1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Speedy and quiet solution for WD media player owners,
This review is from: My Book Essential WDBAAF0020HBK - Hard drive - 2 TB - external - Hi-Speed USB (Personal Computers)
This drive is by far the fastest offboard WD HDD I have owned (and I have 4 others). It runs quietly and very cool, barely warming at all despite 1.2TB of continuous data transfer. In fact, it made me realise how noisy, clunky and alarmingly hot my older 750GB My Book was. The drive is midway between me and my PC and yet the HDDs in the desktop are all louder than the WD.
It's also a good 25% slimmer than that older generation of My Books, taking up less tabletop space but being a little more prone to tipping over. At least the two rubber feet make it less likely to slide off a smooth table top if the cables are jolted and they seem to contribute to the general quiet operation. Amazon had to replace my first order for this product since it arrived with one rubber foot missing, but they managed to get a delivery to me within 48 hours. Impressive.
This drive was bought to serve media files into a Western Digital WDTV, so I was nervous when I plugged it into my PC and discovered it created 2 drive letters. Previous experience told me that a WDTV media player can't see partitioned HDDs. One of these drive letters turned out to be a Virtual CD partition holding the so-called Smartware. This utility suite has drive diagnostics and encryption options and a quick registration system, plus a sleep timer and 'eraser' (that formats and wipes the whole disc). It also has backup software which has a slick interface but lacks advanced features (but has file versioning), though it is probably a great boon for those new to backup. The Virtual CD can be disabled from within Smartware if you need to free up a drive letter. It only consumes around 400MB of space on the drive. However, the clever bit is that the partition is in UDF format and doesn't trouble the WDTV media player at all.
Updating the Smartware opened a browser window and prompted for a firmware update for the drive itself. The foreboding instructions to disable anti-virus software and other programs which might write to disk during the update seem more appropriate for a boot drive rather than an offboard one. The update also required power-cycling the drive AND a PC restart, so its a relief that this is a job you only need to do once.
The only negative I can think of is that the four white LED lights that act as a capacity gauge as your drive begins to fill up are far too bright (though they only appear when the WD is connected to a PC or laptop). It would be nice to have an option to disable them (other than some black electrical tape!) in case you want to watch media on your PC in dim lighting. There's a ridiculous amount of light leakage from the rear slots on the back of the casing because the LEDs are in the base of the case and send their output up some sort of plastic light-pipe that is unshielded. When connected to the WD TV media player, a tiny white LED throbs to tell you that the drive is accessing, and this too can be distracting (I hid the drive behind a DVD case). Other than that, an excellent product.