Teardown of Apple's new AirPort Extreme finds enough empty space for a hard drive

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 70
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post


    I'd agree if it were a generalist review from a generalist tech site, but the site is called iFixit.  They cater to an audience that wants repairability.  Maybe the mainstream audience doesn't care, but iFixit's audience does.


     


    Not sure why you're irritated by a specialist website catering for a specialist audience with a specialist angle.



     


    Kind of like complaining about a hockey site because every dang article seems to have some kind of hockey angle.

  • Reply 42 of 70
    Just buy an 802.11ac USB adapter.  Not that difficult to solve.

    As for upgrading the internals....Name one time in Apple's history that they have made that possible.

    Yeah, I know the history and figured as much. I was just curious. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the speed of my 802.11n AirPort Extreme/Time Capsule network as it is. 802.11ac is enticing though.
  • Reply 43 of 70
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    wiggin wrote: »
    It's very un-Apple to have that much empty space. Apple prides itself on making things as small/thin as possible purely for asthetic reasons. And yes, Apple does want people to admire the looks of their products, even a wi-fi router.


    As for comments about antenna performance...perhaps Apple is stinging still from antenna-gate. LOL The main performance gain is probably getting the antennas away from the power supply which they moved inside of the case. See, Apple does want you to admire it's base station! :-) I guess the design will also discourage people from stacking things on top of it, too. I used to stack my Extreme and older model mini together. So that will help performance. Still, I'd rather have a smaller unit (lighter, less plastic, etc).


    Edit: Hm, I notice there are a few heat sinks in there, and a fan, too. Did the previous gen Extreme have a fan (mine is two gens old)? I wonder if the cooling is also a carry over from the Time Capsule, too, which may need it for the hard drive, or if the Extreme requires that much cooling. I know my Extreme runs pretty warm, but that's less of an issue than for Time Capsule with it's more senstive hard drive. I'm sure the internal power supply needs cooling, too.

    I didn't say that apple doesn't want you to admire the way it looks, I said that they made a bold design decision that some will love and others will hate.

    As has been mentioned in other posts, there are both engineering and financial reasons to conserve the same design across products.

    In the end we are talking about roughly 6-8 cubic inches. It's really not that big of a deal.
  • Reply 44 of 70


    You sheep ought to enjoy this site, especially the section about everyone's favorite loser, the one and only, who cannot even afford iPhone5, Tallest Skil:


    http://stuff-appletards-say.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

  • Reply 45 of 70
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post




    Speaking of power supplies, did anyone notice where it is in the new Mac Pro? Could it be an external brick?





    I believe they mentioned the power supply is built into the top fan component

    image

  • Reply 46 of 70
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    ... Currently, they are only compatible with the latest MacBook Airs in Apple's lineup, though it's expected that future devices will take advantage of the faster Wi-Fi connectivity.

    Not true. 802.12ac devices are all compatible with 802.11a b g and n devices.
    Including all current Apple AirPort-equipped devices.
    The latest MacBook Air is just the only computing device with ac so far.
  • Reply 47 of 70
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 920member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    The introduction of 802.11n...



    Since the hardware was already in there and we didn't know.


     


    I remember Apple charging a buck or two for "accounting reasons" to turn the hidden feature on and people complaining about that.

  • Reply 48 of 70

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Not to speak for the other person, but to me, it's irritating because it's like giving a "repairability score" on a Toaster or a Video tape recorder.  It's "scoring" something that's entirely irrelevant to the device.  It's like giving a car bad marks in a review for having an automatic transmission because of some misguided old-fashioned idea that only manual transmissions are what people want.  



    iFixit makes its living repairing and helping people repair things.


     


    Why shouldn't they hand out a 'repairability' score? Seems like a perfectly logical thing for them to do. Surely, if it were not useful to their consumers, they'd stop doing it?

  • Reply 49 of 70
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member


    Regarding the Mac Pro power supply: In the picture at apple.com, the back panel has a standar 3-pin AC recepticle.


