Safe Time to buy a Time Capsule?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by urkel, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. urkel macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #1
    I sold my original Time Capsule before the latest event hoping a new one would be announced with the AppleTV Support that Apple mentioned. But surprisingly it got ignored so now I need to buy one again.

    The problem with my old single band TC was the incredibly slow transfer speeds. The new ones are dual so that's an improvement but the speeds still havent improved.

    I dont necessarily "need" one now because my Airport Express is doing the job currently, but if nothings coming out for a while I might as well get a refurb.
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    Wow. That's a first. I sold my backup drive cuz a new one might be coming out and now I need to buy it back.

    If I were you, I'd consider something other than Time Capsule now that you've gotten rid of the one you had. I was never a huge fan of the whole router and backup all in one overly expensive box deal. If the AE is working for you, consider a different brand of NAS so you aren't paying the Apple premium for an arguably less than reliable device. You did hear about the sudden death of first gen Time Capsules 18 months in, didn't you? I had one go and take the only remaining copy of my daughter's data with it. I use the replacement Apple sent me but I won't ever rely on it as my only backup.
     
  3. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #3
    I agree - if you already have an Airport Express, why bother with a Time Capsule? You can hook any drive up via USB, and have the same thing for less money in a more upgradeable package.
     
  4. urkel thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #4
    I understand why it seems redundant, but I have a few reasons.

    1) Airport Express is my travel router. I just used it now because it's the only N router I have.

    2) AE isnt dual band so it's set for N only. That means I have to run a 2nd router for my G devices.

    3) A wireless Time Machine is more convenient than a wired one that requires you to constantly unmount if you want to grab the laptop and go


    Anyway, my point was that the TC is severely overpriced for 2011 ($300 for 1TB, $500 for 2TB), it doesn't support AppleTV and it hasnt been updated for a year so I figured one would be announced now.
     
  5. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #5
    Right - my mistake - I know an Airport Express is a travel router (and I even wrote it in my first reply!)

    Anyhow, the point still stands - why not buy a normal Airport Extreme, and hook up a backup drive of your choosing to it? You can buy a refurbished Airport Extreme for $129, and an external 2TB usb drive for about the same price - meaning you get the same thing as the 2TB Time Capsule, for $250, and you can update either the drive or the router independently in the future. You keep your wireless backups with this system - it's the 'same' as a Time Capsule.
     
  6. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #6
    I am also thinking of buying a Time Capsule for myself at Christmas but your idea seems a lot better. The only reason I haven't bought one before is the price, but I think just buying the extreme and getting a separate hard drive is the best way to go. Anyone know how the range on the Extreme and Time Capsule compare?
     
  7. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #7
    Apple doesn't support back to USB drives with Time Machine on the Airport Extreme and has disabled it in the firmware, although there are ways to get it to work. Which defeats part of the purpose of having a USB backup on the network.
     
  8. carlgo macrumors 68000

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    Dec 29, 2006
    #8
    The TC is really a great device, but many died from high heat. Somebody at Apple decided that high heat was better than a fan turning on, so the things overheated and died at almost precisely 18 months. The actual components are, according to people who know these things, of very high quality.

    This was a form over function decision. Apple does that from time to time.

    I fixed mine by replacing some capacitors (the first thing that fails, thus saving all else evidently) and modifying the fan to run at half-speed, but all the time. And with fresh cool air instead of just stirring around the hot air! Obviously far cooler and I expect it to last.

    Some people put take the HD out and put it in a case to retrieve the data, and then install a larger HD in the TC. I didn't do this, but evidently it is not difficult.

    The speed wasn't an issue for me, the range is fine in my house where I am usually around 40' away from it.

    They are very handy for those who don't want to spend that much time manually backup up, having any more cables or stuff on the desk.

    One might pick up a dead one, or even one that still works but you don't trust, and just modify the thing. I would never be without one.

    I am so thrilled I am now actually backed up. Went years on luck alone...!
     
  9. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #9
    Hmm, that's interesting. I thought at one point they had released firmware that supported it - I wonder why they reverted? Looking through the archives, it does appear to 'work' in most cases, but use caution. Sorry for the mis-information folks!
     
