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What's the Best NAS for Home Use with Macs?

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage and is great for connecting all your computer systems together on a unified network. In using a NAS, you can create a collective pool of all your data, meaning that files aren’t tied down to one specific system.
A NAS has great use at both work and home, but in this article we will be exploring the latter. There are a lot of NAS devices out there on the market and it can be difficult deciding which the best purchase is. There might be different factors that you’re looking for in the NAS, like whether it is the most cost effective or if it is compatible with a high percentage of things.
This article will take a look at some of the NAS devices available for Mac users and hopefully guide you towards a purchase that is right for you.
If price isn’t a concern and you just want pure quality, a product that might seduce you is the Drobo 5N. This is an undoubtedly costly piece of kit, weighing in at around $500, but with this you get what you pay for. The Drobo 5N is extremely easy to get running; within minutes you can have everything up. Although you’re paying a lot, you could see it as an investment. The Drobo 5N shouldn’t require much upkeep or maintenance, meaning you won’t have to spend both time and money sorting things out if they go wrong.
Let’s take a look at the some of the features on offer with the Drobo 5N. The device has five 3.5” bays available for HDDs or SSDs. They use their technology called Data Aware Tiering to intelligently use the drives to enhance performance of the array, letting standard programs like iPhoto or iTunes quick data access. Additionally, the device has a battery that aims to protect all the data on the drive. If the power suddenly drops, perhaps through a power cut, then the battery will be kept alive long enough for your data to be written to non-volatile storage. Apparently the battery will recharge itself and last the whole product life.
Another choice for NAS would be a product from the Synology DiskStation range, available at slightly cheaper price points than the Drobo devices. These Synology products continually get great reviews from technology professionals and come in a whole range of disk sizes. Their software has total support for Macs, including the Apple Fileshare Protocol and support for Time Machine. There’s also an iTunes server alongside the DLNA media server. Their devices are simple and easy to use thanks to their interface.
Finally, here’s something a bit different and potentially cost effective. If you have a spare Mac lying around (perhaps an old one!), you could link it up to an external drive and operate it as a NAS. You could use it as a Time Machine backup volume or perhaps for storing your iTunes library. Of course, it makes everything entirely Apple compatible and you can use the screen sharing feature to control it.
These are a few options available to you when it comes to picking out a NAS for your home network. Suffice to say, there’s a whole lot more available on the market, but these three all offer good solutions at varying price levels.

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