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back to article WD unveils new MyBook line: External drives now bigger... and CHEAP

WD has introduced an even bigger single-drive MyBook, a 4TB one with USB 3.0 connectivity. The MyBook line is a desktop product about the size of a medium-thickness paperback and WD has steadily built up its capacity and speed: In January 2012 WD reached 4TB and 6TMB capacities with the MyBook Live Duo which had USB 2.0 …

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Is this an advert?

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Anonymous Coward

It is more likely a press release from WD regarding the introduction of the drives, subtly rewritten.

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@Sir Barry - "Is this an advert?"

Massive price drops on external hard drives certainly qualify as the type of news I'm looking for on a tech website.

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Advert

Thanks for this wonderful advert...

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Hard Drive Price Drop?

Looking on Ebuyer the Cheapest Internal 2TB drive is £65, if WD are looking to sell a 2TB at £79 could we be looking at a price drop in drives coming soon?

I've been waiting for 4TB to reach the ~£100 mark.

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Re: Hard Drive Price Drop?

The cheapest I can find WD internal drives is still more than they are charging for the equivalent size MyBooks. How does that work?

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6TB over USB2? Ouch.

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Linux

Nice to see them...

Rinsing Apple owners for the "iDiot" tax.

Easy money?

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Meh

Re: Nice to see them...

As its USB3 and only $129 the iSheep won't be interested.

If they'd made it Thunderbolt compatable, stuck another $50 on the price AND charged $30 for the cable Apple users would be cueing up outside the store for them.

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Re: Nice to see them...

I have to admit, that a lot of peripheral companies tax Apple users. For example, I want to buy the Logitech 811 keyboard... its the same as their windows based 810. HOWEVER, they charge $20 more for it. CRAZY!

As other posters have stated; in single drive implementations, TB is overkill. A single hard drive does not have the speed to even swamp the USB3 bandwidth let alone what TB has to offer. By the way, certified third-party TB cables are only $10.

But let me respond to your comment and hopefully provide you with some tidbits to ponder.

One of the key architectural differences between TB (Firewire as well for that matter) and USB is that USB consumes CPU resources. In addition, USB uses a single path for both directions of communication. If you are constantly moving large files (think video production) then the TB benefit is much more apparent. I choose USB3 for single drive (that are not SSD). For my RAID setups, I use TB. I do not go with Fibre channel because its way to expansive and overkill.

Another benefit for TB is that I am able to create a mini network, which can be a huge benefit with doing processing queues with another machine. Shelling out for a 10Gb network just is not feasible today for a SOHO.

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Not had a good experience with 2 x WD mybooklives - as soon as there was a power failure the bloody things would not get back on the network. Ended up ripping the case open to get the drive out to read the data.

Bought a Synolgy instead...

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Anonymous Coward

I'd buy a Synology NAS if I could afford one. But for the price, the MyBooklive is quite good as a starting point for backing up computers regularly in a home network.

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NAS vs Thunderbolt

I suspect TB is relatively cheap compared to NAS. The $30 cable is nothing compared to the markup the vendors stick on a TB devices. "TB is expensive" is a load of rubbish when it comes to explaining prices and availability.

If TB is effectively a PCIe extension, where are the TB 6 disk external chassis with cheap sata interfaces?

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Bad Experience

Seeing as this seems to be an advert, let me share my bad experience.

The thing is, they drives are encrypted. They're encrypted even if you set "no encryption" in the UI. And, the encryption is done in hardware on the controller PCB.

I was asked to try and recover some data from a MyBook that had been dropped. The drive was fine, but the controller card was broken. I could read the disk by putting it into a caddy - but couldn't retrieve anything from it.

And, you can't buy replacement controller cards.

And, they keep changing the controller cards, so finding a donor is almost impossible.

In the end, I had to give up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Encrypted?

I would doubt that the drive is encrypted, it is more likely that the controller card uses a disk format that you could not read - Linux's ext2 would be most likely or possibly a NTFS disk with no boot sector header, causing the OS to not understand what to do with the drive at all.

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Boffin

Re: Encrypted?

+1 for this.

The OP most likely just plugged it in to a Windows PC and determined it was encrypted because Windows couldn't natively read it.

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Re: Encrypted?

I think they do something funny in the controller to enable Windows to use a volume larger than a limit of around 2 TB that just plugs in - I think it was to do with sector size. But if you can't reproduce it to recover data from the drive, then "encrypted" it may as well be, whether it is so intentionally or not.

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Re: Encrypted?

Nope. It's encrypted. And no, I didn't just plug it into a Windows box. And yes, I spent a considerable number of hours on this.

For reference, see here:

https://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=8054

Even if the user does not set a password in the UI, the data is encrypted with a "null" password - and whatever salt WD have in the hardware.

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Re: Encrypted?

