Western Digital My Book Studio 2TB review

Shop around to get the My Book Studio at a good price, and you'll get a drive that delivers good speeds and an excellent software bundle.

Our Rating 


We've already looked at Western Digital's portable My Passport Studio, which featured an e-paper display. The company has also added this feature to its Studio range of desktop drives, which come in 1TB and 2TB capacities. Your first instinct might be to question its usefulness on a desktop drive, but the disk label isn't the only valuable information on the display. It also gives a numeric indication of remaining space, which is a huge improvement over the more vague indicators on older My Book drives.

The label will also prove useful if you share large files, such as video, with colleagues, in which case the performance of a 2.5in portable drive could well fall short of your needs. Then the display ought to help you avoid worrisome warnings from the Finder that a disk was improperly detached.

This drive is specifically pitched at Mac users, so it's kitted out with all the right ports to get the best out of its disk. There's a mini USB 2 port for MacBook Air owners and two FireWire 800 ports for everybody else, which allows you to daisy-chain another drive - a great move now that most Macs have just one FireWire port. Don't worry if you only have a FireWire 400 port; you haven't been overlooked. There's a suitable FireWire cable in the box, so you won't have to buy an adaptor.

Our speed tests were carried out over FireWire 800. In the random write test, it managed just over 58MB/sec, and in the read test, it polled a respectable 34MB/sec.

Added value comes from the bundled software, which is stored in a virtual disk image on the drive. It includes an application for changing the e-paper label, switching on password-protected, 256-bit hardware encryption, and backing up your Mac.

They're noteworthy features, but where Western Digital deserves exceptional praise is its diagnostic tools. One of the tests verifies the disk's Smart status, which warns about impending failure. Mac OS X's Disk Utility can only check this for internal drives and we haven't seen many external drive manufacturers addressing the issue, either.