Is the time capsule more than just a hard disc?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bollweevil, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. bollweevil macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    I know that the time capsule is a hard disc plus an Air Port base station. Is it more than that? Does it work more seamlessly than a run-of-the-mill external hard disc?

    I want a hard disc that will automatically back up my MacBook Pro whenever the MBP is within range of the hard disc, and I want the data transfer to be secure (I will be doing this in a dorm with people who like packet sniffing for no reason). Does the Time Capsule do this nicely, right out of the box? More importantly, could I get a DIFFERENT third-party hard disc to do the same thing?

    The 500GB Time Capsule is $300. Western Digital sells a 500GB mirrored pair of drives (1TB if you turn off the mirroring) for only $244. That is twice the storage OR twice the reliability (I would opt for the reliability) for $56 less. As far as I know, I would have to plug in the drive via USB every night, but to save some money I think it might be worth it.

    Also, if I got the Time Capsule and set it to back up continuously when connected and to search continuously when not connected, might that slow down my computer? What if I put the computer to sleep at work, bring it home and don't open it at home. Will it still connect to the Time Capsule and back up, or do I have to "wake it up" at home?

  2. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    The Time Capsule will do this for your Time Machine-enabled MacBook pretty much right out of the box. I would recommend reducing Wi-Fi transmission power and turning on WPA2 encryption, though, to keep those pesky packet-sniffers at bay.

    Time Machine shows little to no noticeable performance slowdown on most Macs, so performance-wise you're good to go.

    Keep in mind that your MacBook Pro, not the Time Capsule, is the initiator of the Time Machine backups. It will periodically send incremental backups when in range of the Time Capsule. When you're at home, your MBP's Time Machine indicator will change, letting you know that it couldn't find the Time Capsule, so it didn't backup. You can temporarily turn Time Machine off.

    Macs won't initiate a Time Machine Backup in Sleep, as far as I know.

    You could get your own USB storage solution, I suppose, but you'd have to plug it in every once in a while and trigger the Time Machine backup manually, which gets away from your original "automatic" purpose.

    Other than that, you can use it as a wireless router, if your dorm room supplies a wired Ethernet connection to the Internet. That way, you could surf the Web wirelessly on your own private network.
  3. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Keep in mind that some universities disallow personal routers. Know your policy before buying for this purpose.

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