When you need to recover files, you can conveniently recover them to the original location or copy them to a new location to avoid accidentally overwriting important files. All things considered, we found that the backup software is only useful for novice PC home users. Mac users are better off using the drive with OS X's built-in Time Machine.
Out of the box, the My Passport Studio comes with cables for all the connections it supports. All these connections are bus-powered; you just need to keep one cable with the drive at a time. For compatibility, it's best to use the included Micro-USB 2.0 cable.
Western Digital preformats the My Passport Studio ships for Mac OS X, but it can be easily reformatted for use with Windows. Its software works with both platforms.
Cost per gigabyte
At $200, the My Passport Studio serves up its 640GB of capacity at a competitive 31 cents per gigabyte. You can find the drive even cheaper online or at retailers. This is the best deal among its variants, as the 320GB version is slated to cost $150, or 46 cent per gigabyte. When compared with other portable drives on the market, the My Passport Studio's cost per gigabyte is above average.
The WD My Passport Studio's performance was mixed in CNET Labs' testing. The drive on one hand excelled with USB 2.0, topping the charts with the scores of 25MBps for writing and 29.8MBps for reading. These are the fastest speeds for a compact portable external hard drive.
On the other hand, in tests using the FireWire 800 and FireWire 400 connections, the drive registered scores around 9MBps both for read and write, for both connections. We tested the drive's performance using Windows XP, which is known not to support FireWire very well. Still, compared with other FireWire drives we've reviewed, these were about one-third of the expected speeds. When we tried the drive with a Mac, its FireWire speeds were significantly better.
Other than that, the drive worked well in our tests. We didn't run into any problems with it. It also stayed cool and quiet during extended operations.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Unlike the previous version of the My Passport Studio that comes with a five-year warranty, the new drive is backed by Western Digital with a three-year warranty. That's rather disappointing; the warranty for an external hard drive is the most important factor when it comes to service and support. The company's technical toll-free phone support is available from 8 a.m. till 7 p.m. Central Time Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. At the Western Digital Web site, you'll find a comprehensive set of Web-based support including downloads, product RMA forms, a sizable knowledge base, and online installation guide.