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 Post subject: Western Digital MyBook Essential 500-2TB drives
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:10 pm
Posts: 1829
Location: Northern New Jersey
These new drives made this year are the most ungodly external hard drives I've ever had to work with. Mind you, I own one of the first MyBook hard drives, the 400GB model, and I love it, it's got USB, Firewire, I can put a SATA drive inside. It's only got the legacy power connector, but that's okay, because I can use an adapter if I need.

The new drives are this special controller board which controls read/write to the drive through special firmware. If you don't believe me, go ahead and take the drive out of the enclosure and put it anywhere else. The drive will show up as unformatted, and will need to be initialized. If you go ahead and format it, say goodbye to all of your data. Put it back in that damn enclosure, and look, it works again, all you data is just as you left it.

Now, I'm well aware of the fact that companies like to keep things in their boundaries as much as possible, but if my enclosure dies, or the USB port breaks off, I want a way to access my data. Western Digital will not sell you a replacement board, enclosure, or offer to help you get your data back if this happens. That's ridiculous, and that's enough to make me never buy one of these products.

With that said, I bought a 500GB one for my girlfriend to take to college with her, to use as her Time Machine backup drive for her new MacBook Pro, which I did specifically to avoid any 2am calls about a paper being due, and her mac not working (just like I gave her a printer that would definitely work with her Mac).

The drive will most definitely be formatted in a way that will not require that damn controller board, in the event of a real emergency, but it's still a major inconvenience if something does happen.

The finish and build quality of the MyBook Essential is great, Western Digital uses rubber spacers to hold the drive in place, rather than it being screwed into the enclosure, to prevent some shocks from getting to the drive, but the casing is flimsy, and actually very easy to get apart without voiding the warranty (in the event of a real problem).

The capacity meter on the front is also a nice touch, but nothing I really need. As with some other things, it would just be nice if it were more than USB, especially USB Mini-A type. The power adapter is a nice 12v standard jack rather than the annoying 4 pin many enclosures have.

The real test is how long this drive lasts, because replacement parts are not cheap enough to say they're worth it against a whole new drive.

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