Capacity: 500GB | Interface: USB 2.0 / eSATA
Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition Review:
Bill Gates had once famously remarked, “I am sure nobody on this earth will ever need more than 100 KB of hard disk space for their personal needs”. Well, I think Mr. Gates was mistaken. Ever since the dawn of evolution in the world of computers, the only thing that has increased at an alarming rate (probably faster than India’s overwhelming population) is the demand for storage space in the virtual world. Gone are the days when we had to buy tons of CDs to store all their data. Even pen drives are turning out to be the thing of the past. Because, the big boss, External Storage Devices are here!
The Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition external hard drive is “the next big thing” as promised by its makers Western Digital better known as WD. It is one of the best portable devices around although it does not feature much in terms of storage capacity. It sports a sleek, trendy and sporty look much like a Ferrari sports car. Let us see if it lives up to its much-hyped expectations.
The WD MyBook Premium Edition Hard drive is typically candy shaped with curved smooth edges. It has the WD logo at the bottom right and this time it also sports a brushed metal plate that can be customized to imprint user details using LASER printing. Though this really adds cream to the biscuit, how many people would really go for it is the main question. Western Digital was the first to style their external storage devices to add a bit of a feel to it. Moreover, the WD MyBook external storage devices also sport an anodized finish of oxidized gunmetal and are completely encased in a white protective covering. The best part is that WD MyBook external storage drive comes with a glossy metallic finish enhanced with self-clean technology. This ensures a completely smudge-free device with a glassy look which is unheard of in other glossy finished items.
With dimensions of (W x D x H) 2.2” x 5.6” x 6.8”, this device is as sleek and compact as it could get. And weighing just 2.9 lbs, people really could not have asked for more. All this and more make this device a real pleasure to hold, to look, to use and even to carry it around in your pocket much like your trusted mobile phone. What is more, this device is just perfect for the occasions when your friends decide at the last moment to have a bash and you do not have the time to look for your music CDs. Just put this device in your pocket loaded with all that you need and it is fun on the go.
With great power, comes great responsibility. And what more could a portable drive’s final mark depend on rather than its portability? An external drive with gigs of storage and great features is useless until and unless it can take responsibility for the data stored in it; and this where the portability comes in. The Western Digital Devices are highly portable especially the MyBook which ensures that data remains safe and protected even if it falls in the wrong hands. Whether the MyBook falls out of a fast-moving car, an airplane or even falls in the sea, relax! Your data will always remain safe. With its compact shock and tamper-proof design, it can withstand shocks when dropped from up to 500 meters height. Moreover, it also has a very high water-resistant capability and is water-resistant up to 100 meters in depth. The only thing that was left unnoticed in the test was perhaps what would happen if you threw the device in a volcano.
A good external hard drive is not only the one, which promises the largest data space or the fastest data usage. It should also host a variety of connectivity features so that the device is usable on all devices and platforms over the world without the slightest technological glitch. This one of the primary reasons why external storage devices today are going for multiple connectivity options. The Western Digital MyBook Portable external hard disk is surely in the league perhaps at the top with the bundle of connectivity features it is providing. It already supports USB 2.0 and has five USB 2.0 ports that ensure that this device can be simultaneously connected to more than one device. It also sports an extremely fast Firewire 400 port even though many external devices today are providing up to firewire 1000 port. And with just one Firewire 400 port, it leaves a lot to be craved for.
The Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition external hard drive comes in a variety of storage capacities that includes 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 400GB, and 500GB. All the hard drives have a 7200 rpm hard disk. This really is cool because one has loads of varieties to choose from and one of the best features is the fact that all hard drives right from the lowest capacity to the highest capacity have the same amount of spindle speed.
While most of the manufacturers seem to ignore the cache memory of their hard disks, it is really worthwhile to mention that Western Digital has pushed the limit up by paying careful attention to the cache memory of their hard drives. While the 400GB and the 500GB versions have a whopping 16MB of cache memory, the other variants including the 160GB, 250GB, and 320GB models are not far behind with a good 8MB of cache memory. This really is the best thing Western Digital could come up with. While most people think that it is the USB speed that matters for data transfer rate, they must also note that the cache memory plays a vital role in data redundancy check and determining input and output rates.
