October 3rd, 2013 by Brian Beeler
WD My Book and My Book for Mac Review
WD recently updated their My Book external desktop hard drive line for both the Mac and PC audiences. The new drives feature a redesigned enclosure that better aligns with modern design and updates to WD's suite of software that comes with each drive. The My Book for PC comes in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB capacities while the My Book for Mac tops out at 3TB. Both drives ship with a USB 3.0 interface for rapid access to the hard drive inside.
The two My Book products are essentially the same, the core difference is in the formatting of the drive; both are ready to go out of the box for their respective operating system targets. Of course either drive may be reformatted should the user require such at some point in the future. The enclosures themselves are identical, save for the branding on the Mac unit.
The obvious question is why does the My Book for Mac top out at 3TB. The answer comes in the positioning of the product. WD has a more extensive desktop line for the Mac, with the premium My Book Studio line, which features an all-metal enclosure and capacities up to 4TB. The desktop storage PC products are comprised of the value-oriented Elements line which is offered in 1TB-3TB capacities and the updated My Book which hits the top-end capacity point. So where the My Book is the top single-drive offering for the PC, it's the entry offering for the Mac.
The My Book for PC and Mac are both shipping now. Our review units are the 4TB PC capacity and 3TB Mac capacity.
WD My Book Specifications
- My Book for PC
- 2TB (WDBFJK0020HBK)
- 3TB (WDBFJK0030HBK)
- 4TB (WDBFJK0040HBK)
- My Book for Mac
- 2TB (WDBYCC0020HBK)
- 3TB WDBYCC0030HBK)
- Interface: USB 3.0
- Dimensions: Height 6.70 Inches x Depth 5.50 Inches x Width 1.90 Inches
- Weight: up to 2.27 Pounds
- My Book for PC: 2 years
- My Book for Mac: 3 years
Design and Build
While the fundamental shape of the My Book line hasn't changed much, they still look like a squatty hardbound book, WD had modernized the look in subtle but significant ways. The enclosures have a shiny black plastic shell, with a matte branding inlay that wraps around from the front to right side. Even the inlay has a little extra pizzazz on the side, along with the drive access indicator light on the front. The only down side to the glossy shell is that it's a fingerprint magnet and scratches easily.
The units are fan-less, which makes the venting around the top, back and bottom a required feature so the drive inside can easily shed its heat. The drive is meant to be used vertically, with four rubber feet on the bottom to prevent slipping on a flat desk surface. The back of the unit has the USB port, power port and Kensington lock slot.
WD includes quite a bit of software with the My Book products. The PC version comes with a robust offering including Acronis True Image, WD SmartWare, WD Utilities and WD Security.
WD's updated SmartWare software is the highlight of the included programs. It's a comprehensive offering that allows PC users to have an easy to manage, yet flexible backup solution. Users can opt to backup specific files types or folders and manage the frequency accordingly. SmartWare Pro is also available for a free 30 day trial or $20 license, and provides additional backup options across any USB drive and offers integration with Dropbox for cloud backup. For a more complete system recovery solution, WD has included Acronis True Image which can take regular snapshots of the entire system.
The Mac software suite is a little more spartan, taking into account that the platform comes with Time Machine and other tools that the PC doesn't always have. WD focuses their efforts here on a WD drive utilities tool that includes features like SMART data collector, drive diagnostics tools and sleep timer, which can power the drive down after a period of inactivity. WD also offers a security utility that requires a password to access the drive. These tools are also available for the PC version.
Overall, all of the software provides significant value-add, more so on the PC side, and makes managing the drive much easier than competitive solutions. While many external drives include a lot of software with questionable benefit, the WD tools are a usefull addition.
With the 3TB My Book for Mac attached to a current generation MacBook over USB 3.0, the drive saw read and write throughput of roughly 147MB/s using Black Magic. Switching to our Windows environment for that same drive, we measured 151MB/s read and 138MB/s write. The 4TB My Book designed for Windows environments measured 149MB/s read and 141MB/s write over USB 3.0.
The drives inside each My Book could vary depending on drive availability but the numbers we saw in the two review units were at the top end of the single-drive desktop storage space, and much faster than the 127MB/s throughput in the 4TB WD Essentials product.
The WD My Book gets a more modern design, updated software suite for PC and a USB 3.0 interface that drives pretty peppy performance for a single drive desktop enclosure. At near 150MB/s throughput the drive is well suited for typical desktop drive duty like backup, media file storage and the like. PC users will see good value from the included software tools, the Mac side gets a good drive utility and gets to keep relying on Time Machine for backup. In the end there's nothing too fancy about the My Book product...but then again that's the point, the drives perform well and get the job done reliably.
- Nice aesthetic improvements
- Good value-add software suite
- Performs well thanks to USB 3.0 interface
- No 4TB Mac capacity
The WD My Book for PC and Mac brings a new look and great drive tools to a market that's flush with less comprehensive offerings. The My Book line stands out as a great option for those who need a simple direct attached storage option.