  10. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #10
    I like my TC a lot but don't plan on replacing it either when the need comes. It seemed like a good solution back when I first got my iMac in 2008, but now I am in the camp to have seperate equipment for router and backup drive--so I'd go the Airport Extreme/External Drive route next time. But so far so good here--the TC sits all by itself on a shelf near the floor of my computer desk so it stays relatively cool. I don't really need the dual band improvements--not yet anyway but I suppose that could change in the future as well.

    I'd recommend the Airport Extreme/External Drive route.:)
     
  11. 7thMac macrumors 6502

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    May 10, 2010
    #11
    I agree with bobr1952. If you can connect your backup drive directly to the computer that is a good solution. Keep the Airport Express if it is otherwise doing what you need.
     
  12. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #12
    Does anyone what percent or how many Time Capsules actually die around 18 months?
     
  13. urkel thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #13
    I understand why people like the Airport Extreme + External HDD combo. But for $100 more then it's not too bad to have them both integrated in a Time Capsule. My problem is that the current Time Capsules are outdated and either the price should come down or the specs should go up.

    Or better yet, the TC needs a design overhaul because it does get pretty warm so maybe there's something they can do to make this more efficient (and please please please make heat dissipation more important than this silly "It's even Thinner" gimmick Apple's been riding).
     
  14. Fubar1977 macrumors 6502a

    Fubar1977

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    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    #14
    I would not personally touch the TC with a 10 foot pole. Overpriced router/harddrive combo with a reputation for dying at the 18 month mark thus taking your data with it.
    Not one of Apples finest (imo).
     
  15. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #15
    Yeah, that's the real question, but I don't think anybody knows. And of course we'd want to know the percentage of 1st gen and current gen separately.

    I've run my 1st gen 500GB Time Capsule for 2 and a half years now with never a problem (and yes, my unit's serial number is within the "problem" range!), but that doesn't prove anything one way or the other. All I know is its been great for me and I've been glad I bought it.

    Just a few days ago I replaced the original 500GB Seagate drive with a new 2TB WD Caviar Green (WD20EARS) drive for the increased capacity. It was really easy to do (w/instructions on the web) and is working perfectly with Time Machine.

    I like the integration of backup system and router and wireless access point all in one unit -- they are all functions I want available all of the time and I like to keep the clutter to a minimum. I even like the integration of the power supply :)eek: blasphemy!) which makes cord management easier.
     
  16. urkel thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #16
    It was weird because my 1st gen 500GB died EXACTLY at 18mo. Apple paid shipping and replaced it within a few days. I sold it on Ebay though because it was still single band and I need the Dual-band version to reduce my multiple router clutter. But I just dont want to buy if a new one is around the corner.
     
  17. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #17
    I just noticed that on Apple's online store it has the Time Capsules and it has a "new" flag in the corner of the product page. Anyone know what changes might have happened recently?

    It's good to know Apple acknowledges the problem. Is the warranty greater than one year or did you have to buy some kind of Apple care?
     
  18. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
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    Melbourne, FL
    #18
    Apple recalled those that proved to be defective--accordingly to serial number. Of course not all recalled TCs have failed.:D
     
  19. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #19
    That's strange because I just plugged my drive in to my AEBS, opened Time Machine and told it what drive to use and it's still working two years on. :)

    I don't know what percentage failed but the average time was 19 months and 20 days.
     
  20. carlgo macrumors 68000

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    Dec 29, 2006
    #20
    Apple choose a fairly narrow range to extend the warranty to. Any unit of this design will fail because nothing was done to alleviate the problem. The newer dual-band ones may be different.

    Apple does not take the units apart and fix and update them. Far too much work. They simply send "refurbs" which are returns, open boxes, over-stock, etc. So, they will have the same problem 18 mos down the road.

    A unit that hasn't yet failed will, unless you do the fan mod.
     
  21. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    Oct 11, 2005
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    #21
    The power supply fails because of the build up of heat. They don't seem to have altered any components in the power supply but the latest units are using slower, "green" hard drives which don't give off as much heat and may help prolong the lifetime.
     
  22. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #22
    Which is why I think mine has been doing good so far--location, location, location. It is in a spot all by itself on a low glass shelf near the floor and seldom gets very warm.
     
  23. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #23
    Anyone know why there is a "new" flag on the product page of time capsule? Do they recently update something that I missed: http://apple.com/wifi
     

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