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Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II – Review

For huge storage at a low price, this could be just the ticket

Western Digital’s My Book Studio Edition II is aimed at the ‘pro-sumer’ market, packing 6TB of storage (two 3TB drives) into a relatively unattractive frame.
The array is ready for Mac OS X out of the box, and installing software onto your Mac before you plug in the device will enable you to configure how the drives behave.

The software is good and allows you to change between the various RAID settings. The default is RAID 0 and while this might be good for those who have a great deal of data to save, if either drive fails in this situation you lose everything. It’s likely that the majority will want to set up their array in RAID 1 format, which will split it into two 3TB drives that mirror each other. While this halves the storage potential, if one drive fails you will keep all of your data.

The two FireWire 800 ports allow the transfer speed to stay high and allow for daisy-chaining. The drive itself is surprisingly quiet, with the fans spinning efficiently and keeping the noise low. The array is also incredibly energy efficient; Western Digital claims that it uses 30% less energy than similar drives.

The My Book is easy to set up, with an incredibly simple plug-and-play for users who just want a quick way to back up their system. The transfer rates are also good, and while they don’t even come close to the speeds achievable with Thunderbolt, they’re as fast as we’ve seen using FireWire 800. This My Book won’t win any awards for its design, with silver plastic surrounding the drives. While this makes it simple to get into the top of the housing to access the drives, it also meant that picking up the array made it bend under our fingers, which was a little worrying.

All in all, though, this is a solid device, with a huge amount of storage at an affordable cost. If you’re after a simple storage solution with plenty of space, this is a great option.