     


    See here: http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/

  • Reply 50 of 70
    s.metcalfs.metcalf Posts: 875member
    wiggin wrote: »
    Yep. Even via gigabit Ethernet the current Extremes can't full use of even a USB 2 drive. Unless Apple gave the new ones much faster processors, USB 3 and/or SSD would be pointless.

    These are great questions and answers, thanks.

    So a wireless storage solution is pretty much ruled out for the previewed Mac Pro... That leaves pretty much Thunderbolt as the only option. Is Thunderbolt 2 faster than the SATA I have in my 2010 Mac Pro? I'm guessing it is. But if I don't want a Thunderbolt drive or drives sitting on my desk so I guess I'll have to run long Thunderbolt cables...

    Suddenly my Mac Pro with its 4 drive bays and PCI slots is looking a little more attractive. I have all four bays filled and will consider adding a PCI SSD.
  • Reply 51 of 70
    jessijessi Posts: 302member
    Isn't it obvious (though not to iFixit) that this is the TimeCapsule, but without the hard drive?

    Apple builds one product, which gives manufacturing efficiencies... when they sell it as a Time Capsule they put in a 2TB or 3TB hard drive. When they don't put it in, it is the Airport Extreme.

    No big deal here.

    Though, personally, I'd rather have an extreme with a USB3 port on which to attach a drive, or set of drives. (The USB2 on the current extreme is too slow.... maybe they've gone to USB3 on this one but I'm doubting it.)

    Don't want to pay Apple's prices for the drive itself, which is an additional $100 for 2TB or $200 for the 3TB. (But maybe that's a good price, I haven't been pricing out drives lately.
  • Reply 52 of 70
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    jessi wrote: »
    Isn't it obvious (though not to iFixit) that this is the TimeCapsule, but without the hard drive?

    Apple builds one product, which gives manufacturing efficiencies... when they sell it as a Time Capsule they put in a 2TB or 3TB hard drive. When they don't put it in, it is the Airport Extreme.

    No big deal here.

    Though, personally, I'd rather have an extreme with a USB3 port on which to attach a drive, or set of drives. (The USB2 on the current extreme is too slow.... maybe they've gone to USB3 on this one but I'm doubting it.)

    Don't want to pay Apple's prices for the drive itself, which is an additional $100 for 2TB or $200 for the 3TB. (But maybe that's a good price, I haven't been pricing out drives lately.

    However, there are no connectors included with the AirPort Extreme that would allow users to add a hard drive to the inside of the router. Apple is presumably just using the same design for its new AirPort Extreme as it is with the updated Time Capsule, which comes with internal storage options of two and three terabytes of data.
  • Reply 53 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    razorpit wrote: »
    I remember Apple charging a buck or two for "accounting reasons" to turn the hidden feature on and people complaining about that.

    It was for accounting reasons. Don't pretend otherwise.
  • Reply 54 of 70
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I would rather have the Extreme in the same format as the old Extreme along with the proviso to "put it up high," for better reception.  Now if a user wants a new router but doesn't need the drive, they have to buy this "heavier than it needs to be," "taller than it needs to be," and "larger than it needs to be" item with a giant empty space inside.  


     



     


    That doesn't work. The key with any beamforming/MIMO antenna is the separation of the antennas. The farther apart the antennas and the more in quantitiy, the better it works. Presumably apple could have made a ugly C-shaped thing if they deleted the drive bay. If you look at other AC routers, they're either tall cylinders, like Apple, or big horizontal slabs.

  • Reply 55 of 70
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post


     


    That doesn't work. The key with any beamforming/MIMO antenna is the separation of the antennas. The farther apart the antennas and the more in quantitiy, the better it works. Presumably apple could have made a ugly C-shaped thing if they deleted the drive bay. If you look at other AC routers, they're either tall cylinders, like Apple, or big horizontal slabs.



