Western Digital’s external hard disk drives aren’t frequent guests in our labs, so this is a special occasion for two reasons at once. First, we’ve got a new drive from WD which is called MyBook Pro Edition. And second, this hard disk drive is equipped with three interfaces to connect to the PC.
We have often seen a drive’s performance being limited by USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 just because HDDs have progressed faster than the interfaces. You can put it another way: the interfaces have fallen behind.
Moreover, the storage capacity of HDDs is growing up at a tremendous rate. Considering the trend to create multi-disk external drives (e.g. the Bigger Disk Extreme from LaCie or the Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition, whichw e discussed in our article called Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition Hard Disk Drive with 1TB Storage Capacity), the requirements to the interface bandwidth have grown manifold!
Using the FireWire 800 interface is one way to solve the problem. We’ve had enough opportunities to see how efficient it is, but it is not widespread and few manufacturers implement it in their products. We’ve got a kind of vicious circle here: they don’t make HDDs because there are few PCs with that interface, but PCs don’t support the interface because there are few peripheral devices with it. If it were not for Apple with its progressive ideas (“don’t follow the market, but lead it where it’s good for you”), we’d have to do with USB 2.0 even today.
This situation is changing, though. The external eSATA interface is becoming popular and offers high bandwidth and multiplexing (from a user’s point of view, this term means the option of connecting several devices to a single port). But FireWire 800 is a good interface anyway and is also backwards-compatible with camcorders and other photo/video equipment, which may come in handy for a home PC.
But now let’s take a look at the new HDD from Western Digital.