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Future proof hard disc choice

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Hi Chris,

Like so many people making their first post I wanted to congratulate you on your excellent site and to wish you many more birthdays. In reading all the forum posts I was reminded of a sign on my local greengrocers back in the 1980s: civility costs nothing!


I had started on the journey before I found your site but it was pleasing to see I that my tentative steps were backed up (no pun intended) by the advice I found here. I have to confess I was a bit anti shifting to computer-based hifi then I saw that Linn and Naim had come up with products so I thought I'd test things out.


As an Apple fan/owner I bought a DAC to use with my existing Airport Express. The results were much better than expected - the (Linn) CD player sounded dull by comparison. I then bought an Airport Extreme thinking that I would attach a hard disc to it. Whilst the information on the site has been extremely helpful this has been the least clear-cut bit of the jigsaw and I haven't yet taken the plunge.


Having decided against multi-disc NAS/DAS, for time being at least, I was ready to go for a Wiebetech case (because it's supposed to run quietly) with a HD from your recommended Hitachi Deskstar range. Then I saw that you've added the Seagate Freeagent Go to your CASH list creating some more doubt in my mind. If I did decide to go for the added size and reliabilty of the multi-disc NAS/DAS in the not too distant future am I better off buying now a USB HD where the disc can be easily taken out and placed in the NAS (i.e. the Wiebetech/Hitachi option v. the Seagate packaged option). Even if I did (decide on cost grounds to) buy the Seagate Freeagent (probably Desk rather the Go) now would I later be able to move the music stored on it to a multi-disc NAS/DAS (i.e will I be able to avoid having to rip all the CDs again?). One last question about your comment that the Seagate Freeagent Go works just as well with Mac. As I'd rather not pay the premium for the 'Mac ready' version is it a relatively straightforward job to reconfigure the Windows ready version for Mac and does this apply to the Desk model as well as Go model?


Hope you and others can help me with this so I can get my stalled journey back on the road.


Once again, thanks for providing this fantastic resource. I've learned so much I might need to upgrade my anorak!!








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Hi Philip - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. I have to say you hit the nail on the head with your quote, "civility costs nothing!" Thanks a lot for the nice comments about the site. They are much appreciated.


Good questions about purchasing a hard drive. If you purchase a USB hard drive now and move to a NAS unit later you'll be able to reuse the hard drive, but not without some serious caveats. NAS units works best with like size drives and identical brand/model drives surely won't hurt. Assuming you get a NAS unit and drives matching your proposed USB external drive, you'll still need both the NAS and your USB drive running at the same time because you'll need to copy the data from one to the other. You won't be able to stick the USB drive into a NAS unit with a few other drives and have it work without reformatting the drive. I believe you would like to get the USB drive now, purchase a NAS unit when needed, stick the USB drive in the NAS with more disc and have the available disk size just expand beyond the size of the original USB drive. Unfortunately it's a no-go. But, here's how you can make it work. Get the USB drive now, Purchase a NAS unit when needed. Say the NAS has four drives. Fill the NAS with three empty disks. Copy the USB drive to the NAS. Put the USB drive into the NAS and expand your usable disk size at that time. Not all NAS units can expand a RAID set, but many can.


Mac ready drives are a joke. Get the Windows drive and reformat it once you connect it to your Mac. Disk is disk.


Let me know if I only caused more confusion and what else I can help with.




Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Hi Chris

Thanks for that very detailed advice. I'll definitely go for a USB HD for now and when the time comes to get a NAS I'll be able to follow the process you described. I'm tempted to go for one of the newer Seagate Freeagents as they offer more GB per $ (plus 5 year warranty) than buying a separate case and HD. Though not having seen the Freeagent up close I don't know how easily the disc in it can be removed. If not then I could always just keep it as a storage for other non-music files, if it is still working at that point.


No further questions for now but I'll be back if any crop up and I can't find answers somewhere in the previous forum discussions.




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