It’s been a long time since we reviewed a USB external drive—not since November 2008, to be exact—mostly because they’re essentially commodities now. With transfers capped at USB 2.0 speeds and drive sizes mostly standardized, portable hard drives have had few features by which to distinguish themselves from their peers—the usefulness of included software, eSATA support, and full-disk encryption among them. On the eve of USB 3.0 drives, the Western Digital My Book Elite 2TB seems to be the state of the USB 2.0 drive art, with a custom e-ink display. But is it more than a gimmick?
The My Book Elite shares the vaguely book-like formfactor of the My Book World and Essential lineups, but along its “spine” is the e-ink display, which shows a custom 12-character drive label, a capacity meter, and a little lock icon if you’ve enabled disk encryption. Despite its limited usefulness, we dig it—mostly because we geek out over any applications with e-ink.
Western Digital today announced the My Book 3.0, their first USB 3.0-enabled external hard drive. The My Book 3.0 contains a 1TB WD hard drive in the same black shell as other My Book products, though without a capacity meter or e-ink display, a la the My Book Elite.
With USB 3.0, Western Digital claims theoretical transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second are possible (or around 640MB/s). However, given the inherent transfer speed limits of mechanical hard drives, you won't see more than around 100MB/s - still three times as fast as USB 2.0.
The 1TB WD My Book 3.0 is available now at http://www.shopwd.com for $180, or $200 with an included USB 3.0 PCIe adapter card. Look for a full review on Maximumpc.com later this week.
Just this week Western Digital announced their 4TB My Book Studio Edition II.
The 4TB My Book sports two gigantic 2TB HDDs in RAID 0, and will work with both Macs and PCs. You’ll be able to connect this bad boy to your machine using eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 all while consuming up to 30 percent less energy. There’s also a fancy capacity gauge on the front that lets you see how much storage is available at a glance
If we were dating the Western Digital My Book Home Edition, the sordid, brief affair would quickly end with one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” conversations. This 1TB enclosure is like the girl (or guy) who keeps calling and texting and e-mailing and IMing and calling and texting again—every time you connect the device to your PC, you get the same annoying application installation window over and over and over.