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on August 16, 2013
This reviews is for the WD My Passport Studio 1TB, product number: WDBK8A0010BBK (which is the older version of this product, see "UPDATE" below under the DRIVE INSIDE section)

My reviews are generally on the long side. If you don't have the time or interest for a long review, I suggest sticking the IN BRIEF section coming up next.

[Oct-15-2014 - POSTED AN UPDATE AT THE END]

** << IN BRIEF >> **
The nicest external HDD I've owned. Super solid. Beautifully crafted full metal enclosure. I've had no issues with it. Good price. FW800 is a big plus for Mac users or any one with FW on their machine. Five stars.

** << THE FULL REVIEW >> **

Here's a detailed review of this excellent, quality, drive kit.

<< FORM & DESIGN >>
The first thing to impress me about this drive was obvious the moment I opened the box. This is a very nice piece of gear. The entire housing (including the port panel, which is often plastic even on otherwise metal drive enclosures) is made from a very sturdy matt-finished aluminum. Unlike the aluminum on Apple MacBooks, this thing is build like a brick. Squeezing it with my full strength does not indicate any movement in the metal casing. I suspect that dropping this drive from 6 feet wouldn't dint it in the slightest.

Even the FireWire 800/400 cable it comes with is much nicer than most. The plugs on each end are metal, and the cable is a sensible length for a portable drive. About 18 inches.

The drive is about a 1/4 inch wider than all my other high-capacity portable drives, and about the same thickness. The length is the same as my other drives. I am comparing it to my Oyen Digital FW800 enclosure, and my Macally PHR-S250CC FireWire enclosures. I have no complaints about the slightly wider size. I have opened the drive up, and there is a 1/8 inch space around the drive on all sides. I think that gives it plenty of room to minimize shock from outside.

The drive is not fixed into the case, rather it is suspended on four little rubber lugs (two per side). These are screwed into the normal mounting screw holes. I can see WD designed it this way to reduce the transfer of shock to the drive if it is knocked or dropped. Good idea.

<< THE DRIVE INSIDE >>
The actual drive inside is a Scorpio Blue, which in the case of the 1TB version has the product code WD10TPVT. That's a 5200 RPM drive, with 8 MB cache. I think this is adequate for FireWire 800 (and USB 2.0) transfer speeds. You can learn more about the drive inside here ASIN:B0034ZD5P0 WD WD10TPVT Drive]].

It could be argued that it would be better with a 7200 RPM Scorpio Black drive or that it should have the newer WD10JPVT 5400 RPM drives from WD. I see no advantage in it having a Scorpio Black. It would likely increase power usage, increase the noise factor, and from what I recall 7200 RPM drives might be less reliable than 5200 / 5400 drives on average. But I am recalling data from some years ago, so don't quote me on that. I do think it would be nice if it have the newer WD10JPVT inside (the successor to the WD10TPVT), and for all I know the My Passport Studio drives shipping now might even have that. I bought mine on November 14th 2012. Either way, I think the drive inside is just fine.

In terms of throughput, Firewire 800 maxes out at 98 MB/s (786 Mbit/s). As for the USB 2.0 interface, you're look at tops of 60 MB/s (480 Mbit/s).
Benchmarks of the WD10TPVT indicate a Read/Write rate of around 85Mb/s. That's actually coming in a bit slower than FW800 speeds.
On the other hand, Max Read Throughput benchmarks for the Western Digital WD Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT 1TB 5400rpm come in at 114.4 MB/s (915.2 Mbits/s). Which is a little above FW800.

>> ** UPDATE ** <<
This drive (product code WDBK8A0010BBK) is an older version of this product. The newer version has the product code WDBGJA0010BBK.

As far as I can tell, the only difference is the newer version now carries the faster WD10JPVT 5400RPM Scorpio Blue drive. The drive I mentioned above, benchmarking at 98 MB/s.
The newer product is here: .

It could be argued that it would be better with a 7200 RPM Scorpio Black drive or that it should have the newer WD10JPVT 5400 RPM drives from WD. I see no advantage in it having a Scorpio Black. It would likely increase power usage, increase the noise factor, and from what I recall 7200 RPM drives might be less reliable than 5200 / 5400 drives on average. But I am recalling data from some years ago, so don't quote me on that. I do think it would be nice if it have the newer WD10JPVT inside (the successor to the WD10TPVT), and for all I know the My Passport Studio drives shipping now might even have that. I bought mine on November 14th 2012. Either way, I think the drive inside is just fine.

