on 6 August 2014
This HDD has many possible uses, but this review is from the standpoint of using it as external storage on the XBOX ONE console.
After being thoroughly fed-up with having to manage the ludicrously-small internal drive of my XBOX ONE, the June 2014 system update that included the option to add external storage was extremely welcome. So, I decided to treat myself to an external HDD, and after a bit of research, decided on this offering from Western Digital.
Setting-up was very easy. Once connected, the unit was immediately recognised by the console and formatting it for use took just a few seconds. A word of warning about this though - I have read that once the HDD has been configured as an XBOX ONE device, it will no longer be usable on a computer, TV etc. Presumably, this is an anti-piracy measure or to prevent hackers & modders accessing game data and save files etc.
If, like me, you solely intend to use it as extra storage for a games console, and nothing else, then this is not a problem, but I figured it was worth mentioning in case potential buyers would expect to find multiple uses for the drive.
Design-wise, the case is visually appealing and more interesting than a generic box shape. Actually, with it's curved front and the position of the LED, it's quite reminiscent of the original model XBOX 360 when stood vertically, just on a smaller scale.
Functionality is excellent - Copying, moving and deleting games to and from the drive is nice and quick and the device is very quiet and will enter a stand-by mode (which is silent) when the console is switched off.
Along with increasing available storage space, the HDD will also significantly reduce loading times of any games installed. I've seen conflicting information regarding the spin speed of this model, whether it's 5400 or 7200rpm, but regardless, games do load faster than they do when installed on the internal 500GB drive. This is especially noticeable on laborious titles such as Forza Motorsport 5 and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Overall, I've been delighted with my purchase so far and would highly recommend it to anyone else in the market for additional storage for their XBOX ONE.
I got this hard drive to use with an Xbox One. The XB1's 500GB internal drive may sound quite capacious, but it fills up surprisingly quickly, especially when the basic installations of some games (such as Wolfenstein: The New Order) take up almost 45GB on their own. There's also a theoretical speed boost to be gained from using an external drive - the XB1's internal SATA II drive is limited to 3Gb/s, while USB 3.0 maxes out at 5Gb/s - though the gain is minimal in reality, especially when using a relatively inexpensive hard drive such as this one. Loading times may be marginally reduced, though you'd be hard pushed to put exact numbers on the reductions.
What you do get with WD's Elements is large capacity for all those games you'll be buying in the future, great build quality, flawless operation, and a look that goes very well with the Xbox One. Though the drive is more rounded than the XB1, the top of it sports vents that look very similar to the vents on the right-hand side of the console. Also like the console, the LED on the front of the drive is white (a more bluish shade of white, though it's really splitting hairs).
The final point in this hard drive's favour is its noise level. It's very quiet. In fact, when used with an Xbox One it doesn't seem to add any extra noise at all - or, at least, the noise it produces simply blends in with that of the console. If you're looking for an external hard drive to expand the capacity of your Xbox One, then you can't really go wrong with this one.
on 10 December 2015
I hope I'm not going to downvote my own 5-stars if / when the drive goes dead, but for now:
I have already got a good 4TB drive (Touro). By "good" I mean - it's worked for a year now, so hopefully, it won't die on me soon. I needed another one, and as the touro is gone or overpriced, I was tossed between the 5GB Seagate and 4TB WG (Seagate is currently, 10/12/2015 GBP 90 at amazon, and I found this WD 4TB elsewhere for 100 GBP). I know that all drive can, on relatively rare occassions, die, which is a concern for most people, who DON'T buy them in twos for backup, and when you lose your data... oh boy. So, the guarantee itself is pretty useless, because when it dies, at best you get a REPLACEMENT, never your old data. For data recovery you can use any free or paid-for software, or pay a specialist company an eye-watering bill (GBP 800 plus).
To the point: I have had both seagate and western digital (internal) drives die on me in the past, but it appears that WD is somewhat more reliable, judging by the reviews in various shops. That said, it could be that, as WD are generally more expensive, there are fewer reviewers, thus lower fail rate. In any case, those rare reviews of seagate 5TB with a simple message: drive died on me after x weeks, all data lost, I'm gutted" swayed me to go for WD. Fingers crossed.
