Review: Western Digital My Passport Studio portable hard drives go high class

We’ve been messing around with a damn fine looking set of portable hard drives for the past few days from Western Digital called My Passport Studio and My Passport Mac. They are encased in an all-aluminum shell, the My Passport Studio comes with two FireWire 800 ports as well as a Mini USB port around back; the latter only has a Mini USB port. The speed tests on these guys (see results below) was pretty average for 2.5-inch Firewire hard drives at just under 80MB/sec read, making the slight premium Western Digital is asking for these mostly “an aesthetic upgrade”.

…not that there is anything wrong with that. You can feel the quality in these drive enclosures. The aluminum shell is going to protect these from more drops than a plastic casing and these drives look the part of a high quality Mac setup. These drives are also so whisper quiet that the only way to know if they are running is the white LED on the back (much better than the front). As you can see from the pictures, both the Studio (formatted Windows) and Mac go well with a Unibody MacBook.

On the downside, these are slightly heavier than your typical hard drive at half a pound. Still though, that’s a small price to pay for quality. They are available now for $189.99 from Amazon for the Studio and $159 for the 1TB Mac

Press release follows:

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Seagate announces industry’s first 4TB hard drive

We’re big fans of the Seagate GoFlex series of hard drives and, as of this evening, Seagate has pushed the size limit to an impressive 4TB on a single physical disk.

Currently the 4TB disk is only available in the form factor to the right for a significant $249 price tag. Obviously, the added density drives will filter down into other form factors including bare drives and RAID arrays in the coming weeks and months.

Seagate’ GoFlex enclosure got a facelift as well but alas, no Thunderbolt action for a few more months according to the press release.

As for the USB Desktop version pictured, we’re looking to get our hands on one for a review as soon as possible.  It is available for pre-order now for $229 at Amazon.

Full press release below:
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Macworld: for simple tasks, a decked out Mini beats a base iMac handily (or SSDs rule)

Macworld decided to put a decked out Mac Mini Mid-2011 against a current baseline iMac 2.5GHz to see what kind of performance could be gotten from Apple’s diminutive little machine when an SSD is added.

When we say “decked out”, we’re referring to the $100 2.5->2.7GHz CPU improvement + $600 SSD upgrade which almost doubles the price of the $799 ($769) high end Mini and pushes it above the price of the base model iMac. Minis start out at around $568.

The results are pretty apparent: when running simple tests, especially ones that rely only on CPU and disk access, the Mini beat the iMac handily (above). That’s almost entirely due to the added speed of the SSD compared with the iMac’s 3.5-inch HDD. When doing more graphics intensive tests (below), the iMac and its more powerful GPU took over.

The takeaway on this however is that a HDD to SSD upgrade can make a heck of a lot of difference in performance. For those handy out there, adding an SSD to a Mac Mini doesn’t have to be a $600 proposition either. Reasonable SSDs can start out at $100 and can be added to the new Minis’ hard drive configuration (not swapped) with a simple kit.

Another important tweak not detailled in these tests is adding 8GB of RAM to the Mini which will run you somewhere south of $40. Added RAM really improves performance when lots of windows or applications are open at the same time.

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Toshiba Canvio 750GB Portable USB Hard Drive: $58 + free shipping

Toshiba Canvio 750GB Portable USB Hard Drive

From 9to5Toys (RSS)(Twitter):


Beach Camera via eBay Daily Deal offers the Toshiba Canvio 3.0 Plus 750GB USB 2.0 Portable 2.5″ External Hard Drive, model no. E05A075PBU2XK, for $57.99. With free shipping, that’s $0.08/GB, $7 under our December mention, and the best total price we’ve seen for any 750GB portable drive. (It’s a current price low by $17.) It runs at 5400 rpm and features an 8MB cache. Deal ends September 1 at 3:25 pm ET. Read more

Apple recalls “small number” of 1TB Seagate hard drives in latest iMac line

Apple has issued a recall for a “small number” of 1TB Seagate hard drives in the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs. Apple’s announcement doesn’t go into specifics, but says the systems were sold between May 2011 and July 2011. If you’re are experiencing issues you can take your iMac to an Apple retail store or Apple service provider, or you can contact Apple technical support. Apple will replace the hard drive free of charge. (via MacRumors)

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OS X Lion loses compatibility with some network-attached storage drives

CNet has discovered that OS X Lion users lose support for Time Machine backups with third-party NAS hard drives. Time Machine in OS X Lion is now only compatible with Netatalk 2.0. This means that third-party NAS (network attached storage) drives will need a software upgrade from their respective manufactures in order to work with Apple’s next-generation Mac operating system. Users of cable-connected external hard drives will not be affected. Drobo, the company behind popular network attached storage devices has noted the issues on their website:

DroboFS, B800fs and DroboPro FS users running Mac OS X Lion (OS X 10.7) will experience problems with Time Machine.