In terms of throughput, Firewire 800 maxes out at 98 MB/s (786 Mbit/s). As for the USB 2.0 interface, you're look at tops of 60 MB/s (480 Mbit/s).
Benchmarks of the WD10TPVT indicate a Read/Write rate of around 85Mb/s. That's actually coming in a bit slower than FW800 speeds.
On the other hand, Max Read Throughput benchmarks for the Western Digital WD Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT 1TB 5400rpm come in at 114.4 MB/s (915.2 Mbits/s). Which is a little above FW800.

>> ** UPDATE ** <<
This drive (product code WDBK8A0010BBK) is an older version of this product. The newer version has the product code WDBGJA0010BBK.

As far as I can tell, the only difference is the newer version now carries the faster WD10JPVT 5400RPM Scorpio Blue drive. The drive I mentioned above, benchmarking at 98 MB/s.
The newer product is here: WD My Passport Studio 1TB Mac Portable External Hard Drive Storage FireWire(WDBGJA0010BBK-NESN)
As of Sept 2nd 2013, the newer model is $128 as opposed to $109 for the older model. Once the stock of old drives is gone, I suspect the newer model may come down in price.

<< BEST DRIVE I HAVE >>
I have eight 2.5" portable hard-drives on my desk, and two 3.5" desktop size drives. Most are FireWire 400 and/or 800. A couple are USB only. The desktop drives are both eSata/USB3/FW400. This solid little beast from WD has the best build quality out of all of them. If you're into well-made equipment I am sure you'll be as impressed with this as I am. Of course the big question is whether the drive functions well.

<< FUNCTIONALITY >>
The drive performs as one would expect for a FireWire 800 drive. Not much more to say in that regard, as I have not bothered to run speed tests and whatnot. Some folks might be disappointed the USB is not USB 3.0, but in reality I think most people buying this drive would be buying it for the FireWire 800 connection, as opposed to USB. There would be cheaper options for a purely USB drive.

The drive runs very quiet, and relatively cool (it gets warm, as expected, but not any near hot enough to be cause for concern). The 2.5" (secondary) Seagate drive in my MacBook is audible, where as this WD drive is pretty much silent a few feet away from my head (on the table next to me).

I have experienced NO issues using it in a chain with numerous other FW400 and FW800 drives.

<< RUBBER FEET - NOT LIKELY TO COME OFF >>
It has very small rubber dots on the under-side to pad it from whatever it is sitting on. I think these rubber dots are much better than the protruding rubber pads that came with my expensive Oyen Digital MiniPro 2.5-inch FireWire 800/400 enclosure I have. They all came off within a few months. The rubber dots on this Passport drive are not at all likely to catch on anything, as they are so small and low profile. That's a plus.

<< COMPARISON >>
The Oyen Digital MiniPro 2.5-inch FireWire 800/400 cost me $65 in Nov 2010. It has been superseded by the MiniPro 2.5-in FireWire 800, USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure. I mention this because the WD My Passport Studio is really a very good deal for a 1 or 2 TB FireWire 800 drive kit. A lot of the FireWire enclosures don't take the thicker 12 mm terabyte drives. These ones from Oyen do, and they are also made with an all-metal chassis. If you buy this enclosure and put a Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA II 5200 RPM 8 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Notebook Hard Drive in it, the cost will come to around $160 for 1 TB. The Oyen enclosures are inferior to the one used on the WD My Passport Studio. The drive screws directly to the chassis, meaning it's less shock protected, the enclosure has sharp edges, rubber feet that come off, screw that rust, and is just all-round nowhere near as solid and refined. I'd go for the WD My Passport Studio over an Oyen 12mm FW800 enclosure with a 1 or 2 TB drive without question.

<< MISCELLANEOUS POINTS >>
The enclosure does not have a port for an external power source, and does not need one. From my MacBook Pro it has no power issues on FireWire or USB. No issue there.

The drive is pre-formatted in HFS+ which is what you want for Mac. So it's ready to go straight out of the box. If you want to use it on a non-Mac computer, you'll need to reformat it accordingly.

I have not tried the encryption technology WD provides with the My Passport Studio drives. Somehow I am hesitant to encrypt drives, although I know I really should. I just can't stand the thought of something going wrong with it and all my data being in an encrypted and unrecoverable state. So I can't comment on that feature. I may well implement it at some point.

<< DECENT WARRANTY >>
This drive comes with a nice 3-year warranty (in the USA, it might differ elsewhere). So should it fail in that time, you should be due a new one at no cost (except the cost of shipping it back to WD). In my 25+ years of computer experience, if a drive is going to fail due to manufacturing defects, it will typically happen in the first few months. Once a couple of years are cleared, most drives (at least all the ones I have owned) just keep on keeping on. So there-years seems like a pretty safe warranty period.

