Western Digital 3TB My Book Studio Review: FW800 is Fastest, Final Thoughts

July 30, 2011 by J.R. Nelson Reads (6,135)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.67
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

 

Rsync results: (higher is better)

Interconnect Large Files Small Files
FireWire 800 50.65 MB/s 41.93 MB/s
USB 2.0 30.39 MB/s 26.27 MB/s

We also booted the computer into Windows to see how well it performed with our standard benchmark program CrystalDiskMark, which doesn’t have an OS X version available.

CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark results: (higher is better)

Benchmark FireWire 800 USB 2.0
Sequential Read 45.026 MB/s 35.897 MB/s
Sequential Write 38.566 MB/s 34.685 MB/s
Random Read 512kB 27.459 MB/s 23.697 MB/s
Random Write 512kB 37.756 MB/s 33.945 MB/s
Random Read 4kB (QD = 1) 0.592 MB/s 0.571 MB/s
Random Write 4kB (QD = 1) 0.814 MB/s 0.817 MB/s
Random Read 4kB (QD = 32) 0.489 MB/s 0.514 MB/s
Random Write 4kB (QD = 32) 0.846 MB/s 0.754 MB/s

 

Unsurprisingly, the FireWire 800 connections beat out the USB connections, though not by as much as you might think. FireWire 800 has a theoretical (unrealizable) throughput of 100 MB/s, just as USB 2.0 has a similar maximum of 60 MB/s. If you’d like to see the performance of how the drive performs nakedly, check out our review of the Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB drive.

Power and noise
Since there is no cooling fan inside of the MyBook, it is, for all intents and purposes, silent during use. In an otherwise silent room, you’ll be able to hear the drive spin up and down, but it’s difficult to notice.  

Upon first plugging the drive in, we saw a peak power draw of just over 17 watts of electricity. This quickly backed down, however, showing an active draw of 7.4 watts of power and an idle draw of 5.2W.

Conclusion
These days, with all of the free (and generally low-cost) options for backing up data online, it’s debatable whether you actually need to have low-speed local storage (used here only to differentiate drives like the My Book from things like high-performance RAID arrays) at all. Given the cloud’s popularity, many people are starting to exclusively use the Internet for backups. They’re also finding that those free backup and hosting services can come with drawbacks. Some might lose your files – and you never get them back. Some accidentally show them all to the public. 

Even if backups aren’t a concern of yours (and they should be!), external drives can come in handy. If you need to move a very large set of files from computer to computer, or if you just regularly work with (but need to maintain access to) large data, an external hard drive can be a lifesaver. The My Book Studio is just such a lifesaver, and a pretty one at that. You will pay a premium over the plastic clad My Book Essential, which has USB 3.0 in place of FireWire. If you have a Mac, though, it likely doesn’t matter.

Pros

  • Sleek
  • Quiet
  • Fits in with Mac environments
Cons
  • No high-speed access


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