Best replacement hard drive for Time Capsule

Discussion in 'Mac Peripherals' started by jowie, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm thinking of upgrading my Time Capsule 500GB to 1TB and I'd like some recommendations on replacement drives. I've heard Western Digital do a 'green' low-power drive, but I think they're only 5400 rpm. I'd like something that is quiet, reliable and low-powered, but I don't want it to be any slower than the one I already have. I'd prefer WD or Seagate because I've always found them to be the most reliable...

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated, thanks!

    :-Joe

    PS I'm in the UK so need a product available over here... :)
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Dolorian

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    #2
    I recently got the WD MyBook for Mac of 1TB and I could easily set it up with Time Machine and it performed the long initial backup with no problem and has been doing the hourly backups fine since then. I would recommend this one.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks, but I'm talking about the Time Capsule so I'm looking for an internal hard drive... Hopefully a slightly quieter one... ;)
     
  4. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #4
    Be careful with the WD drives. Most recent large ones are "Advanced Format" drives and may not be happy in an older Time Capsule.

    I moved from Time Capsule to an HP Mediasmart so I've been paying some attention to the drives for that. Hitachi's GP drives (e.g. the 7K1000) are always well recommended as are the Samsung F1/F2/F3/F4 drives (though consensus says the Sammys are louder).

    B
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thanks for the advice... I'm happy to steer clear of WD if they're not compatible. But I would prefer something that was quieter not louder. Will look into the ones you mentioned.

    Are there any good online articles about this? I should look on Macworld...

    Thanks

    :-Joe
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    By my experience, I'd say get a WD Green drive.

    I have a 1st gen 500 GB Time Capsule, purchased in May 2008. A month ago I upgraded the internal drive to a 2 TB WD Caviar Green "advanced format" drive (model WD20EARS).

    The result has been excellent: *much, much* quieter than the Seagate drive that was in there. I've been extremely pleased with it. Yes, it is a 5400 rpm drive, but I can't tell any performance difference. I may be wrong but I don't think drive is the limiting factor for backup speed to the TC.

    It was an easy upgrade; I followed the directions I found here: http://www.applefritter.com/node/23907 (They also report a good experience with a WD Green drive.)

    Regards,
    Brian33
     
  7. Moderator

    balamw

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    #7
    That alleviates my concern above partially.

    NOTE: The guide is for a EADS (pre "Advanced Format") drive and as such doesn't have to worry about 4K clusters. I highly recommend EADS and EACS drives if you can still find them.

    Did you jumper your drive for "XP" compatibility or install it as-is? From what I've read on the WHS forums the performance issues when the drive is not "aligned" properly are easy to miss. The TC is so slow anyways that it may simply not matter.

    B
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Oops -- you're right, the applefritter article describes using a EADS rather than the EARS drive I used.

    No, I didn't set/remove any jumpers. My understanding was that any version of OS X (and presumably the "smarts" in the TC?) could handle advanced format drives.

    My backups seem to be just as fast, but I haven't done any sort of testing.

    Regarding performance, here's a quote from the above-mentioned applefritter article from Jan31, 2009:

    "... in the case of Time Capsule's hard drive, speed doesn't matter at all, as any drive you put in it will never reach its maximum throughput. This is because all of the data in and out of Time Capsule goes through gigabit Ethernet, which has a theoretical maxmimum of 125MB per second. In reality, though, that figure is much lower. In a real-life test, I got a maximum of 12.58MB per second in a transfer of 700MB of data from my iMac to Time Capsule via gigabit Ethernet. Even the slowest SATA drive on the market won't impede backup performance..."
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    To the OP -- I might point out that Seagate also has a low-power drive that spins 5900 rpm, so that might be a good route if you're wary of the WD green drives. I definitely recommend a low-power drive because of the lower heat and lower noise advantages.

    Here's an in-depth review of the Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB:
    http://www.storagereview.com/seagate_barracuda_lp_2tb_review

    And here's an equivalent review of the drive I used, the Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB (WD20EARS):
    http://www.storagereview.com/western_digital_caviar_green_2tb_review_wd20ears

    I decided from the reviews that they were pretty equivalent for TC use. I went with the WD because I had seen several reports of people putting a WD green into their Time Capsules. Not sure if I have the links anymore, though.

    Regards,
    Brian33
     
  10. macrumors regular

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    #10
    I have a Time Capsule I bought shortly after they came out. A few months ago I replaced the drive with a WD green 1.5TB. I did not do anything fancy, just opened the TC, dropped in the new drive, and closed it up. No thought of jumpers or anything else. The TC is very quiet and cooler. There have been no problems. The green drives are quite fast enough for Time Machine. There are no advantages and several disadvantages to going for a higher rpm drive. I bought mine from Amazon, I think, because I get free shipping. Newegg was my first choice.

    Moocher
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Thanks for all your help here! :)

    I guess I'm just a little concerned about the speed thing, since Apple put a 7200 rpm drive in not a 5400 (mine is Early 2009 model), so you'd think it was for a reason...? Also I'm not so sure about the argument that the speed of a SATA drive is never going to be a bottleneck on a gigabit connection... The speed of a drive is more to do with how quickly it can randomly access different sectors, and so if it becomes fragmented (which I'd have thought is pretty likely when it becomes full and starts deleting old backups) then I'd suggest that a 5400 rpm drive could be significantly slower than a 7200 rpm one...