Ouch.

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Linux

Re: Encrypted?

Probably ext4 - certainly that's what's on mine (it runs debian). Certainly the OP says below that it _is_ encrypted, so I won't argue. But I wouldn't use anything like this as a backup - mine just streams audio files, the "originals" are on my main machine and the backups are on vanilla external disks.

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SBU

Re: Bad Experience

First drive dead out of the box.

Replacemnet under warranty dead out of the box

Next replacement under warranty dead out of the box

I just gave up at that point and just ceased buying WD drives (or should that be WMD drives). Who needs the grief?

SBU

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Re: Bad Experience

Ext2Read is the utility you want to read MyBookLive drives in windows. Crack open the case, remove the drive and hook it up via sata and run Ext2Read. Voilà.

Then go and buy a better backup solution ;)

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FAIL

Re: Bad Experience

Who needs the grief?

Also applies to trying to use these drives as "normal external storage".

The model I have has a power down setting that idles the drive if it isn't used often enough; and it takes a good 20 seconds for it to "power up". Fuck that!

I went ahead and got an external USB case for some of my old drives; and use them as external storage; and limit the use of the My Book to back ups only.

As external storage, they are a waste of money; as a backup drive, then, well, its beauty is in the "eyes of the beholder".

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Anonymous Coward

With a single drive there is little benefit of Thunderbolt and most newish machines would have USB 3 anyway. Thunderbolt is better if you had an array and / or SSDs.

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Anonymous Coward

I've always found USB of any flavour a bit of a dog if you're copying large numbers of small files - in my case keeping multiple backups of my Aperture library which takes an eternity over USB - whereas firewire is never much of an issue re file numbers, just overall data size.

I understood it was down to firewire being essentially peer to peer and not requiring use of the host CPU. It's enough difference in performance to keep me paying through the nose for firewire down the years, and if thunderbolt has a similar advantage they can doubtless skin me on that once the price comes down.

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Anonymous Coward

There's a big advantage if you've got the generation of Macs that have Thunderbolt but only USB 2....

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Anonymous Coward

WD can (...) and die

with their "cheap" pricing. I wish their "quality" were on par with this pricing.

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Acronis True Image ?

Acronis True Image . .

A disincentive if ever I heard one.

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what i'd love to see...

what i'd love to see is a rebirth of the big foot drives. 5.25inch drives or bigger. more and more people are using external drives for capacity and ssds are starting to be more useful for booting off from. don't need super fast just massive capacity. my 2c.

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Unhappy

Stupid design

It's a stupid design - a spinning-rust drive balanced on its narrow edge with power and USB cables dangling. What could possibly go wrong?

A colleague had one of this design. The wire got snagged, the (active) drive fell over, and the data was all lost. External hard drives should sit in their most stable orientation, i.e. flat. END OF. If you have bought one of these, run it lying flat. Even if it looks silly that way. Vertical is for books and cereal packets.

A cynic would say the poor design is deliberate. Lusers knock their drive over, blame themselves (or their partner or their cat), and buy another one.

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Re: Stupid design

Damn right; an unbelievably bad form factor to house an external drive, and one which leaves it absolutely guaranteed to terminaly malfunction if knocked over while spinning (I've had three brought to me after such an occurance). Despite this, they are almost always to be seen balanced on their thin end just inches from the owners mouse-hand. For a designer to look at something with the shape and mass of a 3.5" HDD and then choose to box it like this almost beggars belief (and the new case seems to have 'feet' on the narrow end, just make it even more likely that it will be orientated in its most vulnerable position). Outstanding...

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Dropbox integration?

I understand how dropbox integration could be a feature for a network drive, but for a USB drive? Surely you install the Dropbox software, and point it wherever you like, and yes I'm sure it will work with WD drive just like any other USB mass storage device that has a drive letter or is mounted on the file system.

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Anonymous Coward

"My______" is the tackiest possible product name.

The My Little Pony effect is still strong.

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Too bad all my WDs died

WD MyBook and Elements both died after a couple of years of very light use (for infrequent backups), the latest with the click of death.

Won't be buying WD again.

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Recipe For Disaster!

A SINGLE FOUR Terabyte disk, balanced on its end - they must be laughing all the way to, well, somewhere!

"Hello?" "Yes, what?" "Your drive fell over and now you've lost four terabytes of data? Oh dear. You did have a backup, didn't you? Oh, I see, this WAS your backup - your PC's disk died and you tried to restore and - oh dear oh dear oh dear. Never mind."

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Re: Recipe For Disaster!

LOL That's true..But nobody stands up external drives with-out the cool little stand.. That's just a PR Pic.

Besides..Nobody better knock any of my stuff over in my war room or spills a beer..

Why even a lipstick case next to the keyboard...Ok..Maybe not that..

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