The My Book 3.0 is a big "yes" for those who've been wondering if they wanted a USB 3.0 drive for their desktop PC. With its superfast performance and its included USB 3.0 PCIe card, the drive will significantly alter your expectations for external hard drives. Costing about $200 for the 1TB version and $280 for the 2TB version, the My Book 3.0 is $50 more expensive than its USB 2.0 counterpart; however, we feel it's well worth it.
If you have a PC desktop and are looking for a simple external hard drive, look no further than the My Book 3.0. However, we recommend that notebook users look at the Seagate BlackArmor PS110 USB 3.0.
Design and features
The My Book 3.0 is a no-frills storage device. It has a straightforward design with one tiny white light on its front that serves both as the power and activities indicator and on its back it only has a Mini-USB 3.0 port.
The drive is bundled with a Mini-USB 3.0 cable, a power adapter, a two-port PCIe USB 3.0 add-in card, a software CD, and a well-illustrated quick-setup poster. The PCIe add-in card includes a high-profile and a low-profile bracket, so that it can be installed in a regular-size desktop or a slim tower desktop, such as the Dell Inspiron 537s.
Even without the colorful quick-setup poster, it's very easy to set up the My Book 3.0. Just connect it to a computer using the included USB cable, plug in the power, and turn it on. The only tricky part is installing the PCIe card, which is only necessary for computers that don't already support USB 3.0. Still, if you know how to use a screwdriver and can follow the instructions, you shouldn't have any problems installing the card. Finally, you'll need to install the driver from the included CD.
If you are uncomfortable installing the PCIe card, the My Book 3.0 will work with any existing USB port, just at slower speeds. After installation, the hard drive is immediately available to the computer and is preformatted using NTFS file system.
According to Western Digital, it will soon release a more affordable, standalone version of the My Book 3.0 that won't include a PCIe card. So if you like the drive but don't need the PCIe card, just wait for the company to release the unbundled version.
Because of the My Book 3.0's design, you can't upgrade the hard drive yourself. This means you won't be able to replace the built-in SATA 2 (3Gbps) hard drive with a SATA 3 (6Gbps) drive. If you could, the My Book 3.0 could potentially operate faster since USB 3.0 can transfer files up to 4.8Gbps.
The My Book 3.0 doesn't include backup software, so you'll need to buy a third-party app if you want to use this drive to backup your system.
We tested the My Book 3.0 with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 and were happy with its performance. The My Book USB 3.0 operated quietly and remained cool throughout the testing process, even during extended heavy loads.
When connected via USB 3.0, the device registered speeds up to 75.1MBps for the Write test and 59MBps for the Read test. These scores were in the same range as the Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 and the Ineo USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station .
When connect via USB 2.0, the My Book 3.0 registered 24.9MBps for the Write test and 31MBps for the Read test. These numbers were among the fastest of USB 2.0-based external hard drives we've tested.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Like most external hard drives, the My Book 3.0 won't require a lot of tech support. The most important thing about this type of product is the warranty, and Western Digital backs the drive up with a rather short two-year guarantee. Generally, we'd want to see a longer warranty period for storage devices. The company's toll-free phone support is available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT, Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Western Digital's Web site offers e-mail and tech support, FAQs, a searchable knowledgebase, and downloads.