    Remember that Time Machine deals with a lot of very small files as well as all the big ones, so I'd think there could quite easily be a bottleneck from 5400 rpm on a drive, even over a wireless connection (think of all the time Time Capsule & Time Machine take to prepare and clean-up backups, lots and lots of random access going on!)

    Am I being overly cautious here?

    Thanks all!
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Thanks! That's really good to hear that a lot of people have chosen the WD Green for their TCs. How long has yours been in your TC? Have you had any problems at all?
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
  14. Moderator

    balamw

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    #14
    The Time Capsule is just slow as a general purpose NAS, which is one of the reasons I switched over to the HP MediaSmart. The "brains" just can't pump the bits fast enough from the drive.

    Under ideal situations, typical transfer rates over GbE should be ~3X faster than the max Brian33 reports ~40 MBps. I was never able to get that from the Time Capsule and have never seen reports of anything close to that. However, I have seen reports that mis-aligned WD "Advanced Format" drives will perform ~2 MBps which frankly sucks.

    I finally took my dead Gen 1 TC500 apart. Now, considering what I will do to replace the dead PSU.

    B
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    You seem very sceptical of Advanced Format drives. Do you have any links to any of the reports you're talking about?

    Doh... 1st Gen Time Capsules, not good :-( did Apple not offer a replacement?
     
  16. balamw, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010

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    balamw

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    #16
    Again the root of my skepticism is with WHS and XP based OSes not liking these drives. Whatever OS the Time Capsule runs may be smart enough to handle it (or not). By some of the reports here it may be a non-issue. (EDIT: This from WDC seems to imply 10.4 and on "get it" and using GPT makes it OK http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=5655 I can confirm that the drive I pulled from the TC used a GPT table).

    Here's a link for WHS http://www.wegotserved.com/2010/01/...vanced-format-drives-and-windows-home-server/ One guy was reporting drops below 1 MBps.

    Apple offered a replacement, but they were unwilling to do anything to address my privacy concerns with the data on the drive in the dead system (no hard drive with my private data on it leaves my possession without being mechanically disabled or submitted to a data wipe). Ultimately they shipped me a refurb and let me keep the dead one too. I have not had a need to deploy the refurb yet and am extremely skeptical that it will last more than 18 months without modification. So, I'm playing with the dead one and keeping the refurb on the shelf.

    I think using an internal PSU for the Time Capsule and :apple:TV 1.0 was a BAD idea. I owned both and they ran WAY too hot and really didn't need to. Hope they learned something for the latest Mac Minis. I would have bought one in a heartbeat if they hadn't internalized the PSU. They certainly have a winning design with :apple:TV black.

    B
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    From what people are saying here it is? But I will see if I can find other people out there who have used it on the TC.

    If it helps any, I've had mine for getting on for 2 years now with no *touches wood* problems. :) ...There I just heard it whizz up for another backup... ;)
     
  18. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #18
    If you only want 1 TB, you should consider a notebook drive. Otherwise the Time Bomb, er, I mean, Time Capsule might overheat just as fast.
     
  19. Brian33, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010

    macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    My 2 TB WD20EARS has been in the Time Capsule two months, I guess. Had zero problems, don't even remember how it got formatted (I think it asked me if I wanted it formatted, or something).

    I didn't try to carry forward any of the old backups; after installing the new drive I just had Time Machine do a full backup again (over ethernet).
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    To recap... I already have a Time Bomb/Capsule, so I'm just looking for a replacement drive. ;)
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Sure... I'm hoping to 'clone' my existing TC drive when I take it out, so I can continue on with my backups (if possible). Hopefully that should be okay, I'll plug it into the PowerMac and use SuperDuper... Hope that the whole Advanced Format thing doesn't cause me any problems (I'm running Leopard so that should be okay!)
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I am running Snow Leopard, and was when I made the TC disk change. I sorta wanted to start again because I had changed my iMac's name and it was still called by its old name on the backup disk. (I guess letting that bother me is a bit OCD or something!)

    I must admit I'm always puzzled that people go to some trouble to preserve the old backup history. Why, I wonder? Afraid of a crash before you can make a new complete backup? Have important files that only exist on the backup volume? Think you might need an older version of a file? This I can kind of understand, I guess.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    LOL... Love the way you answered your own question ;)

    Yes... I'd like to know that the file I might have accidentally deleted a year ago might still be available. It's what I love about Time Machine, so it'd be a crying shame to have to start from scratch. I'm actually that crazy that I'm even using the backups I was before I bought the Time Capsule - Yes that's right - I set up each Mac in the house so it backed up to another Mac over the network ;)
     
  24. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #24
    If I understood correctly, you're looking to replace the TC's internal 500 gb 3.5" drive? If so, why not a 1 TB 2.5" drive? I'm sure it's a SATA interface. It'll certainly produce a lot less heat than a 3.5" drive.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Oh sorry, I see what you mean. I'd be worried about fitting it, to be honest. I'd much rather just take one drive out and replace it with another drive... I'm not that much of a tinkerer! Also 2.5" 1TB drives, are they as reliable as their 3.5" counterparts?
     

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