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We wouldn’t normally test two products from the same lineup in two consecutive issues of the magazine. But when Western Digital’s My Book 3.0 showed up just days after the March issue went to print (it's on newsstands now!), we knew we had to review it. It doesn’t have an e-label or capacity meter, like the My Book Elite. Nor does it include WD’s SmartWare backup software or hardware encryption. But the My Book 3.0 has one feature that makes it awesome: USB 3.0.
Oh, sweet mercy, yes.
The My Book 3.0 is, like its predecessors, a simple black shell, vaguely book-shaped, surrounding a 3.5-inch Caviar Green drive. It comes in four variations: 1TB or 2TB, and with or without a PCI-E 2.0 adapter card. The x1 PCI-E 2.0 card gives you two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports and is based on NEC’s PD720200 chipset. It’s worth noting that using an x1 PCI-E 2.0 slot limits the theoretical throughput of the USB 3.0 ports. USB 3.0’s maximum theoretical throughput per port is 5Gb/s, or 640MB/s, while a x1 PCI-E 2.0’s throughput is 500MB/s. But honestly, you’re unlikely to see any hard drive or SSD saturate USB 3.0 at this point.
We tested the My Book 3.0 on the same rig we used to test last month’s My Book Elite—an Asus P7P55D-based system running a 2.66GHz Core i5-750. For reference, we also tested the same drive in a USB 2.0 slot. In our standard HDTach full-drive variable-zone benchmark, the My Book 3.0’s average read speed was 88MB/s, with average writes of 66MB/s. By contrast, both the My Book 3.0 and My Book Elite, when connected to a USB 2.0 port on the motherboard, averaged around 31MB/s reads and 26MB/s writes.
USB 3.0 is just beginning to show up in consumer devices, including a few high-end motherboards, but most of the peripherals that employ the technology so far are external hard drives, which benefit most from the bandwidth upgrade.
The Western Digital My Book 3.0 probably won’t be the fastest USB 3.0 hard drive we test this year, simply because it’s one of the first. It’s absolutely no-frills; it doesn’t even come with backup software. But it’s fast and capacious, is first out of the gate, and brings affordable USB 3.0 to the masses—which puts the bottleneck back at the drive access speed where it belongs. That counts for a lot.
(Note: Our full review of the My Book Elite will be posted onlined soon.)
USB 3.0 speed removes 33MB/s transfer limit; includes PCI-E adapter card.
Don’t lose that USB SuperSpeed cable! No encryption or backup software.
|My Book 3.0 (USB 3.0||My Book 3.0 (USB 2.0||My Book Elite (USB 2.0)|
|HDTach Avg. Read (MB/s)||88.0||31.6||30.2|
|HDTach Avg. Write (MB/s)||66.3||26.2||26.1|
|HDTach Burst (MB/s)||92.1||32.9||32.8|
|HDTach CPU Utilization||11%||6%||12%|
|HDTach Random Access (ms)||16.6||16.4||21.4|
Best scores are bolded. HDTach version 18.104.22.168 used.