External Storage Guide
- ‹ Prev
- Next ›
Introduction and Physique
*** Updated on June 11, 2012 ***
Benchmark results are added with a conclusion, elevating the preview article to a full review.
With the advent of Thunderbolt-equipped devices from Apple and, eventually, from PC and motherboard vendors that support Intel’s 3rd generation of Core processors, do anticipate the arrival of several storage devices that are based on the new interface. Being a leader in the digital storage landscape, WD is one of the first manufacturers which have introduced a Thunderbolt-based external drive. Its entrant: the My Book Thunderbolt Duo.
On the outside, oblivious onlookers would easily assume that the My Book Thunderbolt Duo is just like any other external desktop hard drives which WD introduced in the past. Clad in a bright gray shell, the My Book Thunderbolt Duo is a Mac-oriented external hard drive similar to the My Book Studio 3TB and the My Book Studio II 6TB. However, with Apple’s introduction of the new Thunderbolt port, the new WD drive features the new interface, just as what its name suggests.
On the back, the My Book Thunderbolt Duo has a pair of Thunderbolt ports. The external hard drive entirely relies on these ports in terms of connectivity. In theory, Thunderbolt doubles the data transfer rate of the more popular USB 3.0 which maximum speed is limited to 5Gbps. The use of two Thunderbolt ports on the My Book Thunderbolt Duo is to make it easy to include in a daisy chain Thunderbolt setup. Below the two ports, power directly passes through the My Book Thunderbolt Duo through its DC in port. The drive does not include a power button.
The sides of the My Book Thunderbolt Duo are filled with a lot of perforations so that unwanted heat would pass through them. Heat is actively driven out by a Sunon MC35101V1 35mm fan. These holes are extended to the top which is actually a door that allows users to access the hard drives inside the enclosure. The My Book Thunderbolt Duo makes use of two 3.5-inch hard disk drives, each a WD Caviar Green (model WD30EZRX) with 3TB storage capacity and compliant with the SATA 6Gbps standard. These drives are protected with another layer of a metal grille. On the base, the drive has rubber pads so that it would not easily slip off the table.
Dismantling the My Book Thunderbolt Duo’s enclosure reveals a uniquely-designed circuit board. Soldered onto opposite sides of the board are two SATA 6Gbps power and data connectors. A closer look at the board, the largest chip on it is labeled with L143IA26 EFL. It looks very similar to the Intel Thunderbolt controller that is found inside the Apple Thunderbolt Display. Other notable chips that we spotted on the board include the PS8321 dual mode DisplayPort multiplexer, the PS161 DisplayPort to HDMI/DVI converter, and the PS8301 dual mode DisplayPort repeater, all of which came from the IC manufacturer Parade. Meanwhile, the board’s SATA connectors are linked to an ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Do take note that some of the chips aforementioned are also employed on other Thunderbolt-based external hard drives such as the Lacie Little Big Disk.
Besides the 6TB variant, the My Book Thunderbolt Duo is also available in 4TB version. Being a dual-drive storage device, this new offering from WD is designed to support RAID 0 and 1 to help users protect their valuable data. Formatted for Apple’s Mac OS, the My Book Thunderbolt Duo is compatible with Mac OS Time Machine. While it is primarily intended for Mac OS, the drive can be reformatted to make it work on a Windows-based environment.
- ‹ Prev
- Next ›