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WD My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive (Black)
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- Automatic, continuous backup
- Maximum capacity
- Connectivity today; speed for tomorrow
- Dual USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility
- Up to 3x faster transfer rates with USB 3.0
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|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Available from these sellers||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Thanksforyourorder||Thanksforyourorder||PriceDropStation|
|Digital Storage Capacity||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||320 GB|
|Hard Disk Description||portable||Portable||Portable||Portable||Portable||Portable|
|Hard-Drive Size||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||320 GB|
|Hardware Connectivity||USB||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB|
|Item Dimensions||3.3 x 4.3 x 0.7 in||3.21 x 4.33 x 0.64 in||3.2 x 4.4 x 0.6 in||3.21 x 4.33 x 0.62 in||3.23 x 0.61 x 4.35 in||3.2 x 4.3 x 0.6 in|
|Item Weight||7.2 ounces||0.54 lb||4.8 ounces||5.44 ounces||5.44 ounces||7.04 ounces|
|Memory Storage Capacity||1 TB||1 GB||1 TB||1 GB||1||320 GB|
|Size||1 TB||1TB||1TB||1TB||1 TB||320 GB|
Put your digital life on the stylish, maximum capacity My Passport® Essential™ SE portable hard drive. With WD quality and USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectivity, this drive is designed for today with tomorrow in mind. A single drive with universal compatibility today and next-generation speed for tomorrow. Use it with USB 2.0 now and step up to USB 3.0 speed when you’re ready. Massive capacity in this small, stylish drive that is powered directly from the USB port on your PC. No separate power supply is needed.
From the Manufacturer
Put your digital life on the high capacity my passport essential se portable hard drive. with wd quality and usb 3.0 and usb 2.0 connectivity, this drive is designed for today with tomorrow in mind. visual backup software and password protection with hardware encryption ensure your data is protected. lightweight and easy to carry, this drive is ideal for fast storage to go.
Top customer reviews
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One terabyte that fits in your jeans' pocket. I don't want to go all "when we were young we walked 10 miles to school, etc." on you, but my first hard drive was such that I would have needed 50'000 of 'em to match the capacity, occupying a solid cube 9 feet on each side and setting me back 30 million dollars. That's mind- blowing progress indeed, and while the original advances were made by firms like Seagate and IBM, those have mostly sold off/sourced out in the meantime, leaving Western Digital as the Bleeding Edge hard drive brand.
This device looks like a cigarette holder with a glossy finish. The edges are rounded, and the usb connector is the only opening in the case, so for my occasional transport I just carry the drive in my jacket as-is. It would have been super- neat to have a rubber flap over the usb and perhaps a more scratch- resistant matte finish, but there is no issue here, especially since WD offers inexpensive hardshell and neoprene cases.
### USB3 ###
Finally, ten times the speed of USB2! The USB consortium calls it Super Speed, to distinguish it (not) from the Hi-Speed of USB2 and the Full Speed of USB1. It's beyond me why they don't just name it "5Gbit USB", a moniker which would pit it favorably against eSATA, Ethernet, Firewire, etc... but at least there's a hilarious joke in there for Sci-Fi comedy fans (Google "They've gone into plaid" for the reference, first video link).
But not so fast, Dark Helmet. First, just because the interface is ten times speedier doesn't mean the drive is, and second, it's likely that even your 2010 PC needs an adapter in the form of a PCIx card. And if it does, the USB ports will be on the back of the computer, which may be a problem as the cable that comes in this package is only 16" long. If you need more, you'll have to purchase a Micro USB 3.0 cable, the connector on the drive end is different from USB2. Currently, these cables are rare (none on Amazon!) and expensive, so be careful not to misplace the one you got.
### SPEED ###
This external drive works with both USB2 and USB3, so the question is, is it worth the extra cost of the USB3 adapter, and what exactly is the speed gain one can expect? To figure that out, I've run two tests, one a simple hard drive test via HD Tune, and one a filecopy test.
- HD Tune: (see screenshots for details): with USB2, the interface is the limiting factor, with a transfer rate of 33 MB/sec over the entire range. With USB3, you get the pure drive performance and up to 87MB/sec can be achieved in the outer regions and still a decent 45 MB/sec in the inner regions (the outer regions of the spinning disk have higher velocity and more sectors, hence the higher rate).
