WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo review: WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo

The reason for the first set of tests is the fact that Thunderbolt has a ceiling speed of 10Gbps, whereas the fastest internal drive caps at just 6Gbps of the SATA 3 standard. For this reason, it'd make more sense to test a Thunderbolt storage device against the other fastest possible storage solution, which currently is an internal drive, especially SSD, connected directly to a computer's motherboard. I used a 2011 MacBook Pro running OS X Lion, on a SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD, as the test machine.

When set up in RAID 0, the My Book Thunderbolt showed its top performance scoring some 168MBps when moving data over from the Pegasus R6, which is the fastest Thunderbolt storage device on the market to date. When I took the R6 out of the daisy chain and tested the My Book by itself, by copying data from one place to another within the drive, forcing it to do both reading and writing at the same time, it registered around 77MBps. Both of these numbers are faster than many other internal drives, but were slower than those of the LaCie 2big Thunderbolt.

Still in RAID 0, the My Book Thunderbolt scored 156MBps and 167MBps for writing and reading, respectively, when it tested against the MacBook's internal drive. These numbers were noticeably lower than those of the LaCie counterpart.

As expected, the My Book Thunderbolt performed worse in RAID 1. When coupled with the R6, it scored some 101MBps; when working by itself doing both writing and reading, it was just a measly 40MBps. These were the slowest on the charts, even slower than internal hard drives.

Still in RAID 1, when tested again the MacBook's internal drive, the My Book registered 108MBps for writing and 109MBps for reading, about the slowest among Thunderbolt devices but still significantly faster than non-Thunderbolt external storage devices, including those using USB 3.0 and eSATA.

Overall, however, the WD My Book Thunderbolt is still very fast and in most cases faster than you need. The drive also worked well in my testing and generated very little heat..

Data transfer scores, Thunderbolt vs. internal (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Unit to unit  
Self read and write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 0)
353.24 
228.06 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
323.79 
192.53 
Plextor PX-256M2S
261 
162.03 
OCZ Vertex 3
260.71 
150.01 
Crucial M4
235.51 
117.99 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
233.5 
141.69 
OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 
Patriot WildFire
202 
99.72 
WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo (RAID 0)
168.14 
76.97 
WD VelociRapter 600GB
126.33 
58.05 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
121.96 
71.84 
Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 
WD VelociRapter 300GB
112.59 
47.12 
WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo (RAID 1)
100.98 
39.66 

Data transfer scores Thunderbolt vs. external (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 0)
184.94 
212.5 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
177.53 
210.5 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
186.8 
184.71 
WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo (RAID 0)
167.47 
156 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
168.97 
120.61 
WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo (RAID 1)
109.15 
107.73 

Service and support
The length of the warranty is the most important thing for storage devices, and Western Digital sort of delivers this time around. The company backs the My Book Thunderbolt Duo with a three-year warranty, which shorter than what it offers the My Book Studio Edition II. At the company's Web site, you'll find a section dedicated to the drive where you can find all you need in terms of support.

Conclusion
While among the slowest of the half a dozen Thunderbolt storage devices on the market, the WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo still makes a very good choice for Thunderbolt-enabled Mac owners. The drive is faster than any non-Thunderbolt external storage devices on the market, has a flexible design, and costs significantly less than its peers.

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WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo (4TB)

Part Number: CNETWDBUPB0040JSL-NESN
MSRP: $599.99 Low Price: $575.00 See all prices