On the drive itself:
1. it comes with a long enough (I'd say about 2 m long) power plug, with a lightweight plug, and with a longish (I'd say about 1.5 m) MICRO usb 3 cable (my previous 4TB hdd came with a regular USB 3 cable, which is chunkier.
2. it comes with a POWER button at the back panel, which is a bonus, as I have always found lack of such power button extremely irritating - and it seems standard on most, if not all external hdd these days, so a big thumbs up for that!
3. it is relatively quiet, you can hear it, but it's not annoying (yet)
4. it comes with a very small while led which flashes when drive is being accessed / data moved. In a couple of portable usb 3 drives I saw such icon flash white for usb2 connection, and flash blue for usb 3 connection, not here, but not really an issue.
5. speed is, as mentioned, 7200 rpm, rather than 5400 rpm. Transfer-wise, this depends not only on drive itself, but also whether it copies from / to ssd or hdd, and what size the files copied are. I'm just transferring about 1.7 GB of various data from one usb 3 drive to another, both via usb 3 port, and the speed is paltry - 18 MB/s, HOWEVER, this is for very small, e-mail files (.emls). Earlier on the rate for large tif files (up to 1.2 GB each) the speed was around 78 MB/s, which is not bad (forget about the nonsene of up to 400 MB/s for usb 3, it's lies)
6. elsewhere in the comments somebody suggested this drive is good as NAS. If this is the case, on top of the power button, it'd be worth spending a tenner extra and I'd be willing to consider to buy another one for NAS purposes. If the one I bought doesn't fail unexpectadly, that is ;)
on 4 July 2014
Opted for Free Delivery.... Ordered Monday - Dispatched Tuesday - Arrived Wednesday, you just can't beat that.
Only had it a couple of days but I can't see any problems so far. Just plugged the USB3 cable in, powered it up, was immediately recognised by my Win7 machine and I was backing up my files in a matter of minutes.
Leave it switched on and it comes on when you start windows and powers down when you close down windows.
It's whisper quiet and very cool, if it wasn't for the power light (which is only the size of a pin head) you wouldn't know it was on.
It's been more than a year since I purchased two of these, one meant for backup, the second simply as an overflow storage of non-essential things, such as installed computer games, virtual instrument sample libraries etc - all things I don't need to back up that I can re-download from Steam or Native Instruments or wherever I have purchased it when I need it in the future.
The reason I have waited a year to write a review is of course that it takes a while before you can say anything about hard drive reliability. If it doesn't work out of the box, it is a case for returns, not for reviews, but after a year or two, one can at least begin to make assumptions about how well the disk handles being used.
I just realised that most hard drives I've ever owned have been Western Digital, and I have yet to experience any drive failures before I have retired the drives upon upgrading to larger-capacity ones, faster ones, or to new computers. My pair of 3TB external drives have behaved very well. They connect fine to USB 3.0, they are fast to show up as available when going from disconnected to connected, and access to data seems fast enough that I have never noticed I was using an external drive when using music sample data or games from it.
I know some other review have commented on the lack of an on/off button. I'd have preferred having one too, but I don't find it a major issue. I have one constantly connected and one offline that I connect every now and again for backup of irreplaceable files. If I need to disconnect one, I just eject (or sometimes I don't bother doing that either as I've had no issues hot-disconnecting before - as long as you make sure nothing is being written to the drive when you do) and unplug it.
The drive came in a solid packaging, almost a bit on the big side, but I'd rather see a hard drive well protected from bumps in transport than to receive a potentially damaged one. The cabinet seems solid enough, though I never put this to the test, and it seems to retain a decently cool temperature even when working constantly several hours at a time.
Drives can and do fail, of course. Eventually. But at least I've never felt the need to worry about it when I've been using these, and I will probably get WD Elements again several years from now when I need to change my backup drive.
