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Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II review: Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II

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The Good The My Book Studio Edition II offers up to 6TB of storage, features RAID 0 and RAID 1, and supports USB 2.0, FireWire (400/800), and eSATA connections. The drive is fast and affordable.

The Bad The My Book Studio Edition II doesn't support USB 3.0 and internal hard drives made by other vendors. It runs hot, seems buggy at times, and doesn't come with an eSATA cable.

The Bottom Line The My Book Studio Edition II makes a decent direct-attached storage solution for those who need to extend a computer's storage space or want a large backup drive. The drive's rather buggy firmware might turn many users away, however.

7.2 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 9

With up to 6TB of storage and support for both RAID 0 and RAID 1, the My Book Studio Edition II is the largest dual-bay external hard drive to date, in terms of storage space. It comes with multiple types of peripheral connections and allows users to replace its internal hard drives easily, as long as they use PowerGreen hard drives made by Western Digital. Unfortunately, the drive doesn't support USB 3.0 and takes a long time to be recognized by a computer or to come out of sleep mode.

To make up for this, it offers fast performance and comes with a price tag that won't break the bank at just around $500 for 6TB (or $270 for 4TB and $180 for 2TB). If you're looking for a large and easy-to-use external hard drive for your desktop computer, especially a Mac, the My Book Studio Edition II is worth consideration.

Design and features

Drive type 3.5-inch-based dual-bay external hard drive
Connector options USB 2.0, FireWire, eSATA
Size (WHD) 3.87x6.54x6.06 inches
Weight 5.2 lbs
Available capacities 2TB, 4TB, 6TB
Capacity of test unit 6TB
OSes supported Microsoft Windows (Vista, 7), Mac OS 10.5 or later
Software included WD Drive Manager, WD Anywhere Backup

The My Book Studio Edition II has exactly the same design as the previous model; it looks like a closed book. The bottom of the device is one side of the "book" and the top is the door for the two drive bays. The door can be pressed to open and the hard drives can then be pulled out to be replaced easily, without any tools.

On the front, the drive has a large vertical white light that shows the status of the drive. On the back, the drive has an array of peripheral ports including USB 2.0, FireWire 400/800, and eSATA. It comes with all cables for the above connection types, except for the eSATA. It's a little disappointing that it doesn't support USB 3.0. This is understandable, however, as the drive is made primarily for Macs, which don't currently support USB 3.0.

Also on the back, you'll find a power button that turns the drive on or off. We noticed that the drive seemed to go into sleep, or low-power, mode after being idle for about 10 minutes or so, and it would take about 2 minutes to wake up. There's no way to prevent it from doing this, unfortunately. While in sleep mode, the drive would sometimes unmount itself, and this proved to be problematic for those who sporadically need quick access to it. The drive would also take about 2 minutes to be recognized by the operating system, which is a very long time compared with other external hard drives. All this makes the drive seem "buggy" at times. Hopefully this will be resolved via a firmware update.

Though the hard drives are easily replaceable, as mentioned above the My Book only works with GreenPower SATA hard drives made by Western Digital, and comes preloaded with two of them. The review unit we received came with two at 3TB each, configured in RAID 0, offering a total storage amount of 6TB.

Although preformatted with HFS+ file configuration for Macs, the My Book can be reformatted for PCs easily, using the included WD Drive Manager software. It comes with a software CD that includes a manual in PDF format, WD Anywhere Backup software, and the WD Drive Manager utility. The utility enables you to change the RAID configuration from RAID 0 to RAID 1 and vice versa. It also helps quickly format the drive. In our trial, the included version of WD Drive Manager didn't work as expected, and we had to download the updated version from Western Digital's Web site before we could manage the drive's RAID configuration. Note that because of the limitations of the legacy standard, the drive, especially in the 4TB and 6TB versions, works only with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS 10.5 or later. In our test, it took about 20 minutes to change the drive's setup from one RAID to another.

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