WD My Passport Pro (2TB) portable hard drive
WD's My Passport Pro has two hard drives in a RAID 0 array and requires only one cable connection to work
- Bus-powered over Thunderbolt
- Twin hard drives in RAID 0
- Neat design
- Cost could be a barrier for some users
- Our speed results are a little lower than WD's quoted figures
WD's My Passport Pro is designed for professionals who require lots of speed, plenty of capacity, and a neat package that's easy to use and transport. It's aimed at Mac users who need to quickly transfer loads of data, be they photos, 4K video, or uncompressed audio, while out on the job.
Price$ 500.00 (AUD)
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With the My Passport Pro, WD is aiming at users who require a fast portable hard drive, yet also a very high capacity drive to deal with large amounts of data. It has achieved both speed and capacity by putting two hard drives in the same enclosure and running them in a RAID 0 array. The connection interface is Thunderbolt and the drive is formatted out of the box for Mac users.
The My Passport Pro doesn’t standout too much when you first look at it. It’s just a little bit thicker than a regular external, portable hard drive, and that’s because it needs to accommodate two 2.5in hard drives. The types of drives that are in there were not disclosed to us by WD, but the company said the drives have been engineered from the ground up to be used in this enclosure. They are cooled by a small fan at the rear that comes on when lots of data is being transferred.
A RAID 0 array is used for the drives so that they can provide the fastest speed possible for data access, and the Thunderbolt interface offers quick transfers to and from a Mac computer. These traits are due to the target market for this device, which is anyone who works with large photos, Full HD video, and audio files in a professional fashion and needs to transfer them quickly while on location. WD is also targeting users who need storage space for 4K video. However, the utility that ships on the hard drive can be used to switch from RAID 0 to a redundant RAID 1 mode. This will halve the capacity and reduce the speed of the drive.
The model we tested has a capacity of 2TB via two 1TB drives, but WD said that a 4TB drive will also be available, and will be slightly thicker. The 2TB version is 30mm thick when you take into account the rubber feet that are supposed to grip a flat surface — they didn’t grip our office desks as much as we would have liked — and it feels solid in its construction. It has an aluminium enclosure, which helps keep the weight down, and there are vent holes at the bottom to allow some air to circulate inside.
Around the sides of the drive there is a black line that looks like a ‘bumper’ the first time you see it. It’s actually the data cable for Thunderbolt, and it wraps neatly around the drive when it’s not in use, making the My Passport Pro a very neat package to carry around. The end of the cable plug in to a holder so that the connector is not always exposed.
What also makes the drive neat is the fact that it draws all its power from the data cable, too. WD said it worked with Intel and Apple to ensure that the My Passport Pro could be powered by the Thunderbolt bus, which means there is no need for an external power cable — one cable is all that’s needed. As of this writing, WD claims that its drive is the only two-drive product on the market that can be powered by the Thunderbolt connection. It had to meet stringent power requirements for the drive, making sure that it would consumer under 9W at all times.
During our tests using Blackmagic on a Mac Pro, the My Passport Pro put up rates greater than 200 megabytes per second (MBps) both for reading and writing.
Its write speed of 202.6MBps was very close to the read speed of 205.5MBps, showing the benefits that the RAID 0 array brings to these types of tasks. In real-world file transfer tests, the results were pleasing, as the real-time animated gif below shows.
It took only a few seconds for the drive to transfer a 1.28GB file from the Mac to the My Passport Pro.
The price for the 2TB version of the My Passport Pro (with model number WDBRMP0020DBK) is $500, while in New Zealand it costs $550. The 4TB version (model number WDBRNB0040DBK) costs $650, and $750 in New Zealand. As the prices indicate, it’s a drive that’s primarily aimed at professionals who need the speed and capacity, and the convenience of carrying something small that doesn’t require multiple cables, and which can easily fit into a work bag with other on-the-go gear.
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