- File copy: I copied a batch of 7000 files back and forth a couple times and measured read and write performance separately. Averaged over 5 runs, I found that the read performance gain of USB3 was 19% and the write performance gain was 25%. It needs to be noted that in this scenario there was a lot of overhead - the copy program (robocopy), the file seeks, the destination drive, etc.
So what to make of this? The raw read performance as measured by HD Tune is 2 to 3 times faster with usb3 - nice to see that WD's marketing blurb "up to 3 times faster" is actually true! However, this advantage quickly comes down as you use more complex operations such as copying small files. Given the choice again, I probably wouldn't bother with an USB3 PCI card and just wait for my next PC to have it onboard. If you mainly copy large files (such as movies), you may benefit more from USB3 than I do.
### SOFTWARE ###
The drive comes with some software on it (in lieu of an installation CD) which does two things: enable a hardware encryption and do backups. I've fiddled with it for a while but it left me unsatisfied. Under my (admittedly elderly) WinXP the GUI had rendering problems (holes in the windows!), it wasn't half as intuitive as other software, and at least once I activated the encryption but it didn't take. It also installs a virtual CD, what do I need that for!? The good news here is that WD seems to ship this software with all their external drives now, so it stands to reason/hope that they'll improve on it and you'll be able to download an upgrade.
Of course, if you happen to be a Mac or Win7 Ultimate user, you don't need the WD software at all, just use the built- in stuff.
### CONCLUSION ###
This is a fantastic little device: a full terabyte, compact and reasonably future- proof; although you might not want to bother with USB3 for now if you don't already have it. I'm deducting 1 star for the mediocre software, otherwise I'm very happy with this capable small data vault.
The first thing I did was to reformat the drive (in its native NTFS format); this immediately deleted the Western Digital software for which I have no need.
Then I copied two videos to the drive: one, an HD [720p] video of about 4 GB and another of 600 MB (SD). I played both of them through my new LG HX350T 720p Front Projector - Black and I will soon be playing them in my home theater via my OPPO BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player and my Panasonic PT-AE4000U 1600 Lumen LCD Home Theater Projector.
Via the LG projector, the video looks fantastic as would be expected.
Storing music on external hard drives is already a de facto standard. Storing videos in this way is rapidly becoming practical too as hard drives' capacities increase dramatically and their prices fall just as dramatically.
If all of my video could be compressed to 4 GB, I could store 250 full-length movies on this drive - which I could carry in my pocket! (I am using an AmazonBasics Hard Carrying Case for My Passport Essential - Black which I highly recommend.) However, most of my movies can be compressed to far smaller files, thus increasing the number of titles this drive will hold.
I do not yet have a computer with USB 3.0 ports. Mine has only USB 2.0. But the transfer of the 4 GB file took only about 10 minutes. (Obviously the 600 MB files took much less time.) Once USB 3.0-equipped computers become widely available, that transfer time should drop considerably.
All in all, if you are looking for a portable external hard drive on which to store movies, I believe that this is the one you should buy now. Its capacity, its physical size, its price, and its overall quality just can't be beat.
I am planning to buy more of these drives. I will want additional ones for films (I own a LOT of films) as well as backups (in other words I want two drives carrying the same data in case one were to break down). Once I have placed all of my films on drives (and that will take many years, mostly due to lethargy on my part), I can get rid of my physical media. Think of the space that can be saved!
Storing music, movies, and maybe even books on drives is definitely the wave of the future, at least in my opinion.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it has been of some interest to you.
Update: August 5, 2012
A person made a comment (on another review I wrote of a different WD hard drive) which impelled me to revisit this review and tell you that I now DO own a computer with two USB 3.0 ports. Thus I can now take full advantage of these drives' capabilities. Let me tell you: USB 3.0 is FAST. I am noting, in the real world, transfer speeds about four times faster than what I was able to get using these drives with USB 2.0 ports. I transferred 625 GB of data FROM one of these hard drives TO another one via my computer's USB 3.0 ports and the process took slightly under two hours. That translates to about 85 MB/s. I continue to HIGHLY recommend this particular drive and Western Digital external hard drives in general.
Lawrence H. Bulk