Last week, Apple released updated 2 TB and 3 TB flavors of its backup-oriented Time Capsule drives. The product page for these puppies, which will run you $299 and $499, respectively, tout the inclusion of a “server-grade hard drive” in each device.
What does that mean though? Engadget notes that an “enterprise”-qualified hard drive “must sustain a mean time between failure — MTBF for short — in excess of one million hours.” Which is to say, such a drive is expected to be good for more than a million hours.
The new Time Capsule was torn apart by Hardmac and found to contain a Western Digital Caviar Green model of hard drive with a 64 MB cache. It isn’t so far removed from the hardware that’s powered previous Time Capsule releases. Hardmac queried WD and received confirmation that the drive is a “general public model.” There are more expensive options from the manufacturer that offer more reliability and a lengthier warranty, but that’s not what’s inside your Time Capsule.
Stepping back and looking at the whole picture, all of this boils down to a whole lot of nothing. Apple isn’t making any outrageous claims; the term “server-grade” originates with the company and its Time Capsule products. This same question arose back in 2008 (via MacRumors) and was promptly addressed by Apple.
Your new Time Capsule will work just like your old one did, and be just as reliable too (generally speaking, of course). Nothing to see here, folks. Mountains and molehills. The better question is whether or not a backup device that lives in the same location as the data you want to keep safe is enough. Easy answer there: no.