Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition (1TB) Review

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$289

Pros: File mirroring; Data encryption; Stylish design

Cons: Relatively slow read and write speed; Bulky; Lacks FireWire

Verdict: It's not the fastest external drive, but it will keep your data secure and look good doing it.

Western Digital looks to make backing up as simple as possible with its My Book Mirror Edition, a dual-drive storage system that offers RAID-based ongoing protection by continuously backing up to not one, but two drives.

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Design

Measuring 6.5 x 6.0 x 3.8 inches and weighing 4.2 pounds (a total of 5 pounds with the included power brick) the My Book Mirror resembles a small desktop PC, but one with a decidedly minimalist-cool aesthetic. The all-black drive features a glossy plastic outer shell that houses a cool, vertical blue LED, which pulses up and down similar to Knight Rider's K.I.T.T. when you plug in the cord (like theMaxtor One Touch 4 Plus, a notebook's USB port doesn't have enough juice to power the My Book Mirror alone).

Performance

On our tests, 5GB of photos, music, video, and documents took 6 minutes and 30 seconds to transfer to the drive, which translates into a write speed of 13.1 MBps--lagging just behind the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus' 13.2 MBps to claim the dubious honor of slowest write rate in the sub-$300 1TB external drive category. Transferring the same folder back to our notebook required 4 minutes and 41 seconds of time, a decent read speed of 18.2 MBps, which ran neck and neck with the Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus' read rate of 18.8 MBps. However, the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4,LaCie Hard Disk, andIomega eGoall offer faster write speeds via USB. And unlike the Buffalo, LaCie, and Maxtor, the My Book Mirror doesn't offer FireWire connectivity.

RAID Configuration

What separates the My Book Mirror from its peers is the RAID Manager application, which by default, has the twin 500GB hard drives in RAID 1 configuration (mirrored mode). This is a great feature because if one HDD fails, you have another from which you can restore files. However, this effectively gives you only 500GB of storage. PC users can un-mirror the drives so that they can use the full 1TB to store files--if you're comfortable with giving up the security of redundancy. It should be noted that the drives spin at either 5,400 rpm or 7,200 rpm (similar to the variable speed Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4) depending on whether it's fetching cached or fresh data, which helps the My Book Mirror run at 8 to 9 watts (according to the company, the average 1TB drive uses 13 watts).

Software

Windows 2000, XP, and Vista users are treated to two Windows-exclusive features: WD Anywhere Backup and MioNet. The former creates automatic backups of every file you save or download and synchronizes folders to keep them current; the latter is a program that lets you access the content of another PC also running the MioNet software. Bundled with the My Book Mirror is the Western Digital Backup software for Mac users. Both backup applications enabled us to secure files so that they can only be opened within Western Digital software. The drive is also backed by a three-year limited warranty.

Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition Verdict

The Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition is a compelling external storage drive solid for content hoarders. The drive will find a home with users who are more concerned with safeguarding data than lightning-fast transfer speeds, as the RAID configuration provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're capable of retrieving data even if your notebook and one of the 500GB HDDs malfunction.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Capacity Two 500GB
Rotational Speed 7,200 rpm
Read/Write Speed 18.2 MBps/13.1 MBps
Ports USB
Size 6.5 x 6.0 x 3.8 inches
Weight 4.2 pounds
Company Website http://www.wdc.com