In short, I have seen nothing to keep me from recommending Western Digital external drives to anyone in the market for one, hoping that your experience will be the same as mine.
on 12 November 2014
These drives aren't glamorous - we buy them to do an important job reliably and with a minimum of technical frustration. I got mine yesterday and was looking forward to a plug and play implementation on my win 7 64-bit pc. The absence of instructions with the drive seem to support this notion. But that is not what you get. After hours of research yesterday I now understand that the drive is not set up on delivery to work with win 7 using Microsoft backup. When I tried to do this the process ran for three hours and then failed, giving an I/O error message. You will need to download a format utility from WD and reformat the disk to 'factory default' before it will work. WD's reason for delivering the disk this way seems to be to ensure compatibility with older operating systems like XP - but I would have thought a substantial majority of today's users will be using current operating systems. Be warned - and make this change first so as not to waste your time. Subject to this irritation, the drive was well-priced and seems reasonably quiet.
on 11 August 2015
Note: This is the experience I have had over the 4 months i've had this HDD with an iMac.
Great HDD. I bought the 3TB version which will be more than enough for what i need, I felt like it was a better buy than the 2TB as it wasn't much more money. The HDD is very well priced compared to competition, and for what you get. I needed a new HDD as my previous Seagate was only 500GB and was filling up, also it was powered by USB which isn't recommended for a HDD to be always connected like mine, not a backup drive that you'd unplug and plug in all the time. The external power supply HDD's like this one are better for keeping it always plugged in.
I would've bought another Seagate, but after seeing that a lot of Seagate HDD's have crashed and WD seems to be a lot better with less complaints, I decided to have a punt with all the reasons above.
Out of the box I plugged it in my iMac and formatted it for MAC since it was Windows formatted (if you want to use it for MAC and Windows just leave it, but if it's only for the mac then it's best to format it) - It's double the speed of my USB 3.0 Seagate HDD that was 500GB. The standard USB 3.0 cable that comes with this HDD is a decent length, but I bought a longer one which was gold plated (in all honesty, it makes no difference what plate it is). I was slightly disappointed to find my glossy black HDD looked very scratched up once I pealed off the film, it almost seems like it was a return item, but since it was going in my cupboard thats on my desktop I wasn't bothered, but for anyone that will have it on show might of been quite unhappy about that.
You can tell it's on by a little blue light that is constantly showing. When the HDD is sleeping the blue light flashes on and off slowly, to show it's sleeping.
I've used the Black Magic Disk Speed Test from the app store, put 1GB of stress on it and I got 105MB/s transfer - my HDD is encrypted which does slow it down, before I got 150MB/s - which blows my previous Seagate out of competition since its only 30-40MB/s.
Overall a good HDD for the money - however there are two complaints I have.
1. The HDD is quite noisy when comparing it to my Seagate, which is only 500GB but you can hardly tell its on, or working. I guess it's a little silly comparing a 500GB HDD to a 3TB one, thats like comparing the noise of a 1.4 to a V8 engine. This WD HDD has a fan noise to it, but isn't a fan since it doesn't have one. It doesn't wirr or grind, just sounds like a fan whooshing. It's not overly loud, but because I have an iMac 2013 model it's whisper quiet so I can hear the HDD and not the mac. The older 2011 iMac we have in the house is a little noisier so I don't think it'd be as noticeable, and if you have a tower PC that is noisy I wouldn't worry about what I'm saying, I wouldn't worry anyway it's just something to point out. -- However, when you browse around on the HDD for the first time if you've just started the computer up - it's a little slow in loading the data for around up to 5 seconds, the HDD makes a grinding sound and can make a grinding sound when browsing around/opening/moving data. This was annoying since I keep it in my little cupboard on my desktop table, the cupboard seemed to echo the grind more, since it was being transferred into the wooden surface so i've cut some foam strips and stapled them together as a mount to cushion the HDD, and put it down flat not standing up (you can do either) and that has made it a lot better, but it's still noticeable. My iMac 2013 makes hardly any sound but my old iMac 2011 did also grind a lot when browsing around, so it's normal but something to note. Interesting in comparing the 500gb to this 3tb though, because the old iMac which grinds is a 500gb HDD and my new iMac is 1TB and is whisper quiet... I'm not too bothered of the noise though.
