How long will my Time Capsule work?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jason.siegel, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. jason.siegel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #1
    Approximately how long will my first-generation Time Capsule continue on working? I've had Time Machine backing up to it since I bought it in late 2008, and I've never had any problems. However, I do know that hard drives (and hardware generally) do not last forever. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #2
    The hard drive could last another 5 years or it could die tomorrow. There's no way of guessing what will happen. If you start to hear funny noises from the drive in the Time Capsule, it's a sign that it's likely going to die soon.
     
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #3
    The drive provides "S.M.A.R.T." status (drive health) to the TC, which you can see in the disks window using the older airport utility. About a week before my three year old TC hard drive went south I started getting alerts driven by the SMART status.

    Except for that power supply defect of a few years ago, the life of the TC is pretty much controlled by the drive life. Drives can last a decade or a year, they can fail with or without warning. Statistically they seem to last about the length of the drive warranty period.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    As I recall the half life of hard drives is 5 years. So from here on it is more likely the drive will fail than not. It could go another 30 years or perhaps it failed while I was writing this. You may get warnings or it may be sudden.

    Even when it does fail does not mean the Time Capsule is dead. You can replace or upgrade the hard drive.
     
  5. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #5
    As has been said, it's hard to reliably predict. In 2002, I purchased a pair of identical hard drives (even from the same manufacturing batch.) I put them in my server in a RAID-1.

    One died in 2004. The other is still going (with a newer second drive, of course.) So one lasted 2 years, the other is on year 11 and still going. And that is 24/7/365 operation.

    I have other hard drives that have seen significantly less use (not 24/7/365) that are still work over 25 years after they were made.
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    The first gen TC like yours had a defective component in the internal power supply that caused premature failure. Someone even started a (now abandoned) web site to track these here. There was quite a bit of media coverage on this in 2009. Apple even had a site up where I believe they were providing replacements outside of warranty.

    I would not push my luck and I would replace it now before it dies.
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #7
    Don't think he has to worry about a bad power supply if it been working this long. The bad ones crapped out within 2 years.

    But that's statistics.
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #8
    I don't think we know that. The web site that was tracking them shut down at about the two year point, so we have no data.
     
  9. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Location:
    On The Interweb Thingy!
    #9
    My first generation actually died today, the power supply seems to have just given up. About a year or so ago the hard drive packed up, but that was a simple enough repair. Not sure if I'll fix the power supply though.

    Five years isn't a bad innings in my book.
     
  10. jason.siegel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #10
    I generally sell my devices on Amazon whenever I upgrade. I can probably get about $65 profit off of it, if someone buys it, based on this. My reservation about upgrading is that even the newest version of Time Capsule does not support USB 3.0. I have an external drive that I connect to the unit via USB.
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #11
    USB is backwards compatible, so even if your drive is USB 2 it will work with the new TC. USB 3 would not improve the new TC anyway as the unit is limited by network speeds, which are exceeded by USB 2.
     
  12. jason.siegel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #12
    I understand the backwards compatibility.

    You are saying that if I were to, for instance, download to my computer from my external drive connected to TC via USB 2.0, it would not be any slower than if it were connected via USB 3.0 because wireless is slower than USB 2.0? I had thought that by 2013, wireless speeds had caught up to USB 2.0.

    If this is the case, is there any advantage of upgrading my TC at all? It seems I should just wait until it dies.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Exactly.

    Your model does not have "dual band" wifi, so if you have say a wifi N device connected at 5Ghz then you connect a wifi G 2.4Ghz device, the N device wifi speed will slow to the G 2.4Ghz devices speeds. The newer models have simultaneous dual band so all devices keep running at their full speed.

    If this is not an issue for you, and you don't mind just waiting for the existing one you have to drop dead one day, I don't see any compelling reason to update. I am assuming here this is not your only backup that you would lose if the TC croaks.

    The new TC also has wifi AC, but it does not sound like you have any AC client devices at this point anyway?
     
  14. jason.siegel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #14
    I have a lot of interference in my current large apartment building, so I changed my TC settings to get a clear signal to my Late 2011 Air. In the process, my iPhone 4S is no longer able to connect, but I'll be getting a 5S when it comes out in a week. I have no other old devices.

    Does my first-generation TC have the ability to back up more than one computer via Time Machine?
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #15
    In that case, a newer TC with simultaneous dual band would be helpful.

    Yes, not a problem at all.
     
  16. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #16
    I think that network speed and hard drives is theoretical and for short range wireless access. There are many more things on the wireless network that can slow down data transfer (like other devices using WIFI) that directly attached USB device does not have to deal with. GB+ ethernet hard wired between devices can be quite responsive, however.

    No question that the current consumer WIFI technology provides much much better performance than those of 5 years ago.
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #17
    I think you are misreading OP's question. I believe he was referring to a USB drive directly attached to the Time Capsule. I had to read it twice also, but that is what I got from it. :)
     

Share This Page