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David Murphy

Jun 24, 2008

Western Digital My Book Pro Edition II

At A Glance

PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME

It's speedy, and its looks are more than just that -- the front-panel functionality is a great way to show what the drives are up to.

PEANUT BUTTER CRACKER TIME

Loud. Loud Loud Loud. And there's no eSATA connection, which makes us sniffle just a wee bit.

Using Western Digital’s My Book Pro Edition II external drive is a lot like living next to an airport. If you’re a traveler, the five-minute taxi trip from your house to the airport is absolutely ideal, provided you don’t mind the constant sound of planes buzzing your rooftop. Seriously, the My Book is about as loud as it is useful—buy some earplugs and you’ll have a riveting experience.

Crammed within the device’s bulky frame are two 500GB drives spinning at 7,200 RPM in a RAID 0 configuration. That means you’re getting nearly one terabyte of storage potential, provided you don’t mind losing your data should one drive cease to work. For the less adventurous, Western Digital includes its handy RAID Manager software, so you can easily switch the drive to a safer (albeit half-size) RAID 1 array.

We scoff at the external drive’s lack of an eSATA connector. Although the My Book attempts to make up for the absence of eSATA by including FireWire 800 (in addition to USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 ports), we’d rather see the much more prevalent eSATA connector along with a 50-cent bracket that converts a spare internal SATA port into an eSATA port.

In RAID 0 mode, the My Book performed well on our tests, clocking an access time of 13.4 milliseconds and a burst speed of 157.6 MB/s. Thanks to its pair of drives working in tandem, that’s faster than the single Seagate eSATA external hard drive we reviewed in November 2006.

And in what we call the Steve Jobs factor, or the one additional talking point that really sweetens the deal, the My Book comes with a series of blue LEDs arranged in two concentric rings on the front of the device. The inner ring tells you the total capacity of the device—each light represents 16 percent of your total space. The outer ring represents the unit’s activity, a handy way of immediately telling whether the unit is in standby mode, in use, or failing.
It’s bigger than heck and louder than we like our external drives to be; still, the My Book delivers a solid backup solution, a great doorstop, and an aesthetically pleasing design.

THE VERDICT

Western Digital My Book Pro Edition II

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