The Western Digital MyBook Premium drive supports a variety of operating supports. A very surprising thing is that this device supports the entire Windows family. Yes, right from Microsoft Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP, it supports all versions and it did not leave out the Macintosh operating system either. It even has support MAC OS version 10.28+ and above. What is really annoying is the fact that Western Digital chose to ignore Linux in the list of OS support. It could have at least included support for Red Hat or Fedora which were released well before Windows XP and have quite some fan following. Also, with more and more new operating systems making the mark, Western Digital should have taken care to ensure multi-platform support rather than multi-OS support. No brownie points for this.
While most of the hard disks coming out from the stables these days are more of a pen drive with enhanced storage capacities, Western Digital made sure that this device lives up to what it really claims to be. An external storage device! One of the most basic features of a storage drive: one-touch ready backup with full software support; and this is just what the WD MyBook Premium has. Apart from a dedicated ready backup button, it also has a slew of software up to its sleeve that ensures data backup, data safety, protection from data theft and lots more! The most notable software is the EMC Retrospect Express Backup and System Recovery Software (on the drive). Although it is proprietary software, it is no less than the commercially available ones out there. It also includes AVG personal edition for data and file security and E-Theft for protection against data theft.
Notable Design Features:
All through the design of the Western Digital MyBook external storage device has been discussed in detail, it still really has some out-of-the-box features that are worthy of a separate mention altogether. And with its anodized finish of oxidized gunmetal, this device ensures optimum working performance even in the harshest conditions. Also with its glossy metal finish, the device stays clean as ever even if you deliberately drop it in the mud to test its glossy look. And still, the best design feature of his external hard drive is the complete encasing of the hardware and interiors in a white protective covering coupled with a conducting material layer that ensures rapid heat dissipation when the device is used for long hours at a stretch.
Cool and Silent:
One really cool feature of this device is Silent Play. With twin coolers at the top and button and cooling fans at the back, this device is always cool no matter how long it has been used. Thus the device never heats up, which is a real boon as it ensures long life and enhanced data protection.
One really cannot do without a few free goodies, isn’t it? And this is what Western Digital expected from its customers and hence added lots of special functionality, which are worthy of mention here. The best additional feature is perhaps the Capacity Gauge. It is a backup button that features an LED. The LED works like an indicator and thus keeps the users informed or rather warned the amount of disk space left in their drive. Another noteworthy feature is the Auto OFF option. This ensures that if the device is not used for a certain amount of time, the drive shuts down automatically to save power and battery backup. And since the time for Auto OFF is configurable, it thus depends upon the users to set their own time according to their own requirements.
It is the performance that finally decides whether the device is what it really claims to be or just another cosmetic from the tech stable. Various tests were conducted on this device and surprisingly, though it managed well in some, it also faltered in some. As claimed earlier, the Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition proved to be a mixed bag of surprises. What is really surprising is the fact that in spite of its 7000 rpm hard disk, it fails to deliver what it could have. However it really does have a good start-up time and when switched on, it gets started up in less than 15 seconds. The device functionality is also very impressive as it can really work for hours on end without getting heated up. It also has a very impressive track to track seek time of 2 milliseconds and an average seek time of 8.9 milliseconds. It also sports an average latency speed of 4.9 milliseconds. Another thing that is really credible is that the device worked really well in the most extreme conditions.
Read and Write Speeds:
However, the big disappointment came when the WD MyBook external storage device was subjected to a data storage test. While in the writing test, the hard disk took almost 36 minutes to write the 10GB test folder, it took about 15 minutes to read the 10 GB test folder. Though the reading time if the MyBook is not really slow, it cannot be called impressive too. And the writing time of 10 GB for the test folder was one of the slowest writing speeds of an external storage medium. However, when clustered files of up to 4 GB were written onto the storage device showed a somewhat better performance. However, despite this heavy workload, the MyBook external hard drives remained as cool as ever. Also one of the striking features that were revealed by the test was the fact that the device rarely produced any sound. It was as silent as anything and made the least bit of noise.
