Apple probably chose to save some money and, rather than design a smaller case for their new Airport Extreme, they just used the case for the new Time Capsule with the hard drive and connectors pulled out. That means the Airport Extremes (we’re still saying ‘Extremes’, huh?) have a 3.5 inch drive bay empty as confirmed by iFixit in their ritual teardown.

Airport-extreme-teardown-image

image via iFixit

That means DIYers can open the enclosure, much like iFixit did, and insert their own drives. The question is: Did Apple put the SATA/Power connectors on the board like the Time Capsules? From the first look, it doesn’t appear that they did. In the worst ‘case’ scenario, DIYers could use the USB port and wire a bus-powered 2.5 inch hard drive (up to 2TB currently) or SSD around inside the case.

A quick look on 9to5Toys reveals 1TB USB drives starting at $60 but most people have a USB Flash or HDD laying around. Most of us however will probably pay the extra $100-$200 for an Apple Time Capsule, though if you .

As for the motherboard itself, iFixit found:

  •  Broadcom BCM53019 router SOC with gigabit switch
  •  Broadcom BCM4360KLMG, the same IC we found in yesterday’s MacBook Air Teardown
  •  Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 4 Gb (512 MB) synchronous DDR3 SDRAM
  •  Micron 25Q256A 32 MB serial flash
  •  Skyworks 5003L1 WLAN power amplifier
  •  Skyworks 2623L high power WLAN power amplifier
  •  TDK TLA-7T201HF (which appears to be a pulse transformer)

iFixit gave the the AirPort Extreme A1521 Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair) noting that getting the bottom cover off is a little tricky and there are small parts that can break.

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