by September 5, 2011 0 comments



External hard drives have become an important part of our lives as we need to take backup of important official data and other files such as images, audio and video files. They help you carry data from one place to another and to transport data from one system to another.

Choosing an external hard drive is not just about its storage capacity. You also need to consider features like password protection, automatic backup capability and power saving mode. Plus of course, look for a USB 3.0 interface, the drive’s rpm speed, both of which would impact the data transfer rate.

Here we compare three external drives on their data transfer rate, price, storage, backup and password protection ability. All drives were tested on a Windows 7 machine with 2 GB RAM. We used two tests on these drives-a ready-made benchmark called HD Tune, used to measure the average data transfer speed, and a manual transfer of 10 GB from/to the drives. Both benchmarks were done using USB 2.0 and 3.0 interfaces, so that we could see the difference brought in by the newer interface.

Western Digital My Passport 1TB

This is the latest version of the popular My Passport series of drives from Western Digital, with USB 3.0 interface being the key differentiating factor. The drive comes with WDSmartWare, an easy-to-use software for automatic backup and restore. It takes only five minutes to install and even allows you to set security options for your drive, including password protection.

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In our performance tests, the drive took 13 min 30 sec to transfer 10GB data over USB 2.0, and with USB 3.0, the time reduced to just 7 min 29 secs. The HDTune benchmark showed an average transfer rate of 27.9 MB/s with USB 2.0, and it more than doubled to 66 MB/s with USB 3.0.

At a price point of just 6.5k, the drive provides good value for money with an ample 1 TB capacity and an easy to use backup and restore software. Pack all this with a compact design, and you have a great companion for traveling executives.

Western Digital My Book 3TB

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This drive is for people who need to backup loads of data, like a system administrator wanting to take backups of critical data from various servers on the network. Like the My Passport drive, this one also has a USB 3.0 interface, which would be essential, given its whopping 3 TB storage capacity. The drive has a glossy surface, which is prone to catching fingerprints and smudging.

Like the My Passport drive, this one also comes with SmartWare software for doing backups and restores. Other features include a cable lock port, and password protection. The drive performed slightly better than the My Passport drive, taking only 13 min 06 secs to transfer 10 GB data through USB 2.0, and only 5 min 38 secs over the USB 3.0 interface. This was also the fastest transfer rate recorded amongst the three drives we’ve tested.

Overall, the best value for money drive of the three we’ve tested.




Transcend StoreJet 35T

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This external drive comes with a 3.5” 1 TB SATA HDD inside. Unlike the Passport series of drives from WD, this one includes features like One Touch Auto-Backup button, Turbo HDD data transfer mode, and 256-bit AES encryption/password protection. However, it only has USB 2.0 interface, while the other two support USB 3.0. The drive comes with an in-built software called StoreJet Elite, which automatically runs when you connect the drive to your PC/laptop. It has an auto login feature, from where you can directly launch Internet Explorer. It automatically traces the Web addresses and keeps them in favorites folder. You can de-select this feature which will leave no history, cookies and temporary files on the computer. My StoreJet option will let you see contents of your drive in the personal folder. The software also includes Secret-Zip setup to provide password to your disk and also allows you to select items from the disk to give 256-bit AES encryption.

While the drive doesn’t have USB 3.0 interface, its Turbo HDD mode makes up for the slower data transfer rate to a certain extent. In normal mode, it took 13 min 10 secs to copy 10 GB data from PC while in Turbo HDD mode it took 11 mins 30 secs. With HD Tune, the average transfer rate in normal mode came to 28.9 MB/s with 15.9 ms access time while in Turbo HDD mode, it scored 38.1 MB/s with 16.2 ms access time. The external casing is made up of glossy black cover.

Given the price, the drive provides good value for money.

Final verdict

If performance and capacity are key, then WD My Book 3TB is clearly the winner, while the My Passport drive is great for mobile executives. The Trenscend is good if you’re looking for good storage, but don’t want to spend too much.

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