I bought a new hard drive recently. My old hard drive, a 6 year old Seagate, was feeling a bit cramped with “only” 1.5 TB of space. Disk image backups take up a lot of space, and this was my primary backup device.
Also, the Seagate ran extremely hot. Way too hot to touch. It had me concerned about the long-term reliability of the drive.
Search for a New Drive
I have a half dozen hard drives sitting unused in a drawer, but these all share the same set of problems: too small, too slow, too noisy, etc.
I wanted something big, fast, quiet, and cheap. Yeah, I want it to do my dishes too.
I picked out the WD My Book on Amazon, for no other reason than it’s the most popular and has good reviews.
The only real negative review is a complaint against the S.M.A.R.T. software that comes with the drive, not the drive itself. I thought, just don’t use the software. Problem solved, right?
The WD My Book comes in 2, 3, 4 and 6 TB sizes. Hard drive prices have come down a lot in recent years, so I decided to spring for the 4TB @ $150.
The WD My Drive comes well packaged, so I wasn’t concerned about it being damaged in shipment.
Included in the box is the hard drive, a USB 3.0 superspeed cable (which uses a special connector to plug into the drive), a 12V power supply, and a diagram for how to plug it in. The drive itself, which is glossy black, is wrapped in a protective cover.
The WD My Book is larger than previous external hard drives I’ve owned, but not offensively so. I imagine a lot of the extra space is used for cooling. The My Book uses passive cooling, so there is no fan to make noise. It is vented on the top and bottom, to let air into the enclosure.
When I first plugged it in, the WD My Book is almost completely silent. If it weren’t for the LED indicator light, I’d have a hard time knowing it’s on. Even when transferring files, the drive never never makes more than a faint whirr. Definitely the quietest hard drive I’ve ever used.
My read/write speeds were both around 125 MB/s while transferring files. At almost 8 gigabytes per minute, this is plenty fast for what I use it for. I also tested it with ATTO Disk Benchmark, which showed transfer speeds up to 140 MB/s.
If you can’t tell already, this is a USB 3.0 hard drive, and you need a computer that supports USB 3.0 in order to take advantage of the faster speeds. It will still work on USB 2.0, but it will be limited to 60 MB/s at most.
The drive gets a little warm when in use. I tested up to 102 °F with an infrared thermometer, pointed through the vents in the case. This is within the normal temperature range for hard drives.
It will go into standby mode when not in use, which I consider essential for keeping things cool and quiet, and to save electricity.
Bundled Backup Software
The “Cloud backup to Dropbox” software is just that – a tool to backup your data to Dropbox. It’s kind of useless unless you have a paid Dropbox account, since you’ll be limited to 2GB on the free account.
More useful is the included Acronis True Image software. Acronis True Image is one of my favorite disk imaging programs, so I was happy to see this added as a freebie with this hard drive. There are a couple limitations: no incremental backups, and some features such as Try&Decide are missing. To unlock all features you have to buy the full version.
- Price (even with the enclosure, it’s about the same price as a bare drive)
- Lots of space
The WD My Book is a fingerprint magnet. Something to keep in mind if you’re planning on moving it around, or throwing it in a backpack. It looks like it would scratch easily. Personally, I’m going to keep mine firmly planted next to my monitor, to protect the beautiful gloss finish.
The Bottom Line
Although it lacks the premium quality and durability of a metal case, I feel like the WD My Book is a solid choice for a large yet affordable external drive. It’s quiet, fast, and quick to setup – just plug it in. The included backup software is also a nice touch, for users who need it.