The Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition is a USB 2.0, two-drive external storage device that can be used in either RAID 1 for data security or as a single volume in RAID 0 to take advantage of the full capacity of its two drives. Preconfigured in RAID 1, the My Book Mirror is not intended for high throughput performance, but we found its read and writes speeds to be on par with other external hard drives--including non-RAID and single-volume hard drives. The are two versions of the My Book Mirror Edition: a $289 1TB model and a $499 2TB model. In its default RAID 1 configuration, however, you will get roughly half the storage capacity since your data is written to each drive. We reviewed the 2TB version, which can be found for as little as $399 online at the time of this writing. We recommend either My Book Mirror Edition drive if you are looking for a simple and secure direct-attached storage solution.
|Drive type||External hard drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Available capacities||1TB, 2TB|
|Capacity of test unit||2TB (roughly 1TB in its default RAID 1 configuration)|
|Dimensions (LWH)||6.1x3.9x6.5 inches|
|Notable design features||User-replaceable hard drives|
|OSes supported||Windows 2K, XP, Vista, Mac OS X|
|Software included||WD Backup Anywhere and 30-day trial of Mionet|
|Service and Support||3-year warranty|
Design and features
The WD My Book Mirror Edition looks good, with its sleek black casing and curved corners. If the single-drive My Book Essential or Home Editions look like a hard cover book, the My Book Mirror resembles War and Peace at nearly 4 inches thick. Though it's relatively compact for a two-bay enclosure, its power adapter is bulky, which makes the whole package a little less portable than it could be.
The drive has an LED on the front that changes color with the drive's status: powered on, in use, idle, and error. On the back, you will find a power connector, a low profile USB 2.0 port (similar to one found in pocket-size external hard drives), and a power switch button. There're no FireWire or eSATA connections, which is disappointing but understandable as the drive is preconfigured with RAID 1--which is optimized not for speed but data protection. (The company's pricier My Book Studio drives add FireWire 800 and eSATA interfaces.) In RAID 1, the 2TB My Book Mirror Edition provides roughly one terabyte of capacity. The benefit is if one of the hard drives dies, you just need to replace it, and there's no data loss or usage interruption during the process.
You can change the hard drives into a RAID 0 configuration and get the most storage space out of it, but then the data will be more vulnerable to corruption (if just one of the two drives fail, you'll lose all your data). However, you can't set up the two drives as two separate volumes, where the status and data integrity of one drive has nothing to do with that of the other.
We really like the fact that the internal hard drives are user-replaceable. You don't even need tools replace them. Though it's not obvious, you simply press on a spot in the middle of the My Book Mirror's top front edge and the cover will pop open giving you access to the drives. The My Book Mirror uses standard 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, but there's a catch--you can only use Western Digital hard drives. While this limits the device's flexibility, it's not really a problem as WD hard drives are popular and sold for relatively competitive prices.
The My Book Mirror Edition comes with two USB 2.0 cables of different lengths--5 inches and 2 inches--to accommodate where you want to put it. This is a nice gesture as we have run into drives that don't come with enough cables.
The drive also ships with a full version of WD Backup Anywhere and a 30-day trial of Mionet for remote access. WD Backup Anywhere is a wizard-driven backup solution that allows for backing up your selected data to any other media, even onto your iPod. We tried it out, and it worked as intended. It's important to note that the serial key (required to make the software work in nontrial mode) is printed at a corner on the back of the setup instructions poster--a very obscure place.
We also tried out the Mionet service and that worked well too. We were able to access the hard drive's content over the Internet and drag its folders and files onto a local computer. As the drive is not a NAS device, the host computer has to be on and is connected to the Internet for this to happen. After 30 days, Mionet will cost you $8 a month or $80 a year.