NAS drive in desktop docking station

MacBook

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I bought an Inateck FD2005C USB-C desktop docking station (two slots for drives, 3.5" or 2.5") and also ordered a Toshiba N300 4TB 7200RPM CMR SATA internal hard drive.

I began reading afterwards about subtle differences between NAS and "desktop" drives, such as potentially increased noise and differing error protocols (NAS drives more quickly finding bad sectors). I haven't unpacked the Toshiba drive yet.

My question is whether the NAS drive would be perfectly suitable for daily or weekly updates on this docking station, since it will not be running 24/7 in an RAID array. I would rather have the fastest spinning drive that is also flexible (so that I can get more than one backup drive and not add more bulk).

I see many of the internal drives on Amazon and B&H are NAS drives, and that the "desktop" drives tend to be 5400RPM and many are SMR drives.
Any constructive suggestions are welcome.
 

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To answer one of your questions: I have a couple of Synology NAS boxes on my home network with 2 drives/RAID 1 and both are set for power-saving shutdowns when there is no activity. From the stats I would estimate that the drives are shut down about 2/3 of the time. It has never occurred to me to worry about this and the boxes have never given me any reason to do so. I doubt that you need to worry either.

But a question for you: Why not just put an NAS box on your network? I am a Synology fan. They are easy to set up and the software is fantastic. (Examples here: https://www.synology.com/en-us/dsm/packages) No plugging and unplugging a cable to your computer and possibly missing a scheduled backup. Maybe my favorite is the local cloud aka "Cloudstation." I have a set of folders on my computer that Cloudstation automatically synchronizes to the same folders on the NAS box and the same folders on my wife's computer. Originally the main reason for this was to share a Lightroom database, but now we just use it to seamlessly share files and, since the files are three places, it's pretty good always-on backup too.

Check eBay for used Synology boxes. I have a DS218+ and a DS2220+ Generally the first number is the # of drives (2) and the second two digits are the model year (2018, 2020) with the symbol denoting the processing power. "j" is a lower power box but probably plenty for home use. "+" is the higher power box. Both my boxes are hot-swap, which is completely silly for a home installation.
 

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Just replaced 4 long standing (bought Dec 2014) 4TB HGST Deskstar drives set up in 2 @8TB RAID boxes. Bought new Toshiba 6TB MD040ACA drives that have replaced the Deskstar drives to have 12TB RAID boxes. To me the most important thing, besides being 7200RPM drives, is the MTBF ratings. (mean time between failure) The higher end enterprise or NAS drives will be 1.3 million hours or up. My Toshiba are 1.4 million hours, which is what the Deskstars were too. The Toshiba N300 you bought is 1 million hours, so 40% less than mine. Most desktop drives have ratings of 800,000 hours, so the Toshiba N300 is better than most, but it just depends if you feel the extra long term reliability is worth something, I certainly do.
 
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oldracer

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FWIW I used to be in the spacecraft business, where MTBF numbers are pretty serious things and methods are standardized. I don't disagree with @SpecFoto that some is good and more is better, but 1,000,000 hours is over 100 years, so no one really knows ... AFIK the disk manufacturers probably have their own proprietary methods for doing the calculation as well. I would take those big numbers not with a grain of salt but with one of those 50#/23kg. salt blocks they put out for animals.
 

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Fortunately, I don't have that much data. Part of the reason for this dock is to consolidate what I have spewed over a few smaller drives over the years, and then archive that drive before getting a second one for backups going forward (with a new computer almost here).

I read that people have their RAID boxes in a store room or a closet. Our house has a lack of closets, and nothing close by to get it away from my work space. I had hoped that the docking station would be simpler, especially if I am not operating it too often. Also, I may put in a 1TB SSD for ongoing backups.
 

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I’m having trouble understanding your application and your question. You purchased a fast drive, plan to install it on a fast bus and chose SMR (good) as opposed to PMR. My experience is the better the drive, the noisier it’s going to be. My last group of HGST enterprise drives were so noisy I could hear them 2 rooms removed from my office. They didn’t last long but I believe they were an unusual example. You also mention “update” and “backup”. If your question is are NAS drives suitable for backups, yes, I believe they’re fine. A decent compromise between quiet and a practical useful life.
 

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Is your router or cable modem on a shelf somewhere? Putting a NAS box there might work. In my case I have quite a bit of home office space so it is not an issue.

Re archiving, Synology has a backup program that writes to a USB SATA dock. I use that about once a month and keep the SATA drive in my fire-resistant gun safe. IIRC it's like 7tb and holds about 5 months worth of backup before I start deleting old stuff. My biggest risk, though not a high risk, is a break-in where they grab all the computer gear including the NAS boxes. Hence the gun safe backup. I have toyed with the idea of actually having a NAS box running in the safe but sloth and possible overheating have kept me from the experiment.
 

