Although Apple introduced the very fast Thunderbolt interface on Macs over a year ago, the high cost of manufacturing Thunderbolt based storage devices as well as the lack of thunderbolt on the PC side made most hard drive manufacturers shy away from releasing products for this new interface. However, two things changed in the last couple of months. First Thunderbolt interfaces started appearing on the PC and second, Apple introduced USB3 to their entire line-up of notebooks.
So not only have we started seeing more Thunderbolt based drives lately but we've also got our first Mac USB 3.0-only drive from Western Digital. The latest version of My Passport for Mac with 1TB storage landed on our desks a couple of days ago.
My Passport for Mac comes in a small cardboard packaging with the drive well protected. Almost all that you need to know about the drive, such as it's size and features, is present on the box. Included within is a USB 3.0 cable as well as warranty information.
Design and features
Measuring just 110mm x 82.1mm x 15mm, My Passport for Mac USB3 is certainly a diminutive in size. The packaging suggests that there is a 2TB version as well that increases the height of the enclosure to 21mm. The plastic enclosure is grey on top and black on the bottom and has the USB port as well as a white activity LED present on it. The enclosure is a bit on the flexible side and I'm not sure how much of a beating it could take.
The 5400RPM drive supports hardware encryption with a password and you need to install the included utility to take advantage of this. If you are simply using this for your Time Machine backups, then you can have OS X encrypt those backups instead.
We tested the WD My Passport for Mac 1TB USB3 with our usual two tests- copying Diablo 3 over to it which has a mixture of small and big files measuring a total of 8.2GB as well as running AJA System Test 6.0.1 where we simulated the write and read speeds using a 16GB file. The following result compares the drive to the 500GB Buffalo MiniStation that also supports USB3 and one we reviewed recently.
The WD My Passport for Mac 1TB USB3 certainly provided to be the fastest 2.5" USB3 device that we have tested on the Mac- probably because of it's higher capacity and platter density. Whatever the case, the drive performs really well and doesn't cost an arm and a leg either. The 1TB drive that we have tested will be retailing at AED 409 (US$ 110) while the 500GB will be AED 309 (US$ 85.)
At that price, the WD My Passport for Mac 1TB USB3 becomes a product that we highly recommend. It's small in size and pretty zippy in speed. What's not to like!