Pros Fast, 7200RPM drive with an 8MB cache, appealing design, very easy to setup/use
Cons No network support, no backup software included
Summary I love this drive! I know, I know, it’s just your average WD drive in a gussied up case, but it’s really a wonderful drive for anyone looking for good price and good design without all the extras that bump up the cost. I should start with the obvious, which is the design. It is a nice looking drive that feels pretty solid, though it is hardly “shock resistant”, and it will break if you drop it on your carpet while running (trust me). This is no fault of the drive however, as all externals are anything but indestructible, and are equally susceptible to “user error.”
The design is black plastic, and designed to look like a book on your shelf (hence the name “my book”), and, unlike your average external, won’t look funky when paired or stacked with other mybooks, or even next to *gasp* real books on a desk. I also like the green circle of light in the center that acts as an activity light as well as a manual power on/off button. That’s right, it’s not a backup button, but I’ll get to that later. You won’t really have to use the button though, as it turns itself on and off when your computer turns on and off.
One more thing about the design is the fact that this drive is fanless, which I love. Fanless drives are plenty cool, cheaper to make and *should* cost you less to buy, are quieter, and most importantly to me, makes your drive dependant on one less thing to function, so there’s one less thing to break. This seems to be the wave of the future in external drives, so it’s nice to see a cheaper drive with a unique design that doesn’t need a fan to stay cool. Three of the six sides have a plethora of slits in them for cooling, and apparently spell something in mores code, though I don’t know what at this time.
On to performance (can you tell I like the design, three paragraphs later!). You know this drive is cool in a number of ways, but how does it perform? This drive is 160GB, spinning at 7200RPMs with an 8MB cache. This too is becoming the standard for externals, but is not the standard just yet. If the description does not say what the RPMS or cache is, it is likely only a 4200RPM or 5400RPM drive with a 2MB cache to save money. The real question is, “so what?” Well, honestly, this drive will perform noticeably better than drives with lower specs, but the average user may not care because the difference is not huge. However, the price of those drives is not that much different, so you might as well try to find a drive with 7200RPMs with an 8MB cache.
My Book is super easy to setup and use, even easier than an iPod. There is no included CD for installation, and no software or drivers to worry about; you just plug it in and it’s ready for work. The drive comes formatted as a FAT32 drive, but can just be formatted to NTFS if that is your preference, though you will lose the included Google software (toolbar, desktop, picasa, all free downloads anyway). I wanted to find a drive with firewire, as my Dell i9300 supports it and firewire drives have faster read/write speeds, but honestly, the transfer speeds on this thing are pretty darn fast. I was able to transfer all of my documents (15 gigs with all the music) in a reasonable amount of time. It’s plenty fast for me, but if you need something a little faster you will have to pay a premium for a drive with firewire support. I also love to game, so I went ahead and installed a bunch of games on the drive to see how they would perform. The loading times were a little slower than when they were installed directly onto my laptop, but once loaded the framerates were just as fast (as everything is loaded into RAM), and the difference was negligible in some games. I tried Battle for Middle Earth, Knights of the Old Republic, GTA 3, and Quake 4, none of which had a framerate drop as a result of running off the external compared to off the laptop directly. Now I don’t have to clog up my small laptop drive with my game library or demos.
The drive is hardly perfect, however. As mentioned in the cons section, there is no network support. Network support is a handy feature for those with a wireless network, as you can leave the drive plugged into your wireless router and any computer on the network can access it wirelessly. This means easy access to your files and you don’t have to move the drive, but this feature would drive the cost of production up way too much for my blood, and only higher priced drives or off brands offer this. Even the “premium edition” my books do not offer it, and they cost a lot more (like 80 bucks for the same size drive). Why do they cost more? Because they include firewire support and backup software. That’s really it. Of course, that means that backup software is surprisingly absent from the “essential edition”, but all you need is Microsoft’s free “Sync Toy” and you can backup everything very easily and keep your files synchronized. It’s a very useful tool they don’t advertise, and I use it to keep my flash drives in sync as well. I suggest drag and dropping the files onto your drive first, and syncing the folders later, as sync toy is free, but not uber fast.
All in all, this drive is a good deal for the money. I don’t want to pay for network support, and have no need for backup software, so more expensive hard drives are not worth the extra money to me. At about $0.81 per GB (at $129.99), the price is reasonable for the size, the performance is more than acceptable, and the unique and appealing design make this a worthy drive to house your files. But, if you really need firewire, network support, or included backup software, you will want to look elsewhere.
Pros Easy, quiet, sturdy case. Very inexpensive.
Cons Included software is free from Google anyway.
Summary Like the quiet. I am very sensitive to noise. Very fast file transfer. Cost me $50 after store rebate.
Pros Great for starting a fire.
Cons Unit was plugged in to surge protector. It began to smell burnt, then smoke rolled out and the power cord adpater part that goes into the back of the drive melted.
Pros Easy to set up and use
Cons Warranty starts at date of manufacture
Summary I purchased my HD from Newegg.com, ordered it on a Monday it arrived on Thursday, total price including shipping and taxes was $96.64. It was easy to set up and start to use, my HP with XP Pro recognized it and I started transferring files quickly. I got it to mainly back up audio tapes I had copied to my computer. Some of the files are between 500-700 MB, using the USB 2.0 they can take around 3 minutes. That may seem like a long time to some but it’s OK for me.
I did read some negative things about this drive on Amazon after I got it. For a few people theirs died after 6 to 12 months, so if that were to happen then I’d have to lower my score from the 9 I’m giving it. The only negative has to do with the warranty. When I registered it with WD I noticed it said I had 276 days left on the warranty. It seems WD starts the clock from the date of manufacture. If you want it to go to the date of purchase you have to send them a scanned copy or JPEG of your sales receipt.
Pros quiet, attractive, sufficient speed, easy usb connectivity
Cons not exactly portable, can be faster (like everything else)
Summary With it's large size and external AC adapter, this drive isn't exactly portable, although you can move it around. The write speed can be faster, but it is sufficient for me and probably the typical user. Other then that, I would recommend buying this quiet and attractive hard drive if you're looking for some extra storage space.