Is this old Time Capsule compatible with my MacBook?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Big Stevie, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Big Stevie, Oct 17, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012

    Big Stevie macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I have the option of buying a 1TB Time Capsule from a friend for £100 - £150. Its brand new and still in its sealed packaging. But its an older model, the packaging states its compatible with X Leopard.

    My MacBook Pro is a brand new 2012 model running Mountain Lion, together with BT Infinity Broadband. So here are my questions..

    1) Would it be compatible with my MacBook?
    2) If so, is it worth buying?

    Ive read that older generation TC'c suffered from high failure rates, and a brand new 2TB 4th gen TC would only cost about £100 more.

    What would you do?
     
  2. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #2
    It should certainly be compatible. I have a 1st-generation 500 GB Time Capsule that I've used since May 2008 (when OS X was at its Leopard release). It's worked wonderfully with both a similar-vintage iMac, and my newer Early 2011 15" MacBook Pro (plus an XP machine). Both Macs are currently at OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). I'm not aware of any problems with older TCs regarding Lion or Mountain Lion, so I think you're OK on that issue.

    However, you should figure out if it is a 1st-generation TC or a later one. A seemingly large number of 1st-gen TCs had defective capacitors in the power supply, and it would suddenly fail after around 18 months of use. (The drive nd data would still be OK, but could only be accessed by repairing the PS or by removing the hard drive itself.)

    Apple actually published a range of serial numbers of units prone to this problem. There is some debate whether all susceptible TCs were included on the list. (Interestingly, my TC's serial number is included as having this problem, but has never developed it. Been in constant use, too.)

    Some people fixed their own power supplies or replaced the internal PS with an external one, some of the units Apple replaced, though I think the 3-year time limit for that has passed.

    Anyway, I suppose the value of the unit you're considering depends partly on whether it's a 1st-gen or later generation. I wouldn't hesitate if it were a 2nd-gen or later, as it seems (from what I know) that the problem doesn't occur on the later units. It might still be a good deal even for a 1st gen unit, depending upon price and how much of a gamble you want to take.

    There are other differences that may or may not matter to you, like simultaneous dual-band, guest network feature, maybe others. I don't know how to set what a worthwhile price is...
    Good luck!
     
  3. Big Stevie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Thanks Brian:) Thats very helpful.

    Is there a way of telling if its a 1st gen?


    What exactly is dual-band please? (im a bit of a newbie:eek:)
     
  4. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #4
    Hi! I found this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Capsule_%28Apple%29#Product_numbers

    Look at the "Marketing model number" and the "Model number" rows -- one of those numbers should be on the box and/or the purchase receipt. Then you'll know which generation and how old the TC is.

    If it's a 1st-gen, you'll want to check its serial number against this article (http://www.macworld.com/article/1152634/timecapsule.html).

    According to this article (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3546), the serial number is also on the original box.


    I could be wrong on this stuff, but I think it's something like this:
    Dual-band refers to the ability to use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. Older wireless devices (like laptops) are 802.11g and use only the 2.4GHz band. Newer devices (like your MacBook Pro) can use 802.11n, on either the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band. N is faster/better than G. If you use the 2.4GHz band to support both type of devices, the G devices will cause the N devices to operate at a slower bit rate (I think), so that's "bad" for your throughput.

    For bands it's not so simple -- often the 2.4GHz band is crowded by other peoples' routers, so performance can be much better on the uncrowded 5GHz band. But, I've read that the lower band can actually be better about transmitting through walls and such. So, it all depends upon your location.

    Anyway, all TCs support both bands, but the newer ones allow both bands to be used at the same time, while the 1st-gen TC can't do that. Why would you want this? The only reason I know of is you can use the lower band for older, slower 802.11g devices, and the higher frequency band for new, faster 802.11n devices at the same time. Then the G devices won't cause the N devices to operate slower (as they would if they shared the 2.4GHz band).

    So, as far as I know, this feature is only relevant to you if you have other "G" WiFi devices you want to connect to the TC router.

    Hope that makes some sense!
     
  5. Big Stevie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Wow, thanks Brian [​IMG] Thats extremely useful [​IMG]

    Ill check what the packaging says and then work on the price.

    Thanks buddy:)
     
  6. Big Stevie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Well it turned out to be a 2010 model bearing the model number A1355. I purchased it for £125 which I think is a fair price.

    Thanks again Brian :)
     

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