By Melissa J Perenson PC World | on February 25, 2010
Price When Reviewed: 102 . 119
Pros: Much faster performance than USB 2.0.
Cons: Only equal to eSATA; pricey; no Mac support.
The Western Digital My Book 3.0 desktop external drive is among the first to market with the new super-fast USB 3.0 interface. It’s available in a 1TB version, with a 2TB model due soon. So does USB 3.0 deliver? We tested the 1TB My Book 3.0, and our results are promising.
As an interface, USB 3.0 has potential: theoretically, the maximum performance of USB 2.0 was 480 Mbps, while USB 3.0’s is 4.8 Gbps – a ten-fold increase. In reality, the limitations of the drive itself create a bottleneck; industry experts say we can expect to see a roughly three-fold increase in real-world performance.
In our tests, those estimates proved fairly accurate. We compared the My Book 3.0, as tested over USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, to its predecessor, the Western Digital My Book Home Edition 2TB tested over eSATA.
Western Digital ships the drive on its own, and in a kit with a Window-only PCIe add-in card – necessary because USB 3.0 is only now showing up in motherboards. Mac support for USB 3.0 is non-existent.
The My Book 3.0 breezed through reading a folder of 3.7GB of files in 40 seconds; this took 133 seconds over USB 2.0. Writing the file took 53 seconds over USB 3.0, and nearly three times that over USB 2.0.
Those results were in line with what we saw when compared with the Western Digital Home Edition tested over eSATA. This is probably because of the theoretical maximum ceiling of the drive inside the chassis, a SATA-300 drive that tops out at 3Gbps. This delta should widen once eSATA 6Gbps drives go into external storage, but for now this drive offers little over its eSATA brother.