The Western Digital My Passport AV is an attractively compact portable USB 2.0 external hard drive with 320GB of data storage capacity. It is designed without any sharp edges in a glossy black colour.
As the 'AV' in its name implies, WD has designed the Western Digital My Passport AV with the video connoisseur and camcorder user in mind. It is claimed to be optimised for video playback and storage, besides having a few AV tricks. You can transfer movies from a Sony camcorder directly to this hard drive, via Direct Copy functionality without using a PC. According to Western Digital, the My Passport AV has been especially optimised for smooth video playback. You can stream movies through your television’s USB port (if it has one) or via a compatible media player.
Supported models include the Sony BDP-S370 and LG BD390 Blu-ray players, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles and the Western Digital WD TV Live. We connected the Western Digital My Passport AV to our Western Digital WD TV and played back some video files. Our videos appeared smooth and glitch-free from start to finish so the playback performance was good.
During operation, the Western Digital My Passport AV was whisper quiet – an important consideration if you plan to marry it to a media player for frequent video playback. It also remained cool to the touch throughout testing. It will also make for an unobtrusive fixture in your home entertainment system (a vertical stand is included in the sales package).
Western Digital My Passport AV: Performance
Tested in the PCWorld.in Labs
To prevent bottlenecks, we use our top-end test-rig for testing the Western Digital My Passport AV. On synthetic benchmarks we measured a read speed average of 34.8 MB/s and a write speed average of 28 MB/s. Real world file transfer read/write speeds conducted when the drive was empty, showed a speed of 29.7 MB/s and 22.5 MB/s respectively for a single large file (6.42 GB), but fell as expected to 20.8 MB/s and 13.5 MB/s respectively, 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 (simultaneous read/write) was at a speed of 8.8 MB/s. Read and write access times averaged 19.9 ms and 8.31 ms (milli-seconds) respectively, with a CPU usage of 2 per cent on average. We also transferred a batch of camcorder AVCHD files, but received similar results to our benchmark tests.
On the whole, the Western Digital My Passport AV drive churned out very good read speeds. When you consider the size of most HD video files, write speed is an area where the Western Digital My Passport AV should excel, and it does so to an extent. The price which is slightly higher than WD's normal MyPassport series of drives probably accounts for the extras - a longer USB cable than usually seen today, an additional adapter cable provided for connecting to Sony camcorders and a stand to hold it vertically. Besides that, there is nothing that marks out the superiority of the WD MyPassport AV over a normal portable drive.
The Western Digital My Passport AV drive is empty out-of-the-box, with no bundled software and nothing particularly “AV” about it. A hard disk is a passive device and cannot “do” anything on its own, devices that it connects to are the ones that can carry out an action; moreover the USB 2.0 interface nowadays becomes a crippling bottleneck for storage devices bringing all products down to the same speed levels. So the “AV” part of the product’s name does not seem to be anything more than branding to command a price premium, and making specific claims about tasks that actually are common to all drives. That does not take away from the fact that it is still a nice looking drive, about as good as any other.
This portable drive comes formatted in the FAT32 file-system for compatibility and offers 298.09 GB of available disk space. Weighing in at 180g and with dimensions of 16x126x80mm, the Western Digital My Passport AV can be carried around in a laptop bag with ease. Western Digital offers a warranty of 3 years upon this drive.
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