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Western Digital My Book Essential USB 3.0 (3TB) review: Western Digital My Book Essential USB 3.0 (3TB)

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The My Book Essential is the second of Western Digital's USB 3.0 desktop drives, after the aptly named My Book 3.0. The difference? The Essential doesn't come packed with a USB 3.0 card — you'll need to bring your own to the party.

western-digital-my-book-essential_1.jpg
8.0

Western Digital My Book Essential USB 3.0 (3TB)

The Good

USB 3.0 could finally put FireWire to bed ... should Apple ever adopt it.

The Bad

eSATA is still faster.

The Bottom Line

If you've set yourself up with a USB 3.0 connection, the My Book Essential is a decent desktop drive to complement it, and shows promise for the interface in the times ahead.

Save for branding, it is otherwise identical, down to the black shiny plastic shell power button on the back, tiny white power dot on the front and single interface. Yep, the drive offers you USB and USB alone, so you'll want to make sure you're rocking a 3.0 controller, lest you get throttled back to abysmal 2.0 speeds.

CrystalDiskMark is our weapon of choice when it comes to benchmarking, set to a 1GB random data set.

Sequential reads (MBps)

  • e-SATA
  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • 149.572.5723.78N/A
    Hitachi G-Drive (3TB)
  • 127.3583.3320.32N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (6TB)
  • N/A83.5921.95
    N/AWestern Digital My Book Studio (2TB)
  • N/AN/AN/A117.8
    Western Digital My Book Essential (3TB)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Sequential writes (MBps)

  • e-SATA
  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • 153.1057.8122.95N/A
    Hitachi G-Drive (3TB)
  • 98.560.519.55N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (6TB)
  • N/A74.4323.02N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio (2TB)
  • N/AN/AN/A93.82
    Western Digital My Book Essential (3TB)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

512K random reads (MBps)

  • e-SATA
  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • 57.9840.9118.45N/A
    Hitachi G-Drive (3TB)
  • 38.5334.3615.30N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (6TB)
  • N/A37.3918.69N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio (2TB)
  • N/AN/AN/A40.69
    Western Digital My Book Essential (3TB)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

512K random writes (MBps)

  • e-SATA
  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • 66.8149.8722.86N/A
    Hitachi G-Drive (3TB)
  • 28.7329.3418.62N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (6TB)
  • N/A54.322.56N/A
    Western Digital My Book Studio (2TB)
  • N/AN/AN/A51.64
    Western Digital My Book Essential (3TB)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

4K random reads (MBps)

  • e-SATA
  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • 0.7220.6090.663
    Hitachi G-Drive (3TB)
  • 0.4670.4790.414
    Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (6TB)
  • N/A0.5310.502
    Western Digital My Book Studio (2TB)
  • N/AN/AN/A0.610
    Western Digital My Book Essential (3TB)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

4K random writes (MBps)

  • e-SATA
  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • 1.7351.6011.724
    Hitachi G-Drive (3TB)
  • 0.2950.3030.310
    Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (6TB)
  • N/A1.2121.156
    Western Digital My Book Studio (2TB)
  • N/AN/AN/A0.974
    Western Digital My Book Essential (3TB)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Here we get our first look at how USB 3.0 stacks up against incumbent speed master eSATA — and it's not too bad. There's a loss in performance, no doubt caused by the SATA/USB bridge, but for something that gains you portability wherever you go, through USB 2.0 compatibility, this isn't too bad a sacrifice.

If you've set yourself up with a USB 3.0 connection, the My Book Essential is a decent desktop drive to complement it, and shows promise for the interface in the times ahead.