My Book Mac Edition review
Western Digital has always done a good job of catering to Mac users, with an extensive range of hard drive products that are designed specifically for use with the Mac. Most of its Mac drives have FireWire interfaces that provide greater performance than the USB ports that it uses on its ordinary PC drives. However, now that Apple seems to be back-pedalling on FireWire – having dropped it from the latest MacBook models – Western Digital has released a new low-cost drive for Macs that is equipped with just a single USB 2.0 interface.
The My Book Mac Edition provides 1TB of storage and costs about £100, compared to about £145 for Western’s My Book Studio Edition, which is equipped with both FireWire 400 and 800 interfaces. That will save you a nice chunk of cash if your Mac doesn’t have FireWire – or if you’re just on a tight budget and don’t want to pay for a FireWire drive.
The My Book has the ‘paperback book’ design shared by all of Western’s Mac drives. It measures 6.5 x 5.4 x 2.1in, so it can easily sit on your desk next to your Mac without taking up much space. There’s no internal cooling fan so it makes hardly any noise when running.
Setting up the drive is extremely easy. The My Book Mac Edition is pre-formatted in the Mac’s HFS+ file format, so there’s no need to reformat it as you might have to do with a drive that uses the Windows FAT or NTFS formats. In fact, the drive is so simple that it doesn’t even have an On/Off button. Its ‘SmartPower’ feature allows the drive to automatically turn itself on or off whenever you start up or shut down your Mac. That keeps the power consumption down, and means that you don’t even have to think about turning the drive on or off yourself.
The My Book Mac Edition works perfectly well with Apple’s Time Machine, but there’s no backup software supplied for older Macs that don’t have Time Machine. And while using just a USB 2.0 interface does help to keep the price down, it also means that the drive doesn’t perform nearly as well as more expensive FireWire drives. The My Book Mac Edition took 465 seconds to back up a 10GB folder full of music and video clips, compared to 388 seconds when using the FireWire 400 interface on Western’s My Book Studio Edition, and a mere 183 seconds using the Studio Edition’s FireWire 800 drive.
If your Mac does have a FireWire interface then it’s worth paying a little extra for a faster FireWire hard drive. But if you’re on a tight budget, or have a MacBook that doesn’t have FireWire at all, then the My Book Mac Edition provides plenty of storage at a good, competitive price – and it’s SmartPower option might even save you some money on your electricity bill too.