Western Digital (WD) has introduced an interesting new product – Thunderbolt connected & powered Dual hard-drive, My Passport Pro, to be used to store & transfer data to/from Mac systems (that have a Thunderbolt port, of course). This small, portable dual (external) hard-drive is probably targeted at professionals who require high read/write performance with their storage system while it still being small enough to be carried around easily.
The advertised (theoretical) connectivity speeds of 233 MB/s (2 TB model) and 230 MB/s (4 TB model) is higher than what FireWire or USB ports could offer. Thunderbird port is slightly more expensive (MSRP: 2TB – 299.99 USD; 4TB – 429.99 USD) than USB-based hard-drives. But, for people who need mobility along with performance and reliability, this drive might just be what they were looking for!
This external hard-drive is actually a combination of two drives (dual) that can be set at RAID 0 for maximum performance or RAID 1 for redundancy. Note: If you select RAID 1, one drive will be available for storage and the other drive will be configured to copy all the contents of the first drive. Effectively, your storage capacity will be halved, but you can sleep peacefully knowing that both the drives may not crash at the same time, and hence your data is always backed up within the system. Of course, once you connect it to your Mac system, Time Machine integration will ensure that your data is also backed up in the Mac.
I feel, creating redundancy within a hard-drive is a very good idea – data is generally stored for long periods of time in a hard-drive and hence drive-level redundancy will increase its reliability. The advantage with this drive is, if you plan to buy a third storage device (for creating a backup of the already backed up data), that may not be required any longer, as redundancy is built-in. 2TB/4TB of storage, that too on an external hard-drive, should be sufficient for most use cases.
Another good thing about this drive is – it does not require a separate power source. Like USB drives, this drive is powered through the Thunderbolt port, while connected to a computer/laptop. The Thunderbolt cable is included with the drive, of course.
Since this drive doesn’t have any other port other than the Thunderbolt port, and supports only the Mac OS, you will need to have a Mac-based Computer or Laptop to use it. WD could have extended its utility to support PCs and Linux computers as well, as Thundebolt is Intel’s technology that is OS independent. I guess we might get that in the future.
So, if you have a Mac (with a Thunderbolt port) and you are looking for an external hard-drive with built-in redundancy & portability, go for it!!
Further info/Manufacturer’s web-page: Western Digital My Passport Pro.
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