Too NAS or Not to NAS? That is the question...


Jul 16, 2010
Hey everyone. I'm somewhat tech-savvy but sometimes get dizzy from things as they get complicated (or I make them complicated).

I think I'm trying to do something pretty straight-forward and hoping to get some guidance. I'm on a MacBook Pro OS X 10.5.8 connecting to a cable modem thru a Linksys WRT54G2 V1.5. The router is also connected to a phone modem for Vonage.

I'm looking to get an HDD to use for backing-up as well as using the HDD for external storage, and would also like to hook-up to a printer wirelessly. I was thinking a 1TB drive would suffice, especially if I could later hook-up additional HDDs thru USB/Firewire, etc.

What I'd like to know is:

(1) Can I set-up an HDD to do back-up and use as storage for media (music, video, pictures) simply by partitioning the drive? Or is it more complicated than that?

(2) Would I need a powered hub to link my router to an HDD, printer, etc? Or can an HDD be linked directly to the router and printer, tv, etc linked thru the HDD?

(3) Would an NAS be a better solution? Would and NAS function as both HDD and hub?

Any suggestions on particular hardware, etc would also be appreciated.

Thanks for your help. :sol:


Jun 11, 2010
freeNAS OS would work. Hardware requirements is pretty low spec for the OS, but say you're using SATA drives, you would obviously need a SATA motherboard, or adapters (adapters can be hinky though). If you want high performance NAS, get large RAM and fast drives (and obviously SATA not IDE mobo), processor is tertairy to these two.

FreeNAS can work as a printer server as well.

cheapest option is using an older box thats lying around, but be prepared to take a hit in performance with large data throughputs. (eg P4, 512mb ram would have took me about 3 days to transfer 500GB from one drive to another, but that was using SATA drives on an IDE mobo... slloooowww as so I aborted and gonna get a SATA mobo upgrade)

What I would do is get 2x500GB drive rather than 1x1TB drive, as you can access both drives independantly, so either can have media on one, backups on other, or you could RAID them. Decide on size and number of drives before you buy, dont just get the biggest you can.

Your other Option is ClearOS (formally ClarkConnect), but current version has to be installed by disc, then setup via network, which is a PITA.

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