Performance and Benchmarks
The current generation of My Passport drives is available in multiple capacities ranging from 500GB to 2TB at the time of this writing. Our 2TB drive holds about 600,000 high resolution digital photos (saved as compressed JPEGs) or approximately 880 hours of DVD quality video. Translation: The new WD 2TB My Passport delivers the kind of storage capacity that used to be limited to desktops but it fits in your jeans pocket or your purse.
In terms of speed, when connected to a USB 3.0 port the My Passport promises to deliver up to “3x faster transfer rates” compared to a standard USB 2.0 port. This is a fairly realistic claim since most of the USB 3.0 hard drives we’ve reviewed are between two or three times faster than USB 2.0 hard drives. That said, WD’s claims get a little fishy when you look at the product specifications sheet and they mention a data transfer rate of “up to 5GB/s.”
The USB 3.0 standard supports a “theoretical” data transfer speed of up to 5GB per second but we’ve yet to see a single hard drive that can reach the 5GB/s threshold. It’s safe to say even before testing that the 5GB/s claim is just based on the theoretical speed of the USB 3.0 connection and NOT the real-world speed of the My Passport drive.
The CrystalDiskMark benchmark measures the overall performance of a drive in terms of transfer speeds (the amount of time it takes to read or write files on the hard drive). For those readers who aren’t too familiar with CrystalDiskMark, the information below indicates the new 2TB My Passport delivers impressive performance overall when connected to a computer with a USB 3.0 port and adequate performance when connected via a USB 2.0 port.
2TB WD My Passport via USB 3.0
2TB WD My Passport via USB 2.0
500GB WD My Passport Essential via USB 3.0
500GB WD My Passport Essential via USB 2.0
1TB eGo USB 3.0 Portable Drive via USB 3.0
1TB eGo USB 3.0 Portable Drive via USB 2.0
The new 2TB My Passport is noticeably faster than last year’s 500GB My Passport Essential and is also faster than the 1TB Iomega eGo portable hard drive when connected via USB 3.0. On the other hand, the new My Passport appears to be marginally slower than the older My Passport Essential when connected via a USB 2.0 port.
Yes, the 2TB My Passport is more than three time as fast via USB 3.0 than it is via USB 2.0, but it doesn’t come close to delivering the “Up to 5Gb/s” operating speed as claimed on the Western Digital website. If you’re dying to get an extremely fast USB 3.0 storage solution you might need to consider a USB 3.0 solid state drive (SSD).
Heat and Noise
The latest generation of My Passport drives runs cool and quiet. There isn’t very much I can say beyond that. The drive gets “warm” after hours of serious use (backing up two 500GB laptop hard drives) but never gets hot. The average external temperature of the enclosure was 86 degrees Fahrenheit in an office with an ambient temperature of 73 degrees. In terms of noise, even when transferring files, the drive makes only the softest audible noise. Of course, when the drive isn’t accessing any files it’s completely silent.
Every year the Western Digital My Passport series continues to offer solid value for people who need a portable hard drive. The new 2TB version offers a radical amount of storage for a mobile drive and benefits from USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatibility. The My Passport is one of the fastest USB 3.0 hard drives we’ve tested but the performance is pretty average when connected to an old USB 2.0 port.
Despite the comparatively thick and heavy exterior, the 2TB My Passport drive packs genuinely impressive storage capacity into a small and light package. The speed is also very impressive (similar to what you get from a fast internal hard drive). On the other hand, the price for the 2TB version ($250) is pretty high at the time of this writing.
In short, the Western Digital My Passport makes a great choice if you’re looking for a portable storage solution with speed and plenty of storage capacity.
- Faster than a standard USB 2.0 hard drive
- Compact, lightweight design considering the 2TB capacity
- Easy to set up and use
- Thicker and heavier than a typical portable hard drive
- High capacity drives still command a high price
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