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Is it possible to enhance the functionality of an external hard disk drive? And if yes – how? Western Digital came up with a new answer, introducing their new product – a combination of an external HDD with two interfaces, a USB hub, and a flash card reader. Otherwise, the drive looks like any other external HDD from this manufacturer that I had a chance to test.

I’m going to check out my supposition that the speed characteristics of the device remained the same, and I will be comparing the Dual-option Media Center (that’s the official name of the product) with the results I got with analogous external drives earlier.

I’d like to remind you that the performance of this device with memory cards was tested in our labs before (see our “SD media” and “CompactFlash media” reviews).

Closer Look at Western Digital WDXF2500JB





This device can work positioned vertically as well as horizontally. In appearance, it resembles much the WDXB2500JB model. The front panel carries three round buttons – you can guess their purpose from the symbols on them. One of the buttons turns the device on and shuts it down safely so that the user may be absolutely sure that the data written to the disc are secure. This button doesn’t affect the ports of the USB hub or of the card-reader. Two more buttons are for data archiving. One of them launches scheduled data copying with the help of the software enclosed with the drive. The second button allows immediately backing up your valuable data. One of the two ports of the USB hub is located at the other side of the front panel – you can attach any USB peripheral to this port rather than to the connectors at the back of the system case, which are not always easily accessible. There are two slots in one side of the case – the Media Center supports flash cards of eight different formats. One slot is for CompactFlash Type I and II; the other supports SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, SecureDigital. The rear panel of the drive has two FireWire ports, the second port of the USB hub, and an USB port for attaching the device to the computer, a power connector and a Kensington lock.

The hard disk employed in the Dual-option Media Center has a capacity of 250GB (there are also 160GB and 200GB models available); the amount of the onboard cache memory is 8MB; the spindle rotation speed is 7200rpm; the declared average access time is 8.9msec; the average latency is 4.2; the track-to-track seek time is 2.0msec. The fluid dynamic bearings of the drive ensure a low noise level, and the availability of two interfaces (FireWire and USB 2.0) gives you flexibility in connection. The dimensions of the WDXF2500JB are 57.4 x 241.3 x 150.1mm.

The drive’s accessories include a quick installation guide, a power adapter, a USB 2.0 cable, a FireWire cable, a CD with Dantz Retrospect Express, and a stand to hold the drive upright.

The average retail price of the drive is $360.

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