Effect on the CPU:
The test further produced some really interesting results. For example, after hooking the MyBook to a CPU through the USB port showed that the random access time was over 15 milliseconds and this affected the read-write performance in general. CPU utilization figures were the most interesting and they started showing the ill-effects of MyBook’s interface. CPU usage was up by 11 percent and when switched to Firewire port from the standard USB port, CPU usage further increased by 10 percent. That means the device was feeding off the resources from the CPU despite being provided with a well-stocked larder of its own. However, in the synthetic benchmark tests such as HDTach and SiSoft Sandra, the Firewire interface of MyBook emerged as a clear winner. However, it performed poorly in the real world transfer test. Even though the WD MyBook is well ahead of its competitors it still really needs to brush up on it’s reading and writing speeds in order to win.
The Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition USB 2.0 external hard drive sports an IEEE 1394 FIREWIRE based interface with enhanced Hi-Speed USB support. The MyBook external hard drive also comes with an expansion connectivity interface with 2.0 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) ports. It also includes 4 pin USB Type B and 1.0 x Hi-Speed USB – 6 pins FireWire port. It also has a Buffer memory of 16MB and an operating frequency of a maximum of 50Hz. This device can also work very fine at a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius. And with a disk speed of 7200 rpm, it just gets better. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery but also works on AC 210/230 Voltage and is fully RoHS compliant. Other than this it also adds some fun software like Google Earth, Google Picassa, and Google Desktop. The 500 GB also comes with 2 free full version games by EA and also includes the latest Britannica.
The Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition package comes with an included software installation CD, a battery adaptor and charger, an AC adaptor, a protective case, getting started manual and a quick start user guide apart from the customer registration form to be processed online. And also included in the package is a mini-booklet of other WD devices and gadgets.
Service and Support:
The Western Digital goods are famed for their after-sales service and support and the MyBook Premium Edition is no such exception. The MyBook comes with 2 years warranty and toll-free call support from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM from Monday to Friday and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturdays. There is also an entire page dedicated to MyBook where user can submit their queries through an online form look at FAQs and search on related topics. The MyBook dedicated webpage also provides software and device drivers for free download to ensure the device does not become obsolete in this fast-changing world of technology. With such superb after-sales support this device should really make head turn. But we must also remember “all that glitters is not gold” and definitely only its performance will determine whether the device lives up to its much-hyped image and delivers the power-packed winning punch.
After going through all these data, the extensive reviews of its pros and cons, now it is time for the big question. Is the device worth the money? Yes, it is! True that the device has its own share of problems and issues but after all, it’s a device we are talking about. It is slow but it is sturdy. It is resourced hungry but it is solid. It can also provide very strong data protection and anti-theft solutions to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands. And with so many devices out there trying to make their presence felt, this one really has done something. Taking features, performance, and speed per GB into consideration, Western Digital’s MyBook is the winner. It is true that it has loads of features, interface, connectivity options, and even pre-loaded software but what is disappointing is the fact that it can’t deliver the winning performance even though it has been designed with the help of the latest cutting edge technology. What is really surprising is that this device is a mixed bag of pros, cons, and features. Its compact design and flawless mechanism still have some loophole somewhere else it would have emerged as the undisputed winner. Interestingly, a famous tech website even claimed that the Western Digital MyBook Premium Edition External Hard Drive (160GB, 250GB, 320Gb, 400GB, 500GB) offers the most mixed performance of any hard drive ever tested.
Despite its somewhat sluggish performance, the MyBook Premium Edition makes up for the lost ground by offering better features, looks and software support. True there are many devices to choose from in the external hard drive section but somehow, this device is different. It is finally the choice of the user whether he goes for the device or not. After all, it is a machine. So if it works wonders for one, it definitely does not mean that it will do the same for others.