The Western Digital My Book Series is one of the longest running product brand names in the storage market. Western Digital has done very well with My Book and all of the products in the group have turned out very well. In 2011 Western Digital is raising the bar for My Book by adding the new My Book 3.0, a new USB 3.0 connected enclosure to the series.
The Western Digital My Book 3.0 is a sleek enclosure around two inches wide and seven inches tall. The top, bottom and back are vented to allow air to flow over the internal drive, but the front and sides have a matte black finish. When the drive is powered a tiny white LED glows to show that the system is actually powered on. Western Digital needed some way to show that the drive was powered on since the My Book 3.0 is silent from just a few inches away. On the back you will find a single button to power the enclosure on and off.
Western Digital could have stopped with just the premium enclosure and we would have been fine with it, but that wasn't the case. Since USB 3.0 is such a new technology, Western Digital choose to include a USB 3.0 PCIe card (optional). The card comes with both a standard PCIe mounting bracket and a mini bracket for use in small form factor machines that typically come from Dell or other OEM manufacturers.
You can purchase the My Book 3.0 in six different configurations. The first option to consider is if you would like the USB 3.0 adapter or not. The next choice is between 1TB, 2TB or 3TB of storage capacity. Prices start out around 80 USD for the 1TB model without the adapter. The adapter adds around 20 USD to the cost of the My Book 3.0. The 3TB model starts out at 179.99 for the bare drive.
Western Digital doesn't make performance claims on their more consumer oriented products, but USB 3.0 will allow even the fastest hard drive to run at full speed. The only drawback to USB 3.0 is that it doesn't support native command queuing. For many, including me, the easy access and wide availability of USB ports far outweighs NCQ.
Using ATTO to get a baseline of performance, we found that the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB delivered around 135MB/s read and write performance. We suspect the 2TB model to be a little faster. USB 2.0 is only able to deliver around 35MB/s, so the choice is obvious when choosing between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 since USB 3.0 gives us another 100MB/s transfer speed at peak.
The My Book 3.0 uses what we call a platter drive, so performance does fade when reading and writing at the edge of the platters. The average read speed was measured at 110MB/s and the minimum speed dripped to around 60MB/s. The write speeds as measured averaged 62MB/s, but dipped to around 40MB/s.
Our real world testing of the Western Digital My Book 3.0 was measured in AS SSD, the file copy benchmark. Here we saw the My Book 3.0 transfer an ISO file in just 23 serconds at 46MB/s. The Game file took just 26 seconds and scored a rating of just over 51MB/s. These are very impressive performance numbers for an external drive.
Of course, the Western Digital My Book 3.0 isn't just about performance or built for enthusiasts who run benchmarks all day long. The My Book Series is made for those looking for quick, convenient, reliable and easy access to their files and folders. The My Book 3.0 delivers in all of these areas and is very simple to setup and operate. The term consumer friendly really comes to mind when looking at the total package, from the documentation to the software disk; everything is made for ease of use. Getting the added benefit of a well built, very fast enclosure is a nice add-on, though.
For more images of the product, please refer to the story gallery further below.
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