First USB 3.0 tests: Western Digital's My Book sails through

Our first lab tests of Western Digital's fastest external hard drive

Western Digital's USB 3.0-equipped My Book

Western Digital's USB 3.0-equipped My Book

The Western Digital My Book 3.0 desktop external drive will be one of the first to market with the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface. Announced today, the 1TB version is available for sale today; the 2TB is due later this week. So does USB 3.0 deliver on its promises? We got the 1TB My Book 3.0 into the PC World Lab, and our early results look very promising.

As an interface, USB 3.0 carries a lot of promise: Theoretically, the maximum performance of USB 2.0 was 480 Mbps, while that of USB 3.0 is 4.8 Gbps--a ten-fold theoretical increase. But in reality, the limitations of the drive itself--currently at 3.0Gbps--creates another bottleneck in the USB 3.0 environment. As such, industry experts are saying we can expect to see approximately a three-fold increase in real-world performance.

In the PC World Lab's tests, those estimates were borne out. We compared the My Book 3.0 as tested over USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, and compared it to a Western Digital My Book Home Edition 2TB tested over eSATA.

Western Digital is shipping the drive on its own, and in a kit with a PCIe add-in card-necessary because USB 3.0 is only now showing up in motherboards (Gigabyte already announced a motherboard with USB 3.0 certification). You'll be paying a premium for the extra speed, though-the 1TB My Book 3.0 will cost $200 with the card ($20 less without the card). You can buy the My Book Home Edition 1TB with USB 2.0 and eSATA-which performed competitively with USB 3.0 in our tests-for about $150.

Tested with its included adapter card, the My Book 3.0 breezed through reading a folder of 3.7GB of files in just 40 seconds; that same folder took 133 seconds for the drive to read over USB 2.0. To write that folder of files, it took 53 seconds over USB 3.0, and nearly three times that--151 seconds--over USB 2.0. Reading a single 3.7GB file, the drive required 28 seconds over USB 3.0, to 122 seconds over USB 2.0; writing that same file took 34 seconds over USB 3.0, to 127 over USB 2.0.

Interestingly, those results were in line with what we saw when compared with the Western Digital Home Edition tested over eSATA. This is likely because of the theoretical maximum ceiling of the drive inside the chassis, a SATA-300 bare drive that tops out at 3Gbps. According to Conrad Maxwell, chairman for the SATA-IO Marketing Work Group, this delta should widen once SATA 6Gbps drives go into external storage.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags western digitalUSB 3.0

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Melissa J. Perenson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?