A couple of years ago I purchased a 1TB Western Digital MyBook Studio HDD to use a my main backup drive, and it’s been humming along nicely ever since. It was a trusty companion as I installed OS X Lion and later Mountain Lion, and then restored my laptop from the Time Machine backup residing on the WD drive. It also helped me recover project files that I had deleted, mistakenly thinking I would never have a need for them. So, when WD sent over the new, updated version of the MyBook Studio, I gladly gave it a spin.
Externally, there’s isn’t much of a difference: in terms of dimensions, weight, and looks, it’s very close to the original 1TB MyBook Studio from two years back. The giveaway on the new model is the the black grill with round perforations and the absence of the mini LCD screen on the upper part of the spine. I really had no use for that display, which shows the contents and remaining capacity, once I had partitioned the MyBook Studio into two drives, one for the Time Machine backups, and the other as a a place where I could dump files that I didn’t need to keep on my laptop but which I wanted to keep.
The black grill is part of the upgrade to an all-aluminum enclosure — a big step up from the all-plastic housing and white vents in the unit that I got some time back. This external HDD feels really solid and sturdy. And the all-metal enclosure should improve heat dissipation (although that’s something I never had trouble with even with the old model)
When you connect the MyBook Studio to your Mac, you’ll see a disk image in the drive that contains some bundled WD apps: the WD + TURBO installer, and the WD Security app, the former for boosting the HDD’s performance, and the latter for securing your HDD with password protection and hardware encryption.
Peering round the back, you’ll see that WD has pared down the I/O options. Gone are the dual FW 800 ports. Which makes sense considering that Apple is moving away from FW in favor of Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports, though you still lose the neat feature of being able to daisy-chain drives using a single port. And you’ll have to use up one of your Mac’s 2 USB ports to connect to this drive. Bummer.
Gone also is the power button — no big loss in terms of functionality here — and the mini USB 2.0 port has been replaced by a USB 3.0 port. Still in place is the power adapter socket and the Kensington lock slot.
So, here’s the weird thing. From my 2009 MacBook Pro with USB 2.0 ports, I transferred a 4.82GB project folder crammed with hundreds of photos and several dozen video clips to my old drive, using the regular USB cable, and the whole process took 2 minutes and 9 seconds. Not bad, actually. I repeated the same operation using the FW 800 and got a faster transfer time of 1 minute and 7 seconds, as expected. When I transferred the same folder from a 2012 11-inch MacBook Air with USB 3.0 ports to the newer MyBook Studio, I got the same transfer speeds as my 2009 MacBook Pro. I asked the company that sent us the review unit about it but haven’t gotten a reply yet, and I’m waiting for the weekend to try it out on a Retina Display MacBook Pro.
My experience with WD drives so far has been pretty good, and the upgrade to an all-aluminum enclosure and to USB 3.0 (assuming that my test transfer speeds are just a glitch) make this a good choice for an external HDD, even though prices haven’t really dropped much from two years ago. As a regular backup drive, it’s a solid choice.
Price: Php6,990 (1TB); Php8,190 (2TB); Php10,290 (3TB) and Php13,290 (4TB).
Availability: All major electronics shops
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