Western Digital My Passport Studio 640GB Review

By on June 21, 2010
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A good looking and speedy external drive made for your Mac.

Price: AED
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Although your Mac is capable of utilizing almost all the external hard drives available today, its always good to find one designed specially for the Mac. Western Digital’s My Passport Studio is exactly that. Now you’re probably wondering what makes an external drive extra Mac-friendly? For starters, along with USB 2.0, My Passport Studio also comes with a Firewire interface that is present on all “Pro” level Macs as well as iMacs. It is also pre-formatted as HFS+ which is the native file system used in Macs.

Mac users are generally concerned with the aesthetics of the devices they use as well (myself included) and My Passport Studio does not disappoint in that aspect either. We received the 640GB version which is pretty sleek and follows the minimalistic look of your Macs. On the top of the drive is an LED display that WD calls Smart Display. This screen shows the name of your drive as well as the capacity gauge with available free space. This can come in quite handy for someone who has multiple drives as they dont have to plug the drive to find out what its for and how much space is left. The display continues to show even with the drive is unplugged.

On the drive, you get the Western Digital SmartWare application that allows you to change the label of the drive as well as make or retrieve backups and lock the drive. What is very “Mac like” about this application is that it breaks down the capacity of your drive by file types and at a glance allows you see the space utilized by documents, photos, videos and music files. Locking the drive throws a 256-bit encryption on it along with a password.

Along with the USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 cables, a Firewire 400 converter cable is also included in the package. We tested the drive using Xbench in all three interfaces on our Mac Pro and for comparison, we have included results of an internal 320GB SATA drive as well.

Overall Seq Read (256k) Seq Write (256k) Random Read (4k) Random Write (4k)
My Studio USB 2.0 37.29 34.95 MB/s 23.58 MB/s 0.48 MB/s 1.35 MB/s
My Studio Firewire 400 43.60 32.14 MB/s 30.48 MB/s 0.49 MB/s 1.45 MB/s
My Studio Firewire 800 53.47 117.83 MB/s 56.64 MB/s 0.50 MB/s 1.44 MB/s
Internal 320GB SATA 65.45 58.19 MB/s 55.61 MB/s 0.59 MB/s 2.03 MB/s

As you can see, the drive performs best under Firewire 800 and comes reasonably close to the performance levels that you would get from your internal SATA drive. Priced at AED 700 (US$ 189), the Western Digital My Studio Passport is a bit on the expensive side, but then again, everything related to a Mac is.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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