Macbook Pro Retina w/WD Thunderbolt Duo

For just a few weeks now I’ve had a moment to play around with Western Digital’s MyBook Thunderbolt Duo drive system. I thought I would chime in and share a few tidbits in actual use with my new Macbook Pro Retina.

The full review will contain feedback on the drive for both photo and video use. But so far, it has been an interesting ride.

Gear Used

Tech Specs

Taken from the B&H Photo Video listing of the product.

Capacity 6TB
Interface Thunderbolt Ports x 2
Drive Speed 7200 rpm
Data Transfer Rate 10 Gb/s (maximum)
System Requirements Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher
Computer with Thunderbolt connector
Thunderbolt cable (sold separately)
Configuration RAID 0 (max speed)
RAID 1 (data protection/mirror mode)
JBOD (use drives individually)
Power Requirements AC 100 – 240V (47 – 63Hz)
Operating Temperature 41 to 95°F (5 to 35°C)
Non-Operating Temperature -4 to 149°F (-20 to 65°C)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.9 x 6.5 x 6.2″ (9.9 x 16.5 x 15.7 cm)
Weight 4.98 lb (2.26 kg)

Ergonomics

The design of this right away tells me: “Apple-esque”. The use of grey plastic and subtle lines mimics that of Apple’s brushed aluminum motif that has been going on since the introduction of the uni-body Macs. The body has adequate amount of vents for the heat from the drives to escape. With this drive you can daisy chain another drive via the extra port on the back of this drive. On top is a button you press in to revel the replaceable WD Green drives. It’s nice that the unit is self-serviceable. You have as few ways to set this drive up. RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks). This can all be done via the WD utility application.

On top is a button you press in to revel the replaceable WD Green drives. It’s nice that the unit is self-serviceable. You have as few ways to set this drive up. RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks). This can all be done via the WD Drive Utilities application.

First Impressions

At first, when I plugged in this drive to my new MBP (Macbook Pro), fired up the WD Drive Utilities and tried to set the drive up for RAID 1, which offers me a mirrored backup for the drive but cuts your storage space to 3TB only. The application was crashing on me.

I headed over to Western Digital’s site and lowe and behold: a new version of WD Drive Utilities to use.

Great! I thought. Let’s just use the new version of the software and it will be easy to setup a RAID 1 without the confusion of Apple’s disk utility. I continued to have no luck with the utility; and it still was not working as it should. The next thing I did was applied Apple’s majorly big 1 plus gigabyte update for the MBP Retina. Success!

The app loaded without a hitch. I was then able to to get to work and use the drive. Now, keep in mind, I really think for the most part, Apple’s update for this machine is what made it work correctly and fixed the issue with WD Drive Utilities not working even after updating to the newest version at that time. I’m now running Mountain Lion, and the WD Drive Utility as soon I loaded it up had a new compatibility fix for Mountain Lion.

This drive is definitely fast. I’ve used it now for a few small edits and I have been enjoying the time saving  thunderbolt has to offer. Moving a 2.6GB file from my MBP’s SSD drive to the My Book Duo in a little over a minute. Rendering HDDSLR video files has been super quick. I certainly will be going into more detail about the drive and my time with it in my full writeup coming later.

Stay tuned for the full review.

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