Review: My Passport Pro portable Thunderbolt RAID storage

Sections: External and Portable Storage Devices, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Peripherals, Reviews

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One of the best things about having a Thunderbolt compatible Macintosh is…well…using it. That sounds stupid, yeah, but for many of us, that Thunderbolt port is often left empty, due largely to the relative lack of Thunderbolt hardware and the general cost that accompanies the hardware that is available. Western Digital’s My Passport Pro includes such a cost, but if you’re looking for speed and functionality, it’s completely worth it.

Western Digital My Passport Pro

The key word here, I’d argue, is Thunderbolt. The 4TB version of the My Passport Pro offers transfer speeds of up to 230MB/s; the 2TB version, which Western Digital provided to us for review, does even better at 233MB/s. If you’ve got a Thunderbolt Mac, you’re going to love the ridiculous speeds. Thunderbolt offers an additional benefit, too, in that you won’t need a separate power source for the My Passport Pro. In fact, you don’t even get the option; Thunderbolt handles both power and media transfer, and it does so without skipping a beat. Video, audio, images…everything moves on this drive with tremendous speed, and it’s even fast enough to use as a back-up boot drive.

Because this is a portable drive, Western Digital keeps things as neat as possible with an attached Thunderbolt cable, which will save you a decent amount of cash. The cable wraps nicely around the drive itself and tucks into a built-in holder on the drive when it’s not in use.

Western Digital My Passport Pro

However, the cable is note very long, so you’ll have to keep the My Passport Pro within a foot of your computer when in use. It also doesn’t have an additional Thunderbolt port, so if you’re chaining Thunderbolt accessories, the My Passport Pro will have to be at the end.

The My Passport Pro ships in RAID 0, ensuring you get the full capacity of the drive. If you’d like backup security, though, it can easily be configured for RAID 1 mirror mode, in which you cut the capacity in half by storing duplicate copies of all of your files. In addition, the My Passport Pro is Time Machine compatible, in case you want to make it your dedicated backup device (it’ll ask you when you first plug it in). The drive comes preformatted in HFS + J for OS X Mavericks and Mountain Lion.

Having performance and functionality down, the last step is portability. The My Passport Pro 2TB model we reviewed weighs in at only 1.01 lb., measuring 1.3″ high, 3.484″ wide, and 5.646″ deep. It doesn’t ship with a carrying case, but at that size (and considering it needs to extra cables), it should fit easily into any laptop case. Western Digital has built it to be durable, too, housed within an anodized all-aluminum enclosure to meet WD’s “… demanding requirements for durability, shock tolerance, and long-term reliability.”

Western Digital My Passport Pro

I wasn’t exactly racing across the Tundra or exploring jungles during my review period, but I can safely say that for general mobile use and travel, the My Passport Pro served me well. And if it shouldn’t, for one reason or another, it comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Perhaps the greatest praise I can give a mobile drive, however, is to suggest that it even makes sense for standard desktop use. I prefer to get most of my work done at a dedicated workstation, and only occasionally need portability. As such, I never bothered much with portable drives because I didn’t want to sacrifice capacity and speed to get it. With the My Passport Pro, I didn’t have to. The only sacrifice you’ll be making is the Thunderbolt port.

Appletell Rating:

My Passport Pro review

Buy the My Passport Pro

Provides: Portable RAID storage and Time Machine backup with Thunderbolt performance
Developer: Western Digital
Minimum Requirements: Any Thunderbolt compatible Macintosh
Price: $299.99 – 2TB, $429.99 – 4TB
Availability: Now

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