REVIEW: WD My Passport Pro (4TB)

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My Passport Pro_lifestyle_v3_HigResThe WD My Passport Pro is the first portable dual-drive solution powered by Thunderbolt. The WD My Passport Pro sports two 2TB hard drives inside and allows a RAID configuration to pair the two drives together. Designed specifically for creative professionals and enthusiasts, the My Passport Pro offers high performance and capacity in a truly mobile solution. According to WD, the My Passport Pro boasts speeds of up to 233MB/s which provides super-fast transfer, edit and backup capabilities. The My Passport Pro offers two RAID options, RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 0 (data striping). Does the WD My Passport Pro live up to it’s name? We’ll find out after the break.

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Design and Build

The design of the My Passport Pro is bold. Featuring an all aluminium enclosure and a Thunderbolt cable that wraps around the whole drive, the My Passport Pro looks really great. However, I certainly wouldn’t call the My Passport Pro thin or sleek – coming in at almost a kilo (0.72kg) this thing is very heavy. This would be because inside there are two 2TB hard drives to offer the huge amount of storage. On the side of the drive, you’ll find a small fan and a very tiny LED light. The fan is there for precautionary measures and it did come on briefly during testing and emitted a very high pitched whining sound – so it might be best to wear some headphones while using the drive! The light will turn on and flash to symbolise data transfer, however, it’s not very noticeable.

The Thunderbolt cable is attached to the drive at all times and is simply wrapped around the exterior of the drive when not in use. This does mean that the cable is not user replaceable, which means if the cable does break, then you’ll need to send the unit back to WD to be fixed. I can see this being a single point of failure over time.

What’s great about the My Passport Pro is that it doesn’t require external power. The drive is powered entirely by the Thunderbolt connection. Unfortunately though, this does mean that it doesn’t support Daisy Chaining but I think this is an alright trade off because who wants to carry around yet another AC adapter? Not me.

Software

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 19.06.52Of course, like all portable WD drives, there is software included to help manage the operation of the drive. The My Passport Pro is no different and it includes a simple utility to perform diagnostics, modify the RAID configuration and erase the device. The software allows you to change the configuration of the RAID to either RAID0 which means your data will be spread across two disks (meaning you’ll have 4TB of storage to use) or RAID1 meaning your data will be mirrored across the two disks for data redundancy. Additionally, you can also use JBOD (Just a bunch of disks).

Unlike other WD software bundled with their portable drives, WD Drive Utilities does not need to be open or running in the background all the time. The software simply installs and you can open it when you need to use it. Additionally, it won’t put an icon in your top bar which is a nice, refreshing touch.

Performance

We performed our tests on a 2013 MacBook Pro paired with Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. We created a 5GB test file to transfer to the drive and tested it with both RAID0 and RAID1 configurations. Under the RAID0 environment, tests came in at 198.3 MB/s write speed and 196.8 MB/s read speed. The My Passport Pro benefits from the throughput of the two drives in RAID0 configuration. In RAID1 configuration, the My Passport Pro came in at 101.2 MB/s write speed and 104.2 MB/s read speed. 

In the real world, this means you’d be able to write a 5GB video file in about 3 minutes in the RAID0 configuration and about 6 minutes in RAID1 configuration. These are rather impressive results and close to the 233 MB/s benchmark that WD advertised. However, these speeds will be well suited to the target market of the drive – video professionals.

  • Score:

    8.5 / 10

  • The Good:

    No external power needed, impressive speeds

  • The Bad:

    Bulky design, load whining fan, cable not user-replaceable

  • Bottom Line:

    Video professionals will love this!

In conclusion, The WD My Passport Pro offers a huge amount of storage and impressive speed results to go with it. The drive being targeted to video editors and professionals is well suited due to not needing external power and offers a huge amount of space. The different configuration options allow you to use the drive how ever you please. The design while being bold and all aluminium, is bulky and heavy. Of course, having two hard drives in the one enclosure can make things abit difficult. I did dislike the loud whur and whine of the fan, however, this is needed to ensure the drives stay cool.

The drive is a little on the pricey side coming in at almost $650 for the 4TB model but being the first in it’s class, we can expect high pricing for now. I’m sure once other drives start coming out, the price will drop.

Model Number Capacity AU NZ
WDBRMP0020DBK 2 TB AU $ 499.99 NZ $ 549.99
WDBRNB0040DBK 4 TB AU $ 649.99 NZ $ 749.99