- USB 3.0 faster than USB 2.0
- 7200RPM drive hidden inside
- Includes PCIe controller card
- USB 3.0 slower than SATA
The Western Digital MyBook 3.0 is a new 1TB external drive packing a new Super-Speed USB 3.0 interface. For those who might not be up to date on the latest connection standards, USB 3.0 offers much greater speeds than the older USB 2.0 standard. In this review, we put the MyBook USB 3.0 hard drive through its paces to see how well it performs.
Western Digital MyBook 3.0 1TB Specifications:
- SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface
- USB 3.0 PCIe (gen2) Adapter Card included
- USB 3.0 Micro Port (backwards compatible with USB 2.0 Micro-USB)
- Ready to plug-and-play with Windows PCs
- Formatted NTFS
- MSRP: $199.99 for 1TB, $279.99 for 2TB
Build and Design
The MyBook 3.0 has a basic design that closely resembles a closed hardcover book. The front has a clean appearance with a small WD logo on the front and a flush-mount pinhole LED activity indicator. The outer shell is made up of two plastic sections with a matte finish that doesn’t show fingerprints and retains a very clean look with mild day-to-day abuse.
Opening the enclosure was easier than I expected, which only required a little assistance from my fingernail along the back edge of the cover. With the plastic snaps released along the back edge, the front cover slides off the cage section of the drive, allowing full access to the drive inside without picking up a screwdriver.
This drive is targeted at notebook users who have USB 3.0 ports already on their machine or desktop users who have an available PCIe slot to install the supplied controller card. If your notebook already has USB 3.0 setup, it is as simple as connecting the drive and using it like any other form of external storage. For a desktop solution, open your case, and install the supplied USB 3.0 controller card and the supplied drivers.
External storage for all notebooks and desktops has always been limited to USB 2.0 as the universal standard or eSATA for the lucky few who have a port included on their machine. eSATA is common on most desktops and seen on higher-end notebooks but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as USB 2.0. For those of us limited to USB 2.0, we are stuck with transfer speeds topping off at around 30MB/s. On the other hand USB 3.0 is good up to 400MB/s or in other words won’t slow down any drive currently on the market.
The Western Digital MyBook 3.0 has a 1TB Caviar Black at its heart which is a surprise since the Caviar Green is looked upon for power efficient storage. To see the real benefit to USB 3.0, we tested the drive in its native environment connected directly to the motherboard and inside the MyBook 3.0 case connected through USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
In our tests with CrystalDiskMark we actually found that the drive had a substantial drop in write performance with USB 3.0 compared to native SATA. This type of performance drop would have probably not been seen with eSATA. USB 2.0 showed an even bigger drop but that was to be expected with the slower interface. My only big complaint was the drive not saturating the USB 2.0 write speed at 30+MB/s.
Hard drive performance over USB 2.0
Hard drive performance over USB 3.0
Hard drive performance over SATA
The Western Digital MyBook 3.0 is surprisingly quiet for an external drive containing a 3.5” hard disk inside. With the drive spinning at idle it was hard to tell if it was powered up without looking at the LED indicator on the front. Under mild disk activity the drive could be heard quietly crunching away, but it was tame compared to other desktop drives that I have heard.
Power consumption was not much of a problem with the 1TB MyBook 3.0 external drive, with it consuming 11 watts at idle and 12 watts when being accessed. After 10 to 15 minutes of non-use, the drive would turn itself off and enter sleep mode. For users who might only use the drive for occasional backup, this would help save power when the drive doesn’t need to be running in the background.
The Super-Speed USB 3.0 interface on the Western Digital MyBook 3.0 proved to be much faster than its predecessor. It offered speeds nearly four times faster than USB 2.0, but still fell short compared to the drives native SATA 3.0 Gbps connection. It is hard to say if it is the NEC-based Super-Speed USB 3.0 controller card or the interface itself, but some part of it acted as a bottleneck for the drive. Compared to straight SATA, the USB 3.0 connection seemed to slow down write speed by almost 30MB/s or roughly 23 percent. For users interested in the fastest connection possible it still looks like eSATA is the way to go, especially if your computer already has the interface. If the notebook or desktop you are purchasing has USB 3.0 already on it, it might be worth getting a drive supporting USB 3.0 to take advantage of the performance over USB 2.0.
- USB 3.0 is much faster than USB 2.0
- High-performance 7200RPM drive hidden inside
- Includes PCIe controller card
- USB 3.0 performed slower than native SATA