New Time Capsule seems very very slow

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Nemic, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Nemic, Nov 6, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012

    Nemic macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    Hi all, I am using a Time Capsule 3TB with a 2011 MacBook Air 13", 1,8 GHz i7, 250 GB.

    When I first set the Time Capsule up I direct connected my Macbook to it using CAT 5 ethernet and an Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter.
    I have tried the same with a CAT 6 cable, and also using a different port on the Time Capsule, and there are no improvements,

    The first Time machine backup took more than 24 hours!! - more like 36 in fact, did not time it exactly.

    This created a backup Sparsebundle file of around 150 GB.

    This seemed very excessive to me so I tried transferring some movie files direct from the Air to the Time Capsule - using the same Thunderbolt to Ethernet connection.

    5.38 GB took close to one hour! The activity monitor gave the following:

    Data received - 51.9 KB/sec
    Data Sent - 1.93 MB/sec

    This is actually slower than my broadband connection :-(

    The same files transferred to a Drobo FS via the same network took only 3 min and 41 secs.

    Now the Drobo is not known for it's speed, but the difference here is huge.

    I had been hoping to store iTunes files and movies on the TimeCapsule and use them with Apple TV, but it seems to be too slow for that.

    Any suggestions? I must be doing something wrong?
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Leave Time Capsule only for backups. I would not worry about how long a backup takes. Use a separate external drive (USB, FW, thunderbolt) for large media libraries and make sue Time Machine includes the external drive(s) in the backups made to Time Capsule.
  3. Nemic thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    Apple's own website refers to the Time Capsule like this:

    "So whether you have 250 songs or 250,000 songs to back up, room is the last thing you’ll run out of. And considering all that storage and protection come packaged in a high-speed Wi-Fi base station starting from £249, data isn’t the only thing you’re saving."

    From this I assumed that I could store iTunes etc on here, but at the moment it seems too slow. I cannot believe that it is supposed to be as slow as it is - 1.93 MB/sec cannot be right, right?

    I had considered attaching a large USB drive to the Time Capsule for regular file storage, but I cannot see how this would make things any faster, or am I wrong?

    MCASan thanks for your prompt reply. But I can't afford to have my Mac sitting around waiting for a backup to finish (just because I have some new files) and taking ages about it, when I should be leaving for work.

    If it's really supposed to be this slow, then it's of no use to me, and 3TB is a waste for a single MacBook air.

    Any other ideas? I might just have to return it.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I have a 2012 MBA connected to a Thunderbolt monitor, with wired ethernet connected to the Thunderbolt display then to a Time Capsule. So, indirectly, Thunderbolt to ethernet just like you.

    I just did a test copy of a 6GB disk image to the Time Capsule and it took about four minutes. You can see the xfer speed is about 26MBps. You should be seeing the same.


    I have an idea. Do you have wifi on on the Macbook Air? It sounds like even though you have it connected to ethernet, it is using the wifi connection. Check the screen below under Network in System Preferences and make sure you have the ethernet connection at the top and the wifi at the bottom. If it is not, even though they are both connected, the machine will use the wifi... and you don't want that. Click the gear at the bottom to change the order.

  5. Nemic thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    Well, I took the Time Capsule and my MacBook into Apple today.

    They did some tests, and the Genius said that it was faulty. He said there was no way that it should be that slow for data transfer.

    In fact in the store he could not get the Time Capsule to connect at all, even to one of their own Macs.

    So there was some kind of fault, and they replaced it with a brand new one, without me even having to ask.

    Got it set up now, and the first Time Machine backup is estimated to take around 4 hours, which is a HUGE improvement.

    So glad I got this sorted. Great service from Apple :)


    Thanks Weaselboy, I only just noticed your reply.

    I had the wi-fi turned off the whole time on the Air, so there was no way it was on wi-fi. However I did not realise that you could specify which connection to use in order of preference. So I will make sure that it is configured to use Ethernet before Wi-Fi if connected.

    Tried a quick transfer of 2GB to check the connection, and this took less than 1 minute. This is the sort of speed I would expect, so the first Time Capsule was faulty for sure. Glad I went into Apple today, and got it all sorted :)
  6. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2012
    The Time Capsule has one of those Green drives inside. Those green drives have been tested and documented to have really slow read and write speed. Even the wireless is slow compared to other routers. You would be better off buying an external Thunderbolt drive or adapter for $99 than you would using the Capsule.
  7. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    My friend and I had similar experiences, we bought our Time Capsules at the same time at the same store and had two different outcomes.

    Mine worked just fine out of the box and performed just as well as my Airport Extreme 5th gen with regards to the router functions and creating backups took the "normal" time.
    His on the other hand worked great as a router but it took him 5-6hrs longer to do a backup than it did for me and the hard drive he was backing up was smaller. Exchanged it and now he has no problem.

    I went the Time Capsule route because where I have all of my computer equipment I am limited on outlets and I didn't want to have to go buy another power strip especially when the power adaptors on most external hard drives halfway cover the next plug space making them useless. 1 plug, 2 functions.

    -plus I changed out the 2TB HDD with a 3TB and did the fan mod to keep the temps down. Something I recommend for TC owners that have the tools to do it at home.

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