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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