updated 10:55 am EDT, Sat June 25, 2011
AirPort Extreme 2011 ups power, goes green
A pair of looks at the upgraded AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule has shown more upgrades and changes than first thought, including a slightly misleading view of the hard drive. One breakdown shared between AppleInsider and iFixit has shown that the new AirPort Extreme and presumably Time Capsule output about 2.8 times more power, at 392.64mW, than the previous version. A test wasn't immediately possible, but the potential existed for as much as a 60 percent range boost, though only in ideal conditions.
With the Time Capsule, however, a teardown has shown that the hard drive isn't quite what was claimed. Apple touts the hard drive as "server grade" but was found by MacBidouille to be using a Western Digital Caviar Green drive, an off-the-shelf disk meant for home computers and media servers. If Apple had gone directly to a server drive, it would have chosen the RE4-GP, a rough parallel in WD's lineup.
The Green is nonetheless more suited to the purposes of an always-on network storage drive with a dynamic spin speed meant to conserve power and keep the drive running at all times. Few functional differences also exist between the Caviar Green and the RE4-GP. Apple has most likely chosen the consumer drive to get the option of a 3TB disk where the RE4 line peaks at 2TB.