Western Digital My Book Studio 3TB
- — 25 December, 2011 22:00
|Name||External hard drive: Western Digital My Book Studio|
|At a glance:||Attractive styling that resembles unibody MacBook colouring and design,Reasonable transfer rates,Time Machine backups are slow,Compatible with Windows, as long as you’re comfortable reformatting|
|Summary:||If you want backup that looks as stylish as a unibody Mac, with decent performance, the My Book Studio is a good choice.|
|RRP:||$250 (1TB), $320 (2TB), $440 (3TB)|
The Western Digital My Book Studio 3TB is designed for Apple’s Mac computers. It’s pre-formatted for Mac as an HFS journalled partition, and it’s compatible with Mac OS X’s backup software, Time Machine.
Despite the hardware being designed with Mac in mind, it’s also compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7.
In the box, you get the Mac-styled silvery aluminium My Book, along with three cables. The connections – Firewire-400, Firewire-800 and USB to mini-USB – are all designed to slot into existing and older generation Mac laptop or desktop setups, and the My Book is compatible with Snow Leopard, Leopard and – although it’s not stated in the user manual – Lion-based systems.
There are two Firewire ports, a micro-USB and a Kensington lock on the back of the My Book, but it lacks any other features apart from a light to indicate power status. Other My Books, such as the My Book Elite, offer indicators of how much space is used up on the drive, but there’s no such assistance here.
Even on Firewire-800, however, backing up using Time Machine was quite slow. Our first full system backup – some 450GB worth – took over four hours, and a subsequent 55GB backup took an hour and 21 minutes. Once completed, incremental backups took a few minutes each hour.
The slowness of Time Machine seemed to be limited to that software, however. Transfer rates for other purposes were much speedier at around 50MBytes/sec read/write for large files, such as movies or music. For small files (less than 1KB in size), transferring 3000 files totalling 100MB was completed at a speed of around 25MBytes/sec for both read and write.
While we tested backup using Apple’s Time Machine, Western Digital supplies the drive with WD Smartware, which can handle system backup for Mac or Windows.
If you run Windows, you can use the device as a complete backup solution, but you’ll need to format the drive first.
Smartware is available for both PC and Mac, and allows more granular backup than Time Machine for Mac does. Like the HP Simplesave, it will simply update any file that you change by backing it up on disk. You can specify how many versions you’d like to keep, whether you want to backup constantly or only when your system is idle, and how to handle file retrieval.
One nice touch is the Drive Sleep Timer, that allows you to specify when to turn your hard drive off in case of inactivity. This helps prevent wear on the drive, and keeps power usage down.
On Mac, the drive also includes a piece of software called WD + Turbo, that claims to improve the performance of the drive. We conducted file transfer tests before and after installing WD + turbo, and saw about 10% improvement in file transfer speeds – up to a maximum of 55MBytes/s – after adding the turbo boost. It’s not huge, but it would make a difference for large scale transfers of 1GB or more.
3TB is plenty for a laptop backup device, especially given that most laptops have 1TB of hard drive storage or less, and the WD My Book Studio 3TB makes an attractive desktop companion for the road warrior’s favourite laptop.