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My Book Studio II review: So much capacity, so little time

CNET reviews Western Digital's My Book Studio Edition II external hard drive.

Western Digital's new My Book Studio Edition II offers up to 6TB of storage.
Western Digital's new My Book Studio Edition II offers up to 6TB of storage.
Dong Ngo/CNET

Since the release of the 3TB GreenPower drive, it's only been a matter of time before Western Digital incorporated that hardware into a dual-drive external storage device to offer what is currently the largest desktop external hard drive.

The company unveiled its first 6TB drive, the My Book Studio Edition II, last month and I have just finished taking a close look at the drive.

Like previous version of the My Book Studio or the My Book World Edition, the My Book Studio Edition II takes the shape of a closed book standing upright as on a shelf. The top of the drive holds the drive bays' door, which can be opened and closed with a hard press. Via this door the hard drives can be replaced easily. You do need to use WD GreenPower hard drives, as the enclosure won't work with others.

Related links
• Full review of the My Book World Edition (1TB)
• Full review of the LaCie 2big (2TB)
• Full review of the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable (1.5TB)

The two internal hard drives can be quickly set up in either RAID 0 or RAID 1 using the included WD Drive Manager software. Preformatted for Macs, the storage can be easily reformatted into NTFS to be used with PCs. If you want to use the 4TB or 6TB version of the drive, make sure to use it with a Windows Vista or Windows 7 machine, as Windows XP won't be able to recognize it due to legacy standards.

The My Book Studio Edition II features USB 2.0, FireWire 400/800, and eSATA, but lacks USB 3.0. This is because it was designed primarily for use with Macs, which don't currently support USB 3.0. The drive was quite fast in testing, especially with the eSATA connection. However, it took a long time to be recognized by the computer and to get out of its sleep or low-power mode, about 2 minutes in each case. This is rather inconvenient when you need to access a drive quickly and don't have much time to wait.

To make up for this the drive comes with a very affordable price tag, with the 6TB version costing just around $500. To find out if this is the ultimate external hard drive that you've been looking for, check out the full review.