…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.