Personal Experiences/Mini-review of Western Digital My Book Essential 2.0

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Azone, Jul 25, 2008.

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  1. Azone

    Azone Notebook Evangelist

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    After owning a Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 2.0 for a few weeks, I decided that I would share some of my personal experiences with the drive.

    The Essential Edition 2.0, as the name states, is from the second line of Western Digital My Books. The Essential Edition is the most inexpensive model featuring capacities from 160 GB to 1 TB with USB 2.0 as the interfacing method.

    (Sorry about the photo quality, I don’t have any AA batteries left for my camera, so I took these with my phone).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Reasons for Purchase

    Like many people with numerous high resolution photos, a large music library, and several hours of recorded TV, the internal hard drive fills up pretty quickly. Many people also like having the ability to back up precious files. This is where an external hard drive comes into play. Personally, I needed one for backing up my computers as well as storing some large media files. I had just purchased an eVGA inDtube and have plans to record quite a bit of TV. Circuit City had this drive on sale for $99 at the time, and considering this was cheaper than most internal drives, I was in!

    Other Options

    Prior to purchasing this drive, I had looked at numerous other external drives. My experience with Western Digital for their internal drives was nothing but exceptional, so naturally, the My Books were the first ones I looked at. Other external drives I had seen did appeal to me, however the Western Digital had them beat in pricing. My other option that I was highly considering was buying an external enclosure paired with a 500 GB Western Digital Caviar drive. However, the prices I found were more than the My Book and therefore, I decided not to go that route. Just in case though, if anything is to happen to this My Book’s enclosure, I could easily take it apart (more on this later) and then pop the actual drive into another enclosure.

    From the Western Digital My Book lineup, there are numerous other options. They are the Essential Edition, the Home Edition, the Office Edition, the Mirror Edition, the Studio Edition, and the World Edition. The differences include different port selections (other models include Firewire 400/800 and eSATA) and certain other features. What the Essential Edition lacks are the ports mentioned before, a capacity gauge, automatic backups, remote access, and the ability to connect to a network. I did not require any of these extra features, and as for the interfacing method, I would have liked eSATA but none of my computers have that port. If you don’t like waiting for backups and transfers, perhaps one of their eSATA models may appeal to you.

    Build and Design

    I’ll be honest; I really like the design of the My Book. The sleek and stylish enclosure is a very simple design, painted glossy black with the Western Digital logo on the sides. The top, bottom, and back sides feature a perforated surface allowing airflow to keep the drive cool. Up front there’s a blue LED light that pulses up and down to show activity, or blinks to show that it’s going into standby. On the back, you have the power connector, USB port, and Kensington lock port which is seamlessly integrated into the morse code. It is designed vaguely like a book and Western Digital says that if you have more than one, you can put them together like books on a bookshelf. On my desk, it’s a perfect fit, with the glossy black finish matching up with most of the stuff on my desk. The same goes for the blue LED as it sits next to my Sager NP2090 and my Zalman ZM-NC2000.

    The dimensions of the drive from the Western Digital website:

    Height: 6.5” (166 mm)
    Length: 5.4” (137 mm)
    Width: 2.1” (54 mm)
    Weight: 2.5 lbs (1.15 kg)

    From these dimensions, you can tell that this isn’t something that will be leaving your desk very often. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take up very much space on your desk and it definitely will not be intrusive.

    Features and Software

    Software, well, there isn’t much. There are trials for Memeo AutoBackup and Memeo AutoSync along with some Google Software (Desktop, Picasa, and Toolbar). If you want to run backups, you’re going to need your own program. You can just drag and drop, but I downloaded a program called WinBackup 1.86 that gets the job done just fine. As for features, being the Essential Edition, there isn’t much. It does turn itself on and off with the computer. Western Digital also states that it works with Windows and OS X. (I also tried it on Linux, and it works just fine). The drive comes formatted in FAT32 to allow compatibility. I went ahead and made two partitions, one being a small FAT32 partition, and the other being an NTFS partition.

    [​IMG]

    Performance

    Western Digital rates the hard drive with a transfer speed of 480 megabits per second (60 megabytes per second), which the top speed of USB 2.0. However, in reality the speed is less than half that, averaging 24.3 megabytes per second. The drive itself is more than capable of getting better transfer speeds, but it is limited by USB 2.0.

    HD Tune:

    [​IMG]

    Just for comparison, I also have HD Tune results for my notebook’s internal Hitachi Travelstar.

    [​IMG]

    Now, if you compare these benchmarks with other USB drives, you'll see that the performance of the My Book tops the charts. This is thanks to the fast internal SATA to USB controller.

