Electronic data storage capacities are increasing by the minute as manufacturers are struggling to keep pace. Portable hard drives make for brilliant transfer companions allowing easy transportation of data on-the-go. Western Digital has launched the new 'My Passport' which is a 500GB USB 3.0 compatible drive. Let's have a look at how this external drive fares in terms of build, features and performance.

Non-standard port for connectivity

Non-standard port for connectivity

Design and Features
Western Digital seems to have done a pretty neat job constraining the size of their 500 GB portable HDD. It’s slim and sleek and easily fits into one’s pocket. The HDD is available in five different colours – Black, Grey, Magenta, Blue and White. The device supports USB 3.0 and like all other USB 3.0 devices, is backward compatible too and comes with a non-standard USB cable for connectivity. The cable has a simple one-to-one connection as compared to some other larger capacity drives from other brands requiring an extra USB port for power.

The device has a usable storage capacity of 465 GB as it comes pre-installed with data backup and recovery and security lock software which takes up the remaining free space. Also, the HDD has a speed of 5,400 rpm and an 8 MB of cache memory. Our model did visibly display the slightest of scratches and fingerprints on its body. But overall, the Western Digital HDD is light-weight and looks classy with the glossy finish.

Extremely portable with a size that fits in the palm of your hands

Extremely portable with a size that fits in the palm of your hands

Test Rig Specifications
Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte P67A-UD3R
Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 6 GB DDR3 (3 x 2 GB)
Hard drive: WD Velociraptor 300 GB
GPU:  AMD Radeon HD6970
PSU: Cooler Master 1000W

Performance
The WD My Passport has USB 3.0 support so we hooked it up to our test rig and ran a few synthetic and real world tests. First up, we ran the synthetic tests through SiSoft Sandra and got read speeds of 52.22 MB/s at a random access time of 15.72 ms. The HDTach test showed CPU utilization of 2% and an average read of 53.8 MB/s with a burst speed of 139.6 MB/s. Additionally, we also performed the CrystalDiskMark 3.0 test which gave us sequential read figures of 66.95 MB/s and sequential write figures of 66.09 MB/s. The random 4K QD32 read gave a speed of 0.55 MB/s while the write gave a speed of 0.985 MB/s. The results of the synthetic test were fair, per se, but the real world tests test the actual speeds and here’s a chart of how the Western Digital HDD fared in those tests:

Performance Graph

Performance Graph

For all the real world tests, we took both the random as well as sequential files at 4GB, which is the size of the average HD video file. Write speeds are almost identical in both sequential and random data transfer tests. Reading of assorted data takes a hit though. The inter-partition copy tests provided a speed of 23.01 MB/s for the sequential copy and 20.27 for the random copy. As visible from the graph, the results weren’t particularly great and the WD HDD definitely falls short on its competition, for example, the Seagate Freeagent GoFlex or the Iomego eGo Blackbelt.

Thin and sleek

Thin and sleek

Verdict
The Western Digital My Passport 500 GB HDD retails at Rs. 4,299. It might be small and sleek but as far as storage is concerned, it’s just 500GB. The Seagate FreeAgent 1 TB retails at Rs. 5,000 and makes buying the My Passport a bad idea. Also, it doesn’t particularly impress as far as read and write cycle times are concerned. At that price, it’s not really the best portable hard disk to recommend to someone.

Publish date: August 13, 2011 12:29 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:19 pm

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