This Western Digital MyBook Studio is a 1TB external hard drive with a 'wall-wart' power supply, and connections for both Firewire 800 and USB 2.0. In operation it is quick and quiet, and has the added benefit of powering down when not in use, thus entirely eliminating the noise. It's good-looking in its brushed aluminium enclosure, and also comes with some useful drive management and backup software, which you can use if you like. The drive is Mac formatted out of the box, though you can easily reformat it for Windows if you prefer.
This is the second Western Digital My Book sitting on my desk. It nestles next to its big brother, the dual-drive RAID based version. I mention this because, over the years, I've never had a Western Digital drive fail on me, either internal or external. This is quite an achievement, seeing as I've been through a dozen LaCies, Maxtors and others of more or less high-brand prominence, all of which have failed me sooner or later (some very soon indeed).
For a drive to run music or video editing off, this one is superb. The throughput from Firewire 800 is more than enough for HD video editing on Final Cut Pro. The drive also performs nicely for the more mundane tasks of copying gigabytes of photos and general files backwards and forwards. All that said, it is not the quickest drive you could possibly get -- its big brother has eSATA, and newer drives are coming out with Thunderbolt connectors. All this is important because, no matter how fast the drive is internally, its the connection speed to the computer which is the real bottleneck. Likewise, although it has Western Digital reliability, a single drive is intrinsically less reliable than a RAID array configured for mirroring. In other words, this is a great drive, but don't put anything on it you can't afford to lose, unless you have a pretty good backup regime in place.
You may, of course, be buying this for the purposes of backup, for which it has a lot going for it. It's physically about the size of a copy or War and Peace in paperback, and so will easily go into most bags. This makes it great for off-site backup, which is the missing element in most people's backup routine. You can use it to make a copy of your Apple 1TB Time Capsule
, though it will be on the small size if you are using the 2TB Time Capsule. Equally, you can use Western Digital's own supplied automated backup software to make backups periodically and automatically, which is the best way to do them. The supplied software is OK, rather than brilliant, but more than adequate if you're an average data user.
All in all, this is a good, nicely made quick drive which, if it's as reliable as Western Digital's other stuff (only time will tell, of course) will serve you well for anything that requires large amounts of data to be pushed backwards and forwards regularly, and which is too big for your computer. Just remember to keep it backed up -- external hard drives are intrinsically more vulnerable to being knocked off tables, and the beautiful metal enclosure is probably not going to do a lot to cushion the blow if it lands on a hard stone floor.