2. My iMac shuts down the HDD, just like what start/stop does in a car which saves power and saves the HDD working all the time when it's not necessary. I believe the HDD actually can shut itself off also, and I think it conflicts a little. The Seagate would shut down after a few minutes if I did not browse or use it, and wouldn't come back on until I browsed the HDD. It also started back up nice and fast and no problems. However, this HDD seems to shut down randomly, meaning it might shut down when you don't use it, or like at the minute whilst writing this it's still on with not using it for a good 10 minutes now. Sometimes, it shuts down then randomly starts up again especially if I open Finder or do something similar, but then sometimes it doesn't and stays sleeping. Weird. The other thing is when it starts up, if your browsing the HDD it doesn't work instantly. It shows all my data but if I want to open it (folders however are ok) or transfer something, I have to wait around 5 seconds until it responds. (The HDD just turned itself off now as I write this).
The bonus of the external power supply though is so I don't have to have it on all the time. Sometimes i'll leave my computer on if it's downloading something, and the HDD just shuts itself down and doesn't boot up again until I go back on the computer. If the computer sleeps, the HDD will sleep too. I can turn the HDD off if I wanted to, whilst still using the computer but remember to eject the disk first safely before switching it off at the plug.
A good HDD for the money, I would recommend especially since the write ups of WD HDD's are generally good, and not many of them fail compared to Seagate.
on 4 October 2015
Can't fault the product. I've had a couple of these in the past and other WD elements and never had a problem.
The listing is misleading though. The title says 3TB and twice again in the description, however when you scroll down to the technical description it says 2TB and then even further down the page it says in the box is a 2TB. Having bought these drives before I didn't bother reading the full listing so having seen it was a 3TB 3 times at the top of the page that's what I thought I was buying but a 2TB was delivered. The price for a 3TB was very good but not so much for a 2TB but I needed the storage so kept it anyway.
To say the item came from Italy it was delivered pretty quickly and came 2 days ahead of schedule.
on 2 December 2014
I bought this to replace a smaller volume HP backup drive which was full and I've been using it about a month. It's simplicity itself to set up - just plug it in the mains power point, attach by USB to your computer (which will recognise it immediately) and off you go. You can organise backups for specific times and days or allow it to backup whenever you make changes to a file. You can also choose how many backup copies you wish to keep. The first FULL backup is completed during setup and can take a while (about 2 hours in my case), thereafter backups are fast and efficient. It is TOTALLY silent (no noisy fan), it doesn't get hot not even warm, and there is just a tiny white light flashing intermittently on the front to tell you it's operating. If you need to restore an item from backup it is easy to find the file. It's a bit smaller than the average paperback book (and surprisingly heavy) but sits unobtrusively on non-slip rubber feet on your desk or nearby - be aware that the USB cable is only about 4' long which may limit where you can place it. So far I am very pleased with it.
on 22 January 2016
I have just bought an excellent Brand New Orion i7 PC from Chillblast with Windows 10 installed . I wanted to ensure the system was immediately backed up after setting up and running the PC for a few days. Most external Hard Drives appear to receive very mixed reviews - there is no one absolute must have! I settled on the Western Digital Elements Desktop USB 3.0 2TB as it had fewer negative comments! It is a well made piece of equipment and connected up easily to my PC via USB mini USB 3.0 Cable and a UK power adaptor. The PC immediately found the new hardware! I bought, downloaded, and registered EaseUS ToDo Backup Home software. The software recognised the Western Digital External Drive, and I backed up the System to the External Drive. It took around 15 minutes via USB 3.0. The Drive is quiet in use. I am very pleased with the Western Digital and EaseUS - they work very well together! My PC has a 2TB internal Hybrid Hard Drive - more than enough for all my needs, so the Western Digital will just be used for regular System Backups, and therefore will not be in continual use.