<< ALTERNATIVES >>
Because this drive is so solidly built, it may seem too heavy for someone wanting to cut back on weight where every they can. You may want to look at the Western Digital My Passport Essentials range for a comparable drive that is more light-weight. Such as Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0/2.0 Ultra Portable External Hard Drive (Metallic Blue) or it's successor, WD My Passport 1TB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 Blue. Of course neither of those support FireWire. They also come formatted for Windows, so you'll need to reformat them before use on a Mac (not a big deal). They significantly cheaper though, so if you don't really need FireWire or if would be just as happy with USB 2.0 or 3.0 (significantly faster than FW800), I suspect the second of those two drives might suit you better.

<< PRICE ? >>
I bought mine from another listing on Amazon. Here: WD My Passport Studio 1TB Mac Portable External Hard Drive Storage FireWire - the price is lower (confirmed again on 16 August 2013).

<< CONCLUSION >>
I would not hesitate to buy another one of these drives if I needed one, and I would happily recommend it to friends. It is my favorite portable hard-drive, out of the 8 I currently use and own. I've now had it for close to a year, and it's had no issues.

<< UPDATE 15 OCT 2014 >>
This drive continues to be the most solid portable drive I know of. The price seems to have gone up in the last two years, which seems odd. I would have expected it to come down. I am here on the product page to buy another of these drives.
55 comments|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 19, 2014
If you use the usb cable, and you lose the original or it breaks, it's almost proprietary because the well is sunk in such a way that the other bazillion micro usb cables you have, won't really fit correctly. The one that came with it frayed on day 5 of owning it, I believe, and I wasn't hanging it upside down or anything ridiculous.

The firewire cable has an initially fabulous cable. Actually better than any other 3rd party cable I've seen. However, if it breaks, WD will not sell you another one. And if you move a millimeter with another cord connected, it'll disconnect and eject. As another reviewer stated, if you look at it sideways, it'll eject! I hacve the drive on my desk and the laptop on a keyboard stand below. If I type even a little too vigorously, just that teeny jiggly ejects my drive, which in mac world, possibly can corrupt your data if you disconnect without ejecting. Well it happens several times a day. Were it not for cable probs, I'd give it 4 stars, but they are inextricably linked since they don't stock replacements in their store and don't give you a replacement one past something like 30 days or something like that. All my other non-portable drives are WD. I like the brand in general, but for this specific function, and for a mac, stay away.
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on December 18, 2013
I edit, animate, render, and export copious amounts of HD video for my job, and this hard drive is the best one I've found yet. I've used lots of different WD drives, Lacies, Firewire 400, 800, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, you name it. This beats them all.

I bought this to supplement my 4TB Thunderbolt G Tech drive for more mobility. I now pretty much use only this and use the Thunderbolt for backups. I regularly find this to be faster than the Thunderbolt. I have had no problems whatsoever with lagging or dropping frames. The build quality is excellent--no plastic, like the older, lower end WD drives I've used in the past. I'm currently sitting at less than 200gb left out of the full TB, and it's not affecting performance at all.

In short, skip the Thunderbolt drives and get this guy. For the price and mobility, it's just about unbeatable.
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on December 23, 2013
I bought a couple of these for work purposes, to use with my Mac. I bought them specifically to use via Firewire. So far, so good. I'm very happy with my purchase.

• Small footprint, good for portability
• Came with quality firewire cable
• Works on OSX
• Was able to daisy-chain it to older existing firewire drive.
• Price was right.
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on December 10, 2013
The drive itself is great, but suffers from a fatal flaw if you need to replace the usb cable: the plug for the micro end of the usb is situated in a way that prevents the cable from fitting in completely and as a result the drive ejects itself if you look at it sideways. I misplaced the original cable & finding a replacement that will reliably stay in the receptacle is pretty much impossible, which is really too bad. Unfortunately I can't just use the FW 800 cable because I don't have an available port for it. Oh well.
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Capacity: 1 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First, let me point out that I used this on a Windows PC, not a Mac. Yes, it works. Thankfully, the hard drive comes with a USB 2.0 cable as well as the FireWire 800 cable, so we PC heathens aren't left out in the cold when we need to access it. Another reviewer explains rather nicely how to format for Windows, so I won't rehash those instructions here.

So on to the details...

BUILD QUALITY: Hoo boy! This thing is kind of the tank of 2.5" hard drive enclosures! It's definitely thicker and heavier than most. It's all metal, which means it's pretty darn sturdy. While I wouldn't chuck it at a brick wall or anything, I also wouldn't be surprised if it survived such an act. (Don't try it, though. That would be dumb.)