    Noise and Heat

    The drive is nearly inaudible. If the room is quiet, you can hear it start up, and if you get close enough, you can hear it when it’s accessing files. But overall, the drive is very quiet. The drive is enclosed in thick plastic with lots of extra space to allow for passive cooling. The perforations around the casing allow heat to escape, and this seems to work very well. After backing up about 28 GB of data, the casing wasn’t hot, but rather mild.

    Disassembly

    Unlike some of the higher end versions of the My Book, the Essential Edition is not user serviceable. Personally, I find this to be a major drawback, since you’ll be unable to freely replace the hard drive, or move it to another enclosure. Opening it up is still doable, but it requires some work (and probably will void your warranty). I personally haven’t done it, and it’s a little different from the previous version. Obviously removal of the rubber feet is the first step. More disassembly information coming soon.

    Conclusion

    The Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 2.0 is an excellent choice for those who want a roomy, stylish, and rather inexpensive external drive, but are willing to live with only USB and lack of software and features. Other drives from the My Book lineup are available for those who require more features. Western Digital covers the My Book with a one year warranty, which can be extended.

    Pros:
    • Large capacities all the way to 1 TB
    • Quiet and Cool
    • With USB, compatible with most operating systems
    • Stylish enclosure
    • Excellent Western Digital Caviar drive inside
    • Fast transfer rates for a USB drive

    Cons:
    • Not user serviceable
    • Slower transfer rates than drives using other interfaces
    • eSATA needed for faster transfers
    • Very little included software


    Just on a side note, if I made mistakes, please feel free to correct me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
  2. K-TRON

    K-TRON Hi, I'm Jimmy Diesel ^_^

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    I bought a 500gb wd my book essentials, the same on you have, just for the internal sata to usb controller, as it is one of the fastest and most power on demand ones. You can open the my book sheel pretty easy, if you get a good grap on it, you need to try and slide the two pieces of plastic apart. Their ae about 5 plastic snaps which hold the shell together, but you can get by them with a small flast head screwdriver. I took mine apart and used the inner controller in my own customized external harddrive enclosure.

    I am glad you like the drive, I think the controller is really good. I am not a fan of wd for harddrives, but everyone has their preferences. My external has a hitachi in it with a wd controller card and it works just fine ;)

    Your benchies are right on for the drive, very similar to how mine performs.

    K-TRON
     
  3. Azone

    Azone Notebook Evangelist

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    You know, that's what I figured after I saw the performance. I didn't expect mind blowing performance out of USB, but it was substantially faster than expected. :) Perhaps my decision in not getting an enclosure + HDD could be beneficial.

    I found a guide on how to take it apart (can't seem to find it again) and it's pretty much the same as you said. I just didn't remember it step by step so I didn't talk about it much. Though, I have a question. Is reassembly a simple task, or am I likely to damage something when taking it apart?

    I've been using Western Digital Caviars for years without a problem, so I've built loyalty to WD. Hitachi has also served me well, but in the notebook department.

    Thanks for the feedback. :)
     
  4. Diablo

    Diablo Metalhead

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    reassembly is a snap as long as you dont lose the screws that hold the hard drive to the mount. i have the 1TB version of this drive, but took it out of the case and put it in an e-sata enclosure. works great.
     
  5. Azone

    Azone Notebook Evangelist

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    ^OK, cool, that's good to know. :) Then I may try taking it apart, but I don't think I'll do it now since it's relatively new...and I don't want to void the warranty, yet.
     
  6. K-TRON

    K-TRON Hi, I'm Jimmy Diesel ^_^

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    I will get some pictures up tonight for you, so you know where the plastic snaps are located.

    EDIT:
    Here are some helpful pics.
    The main clips are on the side panels, so just push in there, and then you can slide the cover off. It takes a bit of strength to do so, but it will open up. I tried to get all the snaps in the pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    K-TRON
     
  7. Azone

    Azone Notebook Evangelist

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    Awesome, thanks K-TRON. That helps a lot. It looks like taking it apart shouldn't be any problem.

    Putting it back together does look like a simple task, so long as I don't break it while taking it apart. (though, I have the habit of sometimes applying more force than necessary). Anyhow, I'll try it out at some point, just don't want to void my warranty yet.

    Oh, one other question about that. I'm not completely sure from the pictures, but where was the mount attached?

    +Rep
     
  8. K-TRON

    K-TRON Hi, I'm Jimmy Diesel ^_^

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    In the second picture, their are two C shaped pieces of plastic, which the harddrive clips onto, via some rubber connectors. Their is also one on teh other side. It is a very simple enclosure, and it is relativeley easy to take apart and work on.

    K-TRON
     
  9. Azone

    Azone Notebook Evangelist

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    Ah, I see. Thanks for the information. :)

    As tempted as I am to take it apart, it just doesn't seem necessary right now. Maybe someday for cleaning, since it looks like there's already some dust in there.
     
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