At 2TB, WD’s My Passport is the largest-capacity USB hard drive we’ve ever tested, and its four chunky 500GB platters rotate at 5,400rpm. In the palm it feels about as thick as a huge English muffin with a piece of ham in the middle, or a water-logged deck of cards; it’s the thickest drive in this roundup, but only by a tiny margin over the 1.5TB Toshiba. Though this drive is pudgier than the rest at 0.8-inch thick, it’s noticeably shorter than the other two drives at just 4.2 inches long. It comes in a variety of pleasingly subtle, matte color finishes (red, blue, black, gray, white) and is available in sizes ranging from 500GB to 2TB.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Western Digital, a major player in the storage space, today announced it's begun shipping what it claims are the world's first ultra-slim 2.5-inch, 5mm hard drives and solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs) designed for space constrained devices, such as Ultrabooks and ultra-thin laptops. The new drives are nearly half the size of traditional mobile drives and around 35 percent thinner than the most popular smartphones, WD claims.
A winning package of low price and high performance
The Crucial M500 is the company’s third-generation 6Gb/s SSD, and the successor to the often-praised M4 SSD, which we named the best Bang for your Buck SSD in December of 2012 due to its well-rounded package of decent performance at a great price. In our estimation, the new drive fulfills the same well-rounded role, though with much improved write speeds and massively increased capacities at lower prices thanks to its move to smaller process NAND flash. Not only does it come in the standard 120GB, 240GB, and the 480GB version you see before you, but it’s also offered in a pant-tightening 1TB version at just $600, making it the market's first truly affordable 1TB SSD. Since the terabyte drive was not available at press time, we’re taking a look at the 480GB version which sports the exact same specs as its big brother.
If Jerry Seinfield worked at Maximum PC reviewing overpriced gadgets, we’re pretty sure he’d be saying: “And what’s the deal with getting charged so much for so little RAM? You know, the 16GB version of the HTC Galaxy 5s costs $199 but the 32GB costs $299? And, what? No expansion slot for additional RAM?”
Note: This review originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
Respectable performance and relatively inexpensive
The last time we heard from Intel's SDD department it was throwing around its performance-oriented 520 Series SSD that rocked a SandForce controller and custom Intel firmware with 25nm NAND flash. That drive earned a 9 verdict from us (April 2012) but no Kick Ass award, as its performance was about equal to its peers’ but not better. The crux of that drive was SandForce performance with Intel reliability, and though that's a potent combo, it's one that came in the form of a higher price tag. With Intel’s new budget-oriented 335 Series SSD, that tax is gone, as this drive is priced right below $200, the current sweet spot for 240/256GB SSDs. It still has the same SandForce SF-2281 controller and the same Intel reliability, but includes new smaller-die 20nm MLC NAND flash. The smaller flash marks the industry's foray into the 20nm era, and Intel is the first manufacturer to take us there.
Note: This review first appeared in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
You could store over a million songs on Seagate's 4TB hard drive.
A representative for Seagate dropped us a note today to let us know the company is now shipping what it claims is the industry's first and only 4TB hard drive to utilize 1TB-per-platter technology. According to Seagate, the four-platter design is a winning one that allows for the highest performance possible while doubling capacity and reducing costs, ultimately giving consumers the best of all worlds.
No hard drive maker has shipped more HDDs than Seagate.
After 29 years in the business, Seagate on Tuesday announced it is the first first hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturer to ship two billion HDDs. What's especially remarkable about the feat is that half of those shipments came within just the last four years. Seagate credits the milestone to "explosive demand" in mobile, cloud infrastructures, social media, business applications, and from being in a position to serve a variety of consumer markets.
The Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB made its first appearance in this magazine back in September 2012, when a gaggle of them debuted in the Dream Machine. At the time, they were the only 7,200rpm 4TB drives available, so they fit right in among all the other expensive and hard-to-find components. Now that the dust has settled and the 7K4000 has some company, we decided to put it on the test bench to see how it fares against its only rival in the 4TB category.
Note: This review first appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
The WD RE 4TB drive is specifically meant to handle an enterprise workload, but don’t let that scare you off, as it includes a desktop-friendly SATA 6Gb/s interface. As long as you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you should be able to format it into one partition somewhat easily, though you could use it as a boot drive if you’re insane. Its enterprise pedigree is evident not only in its RE branding but in its 1.2 million-hour MTBF, or mean time between failure. This means you should be using this drive at least until Apple Maps for iOS has caught up to Google Maps.
Note: This review appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.