WEIGHT/SIZE: The drive itself weighs 10.1 ounces. When stood on its end, it's as tall as a Coke can. It's just under 1" thick. If you drop it on your foot, you'll probably regret it... Especially since it has hard metal edges. I think you could probably kill someone with this thing if you threw it at their head. (Don't try it, though. That would be dumb.)

SPEED: I tried it on a friend's Mac, and speed was pretty typical for FireWire 800, and of course, when you use USB 2.0 you can expect slower speeds than the FireWire connection will grant you. I wonder why they couldn't throw in USB 3.0 for this price?

ACCESSORIES: Not much here. A FireWire 800 cable, and a USB 2.0 cable. Nothing else. Unless you consider the box it came in to be an "accessory." Judging from all the unboxing videos on a certain Tube site, I suspect there are folks who do.

VALUE: Honestly, as a former Mac user I got pretty sick of the Mac versions of common peripherals being priced 25% higher than their non-Mac variations. Will this work for you and your Mac Time Machine? Sure. Would you get a better value if you got one that ISN'T "Mac styled"? Most certainly. And the thing is, you don't need to get the Mac version unless style is important to you. You can format an NTFS or FAT32 drive for Windows to work with Mac easily.

So is this a good value? Yes, but only for Mac fans who want a hard drive to match their laptop's aluminum styling. For Windows users, and Mac users who prefer substance over style, you can get the same thing in a plastic casing for about twenty bucks less (or better). That makes it hard for me-- a former Mac user-- to recommend this to anyone with an eye on their pocketbook.

However, it IS a good hard drive. WD makes some great stuff, and the enclosure IS really nice, even if it's probably the cause for this hard drive being priced higher than its plastic-enclosed brothers. Therefore, I'm going to give it four stars. I've docked the one star for the continued gouging of Mac users by third-parties. They know they do it. We know they do it. I don't think it's a very nice way to sell stuff. If I could see an actual value to the styling, perhaps I'd be less cranky about the higher price, but with all things considered, at the root we're reviewing a hard drive; Not just the enclosure. And this hard drive doesn't work any differently or better than the lower-priced ones made with PC users in mind.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS: If you MUST have a hard drive that matches your MacBook, this is an excellent choice. If you just need 1TB of space to go, you can find other, less-expensive WD drives that will work just as well. If you need a Time Machine drive, this is probably one of the better choices in the FireWire 800 category. As usual, your mileage may vary.
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on September 8, 2014
I love these drives! I currently have 4 of the 2TB WD My Passport Studio Firewire drives, and one of the same drive at 1TB. Two of these drives have been in continuous operation for about 2 years, and have remained silent, reliable, and problem free during that time. These are bus-powered drives, so they come with no wall-wart or other converter; just plug them into my Mac Pro or MacBook Pro (or iMac or other Firewire 800 equipped Macs) and they just pop right up.

So, how many can you run on one bus? Currently I have four plugged into one Firewire 800 port, and they show no sign of causing stress. I can select all four and click Open, and they all pop up from sleep to usable window in less than 10 seconds. If they are already running, they open instantly. These aren't speed-demons like the Velociraptors, but just reliable drives with whopping capacity that chug along at a good rate. I backed up a terabyte of movies and TV shows from iTunes in a few hours. Maybe less; I don't remember, because i just dragged it over and left it while I went out for a while.

In my work as a musician and studio engineer, I record audio projects on location. I have used these drives for many of those projects, because they are so convenient: just one cable and no power cords. At first I took other drives along in case these were not up to the task, but I've stopped doing that. A couple of these (one for working and one for backup) do a perfectly fine job. I bring those projects back to the studio for mixing and production, but for recording in the field, these drives are great.

I once calculated that the 9 terabytes of these 5 drives of mine would equal 6,428,571 HD floppy disks (@1.4MB), which at ⅛" thick (.125") would stack 66,964 feet high. Such a stack of floppy disks would reach 12.68 miles into the sky. The original Mac had its system, an application, and data files all on one 400K floppy, which was less than a third the size of one HD floppy (1400K). If we counted the equivalent in THOSE disks, it would require 3.5 times as many, or a stack which reaches 44.39 miles into the sky. That's not an exact figure, because we measured a megabyte differently then (1024K then, rather than the 1000K that we generally now call a megabyte), but you get the idea. Such storage space is hard to imagine, hard to wrap your mind around, whether it's 44 miles of 400K floppies or 12.7 miles of HD floppies, but it's not necessary. Just know that our movies, TV shows, videos, music libraries, and high resolution pictures are very hungry for space, and these fill that need.

