WD My Passport Studio 1TB external hard drive
Metal storage for Macs
Accessory of the Week Despite the prevalence of online sync'n'store services like Dropbox, and of cheap USB thumb drives, fast, high-capacity hard drives are still favoured by those who need to store photographs, video or large graphics files.
A full back-up of your computer's hard drive is beyond those lesser forms of storage than external hard drives too. And if the acid test of a portable hard drive is the balance between robust protection for data and stylish good looks, this My Passport Studio should be near the top of your shopping list.
The all-metal case is reassuringly solid, unlike the plastic shells favoured by many portable HDD manufacturers. And the My Passport’s silver and black colour scheme means that it will match whichever Mac you happen to pair it with.
It can, of course, be used with any computer with the appropriate interface, but the Firewire 800 interface and HFS+ formatting betray WD’s intention to push this at Mac users.
With a capacity of 1TB, it should be big enough for just about any task, and the inclusion of USB 2.0 as well as Firewire makes it flexible too.
The drive comes loaded with a disk image that contains two applications: WD Drive Utilities and WD Security. The former includes diagnostic tools and the option to erase the drive or set it to sleep after a specified period of inactivity. The latter allows you to enable hardware encryption and set a password. Handily, you can enable auto-unlock for a specified user.
In my tests, using BlackMagic Design’s Disk Speed Test, we averaged write speeds of 64MB/s and read speeds of 72MB/s. This compared with rates of 86MB/s and 94MB/s respectively on my iMac’s internal hard drive.
At £110, this clearly isn’t the cheapest 1TB portable hard drive around, but then it’s not supposed to be. If you value the protection offered by the metal chassis and the flexibility of having both Firewire 800 and USB 2 interfaces, it’s well worth the expense.
If not, Western Digital also has a new My Passport for Mac, which sports a plastic case, a USB 2.0 interface, and is £20 cheaper. ®
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