips and can be used with anything down the road :)


PS3 60bg (160GB installed + Native music Browser)-AVI ADM9.1-Klipsch SW12 Subwoofer-Belkin Power Board- Custom power cables-Supra Sub Cable- No Name Toslink Cable - PROUD NZer

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

I have just switched over from a PC running XP to an iMac (slight learning curve but very happy so far). All of my music is stored on a Linksys DNS-323 2-bay NAS which has been working with no issues in the switch. Thinking more long term and at the prospect of running out of HD space, I'm contemplating my options for what to do down the road. Once I run out of space I could simply replace the drives (which are in a RAID 1 mirror), which are not hot swappable, so it might be a bit of a process. Or I could just get either a larger single bay NAS/external and external which has the benefit of the backup drive being stored in another location, like my parent's home. In a nutshell, I'm looking for the option which gives flexibility to expand as I run out of space and as prices drop on HDs, but also backup in either a mirror and/or external offsite location. I do not necessarily care for all of the NAS options. My iMac is on all the time as a server and simply uses the NAS for storage.


Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

I have made some progress on my Airport Extreme setup! I have learned from experience that it is essential with Seagate drives to use the Seagate manager (on Windows--works even if the drive is HFS formatted, just don't let it reformat) to set the drive to never spin down. If you are Mac only there is a utility on the Seagate site to do this. {Chris, it would be worth it to add this caveat to the CASH listing of the Extreme.} The Airport will spin it down when appropriate, so no worries.


The result is that between song interruptions (which occurred on multiple platforms) are greatly reduced. It seems that Seagate's spin-down facility doesn't interact properly with Mac--it would spin down even though it was in use.


Also, the latest firmware 7.4.2 seems to carve out bandwidth for streaming, reducing interruptions (though there are some other new nits to pick, like slower response for other uses). Others report that the AE is more stable in dealing with external drives, though I can't confirm this yet.


Link to comment

I now have a shiny new D-Link DNS323! It worked faultlessly straightaway and my reripped WAV files sound supurb. One thing of note this NAS doesn't play nice with the PS3 for some reason which is pretty frustrating (something to do with the type of DNLA it uses) I can access it but all the songs get dumped into one big song list no matter what folder they sit in. I'm sure there is a workaround but the point was something that was seemless and hassle free. Sonos is speaking to me louder each passing day!

Please note the above NAS for all else is fantastic and well priced so recommended except for the PS3 compatibility.


PS3 60bg (160GB installed + Native music Browser)-AVI ADM9.1-Klipsch SW12 Subwoofer-Belkin Power Board- Custom power cables-Supra Sub Cable- No Name Toslink Cable - PROUD NZer

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...