Western Digital My Book Studio (4TB) review

The Western Digital My Book Studio gives you a capacious 4TB drive to match your aluminum iMac or Mac mini.

Aimed at the Mac user, the Western Digital My Book Studio (4TB) ($259.99 list) is a metal-clad external hard drive. Its matte silver chassis matches the aluminum case of your new iMac, Mac mini, or MacBook Pro, and its USB 3.0 connection means that it’s speedy for new Macs, while remaining compatible with older Macs with a slower USB 2.0 interface. This is a good drive to choose if you’re transferring your data from an old Mac to a new one, you need a large storage unit for your video files, or if you need a Time Machine backup for your whole Mac system.

Design and Features
The My Book Studio is a book-shaped drive, echoing the larger Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II 6TB and Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo. The My Book Studio eschews the extra interfaces of its cousins, simply relying on the ubiquitous USB interface found on all Macs. When connected to older Macs it runs at USB 2.0 speeds, while newer Macs with USB 3.0 will be able to use the drive to its full potential. Aside from the metal case, the drive is very much like its PC-based twin, the Western Digital My Book (4TB) . The My Book Studio also has a jack in the back for the included AC adapter as well as a USB 3.0 port for the included cable.

You can hook the drive up to any USB port on your Mac, and your Mac will ask you to use the drive as a Time Machine Backup. The My Book Studio is well-suited to this task, since it’s formatted HFS+ from the factory. You can reformat the drive FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS to use it with a Windows PC. The drive comes with WD utilities including security software and diagnostic utilities. If you use the drive with Time Machine, you won’t have to worry about the extra utilities. The drive is fanless, which keeps it quiet. Drives like the LaCie 2big Thunderbolt Series (6 TB) are noisier due to their active cooling fans. The My Book Studio comes with a three-year warranty, better than the one-year warranty found on basic drives, and the two years of its plastic My Book (4TB) brother.

Performance
The My Book Studio is good performer when connected to a new USB 3.0 Mac or MacBook. We were able to get a speedy 121 MB/sec both write and read throughput on our AJA System test. It took 16 seconds to transfer our standard test folder. This makes it a little slower than the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive for Mac (3TB), but worlds faster than the USB 2.0-only Iomega Mac Companion 3TB. This is sufficient for non-performance-dependent uses like video storage, Time Machine backups, and general file storage. If you want more performance for video editing or frequent data transfers, then a Thunderbolt drive like the My Book Thunderbolt Duo would be a better bet.

All in all, the Western Digital My Book Studio (4TB) does everything it sets out to do. It’s a backward-compatible drive that can help you store your data, back up your Mac, or transfer your data from an old Mac to a new one. It’s not quite as flexible as our Editors’ Choice Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk (4TB) or as rugged as the IoSafe Solo G3 (1 TB), but the My Book Studio is basic mid-tier desktop storage for your Mac, and sometimes that’s all you need.

COMPARISON TABLE
Compare the Western Digital My Book Studio (4TB) with several other hard drives side by side.

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Specifications
System Type Desktop
Type External
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 4000 GB
Ports USB 3.0

Verdict
The Western Digital My Book Studio gives you a capacious 4TB drive to match your aluminum iMac or Mac mini. It's a strong mid-tier drive to keep your files safe, and sometimes that's all you need.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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