7 Replies Latest reply: Jun 3, 2008 6:55 PM by VTGal
hfuss Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I'm considering buying a time capsule. Alternative would be an external firewire drive.

Comparing these two options raised a question: I assume the time capsule hard drive is on continuously and thus consumes considerable amounts of electricity. Or does the hard drive go to sleep when idle?

Does anybody know what the average power consumption of a time capsule is?

many thanks

MacBook Pro 15" (2.4 GHz), Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • VTGal Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    From what I have read, it appears to use 30 watts. That is about 260 KWH in a year, about as much as a small refrigerator.
  • waynead Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    That seems like a lot, but I'm thinking it only uses that much when it is backing up and spinning the hard drive. When just acting as an Airport Base Station, I'm hoping it uses a lot less.
  • hfuss Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have been told that TC 500GB uses a Seagate Barracuda ST3500630NS. Seagate's data sheet states an typical average power consumption of 13 W and 9.3 W when idle (see http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/dsbarracudaes.pdf). I don't know how much you would need to add to that but I'd assume that the hard drive accounts for most of the power consumption. Not sure about how much Wi-Fi uses.

    The Airport Extreme data sheet states 12V, 1.8 A which yields 21.6 W maximum, but I expect the typical usage should be much less.

    30 W is what Apple states on TC's data sheet under “Maximum continuous power”, so it's probably a peak value.
  • maarut Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
    If the hard drive in the Time Capsule is not being accessed, then it will go into an idle state so you're unlikely to get a continuous consumption of 30W.
  • hfuss Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Does “idle” mean “spin down”?
  • maarut Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
    hfuss wrote:
    Does “idle” mean “spin down”?

  • VTGal Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I spent some time with the Time Capsule and a Kill-a-Watt meter. When it is just sitting there serving as a wireless router, it seems to be using about 12-13 watts of power.

    Then I measured my Airport Express. I bought the Time Capsule thinking to replace one of my two Airport Expresses. The Airport Express uses about 2 watts of power.

    The Time Capsule doesn't have AirTunes, costs more than a regular hard-drive, and draws about 6x the power of the device it would be replacing. My conclusion: I'll be returning the Time Capsule. Aside from the concern about electricity use, I do not have AC in my home office, and that little box puts out a lot of heat!