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FWIW I used to be in the spacecraft business, where MTBF numbers are pretty serious things and methods are standardized. I don't disagree with @SpecFoto that some is good and more is better, but 1,000,000 hours is over 100 years, so no one really knows ... AFIK the disk manufacturers probably have their own proprietary methods for doing the calculation as well. I would take those big numbers not with a grain of salt but with one of those 50#/23kg. salt blocks they put out for animals.
I agree the numbers may be over reaching. But I have had the original HDD in a 2011 and 2012 27" iMac fail due to use and heat and come to find they were just standard desktop drives. My 4 Deskstar enterprise drives were in a MacPro and running 24/7 for 5 years and 1 year in RAID boxes with no problem. Bottom line is the enterprise or NAS drives are advertised as longer lasting for a reason, and that is worth the few extra $ to me.

To give a comparison, April 2019 I got my 27"iMac and bought a portable 2 drive 2.5" MiniPro RAID from Oyen Digital to use as a 2nd portable backup. I put brand new 5,400RPM Samyang HDD's in the unit and 2 months ago my DriveDX program started giving me warnings that I was at 100% drive life! So not even 18 months and the drives were prone to fail.
 
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threeoh - It is a CMR drive. Yes backup is the purpose. Noise would be a problem as I see no reasonable way to isolate the drive in a place we do not actively occupy, which is why I just would use it on a weekly basis.

oldracer - The router/modem is in an open space where we spend much of our time (downstairs, in an open floor plan).

SpecFoto - I was figuring 1 million hours being about 114 years, so thought I must be missing something! I do have a Verbatim 1.5TB HDD that I have been using since 2011 on a weekly basis, and it is rock solid. (I had to take photographs and put them on a larger volume USB drive.) The Verbatim was expensive in its day but came with a 7-year warranty. I just need to elaborate on that, really. For my purposes, perhaps an 6GB or 8GB external drive that is high quality might be the preferable route.
 

threeOh

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MacBook

Here's my approach on backup drives. I don’t like noise. MTBF is irrelevant to me. I cycle drives way before they'll fail from usage. Speed is irrelevant as backups are done while I’m still in bed.

I moved to 2.5” drives/enclosures. Quiet, run cool. My older Thunderbolt I, Startech enclosures are reasonably thick aluminum and I disconnect the fans. No noticeable difference in the temp of the enclosure (they were tested repeatedly for temp with and without fans). I run ssd's to clone my 2 primary ssd's and 5TB PMR Samsungs, now Seagate to backup all data and media via Timemachine. Each morning at 5 am the Mac wakes (Energy Saver schedule), Superduper runs clones of my 2 primary ssd's to backup ssd’s, then ejects the backup drives, Timemachine (locked to run between 5 am and 8 am via Timemachine Editor) copies all data (not System & Apps) to 2.5” 5 TB PMR (SMR no longer available) drives.

For security I keep a 2 TB off-site drive updated quarterly and all data residing on my Desktop and Documents resides on iCloud. Living on the water in South Florida provides an understanding of what hurricanes can do to the best of backup strategies. 2.5” drives/enclosures plus an Air make evacuations down here simple.

Including media, I have 12 TB of system + data. Forget the media, I’m down to 2 TB. That 2 TB is what needs to be well backed up. I have have no doubt there are more high-tech/elegant approaches that would allow me to spend far more dollars to backup data. But the end result would be the same and I’d rather blow my money on caviar than computer hardware.

If I had what I believe approximates your setup, I’d run 1 2.5” 5TB drive and use Timemachine for backups. Another 2.5”, 5 TB drive in a cheap usc-c enclosure for offsite. If you can slot load your docking station, you don’t need the enclosure. Clones no longer work well with spinners, TM is all you need.
 
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MacBook

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I see a lot of internal 5TB drives but almost no 2.5", mostly 3.5". Many of them do not say they are CMR/PMR, either. Most that do are NAS drives.

The docking station has two slots that can be used either for 3.5" or 2.5" SATA drives.

I'm thinking of either using the docking station ($40) with a drive and then either getting an internal 1TB SSD or external 1TB SSD for interfacing with my Mac. That's probably all I really need on a daily basis.
 

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I see a lot of internal 5TB drives but almost no 2.5", mostly 3.5". Many of them do not say they are CMR/PMR, either. Most that do are NAS drives.

The docking station has two slots that can be used either for 3.5" or 2.5" SATA drives.

I'm thinking of either using the docking station ($40) with a drive and then either getting an internal 1TB SSD or external 1TB SSD for interfacing with my Mac. That's probably all I really need on a daily basis.
Excuse me for butting in, but try it and see if you can live with having a spinning drive on your desktop without an enclosure!
One problem with a bare drive on the desktop that comes to mind is dusting, don't ever dust the drive without grounding yourself first!
ESD damage can cause it to fail! Dusting is a typical situation when a build up of static electricity will occur.

If you are prone to get electrical chocks from static electricity in your home buy an enclosure!
 

MacBook

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Tack så mycket - no problem providing information/advice! As you may be able to tell, I know just enough to be dangerous.

Static electricity doesn't seem to be a problem here, but dust does accumulate. I wanted to keep things simple, as I have several legacy drives strewn around, all smaller capacities. I need to combine them by reducing any overlapping files, and then use a new 4TB drive for updating. (The Verbatim 1.5TB I have been using since 2011 would be rested.)

