Top positive review
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Excellent external drive
on October 19, 2011
This drive has been a pleasant surprise across the board. Based on my testing I'm planning to use several for disaster recovery and for local disk expansion (esp for Adobe Lightroom which won't use catalogs on network resources). I can't really find any faults. [See my 3TB Minimus review for comparison.]
The challenge with large drives is having adequate bandwidth to move large data volumes to what they're attached to. USB2 is a real bottleneck for drives over 1TB. It takes hours to move big loads. For this 2TB drive it would take a day and a half to fill at typical USB2 port speeds.
* When connected to USB3 it tested over twice as fast when communicating to a high-speed NAS server over gigabit Ethernet vs. when connected to USB2. In this case I installed a USB3 ExpressCard in my Lenovo T61 laptop for testing to a ReadyNAS U6+. I was seeing >25MB/sec sustained for a 25GB mixed-file-size test.
* Back and forth to the Lenovo internal drive the speed was significantly lower and USB V3/V2 difference was slightly less than 2x. Surprisingly this external drive on USB3 is faster than the internal laptop drive (no slouch, a WD 250GB 7200rpm), so when used as a local drive there will probably be little to no compromise in speed.
It's enclosed and connectors/buttons are robust:
Unlike previous WD Books I've used, it doesn't have air vents. The case is mostly aluminum, and it feels solid. It only gets slightly warm when running flat out. However it isn't rated as rugged so it shouldn't be bounced around or exposed to moisture. Having read about issues with connectors on competing products I wanted to avoid those problems, and everything about this is well designed. It does have an odd USB data cable you'll want to keep track of... it's not like the 20 others you already have. One end (at the drive) is a new "USB 3.0 Micro-B" format while the other end is the old boxy Type-A format you know. It will connect to either V2 or V3 USB computer ports
For a 2TB external drive the case is reasonably compact, and they stack nicely. It has soft rubber runners on the bottom. OK, it also looks nice if that matters. It's much smaller than some equivalent external drives (they advertise it as smallest in desktop class), but is not as small or as lite as "portable" class drives.
It comes with a power supply (mandatory in this case):
Having been burned in the past trying to source enough power from USB ports to power external drives I always use separate supplies when I can. In this case one comes in the box (same is used for both 2TB and 3TB.) [Nov2013 edit: This is not a "portable" class drive which typically uses USB power exclusively; rather it *requires* an external supply.]
It virtually makes no noise. The blue light on top blinks when it's doing something, but that's about the only way to know. It doesn't have usage bars or LCD readouts.
It's easy to set up:
It runs a quick simple little application to configure it, and then it's ready to go with 1.8TB usable space in Windows.
Mine have a Seagate ST2000DL001 9VT156 (2TB 5900rpm) drive, a member of their green Barracuda series. Spec sheets on the ST2000DL003 are probably close. Operating temp 0-60C.
* I have four drives I use almost daily with automatic scripts. No problems, no fails.
* Case where I'm backing up NAS (on 1Gb network) with LaCie (attached to Intel_i7 USB3): Copy speeds run between 40-50MB/sec sustained between the LaCie and the NAS server, twice what I was seeing with the older laptop (no big surprise).
* Case where I'm backing up Intel_i7 desktop SSD with LaCie: Copy speeds from the SSD to this USB3 drive run 92MB/sec for a mix of 40 large files. This might be as fast as you can expect these drives to run.