The Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB is WD's first external hard drive with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, making it one of the fastest direct-attached storage devices around.

The benefits of the USB 3.0 interface are certainly noticeable, although the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB's premium price will deter price sensitive punters.

The Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB has the same glossy black book-like casing as Western Digital's other current My Book external hard drives. Unfortunately, it has neither the My Book Elite's eInk display nor the Essential's capacity gauge. Instead, the My Book 3.0 has a simple white indicator light. Although attractive, it is not all that useful.

The main draw of the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB is its SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, which manages to break it free from the speed bottlenecks faced by current USB 2.0 external hard drives.

Since the hard drive used internally is itself limited to a theoretical maximum data transfer speed of 3Gbps and even then has to contend with its own speed being lower than that, the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB won't quite max out a USB 3.0 connection. In real world operation, we saw speed increases of about three times those of USB 2.0 drives that we have tested in the past.

Like other external drives based on 3.5 inch (desktop) hard drives, the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB is sleek yet much thicker than USB HDDs based on 2.5-inch (laptop) hard disk drives. As with all external drives based on a desktop HDD, an extra power cable is required in addition to the USB data cable.

The USB data cable used is slightly different from those we are accustomed to - the connector on the PC side looks like a normal USB connector though a bit longer, and the connector on the hard-drive side is thin and keyed, you cannot interchange this cable with any other USB device you have, so make sure to keep the cable safe if you buy this drive. There is a button at the back which needs to be pressed to switch the drive on. The casing is passively cooled through the top, which makes for quiet operation. However, the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB drive is audible when it operates over the USB 3.0 interface.

There aren't many PCs that currently have USB 3.0 connections, but the connector is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 (the My Book 3.0 will simply fall back to a slower speed). Just a few top-end laptops and desktop motherboards support the latest USB speeds. We received a boxed bundle that includes the external hard drive itself and also a PCI-Express adaptor card that provides two USB 3.0 ports for your desktop PC. You won't get any bundled software with the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB, only the USB 3.0 drivers and electronic manuals are on the accompanying CD.

NEXT: performance >>

The Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB was tested in the PCWorld.in labs.

The Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB is WD's first external hard drive with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, making it one of the fastest direct-attached storage devices around.

The Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB was tested in the PCWorld.in labs.

Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB: Performance

In order to see how the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB external hard drive would fare under a variety of circumstances, and to eliminate probable bottlenecks we used two testbed PCs. For tests with vanilla USB 2.0 transfers and using the USB 3.0 expansion card, we used a PC equipped with a Core i7-965, 3GB of DDR3 memory and an Intel X25-M SSD, running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

For our primary USB 3.0 file transfer benchmarks, we changed over to an AMD 890GX motherboard with a Phenom II 965 processor. It is worth noting that the PCI-Express x1 add-in card, the USB 3.0 support on our 890GX board, and a lot of P55 motherboards with USB 3.0 support are all using the same NEC USB 3.0 controller, whether integrated or externally. The performance seen across multiple motherboards on both the Intel and AMD sides, would say that the performance numbers seen across all of them would stay consistent.

For speeds seen while using USB 2.0, please view the "Performance" tab of this review. Suffice to say that USB 2.0 still remains a bottleneck and levels out the playground for all external drives. What we shall concentrate on here, are the much faster speeds seen when the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB is connected to a USB 3.0 port on the PC side.

We measured a read speed average of 104.9 MB/s, and a write speed average of 90.4 MB/s. Real world file read/write speeds conducted when the drive was empty, showed a speed of about 86 MB/s for a single large file (6.42 GB), but fell to 71 MB/s as expected, when copying multiple smaller files (1287 files totaling up to 2.33 GB).

Transferring these small files from the first partition to a second one on the same drive was at a speed of 24.2 MB/s. Read and write access times averaged 14.83 ms and 7.62 ms (milli-seconds) respectively, with a CPU usage of 9 per cent on average. On PC Mark 05, the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB attained a HDD score of 8598 points. For these and more details, take a look at the "Performance" tab of this review.

All of these performance numbers are head-and-shoulders above other external hard drives that connect over USB 2.0 - thus we wanted to compare this hard disk to internal ones since it is the fastest external drive to enter our labs so far. We measured loading time for applications and games, comparing this drive to a fairly high-end SATA 2.0 7200rpm laptop hard disk, and the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB drive actually turned out to be faster in almost every way!

Also, the joy of actually seeing a real and progressive graph of disk read/write speeds, where the USB interface is not a bottleneck, is a great feeling. Compared to the almost uniform speeds seen on all USB 2.0 devices, this drive made us jump!

There's no doubt USB 3.0 is the future. It is capable of greater speeds than eSATA and has other benefits like being hot pluggable and delivering power to portable hard drives. The Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB external hard drive is an excellent example of the interface's capabilities, though it lacks some of the features of Western Digital's more stylish storage options.

Once formatted, you'll get 931.5 GB of usable space. The cost per gigabyte is definitely pricey but then this is a premium product for now. We expect that the price will fall as other brands launch their own USB 3.0 external storage devices.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB: Specs

  • Form Factor: 3.5in
  • 1TB capacity
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • 5400rpm
  • 135x165x48mm
  • 1.18kg
  • Form Factor: 3.5in
  • 1TB capacity
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • 5400rpm
  • 135x165x48mm
  • 1.18kg

OUR VERDICT

Move over eSATA, the speedy USB 3.0 is here to replace you! With speeds that feel entirely like you are using an internal hard disk, the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB can be used for both storage and for daily purposes. However, you'll pay a huge premium (almost double the price) for the USB 3.0 interface, and there's no backup software or eInk display for labelling.

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