Very happy to have them!
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VINE VOICEon July 20, 2013
Capacity: 1 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This handsome portable drive is formatted for Macintosh users. The instructions are for Windows users that wish to reformat it for use on their Windows machine:

Having owned several WD drives (including the two internal drives in my computer), I felt confident
that I would not be disappointed with this gem. It is more handsome "in person" than in the picture. It
not only looks sturdy but it feels sturdy! This is a metal case with a nice satin finish. This is a
Macintosh drive formatted HFS and is compatible with Apple Time Machine but I wanted to use it on
my Windows (Vista) computer so reformatting the drive is NTFS format (New Technology File System)
was required.

This is relatively simple with a Windows machine. Connect the drive with the supplied
USB cable, Windows will recognize the drive but you won't see it anywhere. Now's the time to use the
Windows Disk Management application. Right click on "my computer" if you have a desktop icon (if
not, right click on start). Left click on "manage", click on "computer management snap-in launcher",
that will take you to "Computer Management". On the left side, you will see "Disk Management", click
on that, the window will be "blank" while it loads the disks you have on your computer (internal,
external, flash/travel drives, etc.) (I have nine!). The bottom section is where your new WD drive will
show up.

Note that there are blue bars and black bars. Your new WD disk will have an all black bar since there is
nothing on it. That's the drive you will be formatting. Be sure to take a moment to make sure you are
not formatting an existing drive. If you accidentally click on one of them, all data will be deleted when
the formatting takes place!

The drives will be numbered. The one you will be formatting will have an indication that is not
'initialized' (formatted), look for a teeny tiny red arrow to the left of the "Disk #). Click on that to begin
the formatting. This is a very slow process. It will take several minutes before you see any indication
that something is actually taking place! You'll see "Formatting: (nn%)". This is an extremely slow
process! Reformatting the 1 tb drive took 12 hours on my machine. If, after a few minutes, nothing happens, click on 'more actions' (on the right side), then click on 'initialize disk'. Be sure the number corresponds with the disk you are formatting, and click. You will then see 'online' and the arrow will be gone.

If, after several minutes, the formatting has not started, you will need to partition the drive even though you only want a single partition. In the 'device manager', click on 'Simple Volume Wizard'. This will allow you to format the drive. This did not happen with the one terabyte drive, but the 500 gb drive required this additional step.

Once formatted your drive is ready for use. If you see an indication that the drive is in "Raw" format (in the top section), don't panic! Once a drive letter is assigned (automatic), it will show as being in the NTFS format.

If any of these instructions are not clear, stop! Go to Western Digital's website and follow their
instructions.

Western Digital's Website has excellent illustrated instructions... Formatting the drive to NTFS for
Windows:

[...]
ZC9xKjQ2RUl2bA%3D%3D

I will continue this review shortly. I wanted to make an attempt to assist Windows users with the
reformatting process. I have yet to have any of my WD drives (internal and external) fail. I leave my computer on 24 hours a day and feel very comfortable with WD products.
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on July 22, 2014
I was looking forward to this drive, I'm always filling up my USB ports on my iMac! It got here and I had no internet so could not check with WD and the 'manual' just had 3 steps that I could not read. I tried daisy chaining to my iMac with my desktop WD 2TB - nothing - could not see or hear anything. Then I tried the USB port, nothing except the tiny, nearly invisible led blinked for about a second - then went off. I pulled everything not absolutely needed from my iMac running osx 10.9.3 and tried all variations again, nothing. So this expensive brick is going back tomorrow to Amazon. It was DOA here.
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Capacity: 1 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After losing a few small flash drives, I decided to switch to a portable hard drive for more capacity, better performance, better security, and most importantly, for the peace of mind I get from always having a portable drive with me. I decided to get this drive mainly because of its readiness to use the Mac FireWire 800 connection (making the transfer speed of large files much faster) and its utility software to protect the drive with a password. (And setting the password is very simple and easy.)

I use this drive for not only transferring data, but also for backing up my MacPro at work using Time Machine, which is built into the Mac OS. This way, not only am I making an extra backup of my work Mac, but also I can access my work files at home anytime. This is truly advantageous for me. When the storage space of this hard drive is low, however, I noticed the backup sometimes fails with a long error message, instead of giving me some kind of warning. After that, I have to delete some of the old backup folders (keeping only a few recent versions), then it seems to work fine. That is a minor inconvenience, and in the end, promotes better computer housekeeping, so I don't mind it too much.

Because I can store my data with confidence and not worry about losing data while staying portable, I am very happy with this product. In fact, my only regret is I did not get 2TB version WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Black (WDBY8L0020BBK-NESN).
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