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WD unveils first bus-powered 4TB Thunderbolt portable drive

Western Digital announces the first 4TB portable drive that uses Thunderbolt. The new compact external drive is bus-powered and uses two internal drive for the combined storage space of either 2TB or 4TB for the costs of $299.99 and $429.99, respectively.

The My Passport Pro is the first 4TB bus-powered Thunderbolt portable drive. WD

Western Digital's latest portable drive is great news for Mac users. The company today announced the first bus-powered portable Thunderbolt drive that offers up to 4TB of storage space, the My Passport Pro.

This is very much WD's answer to the recently reviewed 4TB Backup Plus Fast from Seagate.

Dual-drive, flexible RAID setup

Since the current top capacity of a 2.5-inch internal drive is 2TB, there needs to be a special set-up to accommodate more than that in a portable drive. This is the case of the My Passport Pro. The new drive comes with two internal drives on the inside, combined into one volume in either RAID 0 or RAID 1.

With RAID 0, you get top performance and the full combined storage space (up to 4TB) but at a slightly higher risk of data loss. With RAID 1, you have half only the combined storage space, but your data is safe against single-drive failure. The fact that the end users have the option to switch between the two RAID setups makes the My Passport superior, in terms of flexibility, to the Backup Plus Fast , which works only in RAID 0.

The new drive comes with two internal hard drives, and hence is thicker than other standard portable drives. WD

Bus-powered, built-in Thunderbolt cable, no USB support

Despite having two hard drives on the inside, the new My Passport Pro is bus-powered, meaning you need to use only a single Thunderbolt cable for both power and data connections. The drive comes with just one Thunderbolt port and has no support for USB. This means it's very much a Mac-only storage device, for now.

The Backup Plus Fast, on the other hand, supports only USB 3.0, but it does works with both PCs and Macs.

The My Passport Pro doesn't come with a Thunderbolt port but rather a built-in Thunderbolt cable. When not in use, this cable can be conveniently tucked away around the edges of the drive.

The drives comes with a built-in Thunderbolt cable that can be easily tucked away when not in use. WD

Fast performance for not much cash

The My Passport Pro is not the first bus-powered portable drive on the market. I've reviewed a few others, such as the Elgato Thunderbolt Plus, the Promise Pegasus J2, and the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt. However, the new My Passport is definitely the most affordable and has the largest capacities. At the estimated cost of just $299.99 for 2TB and $429.99 for 4TB, it's among the most affordable Thunderbolt storage devices in terms of cost per gigabyte.

According to WD, the performance is not too shabby, either. The My Passport Pro promises the copy speed of some 230MBps in RAID 0. If this is the case it's very fast for a hard drive-based portable drive. The drive supports Thunderbolt, but will also work with Thunderbolt 2.

The new My Passport Pro is available now. Check back soon for its full review.

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