Time Capsule Not Using Server-Grade Hard Drive As Advertised?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 12, 2007
Why is no one talking about the fact that Apple didn't actually put an Enterprise grade HD in the machine?

See the fliker picture here of a 1TB teardown.

Notice the DeskStar Label? It's the consumer variant of the UltraStar drive and of course significantly cheaper.

I was waiting on the initial teardown reports and official reviews before taking the plunge, but now am a little skeptical of buying it if Apple isn't being truthful about whats actually being used inside.

Remaining pictures from the set are here and were taken by flikr user nakedmac.


macrumors 603
Mar 20, 2007
Holy crap - this is clearly false advertising and should open Apple up for lawsuits.

From the HGST website http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/DF2EF568E18716F5862572C20067A757/$file/Ultrastar_A7K1000_final_DS.pdf :

"...based on the popular Deskstar™ E7K500, the Ultrastar A7K1000 continues to set the standard in enterprise-class reliability and performance..."​

Hitachi has a "server class" (Ultrastar) and "consumer grade" (Deskstar) drives, and Apple is using the consumer grade Deskstar drives. Newegg is selling the Deskstar 1TB for $240 and the Ultrastar for $320...

Newegg comparison of Deskstar and Ultrastar

Wow. This should be a page one story by itself.
Most people wont even notice the difference. Besides Apple could just remove the server grade line making it a moot point.

I'd rather just be able to have my backups sent to my server. I don't know why apple has to force us to buy a product in order to backup to other devices on our networks.

I'd also be happier if they sold time capsule as a shell so I can use my own hard drive.
Me too. Better yet I would like a time capsule that can plug into my existing network.


macrumors bot
Apr 12, 2001

MacRumors reader IntrinsicMac has noticed from teardown photos of Apple's Time Capsule that Apple is not using "server-class" hard drives as advertised, but rather Hitachi Deskstar drives which are consumer-grade.

When introduced, Apple described the 500 or 1 TB drive being used within Time Capsule as "server grade", and indeed continues to tout it as such today on its website.

Time Capsule is your one place for backing up everything. Its massive 500GB or 1TB server-grade hard drive gives you all the capacity and safety you need. 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 at $299, data isn’t the only thing you’re saving.
While it is unclear what practical impact the use of consumer drives will have on users, the advertising discrepancy has been alarming to some users.

Article Link


macrumors newbie
Dec 13, 2007
To be honest, there aren't many SATA drives that could be considered server grade. What does that even mean? SATA has a far smaller duty cycle compared to real server HD technology such as SCSI and SAS.


macrumors member
Jan 15, 2008
This is enough for me to reconsider Time Capsule. I loved the price point when I was sold on a server grade hard drive. Now, I'm likely going in another direction.


macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2008
Bay Area
Wow, an idiotic move by apple if I ever saw one. Of course people were gonna find this out. I wonder what they were thinking!


macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
The Peninsula
that would be a problem if advertising one thing and delivering something inferior.

Ah, this dude looked into it a bit and found it is "server grade" http://blog.hardmac.com/archives/server-grade-hard-disk-in-time-capsule-lets-check
HGST clearly positions the Deskstar as a consumer drive, and the Ultrastar as an enterprise server drive.

The one line that the dude found in the Deskstar docs about using it in NAS storage servers doesn't elevate it to server grade.

Note that HGST rates the Ultrastar as 1.2 million hour MTBF, and they don't even quote an MTBF for the Deskstar.

The Deskstar has a 3 year warranty, the Ultrastar has a 5 year warranty.

Apple is in trouble.


macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
What kind of hard drives are in the XServe? If the Time Capsule uses the same hard drive, Apple would likely say that their claim is true.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2007
Is this any surprise when you look at all the other ways Apple has screwed everything and everyone when it comes to wireless backups using TM?

Cripple and/or won't fix the AEBS airdisk to work with TM, so there is no competition with their solution which is...an overpriced AEBS + HD.

day after day apple is slowly turning into microsoft...
Slowly? In some areas you could argue they've passed them...


macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
The Peninsula
To be honest, there aren't many SATA drives that could be considered server grade. What does that even mean? SATA has a far smaller duty cycle compared to real server HD technology such as SCSI and SAS.
Agreed, but both Hitachi and Seagate both sell lines of higher reliability "enterprise" SATA drives.

Seagate claims 750,000 hour MTBF for the standard drives, and 1.2 million hour for the ES enterprise drives.

When the vendor that Apple is using clearly states that one line is consumer, and the other line is enterprise - then Apple looks bad if they install the drives that the vendor is calling "consumer".


macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2007
even without multitasking mac os 9 was the best OS for internet. oops, or so, apple marketing said.


macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2003
Buckeye Country, O-H
This wouldn't make me change my mind. Looking at that Newegg comparison, the drive are almost identical, minus the Perpendicular Feature of the DeskStar, when compared to the UltraStar.

Call me crazy, but i think i would rather have the drive that has a better review period.
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