I also am going to use a USB 500GB or 1TB SSD drive to use daily, that will accumulate changes that need to be backed up weekly to the larger drive. My photography demands on storage are not that great, and it is all enthusiast photography, travel and family (not professional).

I thought the docking station would be an easy way to plug in and back up once a week, and then clone a second drive monthly. It would add a little order to the process. Perhaps.
 

BosseBe

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Tack så mycket - no problem providing information/advice! As you may be able to tell, I know just enough to be dangerous.

Static electricity doesn't seem to be a problem here, but dust does accumulate. I wanted to keep things simple, as I have several legacy drives strewn around, all smaller capacities. I need to combine them by reducing any overlapping files, and then use a new 4TB drive for updating. (The Verbatim 1.5TB I have been using since 2011 would be rested.)

I also am going to use a USB 500GB or 1TB SSD drive to use daily, that will accumulate changes that need to be backed up weekly to the larger drive. My photography demands on storage are not that great, and it is all enthusiast photography, travel and family (not professional).

I thought the docking station would be an easy way to plug in and back up once a week, and then clone a second drive monthly. It would add a little order to the process. Perhaps.
The problem with plugging in once a week is that you WILL forget! Better to find a solution that you can rely on to do it without you having to do anything.
I need to do that myself as I always forget.
Maybe an extrnal enclosure plugged into your routers USB port can be a solution? Then it is on your network and can be set up for automatic backups.
 

oldracer

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I missed the idea that this involves plugging and unplugging bare drives on a regular basis. IMO that is a bad idea. I would suggest just connecting a drive enclosure, NAS (preferably) or USB, filled as you like it, then setting up a backup program with scheduled full and partial backups to run automatically. I use Acronis on Windoze; I see that they have a Mac version.
 

BosseBe

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I missed the idea that this involves plugging and unplugging bare drives on a regular basis. IMO that is a bad idea. I would suggest just connecting a drive enclosure, NAS (preferably) or USB, filled as you like it, then setting up a backup program with scheduled full and partial backups to run automatically. I use Acronis on Windoze; I see that they have a Mac version.
Even using a bare drive on a regular basis is a no-no! The possibility of accidentally shorting out the board on the disk is to high.
A hard drive bay is OK for copying a disk or cloning one, not for daily usage of a disk.
 

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Okay, I am getting the idea that my intentions were good -- backing up regularly -- but the protocol does not seem optimal. I may return the docking station, and then simply get a 5TB or so external drive for the time being. I can consolidate everything for regular backups, and keep important data and photos archived on one of my older external disks.

Admittedly, the main problem has been organization rather than speed or space. The Verbatim gets backed up every week and remains connected to the desktop, and I have photographs and data on other drives as well. As a matter of fact, I just connected an older drive (with relatively small capacity) through Firewire 800, and it is pretty speedy. (My late 2012 Mac mini, about to be replaced by a M1 version, has the FW800 port.)
 

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I see a lot of internal 5TB drives but almost no 2.5", mostly 3.5". Many of them do not say they are CMR/PMR, either. Most that do are NAS drives.
Here are the 5TB 2.5" ones I use, I have 4, 2 in a mobile RAID enclosure and 2 individual kept in a fire safe. They are 5,400 RPM drives. They are cheap enough that if I replace them in a few years it is not a problem. Hopefully by then 4 to 6 TB SSD will be more available and not so expensive.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1506908-REG/wd_wdbpkj0050bbk_wesn_5tb_my_passport_drive.html
 

BosseBe

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Here are the 5TB 2.5" ones I use, I have 4, 2 in a mobile RAID enclosure and 2 individual kept in a fire safe. They are 5,400 RPM drives. They are cheap enough that if I replace them in a few years it is not a problem. Hopefully by then 4 to 6 TB SSD will be more available and not so expensive.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1506908-REG/wd_wdbpkj0050bbk_wesn_5tb_my_passport_drive.html
I would be a little afraid of using SSD's as backup, I have had 2 fail for me, and if they fail there is virtually no way to get the data from them.
A physical HDD can be read even if it has a problem sector or such, it is even possible to send it for rescue if that is needed, for an SSD not so easy.
A magnetic platter holds its info, but a NAND cell might lose it.
 

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I would be a little afraid of using SSD's as backup, I have had 2 fail for me, and if they fail there is virtually no way to get the data from them.
I have 2 RAID backups of enterprise drives for security and reliability, and would use the SSD version for traveling, as they are so lightweight. I buy high quality Samsung or Sandisk SSD's and have not had any problem, nor have I every had a SanDIsk SD card go bad and I probably have over 25. The only Lexar and Transcend SD cards I bought did have problems though.

Right now I am using the Oyen Digital MiniPro RAID with 2 of the WD 5TB drives for my mobile setup. The 4TB version of Segate 2.5" drives only lasted for 18 months until my DriveDX app said they were past recommended maximum life.
 

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