Time Capsule 2TB vs AirPort Extreme w/ 2TB External

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BimmerNFS, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. BimmerNFS macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2012
    I am in the market for a new router and am trying to make up my mind. Looking at either a 2TB Time Capsule or a AirPort Extreme w/ 2TB External drive. What are the pros and cons of each except price, i just want to know whats going to be best. I am looking for using Time Machine wirelessly and backing up my iPad and iPhone to it as well and accessing my files remotely. My biggest worry is if the hard drive in the time capsule fails. Can it be replaced with any drive or does it have to be a special hard drive that works with the Time Capsule. I have also Thought about doing NAS so i can use RAID so protect my files. I have large amounts of pictures, videos, and music that must be backed up. Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions. :apple:
  2. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I've tried both configurations. The APE was a good router and I had TM set up to automatically backup my MBP wirelessly to an external USB drive. I do recall having to fuss with it a bit to get it to do the initial backup but after that it was smooth sailing.

    Eventually I sold the Extreme and opted for the cleaner setup of the Time Capsule. Rather than rely solely on the TC, I also purchased a small NAS to do manual backups and to function as a media server.

    People have replaced the hard drive and didn't find it to be anything proprietary or difficult.
  3. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    I went with a Linksys 4200 wireless router + 2TB Time Capsule (current gen). I found using Apple's router functionality a bit limited in functionality so opted for the TC for wireless backups only.
  4. BimmerNFS thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2012
    What type of limited functions does the AirPorts and Time Capsules have vs brands such as Linksys, Dlink, Netgear, etc.?
    I am going to be using the router for many different things, I would eventually like to go to NAS because I like the comfort of RAID 1. I am going to be connecting 2 Mac computers 2 PCs, iPad 2, 2 iPhones, 2 TVs, a bluray player, apple TV, HP printer and a PS3. I will be having a pretty high network load as I play lots of online games with my PS3, stream Netflix and download movies and tv shows from iTunes often.
    So I am looking for something that can handle a good amount of network load. Most importantly I wanna make sure it's easy to use. I am a techie but my girlfriend is not at all so I wanna make sure it's something that doesn't require much on her part to do back ups and connect to.
  5. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011

    The Time Capsule is pretty much a set it and forget it type of system. I believe the APE + USB HDD use for backup is not officially supported for Time Machine backups (although I could be wrong). With the APE I believe you would have to manually create sparse bundles to setup everything initially; therefore I went with TC to minimize the risk of something screwing up when it time to do a restore.

    For your needs, a APE or TC would be fine as you can connect up to 50 devices. As a wireless router, it does limited in the advance features department. For example, different password for 2.4 / 5.8Ghz or bandwidth meters alerts. With other brands, you can access the router on the LAN web based. Apple devices have the software installed already to access but if you want to access the router on a PC, you will need to install the client. Cisco has the capability to share files via ftp and set permissions down to the folder level; where as, all I remember seeing in TC is to access the hdd either with single password.
  6. throAU, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I tried an external drive with APE and had all sorts of issues with it. I later discovered that the drive was faulty (it would crap out and need a reformat at about 500gb out of 750gb capacity) - but I did waste a lot of time dealing with it because APE + time machine on external disk is an unsupported configuration.

    It probably works, but if that's what you plan to do it may well be worth spending a little more to get it all in one box and be able to call applecare or whatever if it screws up in any way.

    That said, i have found the extreme to be a stable router, though if you are after IPv6 support on ADSL - be aware that it doesn't support the allocation of a native IPV6 IP/Route via PPPoE. (my ISP is native dual-stack now, yay!)

    So, it's IPV6 capable somewhat, but for all intents and purposes, only really using tunnels, in the real world.

    TLDR version: don't screw around with backups. buy the gear that is made for the job :)
  7. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    Using an external drive is slower. I used to use one off of my time capsule to stream video from. Playback was fine, but there was noticeable lag when skipping around the video.
  8. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Went with a 3TB TC, and a small AEBS (wall plug type ) to extend the range of my 5GHZ network...Works great.
  9. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    If you're thinking of going the NAS route eventually anyway, take a look at THIS. (Or 4-bay HERE). You can get one of those with disks for the same price or under the top-end Time Capsule. And you have the option of future expandability. They have great features besides just file storage, and they support Time Capsule out of box (download new firmware from their website though - included disk version is too old for Lion). The top Amazon review for the 4-bay is one I wrote..really is a terrific product.
  10. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I've been very happy with my 1st-generation Time Capsule, originally 500GB. A year and a half ago I replaced the too-small 500GB drive with a 2TB drive to get more backup space. It was very easy to do -- the only trick is to use a hair dryer to soften the glue holding on the bottom rubber pad so it doesn't rip while you're removing it. After that, it's just a few screws and a plug, all easy to get to.

    The Time Capsules take a standard 3 1/2" SATA hard drive you can buy anywhere. The only glitch I've read about (here on MacRumors) had to do with whether the drive would "spin-down" or go to a low power mode like the original TC drives do after about 3 minutes of non-use. Some people's replacement drives worked and backed up fine, but would not spin-down. We never could figure out why. My replacement has worked perfectly.

    If I were you I'd lean toward getting a TC. Mine has been rock-solid as a router. I've got a couple of Macs and a Windows XP box using it and the printer and USB stick plugged into it. It's got all the features I (not an expert) could think of. If you're worried about that, I think there's a return window if you decide you don't like it. So just check it out thoroughly during that time.

    Also, I find the Airport Utility for setup much superior to the web interfaces I've used for other brands of routers.

    Good luck!

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