     


    Good theory, except the teardown reveals that there is only one antenna in the new design, and there are actually multiple antennas in the old design.  Also, it makes no sense because if beamforming relies on the position in the room of the (single) antenna, i.e - if moving the antenna six inches in the air makes it work better, then "beamforming" itself is basically a useless technology.  For beamforming to be useful at all, it needs to be able to locate and send the beam to devices at 360 degrees around the base station and at almost any elevation above and below it.  


     


    The only reason (stated) for the antenna to be "high" as it is in this design is to take it out of the clutter of other devices that might surround it.  For instance if it was on a table or a desk with other objects in the way, making it stick it's antenna up six inches in the air would alleviate that problem.  It seems to me that this design is Apple's way of doing the same thing putting a physical "stick" antenna on the device does (a la LinkSys wireless router).  

  • Reply 56 of 70
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    Good theory, except the teardown reveals that there is only one antenna in the new design, and there are actually multiple antennas in the old design.  Also, it makes no sense because if beamforming relies on the position in the room of the (single) antenna, i.e - if moving the antenna six inches in the air makes it work better, then "beamforming" itself is basically a useless technology.  For beamforming to be useful at all, it needs to be able to locate and send the beam to devices at 360 degrees around the base station and at almost any elevation above and below it.  

    There's a bunch of inaccuracies in your post. There are a total of six antennas, 3 per band. The antenna module contains 6 antennas but also uses the metal chassis as well as the table as a ground plane, in the same way the metal of your laptop screen forms part of the antenna. This results in a very complex interaction. The only way to design these systems are using extremely complex simulations. While the antenna is fed from the top, you don't know how it acts or where its center is at without the math.

    Beamforming electornically forms a beam that automatically points in the direction of your station. MIMO forms multiple beams. This is the basis of 802.11n and LTE. It has been around for years. If it is a "useless" technology, then none of that would work. It is also why

    Patch antennas are a lot cheaper than the stick (dipole) antennas. Additionally, the center (phase center, to be exact) of the stick antenna is what matters and would still have to be separated.

    The fact is that 802.11ac requires better array characteristics over a much wider bandwidth and the laws of physics say you need to separate the antennas more.
  • Reply 57 of 70
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doh123 View Post

    I seriously doubt even with 802.11ac speeds, that you'll get data transferred noticeably faster with a SSD vs a HDD... Wifi is still pretty slow.

     

    Yes, but not because of the slow wi-fi. Don't forget, there are three gigabit Ethernet ports, too. So theoretically you could benefit from faster storage. But as as been already pointed out, most likely the processor/controller responsible shuffling data to/from the drive is probably a bottleneck, has has been the case on previous generations of Airports. The internal drives in Time Capsules seem to have been data rates, but drives connected to the USB ports seem to always be slower than they should be.
  • Reply 58 of 70
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

    That doesn't work. The key with any beamforming/MIMO antenna is the separation of the antennas. The farther apart the antennas and the more in quantitiy, the better it works. Presumably apple could have made a ugly C-shaped thing if they deleted the drive bay. If you look at other AC routers, they're either tall cylinders, like Apple, or big horizontal slabs.

     

    Except that, as per iFixIt, all of the antennas are in the plate at the very top of the box, not distributed throughout the box. But they may have needed to get the antennas farther away from the power supply and, in the Time Capsule, perhaps the hard drive too, in order to isolate them from the electronic noise.
  • Reply 59 of 70
    artdentartdent Posts: 57member


    If there's enough room for a hard drive, wouldn't there be enough room for a modem? I'd buy this in a heartbeat if it included one, height or no height. An integrated modem (DSL, Cable and/or Fiber) built with Apple's usual quality and ease of use would be infinitely preferable to yet another wonky, third party box and it's additional connections.

  • Reply 60 of 70
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post





    Speaking of power supplies, did anyone notice where it is in the new Mac Pro? Could it be an external brick?


    Just look at the power socket at bottom here, this looks very much like a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEC_60320#C13.2FC14_coupler and these Appliance couplers are used with the whatever the normal electricity supply provides (110/240 V).


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