Desktop Storage (External) Reviews
External desktop storage reviews range relatively widely from single to several drive units that perform an immense variety of tasks. Some external desktop storage reviews feature devices designed for capacity expansion, typically via 1-5 bays, that interface over Thunderbolt or USB 3.0. Others feature direct attached storage (DAS) devices that connect with similar interfaces or even Gigabit Ethernet. In these external desktop storage reviews, we also look at specialized products designed specifically for RAIDing drives, backing up home media content via a router connection, or providing a local and cloud storage solution.
by Tom Streeter

Western Digital My Book Essential 4TB Review

Western Digital has taken a "more is better" approach with its latest iteration of the WD My Book Essential HDD. The top model features a single 4TB drive and a USB3.0 interface to help speed up the process of filling it up. Like its predecessors in the Essentials line, the My Book is marketed primarily as a backup storage device. It ships formatted as NTFS and includes WD SmartWare backup software for Windows 7 and Windows 8 pre-installed. After a straightforward initial setup and backup session, the software will run in the background and create incremental backups transparently and with adjustable levels of version control. Mac users who want to take advantage of the USB3.0 interface shipping on current generations of Apple hardware can reformat the drive to HFS+ and use the drive as a Time Machine volume.

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by Lyle Smith

Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo Review

Western Digital has started shipping a high-performance external hard drive solution: the My Book VelociRaptor Duo. As the name indicates, the biggest difference in this Duo version is that it uses a pair of Western Digital's 1TB 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor hard drives in the My Book enclosure. Incorporating these high performance drives allows for throughput of almost 400MB/s. We previously reviewed Western Digital's My Book Thunderbolt Duo which boasted surprisingly fast speeds to Thunderbolt-capable systems for those needing a combination of big capacity and fast throughput in a local external hard drive solution. The VelociRaptor Duo takes external performance one step further, dramatically increasing read and write speeds over previous Western Digital external storage solutions.

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by Dan Volkens

CalDigit T1 Thunderbolt Drive Review

The CalDigit T1 is an aluminum drive enclosure that comes complete with either a hard drive or SSD inside. The drives are mounted to 3.5" drive sleds that make it easy to swap out drives at will. The Thunderbolt interface actually makes an external SSD viable from a performance standpoint, CalDigit included both a 3TB hard drive and 480GB SSD for testing purposes. What's more, the package includes the $50 Apple Thunderbolt cable, which is a first, none of the Thunderbolt solutions we've reviewed to date have actually included the cable. CalDigit has another trick up their sleeve too, an iOS application called ThunderView that provides drive info and tools geared toward workflows for creative professionals.

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by Kevin OBrien

Hitachi G-RAID With Thunderbolt Review (8TB)

Hitachi's G-Technology line of external hard drives has long been a favorite for creative professionals and others who generally need some combination of reliability, performance, capacity and redundancy. While Hitachi has several products in the G-Tech line that specialize in one or more of those qualities, their latest effort is an external storage generalist that can just about do it all. The G-RAID with Thunderbolt offers up to 4TB of capacity over two mirrored drives, or 8TB if configured for maximum throughput in RAID0 over Thunderbolt, while providing legendary reliability from Hitachi's latest Deskstar 7K4000 hard drives.

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by Josh Linden

Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter Review

The GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter stakes a Thunderbolt claim for Seagate in the external desktop storage market. Intel and Apple are betting that consumers will adopt Thunderbolt technology for rapid external storage, and the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter shows that other manufacturers are playing along. Seagate's GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter is an option for those who want Thunderbolt access to large external hard drives.

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by Kevin OBrien

Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo Review

Western Digital has long made excellent external hard drive solutions that appeal to creative types and others who want large capacity local drive access with the fastest interface available. From a Mac perspective, the current interface of choice for speed is Thunderbolt. But to this point we haven't seen much in the way of direct attached storage where Thunderbolt has proven a worth investment for the mainstream user. WD's hoping to change our perspective on that with the My Book Thunderbolt Duo, a two-drive external which supports up to six Thunderbolt Duos daisy-chained together.

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by Kevin OBrien

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 Review

OWC has offered the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 for a while now, but over time they've managed to update the unit with compelling features and now, with support for up the 16TB of storage via four Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000 hard drives. The four-bay OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 is highlighted by its all metal body, quad interface (eSATA, USB 2.0, FireWire 400/800) and on-board RAID that can be switched with the press of a button.

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by Kevin OBrien

Western Digital My Book Live Duo Review

At the beginning of this month Western Digital announced the My Book Live Duo, a two bay version of their popular My Book Live. When we reviewed the original My Book Live, we raved about its simple setup, which includes bypassing the need to alter any router settings. For the home user, and even SMB, that's a nice touch. We also love WD's mobile apps, which continue to get updated to make access to files on the go fast and easy, especially for storage-constrained tablets and other mobile devices. The only thing we didn't really like was the single drive risk - enter the My Book Live Duo, a two bay unit that comes pre-configured in 4TB and 6TB options.

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by Thomas Sullivan

Seagate GoFlex Desk 4TB Review (STAC4000100)

Seagate recently expanded on their GoFlex Desk line of external hard drives with a newer high-capacity 4TB model. Aside from the boost in capacity, Seagate did away with the old golf ball dimple case, opting for a sleek, glossy black plastic shell instead. Like the rest of the GoFlex line, Seagate uses interchangeable bases that convert the hard drive's SATA connector; our review model includes the USB 3.0 base, but Seagate also offers a FireWire 800 base as well.

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by Thomas Sullivan

Western Digital My Book Live Review

Western Digital has long been in the personal cloud storage space with the WD My Book Live. It's the cornerstone of WD's strategy to help consumers organize their content and access it anywhere from the new WD 2go mobile apps to the WD TV Live media streamers connected to a TV. With seemingly more connected devices in the household now than people, the trend around centralizing a family's media assets is definitely gaining strength as we want to have reliable and easy access to family photos for instance on our phones, computers and televisions, without having to manage several copies of those files.

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