The next official firmware release for all “FS” products will ensure full compatibility with the released version of Mac OS X Lion,  including use of Time Machine.

Another popular NAS drive maker, Synology, has already released a fix in beta form. Other NAS drive makers will likely follow up with their own OS X Lion compatibility updates.

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Apple Retail has 3 Lion install images and a possible dedicated Lion Caching Server

As we get close to the Lion launch, several tipsters have provided more information regarding the Apple retail overnight and  days after.  Tonight, Apple retail will hold an overnight from approximately 11pm – 7 am to give the retail staff enough time to update the stores visual elements with new marketing materials and re-image all display Macs with Lion.

As previously reported, our tipsters say most stores have recently received an external LaCie hard drive containing Lion installs, but we have received new information that the drives contain 3 different install images for Lion; Normal, Pro, and Joint Venture. 

JointVenture is an enterprise membership program to support businesses running Macs and iDevices.  It is believed that each of these installs will include unique software titles, and some of which could be new.

Furthermore we’ve heard rumblings that some stores will be receiving maxed out Mac Pro towers to be used as Lion distribution caching centers (speculation here).  Some believe that these stations would allow customers to purchase Lion (3.5GB) from the Mac App store and download it directly from the store server in minutes rather than hours it takes over a normal broadband connection.

MacOS X Server and internal builds of Time Capsule allow for Software Update Caching, so this is certainly something within Apple’s capabilities.  Also, Apple told Computerworld that users could come into the store to download Lion last month.

This would also be a huge help to customers who do not have access to a broadband Internet connection or users who want to walk through the install process with an Apple employee during a personal training session.  It would obviously also save Apple some internet bandwidth which at 3.5GB per user adds up.

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Review: Western Digital My Book Studio 3TB

There’s not much to say about the new Western Digital My Book Studio 3TB hard drive.  It looks quite nice and would go nicely with a Mac Pro or any aluminum Mac. The new MyBook Studio, unlike the previous My Book LX models, doesn’t have the LED display which showed free space and other nice specs without the need to dig it up from the connected computer.  It does, however, have a quiet, cool running green hard drive with a fan-less enclosure. But the $150/$200/$250 for 1TB/2TB/3TB models, it isn’t going to hit 9to5toys.com anytime soon.

In fact, the same 3TB Western Digital Internal Green Drive resides in a USB-only package for only $130.  Because this is a green drive, the extra speed that Firewire provides isn’t as noticeable as with a high performance drive.  See speed tests and more images below. Read more

Review: Seagate GoFlex Satellite 500GB ‘Wi-NAS’

Update: October 26th: Seagate just released a firmware update

The Post PC age is upon us and we’ve now got new iOS devices in all shapes and sizes in our homes.  But getting and sharing media to all of these many devices starts to become a chore, especially when on the go.  One solution is moving media into an Internet-connected NAS or the (i)Cloud.

Unfortunately, pulling that data down to your iDevice when you are on the go, especially high quality video, can be an expensive burden on your wireless data plan.  Just a few movies can put you over your monthly data limit.  And that’s where you have a speedy Internet connection that can handle a full screen movie.  And what do you do when there is no signal (camping?) at all?

Seagate thinks they have a solution to this problem with their new $200 Goflex Satellite 500GB hard drive.  Read on for the full review:

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Review: Seagate GoFlex Slim (as an iPhone 4) 320 GB Portable Hard Drive

We’ve spent the past few weeks using the Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB portable hard drive and have come away with some mixed feelings on the drive.  On one hand, it is obviously the thinnest external hard drive in the market and it is plenty fast with its internal 7200 RPM internal drive.  In fact, it is about the same depth as an iPhone 4.

On the other hand… Read more

OWC: Choose your new iMac hard drive wisely, you only get one shot

via some Dutch Dude who didn’t have any issues installing an SSD in the Hard drive Bay

According to a blog post at OWC, the new iMacs have a temperature sensor in their hard drives which will restrict replacing with non-Apple hard drives.

For the main 3.5″ SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-pin power configuration to a 7-pin configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

Here’s the thing though:  What if you order an iMac without a hard drive?  One iMac option is just the SSD which is mounted on the optical drive?  Perhaps there is a way to disable fans altogether and thats what ships with SSD-only iMacs?

Clearly some more investigative work is necessary.

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