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Review: Western Digital “My Book” 1 TB External Drive

6 July, 2009 (11:50) | Hardware | By: Lyle

Product: Western Digital My Book Home Edition 1 TB External Hard Drive
Link: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=357

I’ve outpaced what I can back up on my original Accodata 160 G external Firewire drive, and went looking for a replacement.  I didn’t have a specific brand or model I was looking for since the Accodata drive, which I had never heard of, has given good, reliable performance for more than 4 years.  The only thing I cared about was Firewire and at least 500G storage.  I have done enough side-by-side use between the Firewire drive and a USB 2 drive to know that I’m not going to waste any time on a USB drive for important things.

WD MyBook 1 TB

WD MyBook 1 TB (on the left)

Western Digital has a series of drives called “My Book” in various sizes and interface options. They are all in a similar case, roughly the height of a paperback book in different widths depending on the drive capacity.  Best Buy had one on sale of interest, which I purchased on the web for in-store pickup.  It ended up being a minor debacle due to the product code on the web site not matching the product code of the product on the shelf.  And, of course the one I purchased wasn’t in stock.  So, the quick calculation showed that it wasn’t worth my time to come back or go to another store and I purchased a larger capacity drive with the same interfaces.  This is a 1TB My Book with Firewire 400, eSATA, and USB 2.0 interfaces.

There is not much to tell about installation.  You plug the drive in, and the operating system sees it and makes it available.  The only thing I did for preparation is to reformat the drive to use OS X native formatting.  The cross-platform FAT-32 formatting the drive comes with was not of interest since I’ll only ever plug the drive into my main iMac.  It’s use will be for backup – currently using the Apple Backup utility but migrating to Time Machine when I get some time to set that up.

The drive is fast – transfers are very quick – and 1TB is the most amazing amount of space anyone will ever need (until about 3 or 4 years from now, the standard disclaimer for any drive purchase).  The drive also has a very sexy LED display on the front that shows you the relative amount of space used (fills up like a thermometer), and the display does a lot of dancing and chasing when there is data transfers in progress.

My only complaint is that there seems to be some unknown dependency of actions to recognize the drive.  The drive is not recognized on power up/down sometimes.  There seems to be a specific sequence of power up drive – wait for ready light – power up computer to get the drive recognized.  And, the drive does not seem to enter power-down-state when turning off the computer.  However, I should upgrade OS X from Tiger to Leopard to determine if this is a drive issue or the OS.

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