Time Capsule 1TB uses the WD Caviar Green

…well at least in Canada.

Looking around the web, everything I read seemed to indicate that the Apple Time Capsules used the Hitachi DeskStar drives (presumably the 7K1000 drives), and I couldn’t find anything to indicate that this had changed.

It just might have though.

The WD Drive that came in my Time Capsule

I snapped a photo of the drive I pulled during replacement (upgrading to a 1.5TB drive). If you take a look at the picture above, you’ll notice the Apple logo. The drive used is the 1.0TB WD10EADS Western Digital Caviar Green.

This is a good thing. Tom’s Hardware tested the power consumption of the WD 1.0TB Green (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/wd-caviar-gp,1703-8.html), and mentioned the following when comparing it to the DeskStar 1TB drive of the time:

The difference is tremendous, as the 4-platter WDCaviar GP requires less than 50% of the Deskstar 7K1000’s idle power, and around 67% of its power at high activity.

(Note that they’d tested the WD10EACS – the drive in the Time Capsule is the WD10EADS which I believe is simply a newer model number)

Power consumption’s important, because the Time Capsule is on all the time. Unsurprisingly, lower power consumption and lower noise come as part of the package. Anandtech compared the WD to other drives (http://www.anandtech.com/show/2385/5), and showed that the WD Green is both quieter and cooler than the DeskStar.

Usage

I only had the drive in for a few days before replacing it with the larger 1.5TB drive I had kicking around. However, I observed the following in those few days:

  • The Time Capsule was incredibly quiet. You honestly couldn’t tell there was a drive in there based on the noise level unless you put your ear right up against the thing. Note that I didn’t read/write to the drive, so this is based on idle-levels.
  • The Time Capsule was cooler than my other (DLink wireless) router. My router gets quite hot. The Time Capsule stayed much cooler. If you felt the Capsule, you could definitely feel where the hard drive was (it was the sole “hotspot”), but even that spot was cooler than my other router. Again, this was idling.
  • The Time Capsule fan wasn’t audible. I wondered if there was even a fan in there because I couldn’t hear it or feel airflow. Obviously the cool temperature kept the fan from turning into a miniature jet engine. Again, this is at idle.

As I mentioned earlier, I did replace the drive with a 1.5TB WD Green I had kicking around. If you’re looking to pull off an upgrade, you can find detailed instructions all over the web, although I’d probably start at either of the following sites:
-www.applefritter.com/node/23907
-www.ifixit.com/Guide/Repair/Replacing-Apple-Time-Capsule-HDD/2750/1

The replacement drive was the Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB. It looks like it should be even better in terms of power consumption (0.60A@5V vs 0.70A@5V and 0.45A@12V vs 0.55A@12V), but those are just the rated currents on the sticker – I have no idea if this really translates into better power savings in real world usage.

Few final tidbits:

  • MC343AM/A is the model number of my TC (Canadian Version)
  • MC343LL/A is the model number of the US version of the TC
  • I’d assume that the US version would use the same hard drive, but I’m not positive. If anyone’s got the G4 version (late 2009 and most recent version as of this post – same model number listed above) and has pulled the original HD feel free to comment below.
  • With the new 1.5TB drive in the capsule, the total consumption was 9 watts at idle. Power Factor’s awful (0.54 IIRC), although that probably won’t matter for most people. I didn’t test the power consumption before the upgrade, but I’d imagine it would be very similar.

4 Comments

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  1. Hi:
    I replace my 500gb TC with a WD15EADS (caviar green 1,5 Tb).
    The only problem i have is that the WD never stops spin (standby mode) when not access to the disk information or backup Time Machine (stock Seagate Barracuda ES goes to standby mode and stops spin at 1-2 minutes of not activity).
    Do you have the same problem?
    Regard

  2. It appears they they are also using the Samsung EcoGreen series.
    I just upgraded my Time Capsule from 1TB to a 2TB WD Caviar Green and had the pleasure of pulling out a Samsung HD103SI, also complete with the Apple logo.

  3. Hi, I have the same problem as Santi and did not find any solution to it so far. Updated to a WD20EARS Green Caviar (2TB). It works perfectly fine, but it does not stop spinning / go into standby. Any ideas? Any help?

    Best
    Tobias.

    • Tobias/Santi:

      I haven’t actually checked to see if mine’s spinning down (the idle numbers above were simply not long after startup when it wasn’t actively writing, so it may have been spinning).

      I searched around a bit and came across this:
      http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1428100

      From that thread (which is a couple years old now), you might want to try renaming the TC (try a shorter name), or unplugging any external USB hard drive connected to the TC.

      The other strong possibility of course is that the original drives have special firmware of some sort, in which case there probably isn’t much that can be done. Same goes if the TC’s firmware has a list of “supported” drives and refuses to spin down any not on the list.

      Another (less likely) possibility is that the jumper might have to be switched on the drive (from 1.5GB/s to 3.0Gb/s or vice-versa). Note that this is extremely unlikely to have an effect, and I’d only try it out if I were desperate to get the thing to spin down for some reason and had tried every other conceivable option and wanted to make sure I’d tried everything imaginable.

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